Quote of the Day

Friday, May 15, 2015

Beach Bar Without A Beach

Scribbled on a chalk board inside Rumba Island Bar and Grill at 1800 Gulf to Bay is this proclamation: Voted Best Beach Bar Without A Beach. Far be it for me to argue with that statement because Rumba has all of the elements for a great beach bar: island inspired food, good drinks, and live entertainment with indoor and outdoor seating.

My bride and I decided to give Rumba a try yesterday evening, so we left Gulf Boulevard and made our way to Gulf to Bay. Getting in to the Rumba parking lot from the direction of Clearwater was a bit of a challenge, especially with afternoon rush hour traffic. Coming from the Courtney Campbell Causeway would present no problem. I'm not complaining, this is just a heads-up.

There is valet parking, but we were able to park ourselves and headed for the hostess station. We were immediately greeted and given our choice of inside or outside. We chose to sit inside to avoid the afternoon heat and rush hour traffic fumes.

Joanna was our server who presented us with menus and took our drink orders. For sangria and select cocktails it was two for one happy hour, so Joanna proceeded to make us happy. I chose the rummy Rumba Libation while the Belle of Gulf Boulevard went with the red wine Sangria.

The only downside to Rumba's happy hour is the two drinks must be served at the same time. This means sucking down the first one pronto before the second gets watery. The Belle and I are experienced so we dealt with this situation in a professional manner.

We also decided that an appetizer might be a good idea so we requested an order of the Caribbean Skinny Onions with a jerk aioli. The onions were crispy and were enhanced with that amazingly flavorful aioli.

Our included house salads immediately followed, which was a bit of an annoyance since we had barely started on the appetizer. We made do by using the onions as a salad topping in lieu of croutons, and we had finished both by the time our entrees arrived.

For her it just had to be her most favorite fish in the whole world. The hog fish was crispy fried with a panko coating that elicited moans of delight from my dining partner.



Dinners come with two sides and my bride chose the garlic mashed potatoes and coleslaw. I tried a chunk of that hog fish and it was excellent.

Earlier I had seen the Rumba Trio while surfing on-line. I knew that the jerk wings, Barbados tender pork rib, and crispy fried shrimp would have to be mine...mine...mine.


The shrimp. rib, and wings were good, though the wings and rib stayed a little too long on the fire. For my sides I chose the Jamaican greens (collards) and the braised cabbage. While this plate of food was hardly real Jamaican jerk or veg, it was flavorful in an Americanized sort of way and very filling.

Rumba Island Bar and Grill is not a favorite of ours, but the food and drinks were adequate and the prices were reasonable: $61.67, and we tacked on an additional 20% for Joanna.

Rumba Island Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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