Once when I used Foursquare to check in at Bass Pro Shop in Ashland a friend, who does not see me as the outdoors or hunter typed simply responded “why?’ I told her that she had obviously not been to the Islamorada Fish Company Restaurant. True, you don’t usually associate great food being served to you with hunting, that’s more of a do-it-yourself experience. But at Islamorada Fish Company, great food is on the menu.
The restaurant is attached to Bass Pro Shops which is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, even without the restaurant. Inside the rustic décor and comfy large farm tables great you and make you feel at home. But that pales in comparison to the 12,000 gallon salt water tank that forms the wall between the bar and restaurant. The tank is full of huge colorful tropical fish. Guidebooks on your table tell you about the varieties of fish in the tank.
Islamorada Fish Company is a chain, but not along the lines of a Red Lobster chain. Still on the menu you will find shrimp, crab cakes, walleye, salmon and more. Then there are wild game offerings of venison, buffalo and alligator. The less adventurous can go for a steak, chicken or a great burger.
When your server greets you and before they take your order, they bring to your table a fresh loaf of fine sugar glazed bread. It’s a treat that goes down a little too easy. We always find ourselves asking for at least one more order of the bread.
If you want to be adventurous but don’t want to commit to a full meal of adventure, you can try the Island Sampler which includes Calamari, Alligator, Cheese Quesadilla, and Chicken Wings. We don’t get that every time, but it was great for an 11-year-old’s birthday and a table full of friends.
Our last trip there did not disappoint. We’d spent the afternoon with one last round on our King’s Dominion season’s passes. We were tired and hungry when we got to the restaurant. It was a Saturday night, so we had about a forty-five minute wait for our table of three. But even if you’re not into hunting and camping, there’s no shortage of fascinating window shopping in the store.
For our meal, my son, the adventurous 11-year-old chose grilled tilapia. It came with fresh sautéed vegetables and wild rice. He loved it all. From the grilled menu he could also have chosen salmon, mahi mahi, farm raised catfish, scallops, tuna or shrimp.
My wife and I went a little more basic. She was delighted with fish and chips which includes Islamorada’s own thick-cut chips that they make on site. I went for the Tournament Series Bacon Cheeseburger which is a premium half-pound beef burger with bacon and American cheese. We were not disappointed.
If you eat out on a regular basis, the prices at Islamorada are reasonable. We opted to skip the alcohol and desserts this time, so we got out of there for under $50 and that included the tip.
Islamorada Fish Company is convenient to get to, but for most Richmonders, it’s not exactly close by. Still if you’re in the area, or if you need to shop for a new boat, hunting rifle, or those camouflage flannel sheets you’ve been dreaming of, it’s a great place for a great meal.
We’ll be back soon.