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IM Tapas in Naples, Florida

I visited IM Tapas with a group of friends, and we enjoyed the casual atmosphere, cosmopolitan, younger crowd, and most of all the excellent authentic Spanish cuisine, cooked by Executive Isabel Pozo Polo. Tucked away a block east of the NCH Hospital on 4th Ave North, it's waay off the beaten path, and well worth the visit.

Open since January, the restaurant had mostly repeat visitors on our visit; we were the only newbies as far as we could tell.
The ambiance is upscale casual, European bistro like, with pale yellow walls, and original artwork by Executive Chef Isabel Pozo Polo. The food is well spiced, and the simple ingredients belie the rich mix of flavors coaxed out of each dish by Isabel. Mary Shipman runs the "front of the house" with several very knowledgeable servers. Be prepared to dine leisurely, and even chat with those at the table next to you, it's casual.

I could have had two orders of the white bean stew (Fabada Asturiana), wiht huge tender beans, chorizo and morcilla sausages, and green onions. I flipped for the Fire Roasted Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Bacalao for $10, and we loved the Fresh Diver Scallops on Octopus Slivers with Blood Orange Vinaigrette.

I posted a long review on my blog Aug 11th, at:

http://aninsatiableappetite.blogspot....

The Iberian ham is sliced paper thin, and defies words. It's the real thing. There's some 40 tapas to choose from, and the Spanish wines are a solid selection.
Try one of the Spanish cheese plates- a 5 or 8 cheese choice.
They are pretty full on a weekend, so make a reservation if this is your night out.

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  1. Thanks! Very timely, as my wife and I will be in the area this weekend.

    1. Ivan, you were spot on with your review. MsRev and I tried the restaurant over the weekend and we loved it, sampling most of the same dishes as you.

      The white bean stew has incredible flavor. I could've made a meal of a huge bowl with some great bread. Napolean de remolacha-roasted beets with chevre, serrano lardons and pine nuts had a divine flavor with the addition of the crispy ham. When I read that the US was going to allow the Jamon Iberico de bellota to be imported, I couldn't wait to try it. Imagine my surprise to see it on the menu. It's quite pricey but absolutely worth the cost. It has such a sublime flavor and texture. It beats the pants of Prosciutto di Parma. I'm a sucker for brandade. I've rarely seen it down here. They have 2 variations on the menu. We had the fire roasted piquillo peppers stuffed with brandade and loved them.

      For entrees we ordered Langostinos a la plancha and seared Dorado(sea bream). Both dishes were simply prepared. The langostines were served with the heads on, which means they were fresh, never frozen. Divine. The Dorado was cooked perfectly moist. I could imagine sitting on the waterfront in Spain eating this dish.

      We finished the meal with St. James Cake, a slice of simple almond cake, not too sweet, and a perfect ending to a great meal.

      This restaurant needs and deserves everyone's support. The cooking is more sophisticated than most any restaurant around. It's so nice to have a different style of cuisine in this area. We will be returning in a few days to introduce some friends. Food and wine prices are moderate and parking is simple, since it's not in the downtown corridor.

      IM Tapas
      965 4th Ave. N
      239-403-8273

      8 Replies
      1. re: RevrendAndy

        Place sounds great, I'm looking to try it next time I'm on the west coast, but note that langostinos can be frozen whole & head-on ->

        http://scottishgourmetusa.gourmetfood...
        http://www.fishfanatics.co.uk/shop-la...

        1. re: Frodnesor

          The langostinos had a flavor and texture that only fresh shrimp could have.

          1. re: RevrendAndy

            Rev,

            I'm glad you like it-I'm a regular! I've sent over two dozen friends there over tha past 4 months, and not a complaint on the food or ambiance. This is where you can meet serious foodies, and some nationally recognized celebrities-they leave their hotels to get "great local food". I found out hotel concierges do not recommend the "treasures" places off the 5th Ave S or 3rd street, as their clients go "Eeew" at the local spots I treasure, and prefer the settings at the fancier spots with still good, but lesser quality food. That's fine with me!

            Best thing said at IM Tapas was a frequent Spanish visitor's "This beats plane fare to Madrid or Barcelona, and I like sitting down to eat (as opposed to standing at some tapas bars in Spain). Worse thing was "Why can't they open for lunch".

            Let me know how you like "A Table Apart" on Bonita Beach Road, if you go. It's where some chefs go when they get off work-a very good sign! Aslo check Bayshore Coffee Co. for a night when you and Mrs Rev like the music-fun.

            Frodnesor, as a Floridian cook who buys non frozen fish and shrimp, the langostinos taste fresh as can be from the shrimper's dock. If this freshness is maintained by some flash frozen or other technique, then I'm a believer!

            I wish I had time to write up each place I eat at, but I'm so slow it takes hours to do one review with photos. I go back to my other favorites, like Roy's, USS Nemo, Escargot 41, Trulucks and Capital Grille or Flemings with guests. Pamela and I save the ethnic "dives" for ourselves! My favorite? Wild King Salmon, Capt Kirks's fish, or Jummy P's Wagyu beef that I season and cook on my grill, under the stars, with a side of stone crab claws or fried soft shell crabs, and some garlicky yuca with a bold Cabernet. Paradise!

            1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

              Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying their langostinos weren't fresh - only saying that head-on is not necessarily a guarantee of freshness. Glad to hear the place is getting an audience, it is on my hit list next time I visit the left coast.

              1. re: Frodnesor

                I went back a few days ago to IM Tapas, and it's as delicious as ever. I recognized some celebrities there, and some local well known foodies too. I figured I was in the right "see and be seen" spot, or they just agree with my tastebuds!

                We tried some new things, after my last blog review.

                The duck breast has a heavenly crust, and was my favorite, paired with the delicious Dorado. "Everyone" has seared tuna, I'm swearing off it for 3 months! I love the seared foie gras with apples-a touch sweet, I could have it for dessert. The stuffed squash blossoms are cheese filled, and a treat I've not had in years. It's a small portion, as the flowers are, well, flowers! Runners up are lamb chops and the venison.

                Frodnesor, let's do a chowdown when you come to Naples area-you'll be well fed.

                I may go to the Feb Miami Beach Food and Wine Festival again, just forgot to get tickets- see how the scalpers are charging on tickets before I head over.

                1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                  Thanks for the offer, I'll track you down next time I'm coming to the west coast.

                  1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                    I know Chow is about the food, but I'm curious. What celebrities did you see ?

          2. re: RevrendAndy

            We finally tried this place this past Friday and all I can say is WOW and I cannot wait to go back. It is really something special. It was the day after Christmas and we arrived around 7pm and we were the only table for about 30 minutes. 2 other tables showed up but that was it for about the 2 hours we were there. I hope that isn't a trend. The place is too good to suffer these economic times.
            We started with an order of the Salt Cod Croquettes and they were delicious. There were 4 to an order and served with a lemon. Simple flavor and dish but perfectly done.
            Next were Artichoke Hearts filled with Manchango Cheese and Serrano Ham served in a roasted Garlic Fume. Just typing this makes my mouth water. You must try these.
            From there we decided to try the Beef Tenderloin with Blue Cheese and Onion Confit. This is the only dish I wouldn't order again. The beef was a bit over cooked and the Blue Cheese was extremely strong for the flavor of the beef. From there we moved to a Venison Carpaccio - FABULOUS! Took a break, enjoyed the Rioja we ordered, caught our breath and decided to order one of the specials of the evening - ANGULAS!!!! Newborn Eels and these were such a treat! The price was $75 for about 2 ounces but is was soooo well worth it! This is a hard flavor to describe but its a very delicate taste that was enhanced cooked oil with garlic slivers. Traditionally in Spain this dish is served with a wooden fork but because of our laws here, the Chef isn't allowed to do this. If you ever have a chance to try these wonderful little things, you MUST! We finished with an espresso and a dish that is similar to a Creme Brullee. Again excellent.
            This is such a wonderful and interesting place and the prices are reasonable. I hope anyone who is interested will go try this restaurant. I do not think you will be disappointed.

          3. Everyone seems to be in agreement professing their love of this restaurant. It's a treasure and needs our support. I would like to suggest a chowdown here to try and get the Florida chowhounds together. Who is interested?

            2 Replies
            1. re: RevrendAndy

              Rev,

              Count the two of us in- always new specials to savor!

              1. re: RevrendAndy

                We will be in the area around the 19th-22nd and would love to join fellow chowhounds if you do it then. john.janet (at) yahoo.com

              2. Attention Naples to Ft. Myers chowhounds! We are doing a chowdown at IM Tapas on January 22nd at 6:30 PM.

                This is a unique restaurant serving authentic Spanish tapas, like Jamon Iberico and piquillo peppers with brandade. The restaurant is offering us a half price corkage fee of $7.50 per bottle, so bring something interesting.

                There are 6 of us already interested so please rsvp me at revrend1@sbcglobal.net.

                Hope to see you there.

                IM Tapas
                965 4th Ave. N
                239-403-8273

                This is just north of dowtown Naples and east of 41.

                It would be wonderful to have all the regular posters on this board meet.

                4 Replies
                1. re: RevrendAndy

                  awww! I will be out of town. Have a great time!

                  1. re: RevrendAndy

                    I'm elsewhere also that evening. Have a great time. Maybe next time. LMF

                    1. re: RevrendAndy

                      I'm also out of town (in San Fran, a very chow-worthy place to be!) that week, visiting family---hey, maybe us 3 "chicas" could do it another time??? What do you say, Suzie and LilMsFoodie?
                      A co-worker told me about IM Tapas a few months ago...I'll show him this thread!

                      1. re: Val

                        Wow! Last night's chowdown and IM Tapas must have been the most successful chowdown in Naples in a while. Twelve people showed up, including several of the regular posters. The restaurant, the food, and the service was everything we expected and more.

                        Chef/owner Isabel Pozo Polo and her partner and staff have created just about the most perfect small restaurant you can imagine: delightful intimate atmosphere, out-of-the-way location, wonderful food and service, and very reasonable prices. It does not get much better than this. Fortunately this group of chowhounds was into sharing, and many plates were passed around the table for all to taste.

                        I can't even remember all the things we tasted - certainly many of the favorites mentioned in the posts above. Fortunately photos were taken and I expect that a more detailed chowdown report will soon appear here or on An Insatiable Appetite's blog at http://aninsatiableappetite.blogspot....

                        Now I understand why this place has been getting such rave reviews. All in all, a memorable evening.

                    2. One week left folks to sign up for the chowdown. We have 9 people attending and would love a few more.

                      1. Tom,

                        You beat me to the first posting after this wonderful chowdown. It was great meeting fellow posters and visitors alike. Isabelle and Mary were at the top of their game and were as gracious as could be. The food was terrific as usual.

                        Thanks to everyone for attending and making this a special night.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: RevrendAndy

                          Tom, Rev, and others,

                          What a terrific evening! This Chowhound thread has come full circle since it started in august, 08-who'd have thunk we'd meet!

                          It was a blast to have a dozen chowhounds gathered together, compare notes, and then have a superb meal at I M Tapas.

                          Everyone ordered something different, the shared plates winged around the tables, and all the goodies were sampled, with a variety of accompanying wines.

                          I'll file a report this weekend with food photos.

                          Note: "Srcratch and sniff " culinary modules must be attached by USB 2.0 cable, and then enabled on such equipped computers. Insert a non-expired "Spanish Cuisine version. 2.2" SnS card to accompany the photos, and enjoy the aroma of Spain's best tapas. (Note: SnS modules do not work with error -prone Microsoft Vista computers; prior Windows Home operating systems work fine.)

                          Buen Provecho!

                          1. re: RevrendAndy

                            Just a short note to add our thanks for this great chow get together. Mrs. B and I enjoyed it immensely. It was great for us out-of-towners to meet some Naples hounds and have a really great dinner. I was especially happy to have a chance to try the famous Jamon Iberico, and enjoyed many of the other dishes including the artichokes, fois gras, and various seafoods. You all are fortunate to have this place in your area. We will await Insatiable's review with great interest. Special thanks to Rev Andy for organizing.

                            1. re: johnb

                              Wow, what an evening-chowdown at I M Tapas!. Special thanks to RevrendAndy for organizing the evening!

                              I posted my write up, with photos at:

                              http://aninsatiableappetite.blogspot....

                              Click and see!

                              An Insatiable Appetite

                              1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                                Your blog is the best, Insatiable! Great descriptions and photos. My mouth is watering (again).

                                1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                                  Sounds and looks like a wonderful time! I am jealous! I need to make another trip to this restaurant soon!

                                  1. re: Suzie

                                    Before you go, don't forget to visit www.restaurant.com . There you can buy a $25 certificate for $10 toward your IM Tapas meal. You'll see discounts on some other restaurants as well.

                            2. Went to the restaurant last Saturday, had no trouble getting a reservation for four ppl at the last minute, and it was fantastic! This was the best meal I've had in in the town, and we all gave it top marks. Thanks for the recommendations, everyone - chowhound comes through again :)

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: DagnyTaggart

                                I was invited by a friend to go to I M Tapas last night.

                                Wow! Tried some newer dishes. I loved the mussels with chorizo in a rich creamy sauce. The mussels are large, and the uncle of the chef picked thm up the night before in Miami, fresh off the plane from Spain. The red shrimp are amazing, succulent. You eat the whole shrimp, shell and all (except for the head) as the shell is soft, like a soft shell crab's shell. The taste is better than our shrimp because of the seasoning and way they are cooked. The citrus foam or air is a gerat accent to the shrimp's taste.

                                The dessert with molten chocolate interior and outside fried till crisp, and served on a skewer, is well worth a visit.
                                The only thing I missed was the hot white bean soup, as now people prefer a cold gazpacho for the summertime.
                                Service was first rate, and we had a few glasses of a tinto roja-a wonderful evening!

                                -----
                                I M Tapas
                                965 4th Ave N, Naples, FL 34102

                                1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                                  Good deal now!

                                  Starting today till they are sold out, there are summer 50% off coupons for IM Tapas for sale at naplesoriginals.com, Then click "gift certificates" (in little letters at the top box), then to "click here to access the certificates" , then go to the "$50 and up" choice (in the middle bar), then at the bottom of the next page click IM Tapas and get $50 of food, not ddrink or tax or tip for $25. There's also M watrfront, Sea Salt, Bay House etc, which sell out faster.

                                  1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                                    Thanks for the heads up. IM Tapas is my favorite. I grabbed a certificate for the Real Macaw too. It's a pretty cool place with very good food.

                                    -----
                                    Real Macaw
                                    3275 Bayshore Dr, Naples, FL 34112