Non-seafood foodies can stop reading because what I have to say won't interest you. Last night, I had the BEST seafood dinner in a long time, if not ever. My mouth is still watering from the scrumptious feast.
I took my Mom to Peace River Seafood on Hwy. 17 in Punta Gorda for blue crabs and shrimp. It's an absolute Florida cracker crab shack in an old Florida Cracker House. Out back is a petting zoo with goats, bunnies, chickens and ducks and a black pirate flag with the white skull and cross bones reading "Surrender the Booty." The porch has a parrot greeting visitors (maybe it belongs to a pirate?).
Absolutely everything on the menu is seafood brought in daily by 17 fishermen and crabbers. It isn't fancy, it's the exact opposite. Come as you are is the best way to describe the atmosphere.
We opted to sit outside at one of the wooden picnic tables with the live entertainment (a guitar player) who serenaded us with Jimmy Buffet, Eagles and other acoustic/folk music.
The blue crabs (they're blue before being steamed) were the highlight complemented with a half pound of shrimp (they were giant!) and French fries. The seafood was seasoned with a special blend of spices, similar to Old Bay Seasoning.
Being our first time for blue crabs, we had our waiter show us how to peel and eat them. I'm not going to go into that, I don't remember the names of the parts but it's a lot of work and well worth it. The fun part was smashing the claws with the wooden mallet.
I'd advise wearing goggles for eye protection, and a bib for clothing protection. Indulging in the crab means you'll get messy. A roll of paper towels are at each table and a sink is conveniently located by the outside tables.
Friday and Saturday nights, all-you-can-eat blue crabs are $20 (except for holiday weekends). Half a dozen steamed blue crabs (called the Peace River Princess Plate) is $17.95 while a dozen (called Pirates Choice) is $32.95. The Boat Run Special (half a dozen mediums) is $10.95.
Half a pound of Dog Leg Shrimp (headless) is $9.95. A Night at Whorehouse Point, which is a pound of shrimp, a dozen clams and a dozen oysters is $24.95 - that's what I'm having next time.
Each day is a soup of the day but get there early, only one pot is made and it's gone when dinner rolls around. Fridays, it's gator gumbo - yum!
Peace River Seafood is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. but if you want crabs, get there before 7 p.m., they don't serve them after that. Reservations not taken. Dress is casual. On site is a seafood market, open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Peace River Seafood
5337 Duncan Road
Punta Gorda FL 33982
Tel: (941) 505-8440
Exit 164 off I-75.
Prices subject to change, check with the restaurant.