I had the opportunity to take a little day trip down to a hidden piece of paradise called Palm Island for a regional media dinner. You may have never heard of Palm Island. I certainly hadn’t until this dinner. So where exactly is Palm Island? It’s a south of Sarasota and north of Fort Meyers. It’s just a little ways from the Port Charlotte area. This foodie adventure was an eye-opening experience that exposed me to yet another region of Florida I’ve yet to explore.
I was invited to attend this dinner in exchange for my honest review and sharing my experience with my readers. Full Disclosure
Our first stop of the night was Rum Bay Restaurant. This is one of the most unique dining experiences you will find in all of Florida because you can only get to this restaurant by boat! There is a water taxi that you can catch from the Leverock’s parking lot on the mainland for $6 or you can pay to drive your car onto the ferry and be transported over to the barrier island. I was so surprised to learn that there is a ferry that takes cars back and forth here in Florida. I typically think of that being something you see in northern states. If you’re feeling extra fancy you can dock your own watercraft there at the island as well free of charge during your dinner. It’s a very pleasant and scenic 20 minute ride from the water taxi dock to the restaurant.
Unfortunately it was a very rainy day so I couldn’t get great pictures. The water taxi is covered but you are still exposed to the elements and we got a little wet. If it’s raining it’s probably not the optimal time to plan for dinner unless you are already staying on the island. Most people who catch the car ferry are there to stay on the island for a while. I was told Palm Island is a really special place with lots of unspoiled secluded beaches. Sounds like a place I need to come back to for more exploration.
Once inside at Rum Bay, we started with cocktails and I opted for the Rum Bay Smash. This fruity concoction of rum and some other secret ingredients is the signature drink of the restaurant. What’s in it isn’t really important. Trust me, just order it and enjoy!
We were then treated to a plethora of appetizers. We had peel n’ eat shrimp, fried calamari, grilled bleu tomatoes, flash seared tuna, and the island chicken wings. The grilled bleu tomatoes were my favorite. They are “Thick Vine Ripe Tomato Slices Grilled and Topped with Bleu Cheese & Bacon and finished with a Balsamic Glaze Drizzle”. Sooo good. The menu is quite extensive. Although we didn’t have dinner there, the other items all sounded very tempting. Check out the full menu here.
After a great time of laughing and being merry it was time to catch the water taxi back to the mainland for dinner at Leverock’s. Guest who are staying on the island frequently catch the water taxi over to Leverock’s as well. Leverock’s sits right on the water and the main dining area offers fantastic views of the boat slips and the waterway. It was especially nice to look out and see all of the boats strung with Christmas lights.
For dinner, I selected the lobster, shrimp, and scallop pasta. All of that fresh shellfish is tossed in a creamy lobster sauce with angel hair pasta. It was very good and the portion was large.
Pictured below is the gulf shrimp and grit cake. This was the other dinner selection available for the evening. They certainly know how to make an appetizing plate. Although our dinner was a pre-selected menu you can view the full menu of offerings here.
The star of the night was dessert. We had a choice of chocolate Creme Brulee, Creme Brulee with Bailey’s, or a bread pudding. The all looked simply divine. For this foodie adventure I had to opt for the dessert I’ve never experienced before. The creme brulee with Bailey’s Irish liqueur was amazeballs! I love Bailey’s and I love creme brulee so this was heaven for me.
Our waiter suggested we top off our Creme Brulee with a splash of Grand Marnier. I hadn’t seen that done before but hey, when in Rome…. I’m just going to go on record right now and say that Grand Marnier is magic in a bottle and it makes everything tastes better. This dessert was eyes-roll-in-the-back-of-your-head, make-indecent-sounds kind of good. Seriously, I felt like I should get a room. It was a fantastic evening of great food, great service, and great conversation. How I managed to roll myself back to Tampa after such a decadent night I will never know.
Palm Island has definitely peaked my interest. Sorry “snow birds”; you can’t have all of the fun. Your secret is out! I’m looking forward to exploring more of this region and most definitely the island life. A repeat meal or 2 (or 3) at both Rum Bay and Leverock’s wouldn’t hurt either!
Lauren G. , Outdoorsy Diva™
“Adventure is a lifestyle.”