MediterraFish Eatery & Market: Daily Fresh Catch is Their Gift to Your Health

Seafood has a good reputation. People who care about healthy eating know that it is an important source of nutrients including its abundance of omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D. Restaurant owner Tuba Sapanli recognizes this fact; it’s her mantra and the inspiration behind MediterraFish Market in Fairfax’s Mosaic District.

The Evidence-based Health Benefits of Seafood

When you learn the health benefits of seafood, you’ll endeavor to add some to your daily diet. Evidence-based research shows that eating seafood can boost brain health, benefit depression, help prevent asthma, protect vision and enhance sleep quality. A 2012 study published in the Global Journal of Health Science states, “There is evidence that increased consumption of seafood and bioactive components derived from fish, shellfish, and seaweed could have a positive impact on the health of people around the world.

Thus, the role of seafood in the maintenance and enhancement of health grows stronger given the problem of lifestyle-related disease and the local food environment.”

A major report called Fish, Shellfish and Children’s Health published in June 2019 by the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics looked at a collection of studies showing that “eating fish early in life — probably before 9 months of age — may prevent allergic diseases like asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis.”

Convenient and Affordable Ways to Increase Your Seafood Intake

How can you accomplish the goal of eating more seafood, even when you’re not sure how to prepare it yourself? Sapanli has the answers. She created a market that caters to people looking to eat fresh, high quality seafood, whether that’s in her restaurant, or for people who would like to prepare it at home. “Many people come here wanting to buy our whole fish for grilling. We’re a fresh fish market,” explains Sapanli. “If they don’t want to mess with any of that, we cook the fish for them for $7.95 {plus price of seafood}. We add rice and salad—making it a whole meal. Then, we package it all up, so it’s ready to go. Of course, if they don’t want any of that, they can eat in the restaurant.”

Her preparations are what makes MediterraFish exceptional. Sapanli is Turkish and believes in simple, fresh food, without any fillers. She preps the fish with olive oil and Mediterranean herbs, then puts them in ready-to-cook trays. “People appreciate it, because they don’t know enough about seafood, they avoid it, they don’t make it. They usually eat it for a special occasion only, not in their regular diet. But everyone knows you need to eat more seafood. We’re trying to make it easier for people to put seafood in their daily or weekly routine,” says Sapanli.

In addition to buying seafood or paying for a meal-kit, you can order seafood online and have it shipped to your home directly (mediterrafish.com). For example, order a pack of four Sea Bass-Bronzini that’s cleaned and prepped for $51.95; shipping is free within a 400 mile radius. “We have customers who moved to Brooklyn and Wisconsin, and they are our online customers.

We sell olive oil and spice mixes, things you need to make a meal, including veggie mixes. If they don’t want what’s in the meal kit, they can order custom things,” notes Sapanli.

MediterraFish Market & Restaurant Features Seafood and Turkish Delights

So say you’re looking for a nice meal with your family? MediterraFish’s menu focuses on fresh seafood, but also has non-seafood options like their melt-in-your mouth Steak and Cheese Sandwich, “Our steak (and chicken) is all Hillel cut, and we buy lean ground beef for our steak sandwich with no fat in it. Then we marinate the meat overnight, slow cook with herbs, and braise it,” says Sapanli. “It’s got a lot of love in it.”

Their fish and chips feature fresh Bronzini battered lightly with cornmeal and lemon pepper. The restaurant hand-cuts all their seafood to make their salmon burgers and crab cakes, without adding any preservatives. You can also buy these vacuum-packed to cook at home.

The Turkish pizza is made in house, as are the house made fries. Nothing is frozen, and she uses non-GMO corn oil. “Everything single thing is designed to be healthy,” emphasizes Sapanli. The restaurant is open for breakfast too, where you can order Turkish coffee and Turkish tea accompanied by a Turkish bagel called Simit. “We want to honor our heritage,” she adds.

Do not miss their fresh salads, especially the Arugula Beet Feta Meeting, with walnuts and lemon olive oil. For a satisfying meal, add a piece of fish on top. MediterraFish’s Tabouleh is made with organic quinoa, and a “secret spice mix,” rendering it tangy, crunchy and soulful. Vegetarians will be replete with their Avocado Protein Fix, a salad with hearty chunks of avocado, smoky parmigiana cheese and greens, all gently bathed in tart lime-olive oil dressing. She says her customers are addicted to her lemon parsley rice, which accompanies her platters. For smaller appetites, she sells crisp Hook Rolls—phyllo dough filled with house-cut seafood—as well as salmon bites and Little Koftes, meatballs in a roasted tomato-based sauce.

The Calamari & Chips and Shrimp’s Blind Date—rotated in a variety of formulations—are both shareable, and a fun way to start a feast. Most of the seafood can be served on a roll or in a tortilla. Finish off the meal with Sapanli’s homemade baklava.

A Family Business that is Family Friendly

MediterraFish is a family-friendly restaurant. They’re reintroducing the popular Turkish brunch this fall, a weekly event that draws ex-pats from the region, especially large family groups. She says parents come in regularly to purchase soups for their children and babies. “Because we are a family-owned business, we don’t have alcohol here,” says Sapanli. “We also have play area in the restaurant.”

MediterraFish Market is helping to spread the love of seafood for all generations, whether they’re making it easier for customers to make it at home, or helping them increase their intake at the casual restaurant. Sapanli sees her mission through, one day at a time. “We have a lot to offer, but one thing to know,” she says, “whatever you get from here, you won’t feel bad about eating.”


MediterraFish Eatery & Market

2727A Merrilee Dr. Fairfax,VA 22031

Tuesday-Saturday: 11am – 8:00pm
Sunday: 10am – 7pm
Closed on Mondays.

(703) 462-9644
www.mediterrafish.com

All Photos by Renee Sklarew

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