Out and About: Some Local Restaurants

I was planning on hitting all 50 of those restaurants that the Tampa Bay Times published last month but only made it to two so far–Dimitri’s on the Dock in Tarpon Springs and Capital Taco in Land ‘o Lakes.  Been too busy locally!  But I’ve got plenty of time–the rest of my life!

As far as I know, we do not have a top 50 restaurant list in any of our newspapers. If there is one, alert me please!  And if there isn’t one, don’t we need our own list of the best restaurants on the Nature Coast?

So I’ve decided to create one.  I’ll be the undercover occasional restaurant critic. Another one of my projects that I will most likely do haphazardly. (Kind of like our great chicken wing quest that we’ve been on for the last few years.)  

Bet you didn’t know you needed a local restaurant critic! 

I admit that I’m totally not qualified to be a restaurant critic.  We hardly go out to eat.  We actually like to cook!  Weird, right?  And Terry has been doing research on cooking with cast iron so we’ve been having fun experimenting with these really HEAVY pans so we have even more reasons to stay home and burn food!  

But once in awhile, usually when we are out gathering info and pics on things I might post about, we try a new place. We stay away from chain restaurants.  Been to all of them!

A few weeks ago we went to a meeting just outside of Yankeetown so thought it would be a good excuse to check out Riverside Inn at the Izaak Walton Lodge.  Once upon a time we had a special dinner with friends from Texas at the lodge when it was Ike’s.  And it really was special. We had to make reservations. A great view. Tablecloths.  Excellent service. Delicious fancy schmancy food. 

This is NOT Ike’s.  No tablecloths.  Absolutely the opposite, they use paper plates and plastic tableware. Both lunch and dinner menus are the same. Mainly sandwiches, fingerfood, and deep fried.  Nothing wrong with that–but plastic tableware?  We were there on a Saturday at lunch.  One server.  Wasn’t busy and then it was jammed with a large group waiting for a table.  Our food took a very long time although we ordered before the horde arrived.  My lunch was good but how can you screw up a grilled cheese sandwich? Okay, I have to admit that I really liked the former version of Izaak Walton Lodge so I might be a bit biased.  But really, plastic tableware?

Riverside Inn
Riverside Inn

When we were in Ozello checking out those crazy speed limit signs, we stopped at Backwater Fins.

It was a Friday at noon.  We were the only ones there!  Zowie!  I asked our server about the lack of customers and she said it starts getting busy about 3 pm.  It’s a bar so I guess that makes sense.  But Pecks Old Port Cove which is right down the road was slammed so they’re probably getting the lunch clientele.  

I ordered the Blue Crab Chowder and fish tacos.  OMG!  That was the most fantastic delicious chowder ever.  They make it right there in their kitchen.  Terry hadn’t ordered any but after I let him have a very teeny tiny taste he got his own bowl of chowder.  Seriously. I am wanting a bowl right now!  

BAckwater Fins
Backwater Fins


Last week we stopped at Yanni’s Restaurant for lunch.  Don’t know why we never checked it out before.  It’s right there in Homosassa Springs and we drive by it almost every day. And it was really good.  I had Wild Salmon on Ciabatta bread.  Yum.  The restaurant was clean and shiny and our server was excellent.  


Terry and I also went to the Shamrock Inn in Floral City with friends.  No pictures for this one since I’ve posted about it in the past and I left the camera in the car. (What? Me without a camera?) We both love going to Shamrock’s.  Terry likes the wings.  I just like the place.  Fun. Noisy.  Great service.  Really delicious food that will give you a heart attack if you go very often.  

I meet a friend every few weeks for lunch at the Breakfast Station that’s close to Sugarmill Woods.  While I said I wouldn’t review chains, I’m calling this a mini-chain. Only six locations–and all right in Citrus, Hernando, and Pasco counties.  Food, service and price are all great. Every time I’ve been there the place has been packed and I’ve had to wait a few times but never for long.   

Okay.  That’s my critique for February. I’ll think about some criteria for rating the restaurants.  Like the view, how fancy schmancy the place is, the decor, how quick the server asks why I have a camera.  All important stuff.  Then I’ll start my list of the 50 Best on the Nature Coast!  

Hey, I’m open to comments and suggestions!

More to come!

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