By Heather Turk
Given its location on Florida’s Gulf Coast, it’s no surprise that the Bradenton Area is home to countless restaurants known for their fresh-from-the-sea fare. What many Allegiant passengers might not realize, however, is that several of those establishments partake in two Old Florida culinary traditions—dock and dine and hook and cook—where guests can dock their boats and enjoy one of the restaurant’s savory seafood dishes or have their fresh catches prepared for them!
MAR VISTA DOCKSIDE RESTAURANT
Located on the bayside of North Longboat Key, diners can visit this eco-driven, Old Florida-style restaurant by land or sea thanks to its newly expanded dock that offers vessels 14 slips to put into; kayaks and smaller boats can pull right up to shore. In addition to a menu of farm-to-fork, sea-to-table and pasture-to-plate fare that includes such fresh fish as Mt. Cook King salmon, cobia and mullet when in season, anglers can bring in their own fileted catch and have it cooked any way they like: grilled, blackened, fried or meunière. Visit the Mar Vista website here.
This unique restaurant/catering venue on the Manatee River can accommodate boats at its 120-foot-long courtesy dock and also at nearby Twin Dolphin Marina. Guests can enjoy an assortment of fresh fish options, including diver sea scallops and American red snapper, or have their own fresh catch fileted in the kitchen and prepared using innovative cooking methods that bring out the hidden natural flavors of each fish. According to the restaurant’s executive chef, Greg Campbell, “It’s our job to show respect to the food and to the fishers that have made the catch by executing our dishes with special attention to the distinctive qualities that make that particular fish delicious.” Check out the restaurant’s menu here.
SEAFOOD SHACK MARINA, BAR & GRILL
Overlooking the intracoastal waters of Anna Maria Sound, this Cortez restaurant boasts its own 68-slip marina with more than 400 feet of day dockage. Serving a menu of casual American cuisine with an emphasis on Gulf Coast-caught seafood, must-try dishes include the bronzed gulf grouper and the shrimp & grits. The restaurant also features a “From Hook to Platter” promotion where guests can venture out to sea with one of its preferred boat charters and bring their fileted catch back to the restaurant to have it grilled, blackened or fried and served with sides and sauce for only $14.99 per person. Check out their website here.