Local Eats: Freshness at Marina Poke House

Story and photos by Dee Davila

Fresh, flavorful and well-balanced are perhaps three terms that can be used to describe a good bowl of poke. For a dish that is seemingly simple, it’s a dish that can certainly compete with both serious and fun meals. 

So what is poke? Poke is a traditional and popular dish in Hawaii that consists of rice or salad in a bowl that is then topped with an assortment of toppings, of which raw fish is the most notable inclusion. The lack of limitations as far as combinations go have helped this dish skyrocket in popularity roughly around 2012 in mainland U.S. as well and has been a consistent go-to meal for fish enthusiasts ever since. 

This brings me to the Marina Poke House, a family owned and operated eatery that brings the local community a taste of Hawaii. Established in 2016, they claim to have a mission “to bring fresh, flavorful and healthy food” for their customers. They offer a wide array of topping options from salmon and tuna to mango and pineapple and miso sauce. 

I was curious to really try it all so I ordered a four-scoop poke bowl which came with salmon over rice. For the fun toppings, I tried seaweed and vegetables with fish eggs, also known as masago. A rather simple combination but it showcases the quality of the ingredients in the bowl. This bowl cost me roughly $22 before taxes. I also tried two servings of their spam musubi which is another popular Hawaiian appetizer that consists of seasoned spam wrapped with rice and seaweed in a square block. 

The food here was a pleasure to consume. The poke bowl was a little more fun to consume with the textures of the ingredients contrasting one another in a playful manner. There was a pleasant harmony between the house sauce used on salmon and the miso dressing used to finish the bowl. Overall, my only concern would have to be the cost for a single bowl but ultimately, the price is on par with most poke bars found throughout the greater Monterey Peninsula. 

As for the spam musubi, they were enjoyable and they were a bit more flavorful than that of the usual spam musubi found in similar restaurants. At $4 each, I think the spam musubi is worth the price considering the manner in which the rice and spam is seasoned is expertly done. With spam musubi, the entire treat hinges on the quality and manner in which the ingredients are seasoned making this one of the better spam musubis I’ve had. 

Overall, I recommend Marina Poke House to those who can afford the $20 price tag for the bowl. The quality of ingredients are incredible and there are enough combinations to properly customize the bowl to your needs. They also offer vegetarian and gluten-free options. 

Marina Poke House can be found at 266 Reservation Rd. Marina, in the Lucky’s Supermarket shopping center. As of the time of my visit, they were still adhering to COVID-19 restrictions with the dining room closed off and employees practicing social distancing.

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