When John Ritter thinks back to 1948, he can almost taste the frozen treats he churned out during his after-school job at the local ice-cream parlor. Now, after a 35-year career as a film animator, he helps others to enjoy similarly sweet memories at Ritter's Frozen Custard. Here, friendly staffers handcraft each batch of frozen custard, an ultrapremium ice cream as smooth as a jazz record dipped in chocolate. At the counter, guests can sample the flavors of the day, which range from tart blueberry to gooey, crunchy mocha-almond fudge. Scoops of classic vanilla—along with more than 25 toppings—fill specialty creations such as brownie sundaes, hand-dipped malts, and freezer-ready ice-cream sandwiches.
For more than a decade, Pelican Larry’s has sizzled and slurped freshly caught fare amid lively music and entertainment. Pelican Larry’s menu makes a salivary splash with savory salads, sandwiches, and stomach quenchers served fresh from the sea. Salty scents and crunchy breading inundate the tongue in every bite of raw, steamed, still swimming, or flaky fried fish. Steer jaw jets into a platter of a dozen steamed clams ($10.95) or a half-pound of steamed shrimp ($8.95), or immerse incisors in a jerk chicken salad ($9.95) or pineapple salsa-topped mahi tacos ($11.95). DJs provide entertainment on weekend evenings starting at 10 p.m., while live music resonates through the Davis Boulevard location after 6 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, shining a bright beam into the ear tunnels of auditory adventurers.
Blue Water Bistro ensnares an entire underwater ecosystem in its sprawling menu of recently netted seafood and steak, doled out in a bustling eatery fit for couples or entire crews. Embark on a hunger-fueled treasure hunt for Mahi Mac ($22.70), a culinary crown jewel embedded with macadamia-nut and panko gems shimmering in grilled pineapple-togarashi sauce. Mango-infused california rolls ($9.50) put a tropical spin on a sushi staple, and chipotle-barbecue baby back ribs ($22.50) can be used to build a flaming xylophone. Guide conquering chompers through the Chicken Shanghai's ($16.90) open noodle gates, guarding thai basil and broccoli stir-fry infused with a peanut soy sauce fiery enough to melt chocolate-sculpted cabanas. The bar's cascade of fruity libations paints a breathtaking Caribbean Sunrise ($10.50) across palates amid the eatery's wooden floors and illustrious swordfish sculptures.
Tiki torches cast a flickering light across The Real Macaw's outdoor patio, where guests divide their attention between plates of Caribbean cuisine and picturesque views of the nearby waterfall. Named for the real macaw parrot whose occasional squawks add a colorful soundtrack to each meal, the restaurant has earned local renown for its fusion of Floridian ingredients and Caribbean flavors. This fusion is fully apparent in the macadamia-nut-encrusted goat-cheese salad, which culls its featured ingredient from the Turtle Creek dairy farm in Palm Beach county. Other exemplary dishes include Trinidadian-style crab cakes, wild salmon roasted over cedar wood, and salsas brimming with tropical fruits. On certain nights, the percussive sounds of alligators chomping on roasted duckling join with live music to drown out the parrot’s incessant requests to not allow alligators in the restaurant.
Gordon's on the River's classic ambiance begins with its warm wood trim and oriental rugs, but it doesn't stop there. Chef Andrew McLaughlin procures local food and international spices to craft an inviting menu of traditional seafood and steak dishes, such as signature filet mignon and lobster thermidor. The house sommelier, Ian Ponsford, curates a wine list to match, earning the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator for 2012 and 2013. Live piano sets the soundtrack for every meal, even the plentiful Sunday brunch, which was voted Best Brunch 2013 by readers of Florida Weekly and Naples Daily News.