Somethin’ Fishy at the Capri Fish House

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Capri Fish House "Grouben" and Onion Rings

Capri Fish House “Grouben” and Onion Rings

I love trying restaurants!  I love good food!  Looking for things to appreciate is a passion of mine.  The Capri Fish House Restaurant on the Bay on the Isles of Capri in southwest Florida had been calling to me for some time!  We could choose indoor air-conditioned seating, outdoor tables with our toes in the sand, or in the big chickee hut, which is where we dined for lunch.

My husband ordered some white wine for us, and we began perusing the menu.

At first, I was wishing for a basket of fried oysters, but The Ronald didn’t want to partake, and I preferred to share an order.  So, I looked at some other intriguing options.  The Shrimp Spinach Salad tempted me with its chilled spinach, mushrooms, strawberries and grilled shrimp served with hot bacon dressing.  Nice!

Hubby was busy complaining about the high prices, moaning that this must be their “in season” lunch menu.  Particular examples of his angst include the Fish House Hot Dog Sub for $9.99, which had him exclaiming that he’d “never heard of a $10 hot dog anywhere.”  The cheapest burger on the menu started at $10.99, and you can add grilled onions or mushrooms for another $1.50.

Anyway, I told him to be a sport and select something that appealed to him.  He chose the Tuna Salad Sandwich for $9.99, and enjoyed it very much.

I opted for their “Grouben,” a grouper Reuben prepared with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing on marbled rye bread for $14.99.   Wow!  I sure do recommend this beauty.  It featured scrumptious, plump, tender filets of sweet grouper.  It was completely delicious.

Sandwich selections come with your choice of French fries, onion rings or fresh fruit.  We love great onion rings, and these promised to be large, hand-cut gems.  Well, this proved to be a poor choice.  The golden mound of rings on both our plates arrived cold… okay… at room temperature.  I popped one in my mouth anyway.  Ooops!  Bad move.  They’d been fried in the same oil as a lot of fish and tasted very bad.  My husband called a wait staff over and explained that we’d just been served cold, fishy onion rings.  They immediately promised to bring us a side of fresh onion rings.

Shortly, a small dish with half a dozen hot onion rings arrived.  That was good service.  However, even at their freshest, I will tell you to avoid fried food here.  Period.  These may not be the absolute worst onion rings I have ever tasted, but I can’t remember where I have had any that were more awful.  The Capri Fish House batter is simply too dense and absorbs so much oil that foods fried in batter are almost spongy in texture.

I was glad I had not gone for the fried oysters or any other seafood.  I just don’t see “bad batter” as a good sign at a fish house.  Again, I recommend skipping anything fried here, unless you like a stale, old, fishy oil flavor.  This is really sad when I take into account that we dined at high noon on a Friday.  (So, if management believes that the oil is changed daily, someone is telling them fish tales.)

Sandwiches were truly good; salads looked lovely.  As your side dish, I suggest trying the fresh fruit.  We saw it, and it looked good.

The atmosphere is fun and super casual; the staff is friendly and very helpful.  The view is superb.  Will I return?  I would, because the grouper was perfect, but I must say it’s highly unlikely.  There are simply too many other great dining options on Marco Island and the Isles of Capri with similar menus, atmospheres, and views… and fresh oil in their fryers.  The bad taste remained in our mouths for hours, regardless of how many mints we popped.  I guess that I have discovered a pet peeve of mine.

The Capri fish House Restaurant does feature early bird specials Monday through Saturday from 4 – 5:45 pm, and all-you-can-eat buffets for both brunch and dinner on Sundays… just beware of anything fried.

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About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 14 books, and counting! As a lifelong corporate communications geek, I enjoy a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with my husband, I have passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun.
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