There's nothing better than settling into your seat and enjoying a plate of grilled oysters ($5 for three) in Owen's Fish Camp's cozy back yard. Cooked over hot coals while you wait, the oysters taste fresh, briny and smoky. We opted for some with crispy bacon and creamy, spicy jalapeno butter; with a glass of wine, folksy live music and a cool early-evening breeze, it was near-perfection on a Tuesday night.
It's difficult to make spinach stand out, but The Coolinary Restaurant & Bar has figured out a way. A side of its creamy spinach goes for $6 and makes an ideal earthy accompaniment to the eatery's heartier main fare, like its braised short ribs ($29). The spinach isn't dense the way most creamed spinach is; instead, the leaves are dunked in a generous bath of garlicky cream, leaving them a little al dente but still soft and packed with flavor. After all the spinach was gone, we were dunking whatever was left on the table in that delicious sauce.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for Orange Octopus ice cream. This little Siesta Key shop, located behind Captain Curt's, churns its ice cream on-site and offers a variety of flavors, from classics like chocolate, vanilla and (green) mint chip to more nuanced ones like Kentucky honey bourbon (our pick), chocolate hazelnut and vanilla black cherry chip. Every single one is creamy (no ice crystals) and perfectly flavored. Order a scoop or two in cup or a cone ($3.75 for a small), or go all-out and get a shake or a sundae; you won't be disappointed. (P.S. Orange Octopus offers coffee, too.)
Pro tip: Next time you go to C'est La Vie, order your cappuccino and then let the owner pick out a treat for you. Blueberry crumble was my surprise--a buttery, fluffy cake with plump, fresh blueberries and a crumbly topping with hints of brown sugar. Magnifique!
One of Florida’s greatest contributions to the culinary world, the Cuban sandwich has everything going for it: a big meaty punch from the roasted pork and cuts of salumi, lactic grace from the cheese, brightness from the yellow mustard, a dash of sour from the pickles and crunch from the pressed bread. Cafe Havana’s version, which starts at $5.99, hits all those notes—a good reason why it’s known for attracting Cuban ballplayers in town for spring training or the minor leagues. Also splendid: the pan con lechon. Literally translated as “bread with pork,” that’s all you get, and all you need.