Florida Guide > Dining
The Friendly Fisherman Restaurant, Madeira Beach
If you have had a wonderful day on one of the Gulf beaches, why not bring the evening to a close by visiting the Friendly Fisherman Restaurant, at John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk, located just off Highway 699, south of Clearwater, and just north of Treasure Island? You can’t miss it, there is what appears to be a lighthouse sitting atop the restaurant – its red and white stripes can be seen from afar. There is a covered car park beside it, so parking is really easy. Be sure to tell the guy at the entrance that you are eating at the Friendly Fisherman, and he will guide you into a space.
If you are not ready to eat, then try one of our favourite pastimes, sitting on the deck of the Waterfront Lounge, the bar in the ground floor of the restaurant. Go through the bar area and out onto the deck which overlooks the intercoastal waterway. There are tables and chairs with parasols, and it is a great place to sit with a drink and watch the world go by. In fact, there is so much to see that you will hardly notice the time. Order a drink - there are frozen margaritas, and ice cream drinks,too, which are delicious - sit back and relax - after all, you are on holiday!
We love to watch the antics of the pelicans, which congregate just in front of the deck. They are amusing looking birds, with their short necks and huge bright yellow orange pouches. On land, they look as if they will overbalance, but in flight they are graceful creatures. Pelicans use their beaks and pouches to scoop up fish from the water, just like a fishing net, and then they tip their heads forwards to empty the water out, leaving them with just their tasty fish dinner. You might even see a seagull swoop down and perch on one of their heads. These cheeky birds are not taking a rest, they are hoping to be able to steal part of the pelican’s meal, when it opens its beak to drain the water out of its pouch.
If you are lucky you will see the pelicans, bobbing along in the water, and then suddenly they will take off and climb into the air. Their wing span can be as much as 9 ft. Not quite so graceful is their landing! Look to your right and you will see the bridge that spans the waterway. From time to time it will be raised to allow some craft to sail through. You might even see some dolphins as they play in the water. There are boats coming and going all the time, with jet skis, a Pirate ship and numerous craft which can be hired. Of course, there are fishing boats, too, and the sunsets are spectacular – an ideal photo opportunity, so take your camera with you.
However, when you are ready to eat, then try the Restaurant upstairs. It has a great range of food, and best of all is their freshly caught fish. There is a whole range of fish to choose from – grouper, scallops, shrimp, scampi, oysters, flounder, lobster, clams, snow crab, and mussels. There are several ways in which it can be cooked - broiled (grilled), fried, Cajun, blackened or char grilled. Of course, there are steaks for those of us who need a daily injection of red meat! In fact you can combine your steak with fish – Surf and Turf, Steak and Grouper, Steak and Fantail Shrimp – and get the best of both worlds! You can even enjoy that traditional English favourite, fish and chips, served with corn fritters and one side for just $10.95.
Captain Hubbard’s Dinner Platters include corn fritters, and two sides, such as French fries, baked potato, sweet potato, Rice, coleslaw, apple sauce or a salad, starting at just under $11.00. Chicken tenders, burgers and chicken breast are also on the menu, as well as lots of starters which include soups – Clam Chowder of course – plus grouper nuggets, onion rings, fried mushrooms, shrimp cocktail, grilled crab cake, fresh fried shark bites, mozzarella cheese sticks, fried calamari rings, fried green tomatoes with horseradish, and corn fritters basket. And if you still have room for more, then there are pies and ice cream desserts to follow!
The kids are not forgotten either, with a special menu just for them.
If you are there early enough you can even sample one of their daily breakfast specials, before you find a nearby beach, such as Madeira Beach. But don’t forget to take a look at the numerous quaint shops in the village before you leave.
The Friendly Fisherman Restaurant can be found at 150 John’s Pass, Boardwalk Place, Madeira Beach.
"Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak
Enough food for a week.
But I'm darned if I know how the helican."
Dixon Lanier Merritt
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