Sunday, March 20, 2016

Yum Yum Yabba; Naples Dining

Bone-in rib eye with stone crab claws
Yabba Island Grill has been a mainstay on the trendy 5th Avenue South in Naples for its causal island cuisine and rousing nighttime scene. I remember many a nights dancing after dinner service to some of the area's best DJ's.

But over the years, the party vibe has faded and a more family friendly atmosphere embraced. The changes have continued with a recent upgrade in aesthetics and tweaks to the menu.

Seared Ahi appetizer
Gone are the bright green colors, in are comforting blue tones and dark wood in this $300,000 renovation project. Fabric still draps the ceiling of the main restaurant and bar while the front dining room has a more cozy romantic feel.

New, inventive hand crafted cocktails are teasing, tempting and pleasing; basil lemon drop, balsamic berry blast and green chile gimlet to name a few. The wine list has also been updated with mostly reasonably priced selections form around the world.

While the menu is still loaded with fresh seafood, the restaurant is branding itself as a casual, affordable steakhouse...with a bit of island flair. I recently enjoyed a meal that included juicy, salty oysters, seasonal stone crab claws and a beautiful, tasty ahi tuna appetizer.

For a main course I shared a seared wahoo served with seasonal vegetables, as well as steak medallions topped with a rich and creamy combo of crab and shrimp; one of the many new steak and seafood combo's Yabba is now offering. Both dishes were keepers.

If it's been awhile since you've been to Yabba, it's time you go back and check out the changes.

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