Nothing mars the vista ( had to! ) from this toes-almost-in-the water restaurant, the Mar Vista, where the food is fine but the ambiance is finest. Large black birds overhead in the oak--were they ravens?--amusingly and consistently gave vocal thumbs down to one's menu choices, as in "Nuh, uh, Nuh, uh."
( At left--you can arrive by boat, or simply pretend you did...)
We ambled around the old timey Fl wood building to the al fresco area at once, eschewing the stale beer charms of the bar. The original Jordan House, made of stone, and dating back to 1912, still stands as part of the little complex. Rufus Jordan was the earliest developer of Longboat Key, a barrier island roughly between Bradenton and Sarasota. During the Hurricane of 1921 that caused damage along the West Coast, the house stood strong.
From the late 1890's into the early 1900's, Mar Vista's old pier was a stopping off point for a steamboat named Mistletoe, that dropped off and picked up passengers and mail, and ferried crops grown on the Key--tomatoes, avocados, guava and citrus-- to Tampa. The 1921 hurricane, incidentally the last one to affect the Tampa Bay region, and resultant flooding effectively ended farming on the Key. ( For a look at more Key history, explore the Longboat Key Historical Society.)
Lunch? Tasty, fine, nothing terribly out of the ordinary. The grilled blackened grouper sandwich was moist, the roll toasted. The crabcake, ditto. The Key Lime pie, shared, was authentic. Yum.