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Sarasota for dinner: anyone been to Owens Fish Camp

LilMsFoodie Jun 14, 2011 03:36 PM

We are taking employees for weekend training and want to have a fun casual dinner and I am looking for something a little quirky. Owen's Fish Camp appeals to me, but I'd like to here from some Chowhounds. Also some other ideas would be most welcome. We will be tired from training all day so something relaxed will fill the bill. Thanks LMF

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    ospreycove RE: LilMsFoodie Jun 14, 2011 04:37 PM

    Owens is a lively place; the food is almost all fried, but well prepared, raw bar is also good for oysters, cold beer!!! If the weather cooperates Mattison's not for the food but music; or the "New" location for Patrick's?

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    Mattison's
    7275 S Tamiami Trl, Sarasota, FL 34231

    15 Replies
    1. re: ospreycove
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      irwin RE: ospreycove Jun 15, 2011 04:32 PM

      I feel Owens is excellent. Great variety, low prices but sometimes hard to get into...
      It offers much more then fried food and has very good service... It beats Mattisons and Patricks.

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      Mattison's
      7275 S Tamiami Trl, Sarasota, FL 34231

      1. re: irwin
        LilMsFoodie RE: irwin Jun 15, 2011 06:00 PM

        I like the sound of Owen's. We have a second night with less people and I thought we might try The Cottage on Siesta Key. Hound place or not? Thanks again. I appreciate your input. LMF

        1. re: LilMsFoodie
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          Longboat RE: LilMsFoodie Jun 15, 2011 06:24 PM

          If you're determined to go to Owen's -- I went once, would never go back (at least not without Maalox) -- and depending on the size of your group, you might want to check on their reservations policy. The one time I was there they didn't take them. Perhaps it doesn't matter out of season, but if they're busy these days and your group is large, you may have a sizable wait.

          1. re: Longboat
            LilMsFoodie RE: Longboat Jun 18, 2011 03:32 PM

            You and I seldom will agree. Longboat. I have been to many great restaurants: French Laundry, Per Se, etc etc. I look for places with a sense of place. Some me too place with a contemporary vibe and reduction of this, and coulis of that is out of place here.

            My stomach is not as sensitive as yours and I want a place that is casual and very Florida. Is it Disneyesque? or just too casual?

            1. re: LilMsFoodie
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              Longboat RE: LilMsFoodie Jun 19, 2011 05:09 AM

              The beauty of this board is that anyone can write anything and readers have to decide what they agree with. I’ve been to the French Laundry and Per Se too. In fact, I ate at Per Se in late May. I live half the year in the NYC area and dine at places like Per Se more than often. I also lived for years in Paris. But dining at good places, per se (no pun intended), doesn't give anyone good taste -- you or me. It just means we can afford it. My personal problem with Owens is that the food is mostly (not all, but mostly) fried, what you get at crap beach restaurants all over America. And they have a crap wine list. And you have to wait in line for that. I’ve not been in their kitchen but I would bet the farm that a lot of their food is out of the Sysco can. If that’s >your< sense of place, you’re entitled. Anyway, the thrust of what I said was that Owen’s doesn’t take reservations (or didn’t) and if you have a large group you might want to check on whether they’ll give you a reservation or what your wait time will be. I thought that was a practical point we both might agree on.

              1. re: Longboat
                LilMsFoodie RE: Longboat Jun 19, 2011 06:27 AM

                no reservations will probably suit the kids fine. longer happy hour and you are right, it is a very cheap and indifferent list. 5 beer drinkers and me so I'm not too worried.

                1. re: Longboat
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                  ospreycove RE: Longboat Jun 19, 2011 01:57 PM

                  In my book there are different reasons to go out to a restaurant; one, for serious dining where one expects the Chef to use the best quality ingredients and by the kitchen's collective hands add value to them, producing a, (hopefully), memorable experience. one that appeals to one's self image; the second situation in which one goes "out" is for the comaraderie, fellowship, and just plain old lighthearted "fun" the second example is more with, but not exclusive to a group of 4-6-8 as opposed to just a couple or a lone diner.

                  In the case of Owen's Fish Camp, a Caragiulo Brothers restaurant, the management has seemed to have tapped into what the market is lacking in Sarasota; a whimsical, not too serious approach to the menu in surrondings that are also caricature like. Their success of Owen's F.C. speaks for itself. Another Caragiulo example is the recently opened "Nancy's BBQ", as one food writer had heralded about the opening "This is the most talked about new restaurant in Sarasota, even before it has opened!" Again, the management has recognized this "Prizm" segment # 4, the Young Digerati, that was unserved in this market. Their next endeavor is now in the rumor stage, a diner concept called Shore Diner on St Armand's Circle that will open before the Fall of 2011. Now, granted, all of these venues are targeting a younger demographic, in a market of retirees and "Prizm" # 21, Gray Power market segment, there is a need for the non-epic, non-name dropping ,non-celeb chef, everyday, just good time place.

                  There is room for restaurants that serve both segments in Sarasota.

                  1. re: ospreycove
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                    Longboat RE: ospreycove Jun 19, 2011 03:55 PM

                    Hi Osprey: I get it, the Caragiulo’s have identified and tapped into an under-served dining segment in the Sarasota market. The popularity of Owen’s is undeniable. I’m a capitalist and I applaud their business acumen. Really. But this is a food and restaurant forum and for us to simply move from recognizing that a restaurant is popular to accepting that therefore the > food< must be good – well, then we should probably discuss the merits of McDonald’s Happy Meals. ;-)
                    Not trying to be confrontational, but just saying….

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                    Caragiulo's
                    69 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

                    1. re: Longboat
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                      ospreycove RE: Longboat Jun 19, 2011 07:45 PM

                      Taste is very subjective, what is excellent cuisine to you and me maybe is dreck to others; one of my most memorable food experiences was a fresh grilled Wahoo over an open fire on a beach in Rio del Medio, Cuba; cooked by local kids after we caught several good size fish, local beer and Rum sitting on an upside down 5 gallon plastic bucket. Don't ask me how, when, and why....LOL More recently I was happy with our dinner at the Inn at Little Washington, Chef's table in the kitchen, Great food in both situations, but very different.

                      1. re: ospreycove
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                        Longboat RE: ospreycove Jun 20, 2011 08:55 AM

                        Taste is certainly subjective but we shouldn’t carry this concept too far, since the same can be said about literature, art and music. Yet somehow most people would distinguish material differences between Mark Twain and some dime store paperback; between Renoir and some random graffiti artist; and between Beethoven and a subway composer/guitarist. Knowing what you (me or anyone) likes doesn’t by definition mean all of our tastes are equally good. In food and dining there are objective standards and they include (among other things) freshness, careful preparation, and quality of ingredients – all served graciously (if it’s in a restaurant setting). It doesn’t necessarily mean fancy. But it surely doesn’t mean that if someone likes a meal it’s therefore “good” food. Otherwise, McDonald’s is the greatest restaurant in the world. ;-)

          2. re: irwin
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            ospreycove RE: irwin Jun 16, 2011 05:14 AM

            Have you been to the "new" Patrick's. I have not, but I hear the menu is somewhat expanded, they have outside dining and breakfast on Sat. & Sun.

            1. re: ospreycove
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              Longboat RE: ospreycove Jun 16, 2011 06:38 AM

              I've not been there but friends went about one week after it opened in the their new location and didn't care for the food and they also said the service was atrocious. They had been fans of Patrick's, have lived in town for 30 years. This is surprising since it was just a move down the street with the same staff.

              1. re: Longboat
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                ospreycove RE: Longboat Jun 16, 2011 08:47 AM

                oh well maybe I'll give it a few weeks; Patrick's never was one of our regular places.
                Speaking of regular places; tonight at Bologna Cafe, we are going to Claudio and Barbara's Italian Wine dinner, the Cantiniere from Rocche di Castelletto in the Barolo production zone will be serving 5 wines from his Azienda.
                http://bolognacafe.webs.com/apps/cale...

                1. re: ospreycove
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                  Longboat RE: ospreycove Jun 16, 2011 09:34 AM

                  Wish I were there. Maybe we'll join you sometime!

                  1. re: Longboat
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                    irwin RE: Longboat Jun 17, 2011 03:20 PM

                    Bologna Cafe is excellent......
                    I had a burger last Saturday at the new Patricks, and it was very good.... Can't speak for the rest of the food, but the place was empty. They now have sidewalk dining. The place looks great inside....

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          snobman RE: LilMsFoodie Jun 17, 2011 03:54 PM

          The best thing about Owen's is Cassie, the bartender. The food is average at best and overpriced. The decor is Disney theme park, which many females seem to like. Service is good, but I can't figure out why this place is so popular, although considering Sarasota alternatives...........

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            RisaG RE: LilMsFoodie Jun 20, 2011 04:10 PM

            My husband has family that lives in Siesta Key and every other summer we drive down there to spend a week. I have never been to Owen's but we go every time to Phillippi's on Tamiami and the food is always wonderful. Always. The gumbo, the fried gator, the sandwiches, grouper, the fish platters, you name it, all great. I have never, in 20 years ever had a bad meal. It can be a long wait though. If you have children with you, there are some fun things to do on the dock while you wait but it can get boring. Bring something for them to do. There are some places in Siesta Key too but they can be quite busy at night. Crowded and noisy but we do love the Siesta Key Oyster Bar and the Lobster Pot.

            Just stay away from Marina Jack's - too expensive altho' the view is incredible and any place in St. Armand's Circle or Longboat will be too expensive too. Just my 2 cents.

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            Lobster Pot Restaurant
            5157 Ocean Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34242

            Siesta Key Oyster Bar
            5238 Ocean Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34242

            Marina Jack
            2 Marina Plz, Sarasota, FL 34236

            1 Reply
            1. re: RisaG
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              ospreycove RE: RisaG Jun 21, 2011 05:18 AM

              "Dry Dock Restaurant", on Longboat, is a quality independent restaurant. Eric only uses locally caught Grouper, if it is not available to him it is not offered, No frozen or imported Grouper is ever offered here. Fish Chowder is also very good, as are the "Full Belly" fried Softshell Clams.

              The redesign of the dining area on the bay is now covered and offers great views of the Bay and Sarasota mainland

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              laboheme RE: LilMsFoodie Jun 22, 2011 05:00 AM

              I went to Owen's Fish Camp last saturday night and really enjoyed it. Their corn on the cob with jalapeno butter and grilled shrimp with chile and garlic was outstanding. Looking forward to going back.

              1. LilMsFoodie RE: LilMsFoodie Jun 28, 2011 06:24 AM

                We were a table of 5 Friday night and had an excellent meal. The place was packed with a wide range of people, young and old, beach clothes and dressy, etc. I'll call it Fantasy Island Fish Camp decor.

                The bar was insanely packed but we got our beer and wine quickly. Dismal wine selection. They aren't stepping on the price anymore than most restaurants. Price per glass generally equals retail price per bottle so at $5 one should expect swill and Owen's delivers.

                We ordered oysters rockefeller and they were properly done, very tender. We had Blue Point oysters as well and they were icy cold and served with mignonette.

                I don't get the complaint about fried food. I didn't notice too much of that. Everyone at our table had some sort of fish...black grouper grilled, red fish blackened, cobia grilled. Sides were excellent and not your normal selection. Spicy collards, house succotash (corn, limas and edamame) , cheesy grits were all delicious. Deviled eggs!

                We would go back again in a heartbeat.

                http://owensfishcamp.com/index.cfm

                5 Replies
                1. re: LilMsFoodie
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                  ospreycove RE: LilMsFoodie Jun 28, 2011 09:15 AM

                  Lilms, Glad you had a great time, there certainly is a good mix of ages in Owen's. I think my comment about fried was not meant to be disparaging, they do fried very well but in my view it is a staple on the menu. Be sure to try Nancy's BBQ and soon, not opened yet. The Shore Diner on St Armand's circle. All of these venues are owned by the Caragiulo Bros. who have the pulse of the growing younger market here in SRQ!!

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                  Caragiulo's
                  69 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

                  1. re: ospreycove
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                    Mother of four RE: ospreycove Jun 29, 2011 05:32 PM

                    Nancy's was open way before we went back north and that was the end of May.

                    1. re: Mother of four
                      LilMsFoodie RE: Mother of four Jun 30, 2011 04:50 AM

                      I read his comment as meaning the not yet opened Shore Diner on St. Armand's.

                      1. re: Mother of four
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                        ospreycove RE: Mother of four Jun 30, 2011 05:08 AM

                        Mother......Yes, Nancy's opend in the Spring. That was an errant period instead of a commma that caused the confusion." The Shore Diner", currently there is no visable work being done on the space....I will keep you all posted on any changes.

                        1. re: ospreycove
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                          Mother of four RE: ospreycove Jul 1, 2011 09:05 AM

                          I sure know all about those errant things that keep popping up! LOL! We very rarely get to St Armand's, so have never heard of The Shore Diner, but will look for your update. Just keep our Ooh La La going!

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