Inside Pandora, A ‘Fantasy’ Seafood Enclave in Rockville

Restaurant opened this week, serving French and Italian dishes


Published:


Glass fish dangle among thousands of decorative bubbles above Pandora's bar. Photos by Joe Zimmermann

When diners step in to Pandora Seafood House and Bar, owner Chris Zhu said, she wants them to feel like they’ve entered a fantasy world.

The walls are deep purple, and seats are shades of blue. Overhead, glass fish hang among thousands of glass bubbles, while jellyfish-like light fixtures loom over the back of the dining room.

“Our mission is to provide the best atmosphere in Rockville,” Zhu said. She said she intended the soft light and striking colors to allow customers “to take pretty selfies” from any angle.

The 190-seat restaurant, which opened Sunday on Rockville Town Square, has an ocean-themed feel meant to complement its menu, which mainly draws from French and Italian seafood while bringing in other influences.

“We wanted to pull a little bit from everywhere,” Tom Crenshaw, Pandora’s executive chef, said.

Zhu said a lack of solely seafood-dedicated restaurants in downtown Rockville inspired her to open with a seafood menu in the former location of American Tap Room, which closed in December.

Nantucket’s Reef and Red Lobster off Shady Grove Road and Cameron's Seafood, which offers takeout, on Rockville Pike are other nearby seafood options.

Crenshaw, who said seafood is his first love, pointed to the butter-poached lobster with fresh linguini, citrus crème, Tuscan kale, zucchini and roasted tomatoes as a signature item, as well as the seafood platter.

Part of the oyster’s raw bar, the seafood platter includes six oysters, six shrimp, six clams, six mussels, jumbo lump crabmeat and a half lobster, which are also available as individual items.

Zhu said she wanted to have high-quality dishes while keeping meals affordable. The seafood platter is $55 and other entrees range from $17 for mussels to $29 for lobster. Sandwiches available for lunch run from $8 to $12.

The 6,400-square-foot space includes a bar, private rooms and about 25 seats on an outdoor patio.

Zhu also owns China Garden, a restaurant that closed in Arlington and will move into the former REI space at 1701 Rockville Pike. She said she hopes that restaurant will open in late 2018.

Pandora is open Mondays to Sundays from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Pandora Lunch Menu

Pandora Dinner Menu

Back to Bethesda Beat

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Articles

Small Bites: Bethesda Row Restaurant Week Kicks Off With Special Menu and Deals

Plus: Denizens plans new brewery in Maryland; TacoArepa holds fundraiser for Venezuela

School Notes: MCPS Puts Up Webpage about Curriculum Selection Process

Plus: Local students learn some baking skills; Gaithersburg student’s poster design wins contest

Man Struck by SUV After Fleeing Alleged Robbery

Police released video of alleged robbery on Ride On bus

County Police: Man Tried To Rape Teen in Lobby of Downtown Silver Spring Apartment Building

Officers found him leaving lobby with his pants unzipped
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »

French Country Estate

Potomac $1,900,000

Quiet Cul-de-Sac

Bethesda $1,479,000

All the Bells and Whistles

Bethesda $1,335,000

European Style Villa

Potomac $2,495,000

Privacy and a Pool

Bethesda $2,749,000
Edit Module

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading
Local Professionals

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

Edit Module