Marine Melange

Our 5 Favorite Seafood Stews

From a "bountiful bowl" of bouillabaisse at Beach Bistro to a Low Country boil at Owen's Fish Camp, there's a fish stew for every tastebud.

By Marsha Fottler September 28, 2016 Published in the October 2016 issue of Sarasota Magazine

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The zesty tomato-based seafood stew cioppino is Italian-American and owes its origin to San Francisco. The spice-centric bouillabaisse comes from Marseilles and is a fish-stock-based stew that must have a touch of saffron to be authentic. Here are five great ways to satisfy your craving for either.

Beach Bistro's Bouillabaisse

The bouillabaisse at the Beach Bistro on Anna Maria Island may be the most luxurious in Florida. Sean Murphy and his kitchen team have been perfecting the recipe for a couple decades, and the stew has all the spice essentials plus fresh local fish, shellfish and Nova Scotia lobster tail. $66 for the “bountiful bowl.” 

Crab & Fin's Cioppino

The cioppino at Crab & Fin is elegant and refined. The Pernod-infused lobster broth is minimal and really just sets the stage for a succulent variety of fish and shellfish artistically arranged in a shallow bowl. American red snapper, Gulf shrimp and blue crab are included in the mélange. $29. 

Duval's Bouillabaisse

At Duval’s, the bouillabaisse is a modern riff on the French classic presented in a white boat-shaped bowl with a lobster tail perched atop a mound of fresh local fish and shellfish. Bright in flavor, this is something to savor right down to the two pieces of toasted baguette. $34. 

Blue Marlin's Bouillabaisse

Blue Marlin makes traditional bouillabaisse its Florida-own with the Cortez boil. This adaptation includes fresh-caught seafood off the shores of Cortez fishing village. Tampa Bay clams and large Gulf shrimp are poached in the house seafood broth and mingled with clams, sweet corn, chorizo and red-skin potato. $34. 

Owen's Fish Camp's Low Country Boil

Owen’s Fish Camp does a Low Country boil that’s also a riff on French bouillabaisse. The order is for two and includes crab legs, shrimp, mussels, clams, andouille sausage, potatoes and corn. It’s all informally served in a vintage Burns Court cottage tricked out to resemble an old Florida fish camp. $48. 

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