Gloria's Seafood City at Victoria Pier was one of the first places I wanted to visit once the Jamaican Government lifted a few of the pandemic-related restrictions. The Easter holiday weekend presented itself as a great opportunity to do so! I was equally pleased to stay true to the Jamaican Easter tradition of having fish, as well as spending the Easter Sunday afternoon out with family.
Gloria's Seafood City is located at Victoria Pier in Downtown, Kingston. This location is particularly scenic due to its strategic location by the Waterfront [See my short video below to get a glimpse of the views!]. One can also find the seafood brand at two other locations: the flagship restaurant, Gloria's Rendezvous, is located on Queen Street in Port Royal, Kingston; and Island Village in Ocho Rios, St. Ann is home to the other.
The restaurant is arranged for casual dining, and features wood-toned, rustic decor. Customers have the option to eat al fresco on the terrace, or be accomodated indoors. There's also limited seating by the bar.
I visited with a party of five and we inititally picked a table on the terrace. However, the sea breeze proved to be a bit too exciting for us that Sunday afternoon. Gusts of wind would blow the appetizer of soup right out the bowl unto the table, leaving less to be enjoyed. Other guests around us didn't seem to mind at all, and carried on with their meals as the wind danced around their tables. My party, on the other hand, decided to relocate to a table indoors.
Inside the restaurant, there's a cute feature wall by which guests can take photos as a memory of their visit. The wall reads "Awesome Experiences - Delivered with love by the Great Seafood People."
Food & Drinks
On this particular occasion, the restaurant only had fish and shrimp available. That's a bummer for anyone who may have allergies, as one person in our party did. The solution offered was plain alfredo pasta. Nevertheless, the majority of our party ordered fried fish with sides of bammy and festival, and we were pleased for the most part. The side salad was a bit dry, so I'd recommend requesting salad dressing.
If you've been to Gloria's before, the wait time is a quintessential part of the experience. Pro tip? Don't go to any Gloria's location famished. To ensure this aspect of my review was accurate, I did actually time how long we waited from when our order was placed. The total wait time? 1 hour. Depending on your temperament, that may or may not be a big deal.
It was a big deal to us as during the wait, we were neither offered the customary glass of water nor the actual drinks we'd ordered along with the meal. Ridiculous. You're probably thinking, why didn't you beckon to your server for well...service? Well, while our waitress was fairly cordial, she didn't introduce herself by name. As such, unless she was in the vicinity of our table and could assist, it would take giving a lengthy description for another staff member to identify her on our behalf.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 10
I do think one should experience Gloria's seafood at least once. Nothing quite beats the views and crisp sea breeze at Victoria Pier. The food is delicious and filling, which may or may not make the wait worth it. However, one should definitely temper expectations regarding customer service as it's nothing exceptional. Nevertheless, staff are cordial, and it's the company with you that'll tip the scale of the experience for the better.
I've been to all the locations in Kingston, so I am curious as to whether the one in St. Ann is any different. Stay tuned to see if I make it there!
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own.