Sail or Stroll for Seafood with a View
Some arrive by land while others arrive by sea to dine at Matanzas on the Bay. Offering ample dock space and free parking, this longtime favorite local eatery offers a stunning view from its prime location directly below the Matanzas Pass Bridge.
“It’s a beautiful place,” says the new General Manager Anthony Coppolino. “You see dolphins out in the bay and sailboats. It’s just a nice, laid-back environment.”
On clear, fall evenings, the best place to dine is dockside, enjoying the passing yachts and a gentle breeze. Mark your calendars now for the annual Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade on Dec. 6. Matanzas is one of the best spots to watch this holiday pageantry of lighted vessels, stunningly reflected in the dark waters.
“If you come, you have to come hours early,” advises Coppolino.
Matanzas also is hosting an international wine tasting event this month in honor of Veterans Day. Wine on the Waterfront happens Nov. 11 and is a benefit for Operation Open Arms, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the care and treatment of military personnel and veterans living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Tickets to this event are $100 and include fresh seafood and other culinary delights, along with premier wine tastings from around the world. Live entertainment will be provided by local artist Sheena Brook, a recent finalist on NBC’s “The Voice.”
Special events are a common occurrence at Matanzas festive outdoor area. An upstairs bar — Petey’s Upper Deck — is known for its famous Dave’s Dockside Pizza and offers live entertainment nightly with the same stunning view of the bay.
“It’s a great date place,” says Coppolino.
Inside the restaurant, dinner guests will notice colorful, Florida artwork on the walls. Each unique piece has been created by current or former Matanzas employees. The atmosphere is friendly and casual, with shorts and flip flops as acceptable as cocktail attire. Speaking of cocktails, Matanzas offers an array of creativity from the bar, and Happy Hour happens daily from 4-6 p.m. with discounts on drinks and select appetizers.
The menu emphasizes seafood, but there are succulent surprises like Baby Back Ribs, Blackened Chicken Alfredo Pasta and Half-Pound Angus Burgers. Fresh seafood choices include locally caught grouper, jumbo Gulf shrimp and Florida Keys lobster tail. Matanzas also supports the seed-to-table movement by sourcing produce from local growers.
Cocktails/Sunset Breeze for Two
You know you’re on island time when you see those colorful cocktail umbrellas inviting you to kick back and enjoy a tangy Matanzas Mary or a sweet Salted Caramel Russian with vodka, Kahlua and cream. For the ultimate date drink, share the Sunset Breeze for Two. This double-straw, oversized cocktail delivers a taste of the tropics with premium Van Gogh Pomegranate Vodka, pineapple and cranberry juices and a hint of wild berry.
You’ll never want plain cheesy bread again. This mozzarella-and-cheddar topped bread doesn’t stop at cheese. It’s flavor-enhanced with lump crab, artichoke, onions, tomatoes and melted bleu cheese. This is a must-try starter!
Beer Battered Onion Rings
This signature appetizer is made for sharing. What looks like golden fried doughnuts is actually extra-thick cut onions, dipped in beer batter and fried to a satisfying crisp. Dip them in Sriracha Ranch for onion ring perfection.
Grilled Shrimp & Couscous Salad
Healthy couscous is topped with skewered Gulf shrimp and served with a symphony of flavors. Vitamin-rich spinach, pungent goat cheese, the crunch of toasted almonds and the distinctly fresh flavor of cilantro make this salad special. It’s finished with pineapple citrus vinaigrette.
Shrimp & Basil Crusted Lobster Tail
What could make a nine-ounce Florida lobster tail even more succulent? Add Matanzas signature “shrimp & basil crusted” preparation. This savory compound butter starts with chopped Gulf shrimp, blended into a basil butter and drizzled atop any seafood entree. Try it over mahi mahi, local grouper or shrimp and scallops.
Matanzas Key Lime Pie
Matanzas makes its famous key lime pie fresh daily. The tart and creamy lime filling is balanced by a chocolatey Oreo-cookie crust. Other dessert options include Salted Caramel Cheesecake or a Chocolate Torte served a la mode with strawberry sauce.
Matanzas On The Bay
416 Crescent St., Fort Myers Beach