Sandbar Restaurant: Anna Maria Island, FL

Not a bad view at all for lunch with family. The Sandbar Restaurant, located on the north end of Anna Maria Island, has for decades been a favorite of locals and tourists alike for its fresh Florida seafood and the amazing views. It is also popular for weddings etc. with white sand beach and crystal clear blue water. This particular restaurant happens to be my families' favorite in the area and has been before I was alive. It is, how can I say this politely, a geriatrics convention on steroids. With a view like this and white sand below your feet, you kind of forget about how crappy the food is and just enjoy life a little more while spending time with family.

Pictured above is the COCONUT SHRIMP SALAD – Mixed Greens, Mango, Gorgonzola Cheese and Walnuts topped with Coconut Crusted Shrimp and served with their own Passion Fruit Dressing - $12.99. This was probably the highlight at the table of 10, nothing special, just a simple salad with the ever popular coconut fried shrimp.

I went with the two specials of the day, shrimp and grits (above) and the fresh seafood bowl (below). I often find myself ordering the "special" of the day in hopes that the reason it is on special is because it should be good. And when I assume this, I find myself wrong about 75% of the time and realize that the reason it is on special is simply because they need to move that food today before it goes bad! This shrimp and grits were simply uneatable. I played with it for awhile, but just could not stomach anymore. The shrimp were already cut for me (weird) and the grits and sauce just killed the dish from its first appearance. I'll be the first to admit I don't know a ton about grits other than I love them. I love them when they are covered in gravy and accompanied by large jumbo shrimp. In my short 5 years or so of eating grits, I have never had grits that were this large and sandy tasting. It almost had the consistency of an undercooked risotto or lumpy mashed potatoes. As for the fresh seafood bowl, eh. It was good, not sure how fresh it was. It was fun to play with the large shrimp with the heads still on and scare the kids and gross them out while I sucked on the heads. The clams and mussels were over cooked, but the shrimp were delicious.
OK, sometimes it isn't about the food or the service, it is more about 33 years of memories at this particular restaurant with family and hearing grandma tell stories and seeing a smile on her face from ear to ear. The cousins digging in the sand literally right below our table and finding seashells and trying to out-do one another. Ironically, this was my first visit to The Sandbar as my entire childhood, I had to stay at home while just the adults went to the sandbar for a kiddless evening and I was forced to eat my mom's burnt pigs in a blanket out on the front porch of my grandmother's house.

Bottom-line: You are not going to The Sandbar for the food unless you are one of the geriatrics who are easy to please with under seasoned and tasteless food. You are here for the view and the popularity of this place and the history that dates back to 1911 when this island was only accessible by boat. You go here because this is where grandma wants to go and that is just what you do.

Sandbar Restaurant on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Looks like I'll enjoy my vacation if, I got view and foods just like this one. I can imagine how it feels like dipping in to the pool.-Kimmy M.