Monty’s in Coconut Grove has a bad reputation for their food, however after dining there last week I BEG to differ.
Well, one thing no one can argue is their breathtaking, view and “chilled out” atmosphere.
It’s weird that I never heard anything good about Monty’s because, my mom and I ALWAYS eat and drink there during her visits(which is at least twice a year). This bay-side restaurant is right on the water, has a convenient lot next door for FREE parking and there is much outdoor seating available. As for the inside, they could easily, accommodate a small village. Outside there are gazebos if you want some shade but, if you are looking to work on your tan, you are more than welcome to sit at one of the cabin like wooden tables in the blazing, sun. They also, recently added a new bar with high top tables that are basically on the marina to provide customers with an even closer view of the water, which is totally,romantic for sunsets. I guess they cannot be doing that bad.
The vibe is extremely laid back. One of the downsides to this is that sometimes the servers feel like they are just as much on vacation as their usual jet-setting clientele. The service could be a little better, however our waitress was extremely sweet during our experience. This place is ideal for anyone taking a beach, or boat break. It is so casual here that 90% of the food is served on plastic plates or bowls. I don’t find it bothersome because, I was after all wearing a cover up and just wanted a satisfying lunch after my long morning the beach.
We walked above the little bridge into the outdoor entrance and were greeted by the bartender who told us to sit where ever we would like. There was no clear host, however one waitress guided us to a table and gave us menus when we sat down. We felt super touristy since we were the only people sitting outside without shade hopeful of getting tan. When our waitress asked us what we wanted to drink, we went for their house “pain removers.” The name is pretty self explanatory. After about 2 you’re as happy as a Katy Perry music video. You have the option of ordering a pain remover from levels 1-3 (according to how much pain you are in). We went for the level 2 because, we are champions and my mom was on vacation…and I felt like I was too. It is the most appropriate choice for anyone who wants a refreshing, summer drink. The pleasant thing about this drink is that it was not too sweet, like most sinfully delicious cocktails. Pain removers contain rum, cream of coconut, pineapple and orange juice on ice in 16oz. cups. I don’t think anyone could be in pain after 2 or 3 of these..not even Kurt Cobain (love ya man).
This menu is your typical, every day, American seafood joint. Unfortunately, these standard seafood places feel the need to cater to every boring, standard palette so they naturally offer, overly fried crud like mozzarella sticks, and popcorn shrimp and of course irresistible American favorites, like addicting jalapeno poppers,buffalo wing and nachos. Their menu is almost as large as the textbook at Cheesecake Factory. Dishes vary from BBQ classics and Hot Dogs to Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches and Taco Salads…that just seems awkward to me. Since my mom and I are practically pescatarians we were more interested in their seafood and no, I do not consider dolphin fingers as seafood. I’m talking about the REAL fish, like the creatures that actually, taste like their ocean homeland.
We unable to make it to the Bahamas this summer, so we felt obligated to order our favorite treat Conch Fritters (what a great excuse to indulge into these fried snacks). Perhaps, if we closed our eyes while biting into the conch maybe we could teleport to Harbour Island….it did not work, but the taste reminded us of our precious, memories we have on that Island. I have tried A LOT of these fritters, hoping I can find one similar to the ones in the Bahamas and I am pleased to announce that Monty’s is the winner. I mean it’s no homemade, off the boat, out of the pretty pink shell, Habour Island conch but, it’s pretty damn close. They were not over fried and BLACK like many I have received. Instead, they were attractively, crunchy and moist full of familiar Bahamian spices like the essential thyme many fritters often, forget. They came with a yummy, tartare and cocktail sauce. I never really eat cocktail sauce unless it’s with shrimp. With my Conch fritters I find the creamy dips much more complimentary (in the Bahamas they are typically served with a spicy mayo sauce). Yes, I obviously added tabasco to the tartare sauce but, in my opinion it DID need it. The appetizer came with about 7 or 8 and we ate them all…but after all I was on vacation with my mom….kind of…
We then ordered half a dozen Oysters and an appetizer portion of Stone Crabs (4). The Stone Crabs are explained on the menu as Floridian and fresh however, my most anticipated time of the year is currently on hold SO don’t be fooled by the “fresh” description . By “fresh” I am assuming they mean “freshly frozen.” They came with the oh so necessary velvety mustard sauce and melted butter but, like I said before, I am super into creamy sauces. Mustard sauce on Stone Crabs are the icing on the cake. Also, our drinks were running low so it was only valid for us to order another round.. you guys did not want me to melt out there ..right? I do remember our food taking much longer in the past, because I was extremely,surprised on how timely our chilled plates arrived. By chilled, I mean the ice on the plastic plates…not actually chilled plates. Remember, this is not Joe’s Stone Crab. mmm….Joe’s….
My mom and I were thrilled with the outcome of our lunch. We were in such awe of the oysters that we even ordered another half-dozen! Who can resist a genuinely delectable low-calorie cooling dish on a dazzling, heated day? ? I don’t know if it was because, the chilling aphrodisiac felt so refreshing or if it was the fact that these “zincy” pearls are like no calories and go down super smoothly well. We later found out that they were from Apalachicola. My mother liked these much better than the blue points she is used to eating at her home in Long Island. When the waitress came to retrieve our completely, cleared plates our satisfied stomachs refused desert (so you know I must have been full) even though she did rave about the Key Lime Pie…which I am intrigued to try since I make a bomb diggity version myself.
All in all I very much enjoyed my time there. We could tell it was surely a touristy spot but, I think more locals need to head over and at least order from the raw bar. I even brought my boyfriend a grilled Dolphin Sandwich to go, and he said it awesome-which means a lot since, him and I are becoming like Alex Guarnaschelli on Chopped. The only complaint I have is during our meal, when I asked the waitress for the carry out order a busser brought it over but, it was served in the “in-house” basket. When I told him I asked for it to go, he seemed extremely agitated. He did not say one word or explained anything he brought over the 3 different times he brought food over. I finally received the order in a box to go, about 7 minutes later. I am unsure why it took so long to simply empty the basket into a box while there were not that many other customers. He definitely needed to change his attitude, customers should not have to feel like a burden.
My suggestion to Grove locals is to give this place a try, especially for their top rated Happy Hour.
Every one deserves a second chance.
Alex thinks you should know:
There is a super trendy location in South Beach-with a pool
They have live music-Contact them about times
Miami New Times rated the Coconut Grove Happy Hour as one of the best in Miami (M-F 4-8)
The unbeatable HH has not only 1/2 off drinks, but $1 oysters, shrimps, clams & $3 stone crabs!!!! If that does not sell you, you are one hell of a prima donna