City Seafood: An Everglades Seafood Shack that Fries Fish Right
Everglades City, 30 miles or so southeast of Naples, Fla., is full of seafood restaurants serving similar menus, heavy on things fried. City Seafood — an overgrown seafood "shack" where you order at the counter, wait for your number to be called, then chow down on picnic tables on an open-air terrace or in a big, plain dining room cooled by ceiling fans — stands out simply because everything is fried to order, and the fry cooks really know what they're doing.
The restaurant offers burgers, hot dogs, Cuban sandwiches, Buffalo chicken wraps, deep-fried corn on the cob, and other non-marine items, but the thing to get here is fried grouper "fingers" (actually small fillets), shrimp, oysters, or conch. In season there are also fried soft-shell blue crabs and a blue-crabcake sandwich. Stone crab claws are also served, again in season. Oh, and there's fried gator, if you must. The grouper is especially good, lightly battered, fried perfectly crisp, not oily at all. The fries that come with fried seafood baskets are OK, but the onion rings ($2 extra) are better. The smoked fish dip is reportedly delicious, but it's never been available when I've stopped by. A small selection of undistinguished beer and wine is sold.