Looking for good eats? Englewood, Florida’s restaurant week called Let’s Eat! – Englewood Restaurant Week, serves up a culinary adventure without breaking the bank. Between Sept. 22 – Oct. 6, 2017, diners can taste two-course lunches for $12 and three-course dinners for $23 at participating Englewood restaurants.
Now in its third year, 22 Englewood-area restaurants are serving up delish dishes and it is a fantastic opportunity to try out a new eatery you’ve always wanted to try or visit one of your faves to see what’s new. Oftentimes, participating eateries use restaurant week to introduce new entrees and flavors.
Prior to the Let’s Eat! Englewood kickoff, I coordinated a tasting tour to three restaurants with a few members of the local media plus Emily Ellyn, the Retro Rad Chef of FoodNetwork fame. In putting the tour together and tasting the delectable dishes prepared by talented chefs, I realized how much diversity in flavors Englewood, Florida offers.
The itinerary began at Leverock’s Seafood House in Cape Haze, continued to Ephesus Mediterranean Grill on Gasparilla Road in Port Charlotte, and ended at SandBar Tiki & Grille on Manasota Key, across from Englewood Beach. Can you say yumola?!
Ohmygoodness! We could have spent the entire evening at any one of these restaurants because each served up the equivalent of a three-course meal in the span of about 45 minutes. Let me tell you about the deliciousness you can expect at these Englewood, Florida, restaurants.
Leverock’s Seafood House, Cape Haze
Overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway and a marina, Leverock’s served up items from their popular, value Sunset Menu. And trying to make the best of what was to be a scary situation later in the week (Hurricane Irma), the group began dinner by toasting with sweet hurricane adult beverages.
Leverock’s coastal cuisine feast began with a fresh Caesar salad and their famous New England-style clam chowder which is the recipe of Bertha Leverock, wife of restaurant founder Johnny Leverock who opened his first restaurant in 1948 in Pinellas Park, Fla.
Beautifully presented were samplings of Thai-inspired shrimp with sriracha chili sauce atop creamy parmesan risotto, blackened redfish with pineapple salsa atop rice, a seared scallop with roasted tomato on chive truffle risotto, and New York strip with gorgonzola butter atop garlic mashed potatoes.
My favorite? It’s so hard to pick ONE flavor because they were all unique. The shrimp had a perfectly balanced sweet and heat flavor while the scallop was cooked to perfection. The redfish was nicely seasoned and the New York strip was tender, juicy and flavorful. I really dug the garlic mashed potatoes! And for dessert, a key lime tart.
Leverock’s Seafood House
7092 Placida Rd.
Cape Haze, Fla.
Tel: (941) 698-6900
Ephesus Mediterranean Grill, Port Charlotte
This was my first visit to Ephesus (and won’t be my last) even though people have been trying to get me there since they opened more than three years ago. They serve authentic Turkish cuisine and are one example of a Let’s Eat! – Englewood Restaurant Week success story. They participated in the first restaurant week in 2015 and because new patrons were introduced to them, it became more popular and outgrew its space. They moved to bigger space allowing them to serve more diners which in turn, employs more people and supports the local economy.
Ephesus’s Mediterranean cuisine is unlike anything else in Englewood or Charlotte County, for that matter and during this special tasting, they went all out with a magnificent buffet where I could have feasted from all night. The bountiful spread burst with mouthwatering entrees including dolma (grape leave rolls), Fattoush (a bread salad using fried pieces of pita with mixed greens and other vegetables), and chicken sis kababs. I’m embarrassed with how much I piled on my plate because there had to be at least a dozen different dishes.
For dessert, I savored their popular pistachio baklava. Pure, sweet bliss for the mouth. If you have not been, go and taste for yourself!
Ephesus Mediterranean Grill
8300 Wiltshire Drive, Suite
Port Charlotte, Fla.
Tel: (941) 681-2343
SandBar Tiki & Grille, Englewood
Prior to sitting down to this feast, the group and I took a walk to Englewood Beach to see what we could of the sunset. While I looked for fossilized shark teeth, the savory scent of a barbecue tickled my nose. And, it’s exactly what the SandBar Tiki & Grille wants – beachgoers to smell barbecue and come in for lunch or dinner.
My belly was full of deliciousness from the two other restaurants but when I sat down and saw and smelled the scrumptious dishes, I found room. Formerly Flounder’s Tiki, the SandBar carries the familiar seafood and casual fare including burgers, sandwiches and their popular tiki tacos. New is the smoke pit and some staff were sent to Georgia to learn the art of barbecue. After sampling what seemed to be an endless feast, I’d say they aced whatever classes they took.
I tasted the smoked chicken wing, smoked mahi fish dip, a hog shank, pulled pork with the Sandbar’s house rub, St. Louis-style rib, smoked salmon with bourbon teriyaki sauce and grilled pineapple ring, smoked pork baked beans and smashed sweet potatoes which were the best I have ever had.
And for dessert, it was one of the most sinfully delicious things I have ever put in my mouth, deep-fried coconut cheesecake with mango puree and a deep-fried Oreo.
If smoky barbecue goodness is your thing then the Sandbar Tiki & Grille is up your alley. Again, it’s hard to pick one item that stood out because everything was flavorful and tender. But, I suppose the smoked salmon topped my list although the chicken wing was mighty tasty. The sweet potatoes were also the best I have ever had anywhere. Period!
Sandbar Tike & Grille
1975 Beach Rd.
Farlow’s on the Water, Englewood
Hurricane Irma tried to cancel Let’s Eat!- Englewood Restaurant Week but all it did was change the dates to Sept. 22 – Oct. 6 and moved the Media/VIP kickoff event to another day. This resulted in a more intimate event at Farlow’s on the Water in Englewood, another outstanding restaurant. During the kickoff some of the items they served included their famous chicken salad, a seafood salad, goat sliders and fresh fruit (See what I did there? Throw in something healthy!)
Farlow’s on the Water
2080 S McCall Rd.
Tel: (941) 474-5343
Helping Others Locally
Announced during the Let’s Eat! – Englewood Restaurant Week kickoff was the Let’s Help Englewood initiative. Hurricane Irma was an unwelcomed visitor causing destruction throughout Florida. The Englewood community has come together and created Let’s Help Englewood with the mission of collecting monetary donations to help those locally and in surrounding communities impacted by the storm’s destruction. There is no donation too small or too large. Diners eating at Let’s Eat! – Englewood Restaurant Week (through Oct. 6) restaurants can make monetary donations or visit www.letshelpenglewood.com.
Plan your Englewood, Florida culinary adventure by visiting LetsEatEnglewood.com. #LetsEatEnglewood #WRCH2017
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to support my traveling habit, this blog and my special-needs dog.