On a 3-day visit to Redington Beach, Florida, I was able to enjoy a ton of R&R as well as check out the food scene a bit. It’s a town that definitely caters to vacationers, and there was no shortage of options for food around the area.
I was lucky enough to stay in a beach house, with the ocean right in my backyard, so plans for the entire time there were to alternate laying in the sun and playing in the water. There were lots of other beach houses and condos along the beach and many people on the beach, but it never felt crowded with people. The long area of beach really allowed people to spread out.
Owned by a friend’s family, the beach house itself was perfectly set up and stocked for guests to enjoy. There were plenty of drinks and snacks available and a beautiful balcony and downstairs sitting area, that was awesome to hang out in whenever there were bursts of light rain.
If you get the opportunity to visit, definitely check out this beach! It was beautiful, clean, and relatively quiet — I could have stayed a full week there and not gotten bored.
Seabreeze Island Grill
My first meal in the area was at Seabreeze Island Grill, and it was a delicious pick! I had the crab trap cocktail and Mahi tacos, which were nicely seasoned and served in a generous portion. I took about ⅓ back in a to-go box. My meal also came with a cheesecake, which was fairly tasteless and bland, but since it was already included, it was no big deal not to eat it.
Conch Republic House
This restaurant had great reviews and was really hyped up a top spot to visit in the area, but I was less than impressed with the food here. To start with, the bread we were given tasted like it had been in the freezer absorbing freezer smells for at least a year. No good, but the bread was free.
For my appetizer, I ordered the Fried Alligator (which tasted like some kind of hybrid of a light white fish and chicken), the Rasta Pasta for my meal and Apple Pie for dessert.
The Rasta Pasta sounds like it would be some kind of amazing spicy dish with some jerk seasoned chicken, but nope — the chicken had zero seasoning, as well as the rest of the dish. It was literally just the main ingredients with no extra flavor added whatsoever.
To end the meal, the apple pie was just “meh”. I nibbled on a few spoonfuls, but I really hate wasting calories on less-than-stellar desserts, so most of it went uneaten.
Other people have had good luck with this place, but I would never come back here again. In the words of Randy Jackson, “It’s a no from me, dawg.”
This restaurant more than made up for the bad experience at Conch Republic, starting from the excellent service, and ending with the amazing food.
It’s an upscale restaurant, but not a stuffy one. There were people dressed in anything from shirts & shorts to cocktail attire and no style of dress was out of place. It’s set in a lovely multi-room building filled with Spanish-style decor and there were a lot of plants, sculptures, and paintings to feast your eyes on while you’re enjoying your meal.
The meal started with bread, and particularly after the frostbitten mess from the Conch Republic House, this Cuban bread was the freshest I’ve ever tasted! Our server told us a story about how it was baked in a palm leaf I think, but I was too busy slathering that loaf in butter and shoving it in my mouth to care about how it was made. By the end of the night, I’d eaten two loaves.
Between the bread and the meals, the table ordered a pitcher of white sangria, and I was happy to be able to watch it being made tableside. It was refreshing and delicious, and, though I limited myself to just one glass, I could have easily had a couple more over the course of the night.
To balance out the fact that I was losing my mind over the Cuban bread, I ordered the 1905 salad as my meal and was shocked that it came out in a portion large enough to feed three people. It was made of lettuce, ham, Swiss cheese, tomato, olives, Romano cheese and their garlic dressing. It was by far the most filling salad I’d ever eaten! And, like the sangria, it was made tableside.
I had a fantastic experience at Columbia and can’t recommend it enough if you’re in the area! They have an extensive menu, and a variety of both large and small plates, so you can choose to easily eat well on a budget, or go all out and make a night of trying different things.