My Tripadvisor Review: The Friendly Fisherman Restaurant, Florida

Skip the Friendly Fisherman Restaurant at 150 John’s Pass Boardwalk in southwest Florida’s Madeira Beach. This very busy hole-in-the wall attracted us, as it does many, by it’s location over the St. John’s bustling seaside shopping boardwalk, and it has inviting windows facing the sound. With all those patrons parked at its pine tables and bench chairs, it must be great, right? Wrong. It is very middling at best, and everything on the menu is fried: fried halibut, fried clams, and fried scallops, with a side of French fried potatoes. The chef had to be a former Jiffy Lube mechanic: he sure knows how to work the grease.

We got a table by the window, but after the sun sets, it doesn’t matter—the restaurant is so brightly lit that you cannot see out anyhow. So we were left sitting at the window being peered upon by all the rathskallions along the boardwalk. We must appear like a fish tank full of hungry piranha, downing heaping plates of oily yellow "fish nuggets".

Our waitress, a bawdy middle-aged Ohio native, took our order of broiled mahi-mahi appetizer, which was the only nonfried appetizer on the menu. Hell, they even serve fried veggies! The mahi mahi was blackened to the point of overpowering, but we downed it all in preparation for a plate of fried clams that was the size of Long Island. Fortunately, we were bright enough to split the ginormous plate between the two of us. They added a $2.95 mandatory charge for splitting a single entrĂ©e, but you do get an extra empty plate, plus extra potato and small, dressing-drenched side salad. Even between the two of us, we could not down all the clams. I will confess, the clams were lightly battered, strips only, and were tasty. But if any single person can eat this entire $12 order of fried clams themselves, they ought to be presented the “I’m a gluttonous pig and my heart deserves to choke stop now” trophy for overt stupidity.

We have dined at so many truly unique places here in south central FL, and frankly, the cattle call at the Friendly Fisherman is like eating at a grimy Red Lobster. Not unique, not a creative item on the menu, and when you leave, you feel like your gut is going to bust from trans fat bloatedness. If your goal is to simply sling on the feed bag and chow on assorted crustaceans rolled mercilessly in batter, then The Friendly Fisherman is your ticket. This joint will likely get the golden Fry-o-later People's Choice Award as it appears, regrettably, that most American diners adore their seafood oily and corn-battered, judging by the average waist size at the Friendly Fisherman. I did not see anyone over the age of ten that had a waist size smaller than their height. I could hula hoop in their jean shorts.

If you are looking for something marginally healthy that is uniquely Florida, bypass this restaurant for any of the other great dining experiences that await you along the Gulf Road.

(belches clam grease) We wish we did.

This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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