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Jun 2, 2009 09:36 AM

Pine Island and Matlacha SW FL

Matlacha, the quiet little drinking village with a fishing problem. Well, that is what the t-shirt says (I think a lot of little towns have the same shirt!)

Someone mentioned they were going to Matlacha this year on a Keys thread so I thought I'd put this up here so it might get some better posts.

Pine Island Sound is spectacular and quite pristine compared to the Keys. Lots of fish, easy to catch. Snapper, tripletail, snook, mullet (not my favorite), grouper, etc. This time of year the Boca Grande Pass is full of tarpon, they look like mirrors flashing if you fly over. The Tarpon Tide fishing tournament has boats from all over the world come to fish Tarpon.

Pine Island mainly has dumpy places: Ragged Ass Saloon (started by Hooters girls) and Bert's Bar are just two places that are very popular. Bert's has food but all I've tried there were wings (ok) and the house made potato chips (good). Both have entertainment at night. Bert's has a million dollar view and looks terrifying from the road.

Best dinner:

No trip to this area is complete without Cabbage Key Inn

I might just cut and past this as a separate link to make sure you see it. LMF, who used to live at Burnt Store Marina and still lives nearby.

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  1. Just topping this for the angler who will be visiting Pine Island soon.

    5 Replies
    1. re: LilMsFoodie

      There is nothing great on Pine Island as LMF points out. Here are two places worth considering though..

      Red's for more upscale seafood.
      The food there is good, not great.

      Here is a link to tipadvisor reviews:

      The Lazy Flamingo on Pine Island is good and the location, in a marina, is nice. A bit better than the roadhouse atmosphere you'll find at Bert's.

      1. re: Bumstead

        The Lazy Flamingo on Pine Island is probably the second best in the tiny chain. I judge them by their fresh oysters (whether the shucker knows what he's doing), the coldness of their draft beer, and their grouper sandwich. It is a good choice.

      2. re: LilMsFoodie

        Another suggestion is the Waterfront in St James City. It's on the water just off the intercoastal waterway, has great homemade coleslaw, their own pepper vinegar sauce in the condiment tray, and very good soft shell crab sandwiches.

        1. re: LilMsFoodie

          My personal faves on Pine Island & Matlacha:

          The Tarpon Lodge - for filet mignon, stuffed portobello mushroom and delicious blue crab corn chowder in a beautiful setting. Lovely live music on some nights.

          Vesuvio - the chef loves to cook veal. Sauces tend to be heavy and salty, but oh so delicious.

          The Lazy Flamingo - good chowder, cheeseburgers, Ceasar Salads with fish or chicken. The oysters, raw or fried, are popular. I had the ribs once and loved them. Good variety of iced beers. I believe they will cook your fish for you.

          The Perfect Cup - for great coffee and a wonderful breakfast! Be patient if the place is crowded.

          Pizza Bella - for real Italian pizza, made by real Italians. :^)

          Cabbage Key - I prefer to go for dinner for a tasty strip steak. If they have Tripletail, don't miss it. Grouper is good, grilled, blackened or bronzed. Good chilled smoked salmon. A bit pricey.

          1. re: Comptes de Champagne

            It the pizza Bella in Matlacha on the water. Thanks for your updates. We need more people familiar with Pine Island. I'll always remember on of the best meals I ever had was in Matlacha at The Griffin. Served on the dock behind the art gallery. It is long gone but not forgotten. I had tripletail, one of my favorites.

        2. Though the food is not anything to write home about, the pie at Captain Con's in Bookelia is pretty good, and they have a large selection. Though the location is appropriately dive-ee

          1. I'd like to revive this thread and mention the "All-You-Can-Eat" Mullet special at the Olde Fish House Restaurant in Matlacha. Lots of places have AYCE fish specials but chances are it's farm raised Masa imported from Viet Nam and raised in the Mekong River (ugh!) At the Olde Fish House you can get local Mullet fresh from the surrounding Pine Island flats. It comes fried, blackened (my favorite) or grilled with fries and homemade coleslaw. If you've never tried Mullet you are in for a treat!