Overlooking the Indian River, the tiki-thatched roof of The Original Tiki Bar and Restaurant houses an expansive menu of fresh seafood, certified Angus burgers, and hearty sandwiches brimming with Caribbean flavors. The lightly fried Bahamian-conch fritters ($8.99) beckon utensils to vote the dullest knife off the table before juicy rib-eye steak arrives, resting atop a bed of mixed greens, pillowed by roasted peppers, onions and soft blue cheese in the steak salad ($14.99). The cuban sandwich makes roasted pork and smoked ham hobnob with swiss cheese, pickles, mayo and mustard within the tight confines of hot-pressed cuban bread ($8.99), and the mahi-mahi sandwich ($13.99) tops a kaiser roll with a blackened, grilled, or fried fillet swimming in tangy tartar sauce that recites Barbados’s national anthem twice before each bite. The Tiki Treasure plate ($19.99) buries sautéed lobster and shrimp in a heaping mound of diced tomatoes, mushrooms, scallions, and linguine, setting the trove off to sea aboard a garlic-bread raft. Diners can cool off their overworked mouths with a frozen concoction, such as piña colada or strawberry daiquiri, from the bar’s extensive drink menu.
The infectious aromas of sizzling steak, fresh chopped cilantro, and spicy peppers flow through Costa Azul Mexican Restaurant, heralding the arrival of generous Mexican feasts. Chefs furl these fresh ingredients and more into tortillas to create tacos, flautas, and burritos. Guests savor the juicy nuances of tender marinated pork carnitas or the perfectly balanced flavors of the restaurant's signature paella. Tangy margaritas and ice-cold brews extinguish mouth fires caused by spicy fajitas or mid-meal freestyle raps. Costa Azul's chefs will also whip up their Mexican cuisine to help their guests celebrate special events, family reunions, and weddings with ease.
Archie Summerlin, part-time poet and self-proclaimed hell-raiser, opened Archie's Seabreeze in 1947 to supply beer to soldiers stationed on South Beach, and his loyal crew continues to serve up pub favorites and cold brews from its vast menu. Like an amorous sea cow's song luring fishermen to the sea, the conch fritters ($7.99), soft shell crab sandwich with fries and slaw ($10.99), and the 8-ounce bacon cheeseburger ($8.99) beckon food-laden fingers to mouths. Domestic and imported bottles ($2.75+), and draft beers such as the Florida-brewed Key West Ale ($3.25) wet whistles as quickly as a referee in a water park.
With swinging wood saloon doors, hanging lamps made from cowboy hats, and local ranchers' brands seared into each tabletop, Cowboys' Bar-B-Q & Steak Co.'s three locations make visitors feel as though they've just stumbled in from the Texas lowlands. Many of founder Jim McCoin's self-devised recipes come from years of careful cooking while on the professional barbecue-competition circuit, which regularly led his team "Big Daddy Q" to victory. Wings strut across plates dressed in up to 20 sauce flavors, compelling tongues to quench thirst with 10 draft beers or Western-themed margaritas. Beverages are served in mason jars, carried past decorations such as photographs representing local ranching families. For outside eaters, Cowboys' supplies its hearty grilled fare through take-out and catering each day of the week.
The Gin Mill beats back the advancing armies of hunger with hearty half-pound burgers, bolstered by reinforcements of domestic brews shipped out from an elegant mahogany bar. Eight-ounce patties weigh down bottom buns before customers seal in condiments by screwing on the top half of bread, making a carbo-protein feast flanked by waffle fries. Gustatory tinkerers can outfit their burgers with a blanket of cheese, strips of bacon, or their own crocheted burger cozies. Frothy guzzles of beer on tap or by the bottle chase meaty meals down the pipe with bubbly fervor until 2 a.m.
The menu at Seaweed Asian Cuisine flits across the globe like a migratory bird, landing in Japan, Thailand, and the Philippines to scoop up each region's culinary treats. Fresh fish make an appearance in sushi rolls and the spicy-tuna nachos, which are served on crisp wontons and flavored with baby octopus. Seafood also takes center stage in the Filipino-style whole snapper and Thai-inspired spicy volcano shrimp. Seaweed's chefs also concoct original creations, melding together aspects of various Asian cuisines with dishes such as roast pork with veggies and honey garlic chicken. Their culinary prowess won them the 2013 Reader's Choice Award from Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers.