Aunt Catfish’s on the River: A Family-Owned Seafood Spot in Port Orange, Florida

Lisa Fritscher March 14, 2015 No Comments

Outside View

Aunt Catfish’s is unassuming but top-notch.

Florida’s world-famous Atlantic coast is dominated by Daytona Beach, a hotspot for everyone from spring breakers to families enjoying the historic boardwalk. While Daytona is packed with excellent dining options, locals know that just down the road, in relatively quiet Port Orange, is one of the top seafood restaurants in the country. The family-owned Aunt Catfish’s on the River is always bustling with Florida residents and in-the-know tourists.

Our Experience
I grew up in Lakeland, roughly halfway between Tampa and Orlando. Aunt Catfish’s was just enough of a drive to be a truly special outing, yet close enough that I was able to visit numerous times. Most recently, my dad and my best friend, Angela, took me to dinner on our way to St. Augustine for my birthday weekend.

We picked Angela up from work in Orlando at around 5 p.m. In Friday afternoon rush hour traffic, we arrived at Aunt Catfish’s without a reservation at around 6:30. We were told that the wait would be close to an hour, and were given a lobster-shaped beeper. We hit the bar for a beer before heading outside. The large patio has plenty of seating, live music, and a small kids’ playground, making it easy to relax and enjoy the wait.

Food Portions

The food portions are big enough to share.

As it turned out, we were seated in just 30 minutes in the small upstairs section. We had a quiet corner to ourselves with a beautiful view of the water. Our friendly waiter gave us plenty of time to peruse the extensive menu, while remaining attentive and available.

The menu is packed with seafood choices, from a wide range of fish and shellfish to such local favorites as frogs legs and shrimp and grits. For landlubbers, the beef, chicken and pork dishes are hearty and well prepared, while vegetarians can choose from numerous salads and vegetable plates.

The only very minor issue was that the salad buffet, included with most meals, was located on the first floor. This meant navigating the steep and narrow steps with our salad plates in hand. Although this did not at all detract from our experience, it is something to note for parties that include small kids or people with mobility issues. Ask to be seated on the first floor if this is a concern.

Tips for Parents


Armed with a lobster-shaped beeper, we were happy to relax on the patio.

Aunt Catfish on the River has been family-owned for more than 30 years. The restaurant is the sort of beachfront gathering spot that is equally appropriate for elderly couples in their Sunday best, young adults on a romantic date, and large families in shorts and beach attire. There is almost always a short wait, but the well-designed patio area makes this only a minor inconvenience.

Dinner entrees are fairly pricey, but portions are easily large enough to split. A typical dinner includes the salad bar, as well as a hush puppy, your choice of one side dish, and a large cinnamon roll for dessert. If you are on a budget, the salads and sandwiches are significantly less expensive.

Another alternative is to take advantage of the lunch menu, the Sunday brunch or the early bird specials. A surprisingly extensive kids menu includes both “kid foods” such as macaroni and cheese and corn dogs, and such delicacies as frogs legs, alligator, snow crab and tilapia.

While waiting for your table, be sure to take a stroll down the boardwalk behind the patio. The cool breeze, salt spray and clear water will help you relax and get ready for an excellent meal. You are permitted to carry bar drinks on this private boardwalk.

avatarAbout the Author:

Lisa is a full-time travel writer. She lives in an RV with her disabled father and writes about their experiences. Although she has no children of her own, Lisa loves being an Aunt to her own relatives and the children of all her friends. You can follow her adventures on her blog, Travel Confessions.

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