The biggest fish restaurant that nobody knows about is the Islamorada Fish Company, which is located in the Bass Pro "Outdoor World" complex. The place is a disaster to get to; while it's just off Griffin, there's a bus station and hotel and a labyrinth to navigate to get to the place.jump--> Once you've found it, there's a nice big parking lot that's shared by Bass Pro Shop, The Fishing Hall of Fame, and the restaurant.
Just walk over the bridge that gets you over the man-made lake.
Make sure to leave your firearms in the car; there are no firearms in the restaurant. They got a new sign printed up; frankly I liked the old, hand painted one better (see previous review).
Islamorada Firearms Warning
There's a big outdoor patio but for some reason I've never seen anyone dining outside. Of course every time I've been here it's been raining or gloomy.>
Islamorada Fish Company Patio
As you enter, there's a Bass Pro Shop to the right and a sushi bar; I wouldn't get sushi in a place like this. I don't really think of catching a striped bass and making sushi out of it.
Islamorada Sushi Bar
The place is big; it's sort of a retro City Fish Market, with high ceilings and a big fish tank in the middle of the room.
There are booths all around the fish tank, but it's not really that interesting, and the booths aren't really that comfortable. They have big wooden tables in the outer dining room, which I prefer.
Islamorada Fish Co Dania Dining Room
Get a table by the patio and you have a bit of a view; a nice view of the fishing hall of fame. I'm not sure what they have over there; it looks like a mini Sea World but I don't think that there are any Whales or Dolphins in the lake.
My server was youthful today; sometimes you get one that's been here since inception.
Islamorada Fish Company Iced Tea
They have private labeled salt and pepper grinders, so they're not totally left in the past like some of the old-time places; and they have Splenda. When my server brought out the bread I made a joke and called it "The Sugar Bread", which she seemed to enjoy.
Islamorada Fish Company Bimini Bread
They seem to have doubled the sugar content in the "Bimini Bread", which is basically a loaf of white bread that's loaded up with extra sugar. Beware of any review that raves about this bread. Of course it's good when you lather it with soft butter, but it's about the worst, least nutritional thing that you can put into your body.
The menu here isn't as good as it could be; they don't have the crawfish appetizer or the cajun pasta at this location. Instead of the lunch portions available, I went for the snapper francese. You can get it with a baked potato (something else that's good about the old time places), or wild rice; I went with the rice.
Islamorada Fish Company Snapper Francese
They don't cheat you on the portion; that's for sure. I loaded up the veggies with the butter I'd asked for, and improved the sauce with more lemon. The fish was slightly overdone and needed salt, but once I got it seasoned and the sauce the way I wanted it, it was an enjoyable meal. I like the wild rice; I wish more places would have rice dishes instead of the potato loafs that the faux chefs on Las Olas serve. Of course you can get "Sticky Rice" at the Lobster Bar Sea Grille, but that's only because they're too cheap to give you a real side with your $40 piece of fish.
$21 is no tremendous bargain, but not bad either considering the portion. Hopefully one day they'll offer an alternative to the sugar bread. At some point you have to leave the past behind.>
The Islamorada Fish Company may be the biggest restaurant in a decent area that most people have never seen. Located in the Bass Pro Shop's Outdoor World complex, it can't be seen from any road normally travelled. So if you're not a fishing or gun enthusiast, it's a pretty easy place to miss.
From the outside it looks like it might be a pretty cool place; it sits on a man-made lake and there's a little bridge you have to cross to get to it. The sign outside makes it clear that you're not to bring your gun inside.
Inside the place is large and confusing. There's what looks like a dining room to the right as you enter; it's actually the bar. There's a sushi bar in the middle of the room, and a bit further up on the right is the entrance to a big store where you can buy all sorts of "outdoor" related items; books about Moose and paintings of animals. You have to go around the corner to get to the hostess table; there's a reason that most places have the hostess station right in front of the door. jump-->The main dining room is a huge room that looks about 50 years old; it reminds me of the big old restaurants that used to dominate the scene many years ago. If you've been to Sea Watch you get the gist; the nautical theme with big fish and anchors hanging all over.
Islamorada Fish Company Interior
The menu is pretty old world as well and it seemed a bit pricey at first glance. It was a bit odd to have all of the old fried fish favorites on one page and sushi on the next. But I wasn't getting sushi here, and I definitely wanted to try to conch chowder. Before I got a chance to order they brought out a big loaf of bread. It was nice and soft and obviously freshly made; I was pretty excited about it until I tasted it. This "bimini" bread had a sugar coating on the crust, and it really isn't what I want in bread. As if white bread isn't bad enough for you by itself.
Islamorada Fish Company Bimini Bread
The conch chowder came out seconds after I ordered it; it was rather pedestrian but certainly not bad. It's about what I'd expect at a place like this. Loaded with potatoes and celery and not a whole lot of conch; it could have been anything from manhattan clam chowder to a minestrone. Worth $3.99 I guess.
Islamorada Fish Company Conch Chowder
I decided on the old bay shrimp, taking into consideration the Mac and Cheese I'd wolfed down yesterday. I'm always baffled by these shrimp offerings. For $12 they give you like 5 shrimp nowadays, but when you order the peel-and-eat you get a lot more. I got 14 shrimp.
Islamorada Fish Company Old Bay Shrimp
There was a major dollop of horseradish in the "cocktail sauce". They were pretty cheap with lemon; I asked for more and I got the equivalent of 2 whole lemons. The shrimp were ok.
I think it might be a good place to bring a family for some food and shopping for camping equipment and wildlife posters. But as a restaurant I can't get excited about it.