Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Best Beach Food: Manasota Key

Dining in a beach town is always fun; wondering if you're going to hit the jackpot or be stuck with tourist prices, poor service and/or mediocre food. I hit the jackpot at Lock N Key Restaurant in Englewood, FL on Manasota Key.

I went to Lock N Key (LNK) for a live broadcast, promoting their entertainment, quirky happy hour and fabulous food. As the sun set, a table was pulled  under our broadcast tent outside, the continuously filled with food.
LNK is right across the street from the beach, with a long front porch full of bar-stools. They are almost always full. Don't be deceived into thinking that is the wait to get in, people love to sit outside at the beach. The restaurant is quite large inside and has a separate outdoor dining area, under cover.

The popular Pull-Tab Happy Hour is a game of chance that can score you big discounts on your drinks. You can see by the Pull-Tab on the left, that my drink was only 50-cents. The prices are good for ANY drink, even the premium stuff. Other pull tab options include, half-off and full-price to name a couple.

Once our drinks came, we set our sights on appetizers. Out came delicious discs of mozzarella in marinara sauce ($10), crispy Coconut Tempura Shrimp ($12) and messy Pulled Pork Nachos ($12). The cheese on the nachos is a special, creamy cheddar blend, made fresh to order.

We got the Spicy Maryland Style Crab Cakes ($11) sauteed instead of fried. Don't be scared, the spice was mild. I particularly enjoyed the Oysters Manasota ($12) made with bacon, onions, peppers and swiss. The Shrimp Belvedere had our mouths watering. It was stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon, with a little broccoli on the side to make us feel more healthful.
The fish we tried was outstanding. The blackened Hogfish with mango salsa had a great kick. The Snapper Provencial had the perfect balance of herbs, cheese and veggies. The one pound Lobster was almost too beautiful to eat but we dug in like champs. Speaking of champs, the 16oz Prime Rib ($21) was some of the best I've had; juicy and buttery. The seasoned New York Strip was sprinkled with a homemade blend of salt and pepper that was the perfect accompaniment to my glass of Shiraz.

Whatever you do, save room for LNK homemade desserts. People from across the country come back for pumpkin bread, Cocount Cream Pie, ice cream pies and other signatures. The Coconut Cream is full of sweet creamy custard on a flaky homemade crust. The Keylime pie's tart custard is on a walnut, graham cracker crust. Put a fork in me. I'm officially done!

This beach restaurant has it all; a casual outside for those in beach attire, a classy inside for those who've showered, live entertainment, affordable prices, quality food, a caring kitchen staff, attentive servers and gracious, fun-loving owners. Bravo!
Lock & Key Restaurant on Urbanspoon


  1. You are the Rachael Ray of SW FLORIDA! :)

  2. Thanks Gina!!! So glad you enjoyed our place! Looking so forard to having you all back again real soon!!!

  3. LOVED this post! My family and I take an annual trip to Englewood at the beginning of June and the LNK is one of out MUSTS when we go there. We go at east twice during our week stay. I am so glad to see others appreciate it as well.

  4. Lock n Key rocks! Great food, great entertainment, and the owners, Sue and Rocket, are awesome!

  5. LOCK N KEY is ONLY the BEST place to dine & drink in Englewood (southwest FL for that matter!!!). Top knotch entertainment, great service all around, wonderful food always & the most rockin' owners on the planet :0) 'the Lock' stole our hearts 16 years ago! xoxox

  6. Best place in town, great food and excellent service.
    Tom and Maddy
    Englewood, Fl

  7. Wendy Wier
    Best food and service anywhere in Englewood.

  8. We enjoyed a terrific dinner on New Year's Eve. Excellent food, remarkable service, one of the Very Best in Englewood!