When I heard Pandora Seafood House & Bar would take over the old Austin Grill/American Tap Room location in Rockville Town Square, I was excited to give it a shot. For a while, I have been looking for a classy, non-chain, traditional seafood spot to go to without having to travel too far (Rockville is pretty close for everyone in MoCo) and Pandora fits the bill!
Pandora Seafood House & Bar has been open since mid-October. It’s a very beautiful restaurant that is open for both lunch and dinner (special lunch menu). The prices are fair for the quality of food you will be getting, as entrees range from $20-$30 each. They also offer a couple non-Seafood dishes in case someone in your party is anti-Seafood 😊. I was told the bread is the only thing not made in the restaurant.
There are over 10,000 “bubbles” in the restaurant.
I’m torn when it comes to table starters because if they’re too good, I can’t stop eating them and I’m full before the first appetizer is out. If they’re terrible, my dining experience starts off with disappointment. Their bread (more of a crispy chip type of bread) and butter was in between. I liked it, but I ate one piece and was good to go until my first dish arrived.
I had a few oysters to start. The mignonette sauce that went on them was really good (I had to google the name of the sauce that goes on oysters).
The Cioppino is one of their signature dishes. It contains King crab, mussels, clams, shrimp, scallops, calamari, octopus, sourdough bread, and a spiced tomato broth. The crab legs are massive and contain a lot of meat. It actually took me a bit of time to work my way to the broth, but when I did, I was very satisfied. It was like a whole new meal beneath my original meal. If you like seafood medleys, this is the dish for you.
My favorite dish (as a whole) was the lobster linguine. There was plenty of lobster meat and I couldn’t stop eating the linguine. The presentation was really cool too.
Scallops were next on the list. They’re served over a bed of risotto. This is a difficult dish to master because if one of the two are not up to par, the entire dish is ruined. They nailed it. Scallops were a tasty and massive. Risotto was just right.
Here’s where I’m going to go out on a limb. The crab cakes I had at Pandora may have been the best I’ve ever had. It may be the recency effect, but these were 95% lump crab meat and even with all of the food that I had at dinner, I almost ordered a second plate of them. They’re served with potatoes, but I barely remember those. Just get the crab cakes, they’re amazing.
I’m not a fish guy. I want to be, but I’m just not. I did eat the Chilean sea bass, though. A friend that was with me really enjoyed it and said it was buttery. If fish is your thing, they have a couple different type.
I don’t know why, but I was a little wary of getting dessert at a seafood restaurant. That lasted as long as it took our server to tell me about the Crème Brûlèe and seasonal pumpkin pie cheesecake. I tried both. No longer wary.