Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Mar Vista: A Taste of Old Florida on Longboat Key

Located on the north end of Longboat Key in the heart of historic Longboat Village is the charming waterside Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant and Pub. Arrive by boat and moor at Mar Vista's docks or arrive by car to enjoy fresh Florida seafood, hot burgers and cool sangria inside the quaint dining room, on the outdoor covered deck or on one of the coveted tables on the beach overlooking picturesque Sarasota Bay. Originally built in 1912, Mar Vista was spared when a hurricane in 1921 wiped out large chunks of the Island, and as a consequence, this Old Florida-style restaurant is considered one of the twelve oldest surviving structures on Longboat Key. Known more familiarly by locals as 'The Pub', Mar Vista is known for their fresh Florida seafood. One of the best places to enjoy a meal there is by arriving early and grabbing one of the limited waterside tables, nestled under a canopy of trees and overlooking beautiful Sarasota Bay. The next priority is ordering a cocktail before ordering their famous Fish Tacos.

The fish points the way to the waterside dining 

Mar Vista's menu

The Rum Runner

Fish Tacos with blackened flounder with soy yuzu slaw, onions and cilantro

Coconut Shrimp Salad on farm greens with orange segments, candied walnuts, tomatoes, 
onions and cucumbers in a raspberry vinaigrette

The Mar Vista Burger with cheddar

The pier and dock at Mar Vista

A Florida Blue Heron searching for his own fish dinner

Stone Crab Mac& Cheese
Serves 2-4

8 oz pasta shells
4 oz cream cheese
1 cup tightly packed grated cheddar cheese
1 cup chicken stock
4 oz stone crab meat, no shells
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 tbsp olive oil

Heat oven to 450°F. Cook the pasta according to package instructions and drain. Combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and chicken stock in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, whisking, until smooth and thickened. Add the cooked pasta to cheese sauce and stir to coat, then add the stone crab. Transfer the pasta mixture to small baking or gratin dish. Top with bread crumbs and olive oil and bake until the bread crumbs are golden brown, about 8 minutes. Garnish with a cracked crab claw for some panache.