Foodie Duty - Critic Reviews

The Rod n' Reel Pier

  • State: Florida
  • City: Anna Maria

Crystal clear blue salt water surrounds you when chowing-down at this Sarasota County seafood dining staple. If you are looking for a Florida Keys, laid-back atmosphere, this is definitely the place to visit. A nice walk to the end of the wooden pier, brings you to the 2-story, bait-shop-looking dining “hut”. The outdoor balcony seats about 25, snugly. Inside, room for another 25, overlooking the beautiful Gulf of Mexico and the azure waters.

Attire: Flip-Flops and Tank Tops
Special Features: Seafood, Open-Air, Down-to-Earth
Reservations: not available, can be a long wait during summer weekends. 

★★★★   $$$$$($10-$20)   ♪♪♪♪♪(noise level)

On the main deck, is a small walk-through bar area with a little more seating, and the most common types of beer for these here parts (and CHEAP!)

Wandering around to the backside (or sneaking your way through the bar), takes you to the small back 'boardwalk' fishing deck, not much wider than that of a typical boat dock. A few wooden benches are placed against the outside wall of the restaurant, where locals are more than happy to sit with their meals on their laps in the red plastic, fast-food baskets and gaze off to the distant boats and St. Petersburg Skyway.

Guests often come just to do a little fishing with a little drinking, to cool off on a hot Florida day. Many tropical fish can be seen at the edge of the dock, and on occasion, dolphin watching!

It is not just the small beach town ambiance that brings you out to the tip of Anna Maria island, but of course, the food!

Granted, much of the food is fried and are your typical offerings of what you would find at a typical beach bar. The exception, is the quality of the food, and it's preparedness! I personally rave about the best Crab Cakes I've ever had! They are a must order!

An order of Crab Cakes includes two, each a little larger than the palm of your hand, and nearly two inches thick. They are accompanied by a homemade tartar dressing that more closely tastes and resembles a variation of Caesar dressing. This is my guilty pleasure; Crab Cakes alone, with a little lemon juice squirted across the top – Perfect. Crab Cakes smothered with a thick layer of their tartar sauce – DIVINE!

The Fish Gumbo is also incredible! And you won't go wrong with the clam chowder either. The fish is always fresh here, and includes season favorites such as Wahoo and Amberjack. If you place an order for the blackened Grouper, be prepared to feel stuffed! There portions are a little larger than you'll be expecting, but are necessary for that hungry fisher-person!

Even if you are not that into Seafood, they also have bar items such as; Chicken Tenders, Wings, and great for that For non-seafood eaters, the hand-breaded chicken tenders are really good as are the chicken wings, and Philly Cheesesteak. And of course, don't forget the $1 draft beers at the bar!!!

This place is great for a lazy Sunday afternoon, or even for breakfast. Definitely at the top of my list!

Mon-Sun 8am-10pm

875 North Shore Dr
Anna Maria, FL 34216
(941) 778-1885

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