Friday, November 24, 2017

Tide Tables: Waterside Seafood in Historic Cortez

Tucked away on the southeast end of Cortez bridge in the historic fishing village of Cortez, is Tide Tables Restaurant & Marina at marker 48. Opened in 2014 by co-owners Karen Bell from A.P Bell Fish House & Star Fish Trading Company and Bobby and Gwen Woodson who were involved with the Seafood Shack, Tide Tables is full of old Florida-style charm, from the crushed-shell parking area to the open-air tiki bar and picnic tables overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway, boat docks and flock of watchful pelicans. In late 2013, Woodson and Bell were approached by the nearby trailer park's owners, who also own the land where the restaurant sits. "They knew it was a little piece of gold sitting here," Gwen said, adding that the trailer park owners were familiar with Woodson and Bell's backgrounds, so the fit was perfect. They named the restaurant Tide Tables in tribute to the unbreakable bond between the rhythm of tides and the commercial waterman’s way of life in this true piece of disappearing “Old Florida.” Settled in the 1880s, Cortez is now the last working commercial fishing village on Florida’s Gulf coast and a designated US National Historic District. 

Seated at the bar on a perfect sunny afternoon, we chose from the menu’s selection of fresh fish and seafood "that's so fresh it's barely stopped swimming." Starting with a basket of Grouper Bites served with tartar sauce and rémoulade, and a bottle of Pinot Grigio served on ice in a big rubber boot, dining at Tide Tables is causal and friendly with remarkably good food. The fresh Gulf Grouper, served fried, blackened or grilled, arrives on the docks of A.P. Bell each morning, and comes with homemade coleslaw and a choice of french fries or baked beans; the large 'Mainsail Basket' of Sea Scallops are plump and perfectly cooked; the Blackened Fish Tacos are topped with coleslaw, cheddar jack cheese and sesame ginger sauce; and the homemade Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo is not to be missed. Arrive by boat or car, but get there by noon on a sunny day and let Becky take care of you with a wink, a smile and a boat load of Florida charm.

Tide Tables outdoor Tiki bar, picnic tables and seafood shack

The Tide Tables tiki bar is the place to be for a sunny weekend lunch on the water

Waterside picnic tables are great for larger groups 

Our friendly and charming server Becky

Ice cold Stella Artois beer

Fresh Jumbo Fried Florida Gulf Shrimp with cold slaw and fries

Large Grilled Sea Scallops with cole slaw and carrot salad

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