Whether you're looking for a front seat view of the Ohio River while you have a meal or are craving the perfect wine to accompany a fine French dish, Marietta has a place for you.
Though a small city, Marietta boasts a long list of places to grab a meal, with several Chinese restaurants, even more pizza places, popular chains, local pubs, mom-and-pop eateries and fine-dining locations.
With the longstanding history of The Levee House and The Lafayette Hotel, the eclectic collection of menu items at Austyn's or The Buckley House and the specialty wines and French cuisine offered at House of Wines, no two restaurants are alike. They each offer something different in atmosphere and flavors, attracting regulars as well as first-time foodies and tourists.
Horseradish crusted salmon with garlic mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables at the Levee House.
Food photos by Robb DeCamp
The Levee House
Billing itself as the only remaining original riverfront structure in Marietta, The Levee House has a history as a dry goods store, a hotel, a saloon and now as the casual fine-dining restaurant it is today, where diners can enjoy the view and the good food, all in one sitting.
Owner David Hearing took over The Levee House in 2010 and brought a new menu and a new look to what had been known as the Levee House Cafe.
130 Front St.
Open 7 days a week
Lunch: From 11a.m. to 4 p.m.
Monday through Thursday 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m
Friday & Saturday 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The Levee House
127 Ohio St.
Open 7 days a week
Monday - Thursday:
11 a.m.-2 p.m. ; 5 p.m.-8 p.m.
Friday: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. ; 5 p.m.-9 p.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
The Lafayette Hotel
101 Front St.
Open 7 days a week
Monday-Thursday 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; 5 p.m.-8 p.m.
Friday 7 a.m.-11 a.m.; 5 p.m.-9 p.m.
Saturday 7 a.m.-2 p.m. , 5 to 9 p.m.
Sunday 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
House of Wines
4339 State Route 60
Open Tuesday-Thursday 11a.m.-9 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
The Buckley House
332 Front St.
Lunch: Monday through Friday
11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Dinner: Monday through Saturday
5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Hearing said as a chef he balances the traditional favorites that are still in high demand with newer dishes of his own.
A best-seller that Hearing came up with has been on the menu for the past four years. The dish features a horseradish-crusted fresh Atlantic salmon, sauteed to perfection with a creamy horseradish sauce and a breading made out of, you guessed it, horseradish.
But Hearing said it's not just the fresh seafood that keeps the customers coming.
"I'm surprised about all the pasta we sell," he said. "The Levee House has always had a chicken pea pasta. It's just a simple chicken alfredo with peas, but we sell tons. It's the simple things that are best."
Mixing the traditions that suit the house's history and combining it with contemporary inspiration is what keeps the riverfront eatery thriving.
"Every once in a while we get someone that comes in from the old restaurant, coming in and asking for that pasta," Hearing said. "I use a different cut of chicken and different pasta, but the flavor is the same."
The restaurant, nestled on a brick street, offers outdoor seating with an unobstructed view of the Ohio River, just steps away.
It's also a popular spot for brunch, offering French toast, omelets and more.
The Buckley House
The Buckley House opened as a restaurant in 2010 after serving as a bed and breakfast for 14 years, all settled in front of the Muskingum River and Muskingum Park.
Executive Chef Emad Al-Masri prides himself with providing the old southern charm of the historic home with the new flavors that he brings in the form of international cuisine, drawing inspiration from around the Mediterranean.
In the warm, close-knit setting of The Buckley House, diners can enjoy a plate of lamb kebabs, served with couscous and fresh caramelized vegetables with a tomato garlic curry sauce, or a seafood feast, complete with tilapia, scallops and shrimp with a saffron lobster bisque risotto and sauteed vegetables.
"All the food that comes out of here is very fresh, with seafood from Hawaii and meats right from Columbus. We do it all to order, and that's what sets us apart," Al-Masri said.
And if you have a sweet tooth, the desserts are all made in-house, with everything from baklava to creme brulee to chocolate mousse.
And for the summer, The Buckley House rolls out a fresh menu, and the delicious food can be enjoyed from the comfort of the patio.
"It's beautiful to be outside in the summer, with all the flowers and a pond and a gazebo," Al-Masri said. "People like to be out here when it's warm."
That patio seats 45, and The Buckley House proudly hosts weddings, baby showers and birthday parties right next to the river.
Right at the start of Front Street sits the Lafayette Hotel. Inside is the Gun Room, where diners can enjoy the room's collection of historic long rifles while feasting on classic and contemporary dishes, and the Riverview Lounge, with a perfect view of the Ohio River.
Executive Chef Josh Michael Hall has been at The Lafayette for almost a decade, and has brought aboard several dishes that have been kept on the menu ever since.
Going with the seafood favorites found in the kitchens of The Lafayette's counterparts, the Cajun-style red snapper, accompanied by sauteed corn, green onions and garlic mashed potatoes is piled up in perfect presentation and has enticed regulars and travelers for years.
Hall said the tasty food can be credited to the whole kitchen staff.
"The guys we have back there really love what they're doing, and that's half the battle," he said.
Though its foundation is a staple in many Italian restaurants, Hall said people always like the classic chicken alfredo, grilled chicken breasts topped with broccoli and served with a side of buttery garlic bread.
The Lafayette is rolling out a new menu in March with a goal to make sure the food complements the season.
"We've been changing hands quite a bit lately, so we're just hoping to get better as we go," Hall said.
The Lafayette thrives on its banquet services, which caters to groups like the Rotary Club, and also offers Sunday brunch, featuring hot breakfast and lunch items and an extensive buffet.
House of Wines
Located right alongside the Muskingum River in a quaint building is House of Wines, a restaurant surrounded by a wine and beer retail store.
Both Owner Sally Oliver, who took over House of Wines in June 2012, and Executive Chef Matt Lancaster bring their expertise from the New England Culinary Institution and from previous positions at French restaurants in the Boston area.
Diners can enjoy the influence the chef and owner have brought with them, which House of Wines' website notes, saying that Lancaster "is pleased to bring flavor and creations that are French inspired while remaining recognizable American Cuisine, and undoubtedly a step above the rest."
Whether the meal is leaning toward French cuisine or American, House of Wines also strives to use fresh and local ingredients whenever possible.
On a cold night, the Crock n' Half, which has been kept on the menu long before Oliver and Lancaster took over, is a crowd favorite. It features the restaurant's famous swiss onion soup and a half reuben, with the traditional corned beef, sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing and swiss on toasty rye bread.
"We sell a lot of scallops, flat irons steaks and our pork tenderloin entrees," Oliver said. "And the Crock n' Half is a big seller."
Or if the river has you in the mood for seafood, Lancaster's French-inspired cuisine will come to the rescue, with walleye surrounded by little neck clams, white bean cassoulet-a rich, slow-cooked casserole-and a microgreen salad, fresh with herbs and a variety of small, flavorful leaves and sprouts.
Oliver strives to complement Lancaster's cuisine with an ever-expanding collection of wines and beers.
Its location makes the restaurant's outdoor seating perfect for looking out at the river, both in the warm summer weather and alongside the heat of outdoor fireplaces.
Running successfully for 13 years, Austyn's is a fine-dining restaurant and lounge on Front Street that offers a wide selection of dishes that draw inspiration from American and international cuisine, always with a bit of a twist.
Owner and chef Phi Chen said Austyn's plans to release a new menu March 1 to feature dishes more geared toward spring and summer.
A Memphis sandwich, which features a smoked pork soaked in a maple syrup marinade, is expected to be a popular item. Chen said Austyn's also is bringing Chilean sea bass to the menu.
"It's one of the best fish out there today, in my opinion," he said. "Customers love it, so we're putting it on so they can get it whenever they want."
Seafood has and will continue to be a staple of the Austyn's fare with a full ocean-lovers menu, including a seared ahi tuna filet with a wasabi ponzu aioli-Japanese horseradish and a citrus-based sauce-as a popular appetizer. Chen said by using Sashimi-grade fish-a high enough quality to eat raw-Austyn's has an edge over the competition in seafood.
Chen said he has also seen an increase in healthy eating, which he also continuously caters to. The new menu will include a spinach wedge salad, topped with tomatoes, olive, bacon and capers.
With a noticed increase in traffic from people who work in the oil and gas industry, Austyn's is constantly updating its menus to entice people from all parts of the nation.
"They work around the country and we want to give them a big city taste in the little city of Marietta, so they get more than what they expect," Chen said. "They don't need to be in Houston or New York City to get the dishes you can't get in other small towns."
In case you're more of a land-lover, Austyn's steaks are a hot-selling item year-round, featuring hand-cut meat dressed with fresh vegetables and potatoes and topped with a wide variety of sauces, like Austyn's famous cognac sauce or horseradish peppercorn sauce.