Monday, December 24, 2012

Tommy Bahama Tropical Café: St Armands Circle

One of the livelier restaurants in St Armands Circle is Tommy Bahama Tropical Café, the dining arm of the famous clothing chain. Legend has it that the founders sketched out the idea for Tommy Bahama on a cocktail napkin while sipping Pina Coladas on the beach, fashioning a philosophy of a relaxed and leisurely island lifestyle. True to their vision, Tommy's decor is rich and sophisticated — a fun 1940's faux-tropical island theme with rich warm wood furniture, cane and rattan finishes and wonderful tropical fabrics, complete with oversized wooden ceiling fans revolving gently overhead. 

Fresh baked warm bread with flavoured cinnamon and whipped butter

Serving excellent island-style cuisine, Tommy's has a fabulous drinks and appetizer menu and an extensive island-inspired lunch and dinner menu for more leisurely dining. Whatever the time of day, Tommy's is always hopping — a popular spot for both residents and visitors alike. The cocktail list is great fun, and includes such inspired libations as a Coconut Cloud Martini, Baja Margarita, Millionaires Mai Tai and my favourite — Red Wine Sangria — a fruity but potent concoction of Spanish Rioja red wine, triple sec, brandy and soda, garnished with cherries and orange slices over ice. 

The Arnold Palmer, a light libation of iced tea and lemonade

Red Wine Sangria

The appetizer menu is equally inspired with Cayman Lollipops (grilled smoked chicken drumettes with a mango BBQ glaze), Loki-Loki Tuna Poke (a fresh ahi tuna Napolean, with guacamole, capers, soy and sesame oil with Asian slaw) 
and Tommy's World Famous Coconut Shrimp. Luncheon entrées feature dishes such as Crispy Beer Battered Fish Sandwich served with honey roasted onions, Island tartar sauce and frites, Seared Ahi Tuna with a lemongrass crust served with Kale Salad with edamame, corn, hearts of palm, mushrooms and pine nuts with a tahini miso dressing, Grilled Chicken Breast Sandwich with Monterey cheese, roasted garlic aioli, jerk sauce and crispy onions served with yucca fries, Caesar Salads with whole leaf romaine hearts, Grana Padano cheese and croutons served with shrimp, chicken or fresh local catch from the sea. 

Crispy Fish Sandwich

Grilled Mahi Mahi with Cape Cod Salad

Grilled Chicken Breast Sandwich with crispy onions, monterey cheese, 
jerk sauce and yucca fries

Seared Ahi Tuna and Kale Salad with edamame, corn, hearts of palm, 
mushrooms and pine nuts with a tahini miso dressing

Caesar Salad with Blackened Chicken, Gran Padano and garlic croutons

Desserts at Tommy Bahama are designed to tempt the taste buds with a tray of their more decadent concoctions brought to the table in all of their glory, including Triple Chocolate Cake, Pina Colada Cake, Butterscotch Pudding, Malted Chocolate Pie, Key Lime Pie and Pineapple Creme Brulee. Sit back and enjoy the island lifestyle of Tommy Bahama at St Armands Circle, then stroll down to Lido Beach and bask in the balmy ocean breezes and warm Sarasota sun, and walk off some of the calories of that big slice of Key Lime Pie.

The tempting array of decadent desserts brought table side to entice patrons 
to investigate the sweeter side of life

Key Lime Pie with graham cracker crust and white chocolate mousse


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