Floridians know their seafood.
In an area that’s packed with too many seafood restaurants to count, Coconut Jack’s manages to stand out, even to Florida natives who are used to high-quality freshness and an authentic atmosphere that won’t be met by just any seafood joint.
The restaurant, located off of Bonita Beach Road, is tucked against the bay with a parking lot that’s frequently so packed, employees of the restaurant must park off-location to make room for its many customers.
From the moment you enter the restaurant, the island vibe is clear in a way that leans toward classic rather than kitschy.
For a Florida girl, it seems like home, from its Coconut Jack’s products that make the entryway feel like a beach shop to the tropical paintings that line the walls.
The restaurant doesn’t take reservations and is particularly busy during season, which began mid-February and lasts through the summer months, so a wait upwards of half an hour is to be expected, particularly during peak lunch and dinner hours or on the weekend.
Not a beachy detail is left out, with reggae and country hits, like those of Jimmy Buffet, filling the speakers and happy go-lucky servers and hosts wearing Hawaiian shirts.
Though the indoor dining area is attractive in its own right, the best part about Coconut Jack’s is it’s outdoor seating which includes a covered tiki hut dining area and an open sun deck that quite literally allows you to eat on the water.
It’s so close that people drive their boats right up to the restaurant and can even be served on their boats per request.
Mirroring the beautiful scenery, in which people often see dolphins, manatees, fish, birds and sting rays, is a beachfront mural covering the outer deck that was painted by one of the servers.
At night the scenery is gorgeous as well, with twinkling lights that begin to shimmer once the sun goes down and Snook lights in the water so you see tons of catfish swimming below.
In a setting that looks as if you could catch your meal from where you’re sitting, freshness is imperative, and Coconut Jack’s doesn’t disappoint, offering a variety of fresh local seafood such as shrimp, lobster, fish and oysters.
The prices vary as well, with popular items like the shrimp basket priced at $15.95, the stuffed grouper entree at $32.95 and the king crab at $45.95 per pound or $89.95 for the 2.5-pound cluster.
Overall Coconut Jack’s is definitely worth the trip, especially if you’re wanting to make your Northern friends jealous.