If You Don't Know How to Crack a Blue Crab, They'll Show You How at Peace River Seafood in Punta Gorda, Fla. Exploring and enjoying Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands works up an appetite. Luckily, the area offers a bountiful selection of restaurants ranging from fine dining to casual eats. From Placida to Port Charlotte to Punta Gorda, here's a list of some of those restaurants offering a bit of character with every tasty bite. Fishery Restaurant A casual swim-in, boat-in eatery located in the historic fishing village of Placida. The Fishery was used as a location for the feature film "Out of Time" starring Denzel Washington and is owned and operated by longtime Placida residents and artists Garry Albritton and his wife, Margaret. Come hungry because portions are hefty. Don't miss the smoky fish spread, alligator bites, Grouper Grande and save room for the Orange Key Lime Pie. (13000 Fishery Road, Placida; Tel: 941-697-2451) Ice House British Pub Have you ever dined in an 1890s ice plant? As the name implies, the Ice House British Pub is located in the former Punta Gorda Ice Plant which is on the National Register of Historic Places and served as an ice plant for the fishing industry back in the day. If ya have a hankering for fish and chips, cottage pie or bangers and mash, this is the place. Also try their flights of beer and give it a go with the darts…not necessarily in that order. (408 Tamiami Trail, Punta Gorda; Tel: 941-575-0866) Peace River Seafood For fresh boat to table seafood, this is it. Located in an authentic Florida Cracker House with its own parrot, there's something therapeutic about whacking a blue crab claw with a wooden mallet after a long workday. In addition to blue crabs, don't miss Peace River Seafood's shrimp, fried mullet (with mustard and tartar sauce), soup of the day and gumbo. (5337 Duncan Road, Punta Gorda; Tel: 941-505-8440) Visani Restaurant and the Comedy Zone "Cool! I’ve always wanted to perform in Hogwarts!", comedian Steve Hofstetter said several years ago during his act at Visani's. Talk about character. Not only does Visani have it on the exterior – it looks like a castle – but inside, too, with a new character lineup each week. It's been rated Florida’s top comedy club for years and plays host to comedy’s biggest names. Visani is also a great Italian restaurant serving affordable, tasty and HUGE portions. Trust me, no one will go hungry and your gut will hurt from all the laughing. If standup comedy isn’t your thing, you can dine without seeing a show. (2400 Kings Hwy, Port Charlotte; Tel: 941-629-9191) That's our short list of restaurants with character. For a complete list of where to eat, visit our dining section. What are some of your favorite dining spots in Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands?
About the Charlotte Harbor Gulf Island Coast
Florida's premier year-round eco-tourism destination, Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach, The Charlotte Harbor Gulf Island Coast, is known for its pristine, unspoiled beauty. The area has hosted seven major feature films, been featured on SAIL magazine's list of the "10 Greatest Places to Sail in the United States," ranked by Golf Digest as the "Third Best Place to Live and Play Golf in America," and rated by MONEY magazine as one of the "Best Places to Live in the South." For information about area events, activities and attractions, contact the Charlotte Harbor Gulf Island Coast Visitor and Convention Bureau, 18500 Murdock Circle, Suite B-104, Port Charlotte, FL; 941-743-1900, or call toll free at 1-800-652-6090 for a free Visitor's Guide; or visit the Web site at CharlotteHarborTravel.com.