By Cheryl Mandell
Photos by Autumn Gates
The first thing you’ll notice as you approach Real Seafood Co. are the fun, fish-shaped door handles. If you happen to miss that small but unique detail, the giant palm tree at the center of the dining area, surrounded by impressive walls of wine at every corner, will surely “catch” your attention. The vibrant, eclectic ambiance isn’t the only thing worth noting – every dish on the menu features fresh-caught seafood from various locales, express-delivered and made to order from scratch.
Real Seafood Co. deserves its name; this modern seafood restaurant offers premium fresh fish and seafood from the waters of New England, Nova Scotia, the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico in a funky, fun, tropical setting. Don’t forget to look up and notice the details in the ceilings – from the “flying” gulls in the main dining area to the colorfully illuminated hanging fish and eggs in their “nets.”
The walls are adorned with big, beautiful photos of various Naples beaches, marinas and other hot spots like downtown Fifth Avenue. Beyond the dining room is a built-in raw bar that invites you to take a seat, slurp some oysters and shed the stress of the day.
The Real Seafood Co. of Naples opened in June 2004, with another location in Ohio and three in Michigan. Naples General Manager Olivier Morame has been with the restaurant for nine years, and he is proud of his restaurant with its full range of “top catch” fresh seafood and extensive menu options.
“My two favorite dishes are the Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass and the Stuffed Atlantic Salmon,” he said. “I love our stuffed salmon – it’s delicious. I’ve eaten way too much of it!”
Our extremely knowledgeable server, Lora, is also a longtime employee of Real Seafood Co., and it’s evident she loves her job. Her upbeat, conversational personality makes her a perfect choice as the mentor to all incoming waitstaff. New employees sit down at the end of every night to taste the dishes – from appetizers to desserts – so they know how to thoroughly describe the menu. Lora considers consistency to be one of the restaurant’s biggest strengths.
“You have top quality food coming out of our kitchen every night,” she said. “Nobody complains. This is a phenomenal restaurant.”
Chef Joel Barrios serves up fresh Foley Fish and seasonal favorites such as black grouper, Maine lobster, fresh oysters and stone crab. The quality of the restaurant’s seafood suppliers set Real Seafood Co. apart from many others; Foley’s products are sustainably sourced, meticulously processed and handled with care from dock to plate.
“With Foley’s, they only buy ‘top catch,’” said Lora. “ If a fishing vessel goes out for a week or 10 days, they only buy the last 24 hours worth of catch. So that fish, within 24 to 48 hours, it’s on your plate. It’s that fresh.”
Happy hour occurs every day from 4-6:30 p.m. in the lounge and bar area. Drink specials include domestic beer, house wine and sangria, well cocktails and house martinis. A generous variety of starters, raw bar items, soups and salads are also on the happy hour menu. Early Fare is served daily from 4-5:30 p.m., offering three select courses served with a glass of house wine.
Looking for a place to hold a private party or event? An impressive private room is available to suit any needs, offering the same impeccable service and seafood as the main dining space.
Real Seafood Co. is open Sunday through Thursday from 4-9 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays until 10 p.m. Whether you prefer the stylish atmosphere indoors or dining al fresco, the choice is yours. Just be sure to bring your appetite because Real Seafood Co. is truly, as they say, “seafood as it should be.”
Point Judith Calamari — Internationally recognized for top-shelf squid, dedicated fisherman and innovations in freshness, Point Judith, Rhode Island, has been named “The Squid Capital of the East Coast.” This sweet and spicy calamari is flash-fried for a light, airy crisp and served with saffron aioli.
George’s Banks Scallops – These sea scallops are harvested from the prime fishing location of George’s Banks, Mass., where they are dry-packed, with no water or additives, so the scallops retain their soft, fleshy texture and delicately sweet flavor. Scallops are served with mascarpone risotto topped with heirloom tomatoes, arugula salad and lime vinaigrette drizzle.
Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass — A beautifully marinated portion of Chilean Sea Bass, covered in Asian-inspired sweet and savory miso glaze and an artfully arranged garnish of varying sauces. It’s accompanied by steamed jasmine rice and baby bok choy.
Drunken Grouper — Our server Lora’s favorite dish. This eight-ounce black grouper, which is the highest quality grouper you can eat, is marinated with chardonnay, broiled to perfection and topped with sweet onions and basil in a sweet citrus glaze. Served with garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed asparagus.
Parmesan Encrusted North Atlantic Flounder — Two filets of George’s Banks flounder, parmesan and panko breading for a light, crunchy flavor. The flounder is sauteed until golden brown and served with a lemon caper butter sauce, plus mashed potatoes and asparagus. This is, unanimously, the most popular dish in the restaurant, according to staff.
Coconut Cheesecake — Delectable and rich while remaining light and fluffy, this cheesecake has a macadamia nut crust and is complemented with a mango drizzle and topped with fresh berries. A sweet, delightful way to end the evening.
Real Seafood Co.
8960 Fontana Del Sol Way
Naples, Florida 34109