Welcome to Week 41 of my #Gauteng52 challenge, for which I visit and blog about a new place in Gauteng Province every week for 52 straight weeks. This week I visit La Marina Foods, a fish and specialty food supplier in Modderfontein.
Marie-Lais and I drove into a bland office park in Modderfontein. We blew right past La Marina Foods the first time, asked directions twice, and eventually made our way to an imposing metal gate. Is this place really open to the public? I thought. It looks very warehouse-like from the outside.
But the security guard opened up for us. We parked, stepped inside, and found ourselves in a culinary dream world.
La Marina is first and foremost a food supplier — mostly seafood — supplying restaurants and hotels all over Joburg and South Africa. If you live in Joburg you’ve probably driven past many La Marina delivery trucks without noticing.
But La Marina also has a retail shop and deli, again mostly seafood, but also selling cheese, meat, and exotic packaged foods from all over the world.
The food at La Marina made me really, really happy.
Behind the Scenes at La Marina
Marie-Lais and I took an in-depth tour at La Marina, donning hairnets and white lab coats before venturing into the huge warehouse/factory area at the back. We watched bright pink salmon being filleted and gazed longingly at massive wheels of cheese.
This guy knows how to slice a fish.
In the retail shop I found my favorite craft vinegar from Stellenbosch and my favorite tortilla chips from Midrand, among many other exciting things. There’s a nice mix of both local and international foods. Manager Henry Fourie says La Marina has a policy not to refuse any food order, no matter how exotic. If they can find a food, anywhere in the world, they’ll order it and stock it.
Rainbow-striped pasta hats imported from Italy.
And then there was lunch. This was by far the best part of my visit to La Marina.
Marie-Lais and I shared a salmon sushi platter, followed by a massive cooked seafood platter that we could only half finish between the two of us. It was the best fish I’ve eaten in South Africa.
An 18-piece salmon sushi platter costs R180, or about $13. The seafood platter costs R320, or $23, and is more than enough for two people. (Full disclosure: Our lunch was on the house, which goes against my normal “no freebie” policy for #Gauteng52. But how could I say no to this?) La Marina also serves oysters and sparkling wine.
Don’t be put off by the office park or warehouse-like exterior. La Mariana is a serious lunch destination (although only during the week and until noon on Saturdays) and well worth a journey to the East Rand.
If you like seafood, please go. And bring shopping bags as you definitely won’t get out of there empty-handed.
La Marina Foods is at 7 Platinum Drive in the Longmeadow North Business Park, open Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 4:30 and Saturday from 8:00 to 12:00. Call +27-11-608-3277 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.