Sunday, May 9, 2010

Canon Restaurant Review: The Swamp Guinea

For those of you anxiously awaiting The Canon Review's tribute to Kenny Kaos, that is coming up sometime in the next eight to ten hours. But first, I will review a restaurant at which I ate this evening. This restaurant is called The Swamp Guinea. Why is it called The Swamp Guinea, you ask? Well, according to the website, the original owners wanted a name that people would remember, and since the first Swamp Guinea was built near swamp land, they decided just to call it the Swamp Guinea because it's an unusual name and yet easy to pronounce at the same time. Anyway, since we wanted to go out to eat for Mother's Day (which I know is tomorrow but I have to work so we had to go today), my mom decided, what the hey, let's try The Swamp Guinea, a restaurant located on the shores of Lake Hartwell in Hartwell, GA. So off we went, my mother, my sister and Canon Review reader Maggie, and myself.

We get there, and it's somewhat crowded at the time, but we only waited about a minute before we were seated. The first thing I noticed is that I could barely hear myself think, as there was a table of about 20 people seated near us, and sound seems to carry quite well in this place. The decor is rather simple, and Maggie compared to eating at a chow hall at summer camp. It is rather simple, as the place has wooden walls and a tiled floor, and not a whole lot of decor on the walls either. But it did look clean, so I can't complain too much about it.

The menu at The Swamp Guinea offers primarily seafood, but does have other favorites like country ham, steak, chicken, and Brunswick stew. They offer platters, as well as all you can eat specials where you can get refills on your meal, like shrimp and stew if you so choose. Since I was hungry but not hungry enough for an all you can eat meal, I opted for a platter, and since I had little idea what I wanted, I ordered the Swamp Guinea combination platter, which comes with scallops, oysters, catfish, a fish fillet, a deviled crab and two onion rings, with fries and a salad on the side. So basically I ordered a whole bunch of fried food, but at least I did get a salad. Maggie ordered the crab platter, while my mom ordered a shrimp platter. One thing I found interesting was that they do not offer refills on soft drinks, rather, they give you a can of soda, and you want another one, you're going to have to pay full price for it.  Well, there was no way I was paying for two cans, so I had to drink slowly.

First, I get my salad, and something I found peculiar was that they bring your food to you on plastic pushcarts. Not a bad idea, but it is a little different than most places. The salad was merely decent, as I think it's the same kind of prepackaged salads one can get at the grocery store with the lettuce already chopped up. I wish I got some cheese with it, but oh well. Our food came soon thereafter, and I must say we didn't wait long at all for it. Our food also came with some mini hush puppies, which were pretty good, and three dinner rolls. I must say that I didn't care for the oysters too much. I mean they were ok, but since I never had oysters I was curious as to what they would taste like. But oysters just don't seem like my kind of food. The fries were merely ok, as they could have probably used a little more salt to give them more flavor. But the rest of my food was quite good. The fish was nice and flaky and nicely flavored, and the crab and scallops were both excellent. Everything was nicely cooked (or, more likely, fried) and was quite filling. Maggie seemed to also like her food a lot as well.

Overall, the food was good, and our waitress was attentive and the staff was very friendly. The Swamp Guinea may not be the fanciest place in the world, but if you are looking for good food at a reasonable price, you can't go wrong with The Swamp Guinea. It's not perfect, but it still is very good. I'll give it a 7.3 out of 10 overall. Thanks for reading, and if anyone has ideas for future reviews, well you know where to find me.

Swamp Guinea Restaurant on Urbanspoon


  1. I think I ate their when I was young but I dont know if it was there or another place just like it. I do remember a place called Red Mena, which has the same exact food.

  2. Isn't it called the Red Minnow?

  3. I LOVED my deviled crab. They were sooooo good!


  4. I live not far from The Swamp and most locals consider it to be PIG SLOP.

  5. In the 60's The original Swamp Guinea had a cult following. Down a dirt road about 15 miles from Athens (near Hull), it was strictly fish or chicken all you can eat and the fish were little river catfish deep fried and eaten bones and all by most. I suspect the 'pig slop' comment was posted by a competitor. Website not withstanding, 'swamp guinea' is a colloquialism for the pileated woodpecker.

  6. Is the Swamp Guinea in Hartwell the same folk who had the Swamp Guinea out from Athens? Also, do you know which direction and/or road you would take from Athens? My 60's hubby would like to know for the fondness of the memories.