Kick back under an umbrella on the deck and watch boats glide by on the Intracoastal with a plate of conch fritters at Jimbo’s Sandbar. Diners come for “redneck cuisine,” including gator bites, peel and eat shrimp, catfish and chips, po’ boys, fried frog legs and chicken fried oysters. There are also oysters on the half shell, shrimp ceviche and seafood pastas.
Italian owner Alessandro Oliveto bought the place a year ago from Jim Fullford and spiffed it up, adding full meals and a wine list. He is from Lake Como and grew up in the restaurants his family ran. After he sold his auto windshield replacement company when the economy in Italy worsened, he came to South Florida, where he often vacationed. Chef Paul Wallace is from California, and manager Mogans Moeller is Danish.
Start a laid-back weekend with a burger Benedict, Bourbon French toast or lemon ricotta pancakes with a chocolate cappuccino spiked with Bailey’s. Launch lunch or dinner with a platter of sesame-crusted seared ahi tuna, dragon toes (tempura shrimp) in sweet and sour sauce and mini crab cakes with a dollop of remoulade sauce. Baja tacos bring strips of Cajun-seasoned mahi in grilled flour tortillas with creamy cilantro slaw, chunky tomato salsa and fried slices of jalapeño. Try Key West linguine tangled with shrimp and scallops in vodka anisette tomato sauce or the Tuscan chicken sandwich with pesto and fresh mozzarella. Finish with Key lime pie or tiramisu as the sun sinks over mangroves.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami food writer and personal chef who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.