Florida has so many iconic foods: key lime pie, the Cuban sandwich, shrimp, stone crab claws. But then there’s the grouper sandwich. We’ll stand back and you begin to drool just thinking about one. The firm but flaky white fish can stand up to grilling, blackening and deep-frying. And once you place that cooked filet on the perfect bun along with fresh tomato, some crisp lettuce and … oh, we can’t take it anymore!
Here are just a few of the many great places for grouper sandwiches in Florida, based on food fans and reviews found online. Did we miss your favorite? Email us at [email protected] with the tasty details.
Frenchy’s Original Cafe, Clearwater Beach
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The beaches of Pinellas County are dotted with locations of this favorite seafood cafe, but we have a soft spot in our hearts for the original location. You’re welcome to start with their “Original Grouper Sandwich” (deep-fried in a seasoned batter), but you also most sample both the buffalo grouper sandwich and the mighty grouper Reuben (on toasted marble rye with sauerkraut, swiss and thousand-island dressing).
41 Baymont St Clearwater Beach, FL 33767 frenchysonline.com
Dockside Dave’s, Madeira Beach
You could order something other than a grouper sandwich at Dockside Dave’s, but people will probably give you a funny look. This super-casual cafe was built on grouper, which is served in huge portions here. Try it blackened, which seems to be the fan favorite at Dave’s.
14701 Gulf Blvd Madeira Beach, FL 33708 docksidedavesmadeira.com
Grouper & Chips, Naples
Grouper is such a foundation here, it’s in the cafe’s name and it’s featured in a special FAQ on their website. (Want to know the difference between a “gag” and a “scamp?” Here you go.And if you’d like to try your fish without the buns, Grouper & Chips offers its grouper sautéed, in a bouillabaisse, in a basket, on a platter and atop a salad.
338 9th St N Naples, FL 34102 grouperandchips.net
Big Ray’s Fish Camp, Tampa
Fans of Big Ray’s rave about the fried grouper sandwich, but equal love pours out for the garlic-parmesan fries here. If you want the over-the-top grouper sammy experience, order the grouper BLT served between two Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
6116 Interbay Blvd Tampa, FL 33611 bigraysfishcamp.com
Fish Shack, Pompano Beach
Sorry, Pompano, but your secret is out. The Fish Shack’s fried grouper sandwiches, oysters, lobster tail sandwiches and cold beer keeps the seats in this tiny restaurant full.
2862 NE 17th Ave Pompano Beach, FL 33064 fishshacklhp.com
Big Water Fish Market, Siesta Key
Be patient and prepared to wait for a seat at Big Water Fish Market, where its grouper sandwich has been stacking up the awards in recent years. Fish stew, crab cakes and stone crab claws are also faves here, but same room for their famous key lime pie.
6641 Midnight Pass Rd Sarasota, FL 34242 bigwaterfishmarket.com
Peg Leg Pete’s, Pensacola Beach
Peg Leg’s is first and probably foremost an oyster mecca, so start your meal at this party palace with an oyster shooter (either inside a beer or vodka shot), then maybe split a dozen raw ones (or buffalo blue style) with the table. Now you’re ready for that sandwich with fresh chargrilled grouper, served with rice pilaf, sugar snap peas, garlic toast and dill sauce. Hey, you’ve had enough french fries by now!
1010 Fort Pickens Rd Pensacola Beach, FL 32561 peglegpetes.com
Schooners, Panama City Beach
The view of the beach here probably would make a can of tuna fish and two slices of Wonder Bread taste amazing. Still, hold out for the gulf-fresh grouper, served grilled, fried or blackened. Then toast the sunset with a Voodoo Punch, the Schooner’s mix of light rum, dark rum, grenadine, orange juice and pineapple.
5121 Gulf Dr Panama City, FL 32408 schooners.com
The Snook Inn, Marco Island
The line for a table can be long at The Snook Inn, but if you were any closer to the water, you’d need a life preserver. Here the most requested sammy, they say, is naturally the grouper. We recommend the beer-battered and deep-fried version. (And we love the black beans and rice as a side!)
1215 Bald Eagle Dr Marco Island, FL 34145 snookinn.com
The Square Grouper Bar and Grill, Cudjoe Key
About 20 miles before you hit Key West, you’ll find the Square Grouper Bar and Grill on Cudjoe Key, where key lime pie, conch fritters and house-smoked fish dip are mandatory. But save room for the namesake grouper here, served pan-sauteed and topped with onion rings.
22668 Overseas Highway Cudjoe Key, FL 33042 squaregrouperbarandgrill.com
Beachside Seafood, Jacksonville Beach
Start with Beachside’s smoked fish dip and the peel-and-eat Mayport shrimp. Okay, now you’re ready for the grouper, served your way alongside a pair of hush puppies. (Hey, who ate my hush puppies?)
120 3rd St S Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250 beachsideseafoodrestaurant.com
Fish on Fire, Orlando
Fish on Fire is a “cook your catch” spot, so feel free to bring in your grouper straight from the fishing boat. If you’d rather have the chefs do all the work, try the Caribbean jerk style on your fresh grouper (or cobia, amberjack, yellowtail snapper or mahi) along with a basket of “Shrimp on Fire” (shrimp with jalapeno and cheddar cheese, wrapped in bacon).
7937 Daetwyler Dr Orlando, FL 32812 fishonfireorlando.net