I'm a freelance writer, currently residing in Melbourne, Australia, having recently moved back from Darwin. My interests include the Arts, Contemporary Art, Theatre, Dance, History, German & Foreign Language Films, Architecture, Health & Philosophy
Published September 4th 2017
Craving a piece of fried fish? Need some hot chips?
Fish 'n' chips in Darwin usually makes everyone think of Mr Barra. Mr Barra is a Darwin Fish shop that has been around for years and is famous for its wholesale seafood and super fresh fish. The Barramundi is only one of a number of fish varieties found in the NT, so put away your Flake, Blue Grenadier, King George Whiting and Tasmanian Salmon - they are not needed here.
Darwin has a long history of exporting Barramundi to other states, and notionally Barramundi has been known as the 'National' Fish. However, when you're in Darwin, you soon realise that there are other fish species that are just as tasty if not more tasty to enjoy to combat the oppressive heat. Think Spanish Mackerel, Threadfin Salmon (my favourite) and Mud Crabs. If you are lucky enough, you may meet someone who can take you out mud-crabbing or assist you to catch your first Barramundi.
Fishing is huge in the NT. There are a number of fishing tours you can do in the NT. It's not my thing, but if it's yours, have fun and send me a postcard with a picture of your catch. Or alternatively, let me know where you're at and I'll eat whatever you catch when you get back!
This is right near where the fish trawlers dock. It was always a great place to sit, have a nice glass of wine and enjoy some nicely cooked fish with friends. It is also licensed (compulsory in the oppressive heat). They cook-to-order a good range of local tropical fish. It's on the expensive side of fish and chips (but nowhere in Darwin is cheap).
The Threadfin Salmon is the tastiest. If you have never eaten Threadfin Salmon or the famous northern Spanish Mackerel, this is the place to try it. Expect to wait, but it's worth it. It was really my one and only favourite fish and chip shop in Darwin. Order early and allow a good hour, unless you are first to arrive, and by first to arrive I mean 5:30 pm or 6 pm. They are always busy with orders.
If I needed a fix of Coffin Bay oysters, this was my place. Coffin Bay Oysters are my favourite oysters and if you go on a special night, you can get them for rock bottom prices by Darwin standards. (No $12 for 12 here, this is Darwin NOT the East Coast). Their fish menu is good, and it's their speciality. It's a nice place to sit and they have a good cocktail and wine menu.
I realise that I divert again and that we are back in the restaurant world. However, it remains to be said that this place has some of the freshest seafood available. It has a good range of local seafood, that can be cooked to order. You can also gorge yourself on local fish, prawns and crab here.
It is always packed with families that visit week after week. I regularly saw servicemen from places like Singapore and Malaysia eating here. (The NT News is great at letting everyone know which servicemen are visiting from where). I know that Singaporeans and Malaysians know their food, so if they are happy, I'm happy. It is a buffet. It is good value and not a complete rip-off (unlike some others in Darwin I went to).
The Jetty has been around for ages too, which is a testament that Darwin locals know a good thing when they're onto it. It fills the need for getting through another day in the stifling tropical heat.
Darwin is as Darwin does. This is not the place to 'judge a book by its cover'. The worst looking places are often the best here, and the best looking places are often the worst. You just have to go out and try it when you're lucky enough to afford to travel to the NT.
Please comment below with your favourite fish and/or seafood meal in Darwin.
Darwin is awesome ! Planning to visit again in 2019. Was taken out fishing and crabbing by locals last year and we cooked our catch in the coals. Yummy! I was hoping your article might have been about Fish and chip shops in Melbourne that sell seafood from Darwin. I know we get it in Melbourne bit it is seldom acknowledged.