Wine Dine and Play: December 2016

Island Grille and Raw Bar

March 2018 review  /  December 2016 review

The local flavor on the Gulf Keys
Tierra Verde, Florida USA
Cuisine Style: Seafood
Average Price: $
Dined in: December 2016
By Sean Overpeck (CFE)
**A full article and index glossary of restaurants, wines, recipes and travel for 
Wine Dine and Play are in the pages section above, or by following these links:

At the southernmost point of the Saint Petersburg Peninsula on the Gulf of Mexico side is a group of keys that lead out the Gibraltar of Tampa Bay, Fort De Soto. A small key with an old fort built in 1898 during the Spanish American War to protect the area. Just before you reach this Mullet Key, but after you leave the confines of Boca Ciega Inlet, you will cross The Island of Tierra Verde, home to several condominiums and a few restaurants. The Island Grille is one of those restaurants that my wife has been to several times, and I have dined at once. This review is a combination of the many visits. 

Main review:
The Island Grille originally opened in 2010, and had such a large following of locals that they had to expand, and by 2016 opened at a new location in a building twice the size as the original. It is a restaurant with a laid back type of atmosphere where you can dine inside or two areas on the outside. One being at the bar and cocktail area where my wife and I like to sit, or in the outdoor area that has both tables and wicker style furniture with light blue cushions, and small tables to accommodate drinks and appetizers. There are also a few cocktail tables and beach chairs in a sandy area next to the water and a boathouse docking area where several locals park their boats year-round. The beach area leads to a small inner-coastal style waterway or inlet to the Gulf where the tide is always lower, and unless there is a storm, it is a perfect area year round.

When my wife and I diner at the grille, we sat at the bar as mentioned earlier, and enjoyed a nice breeze. It was in between meals so there were much fewer people, and the band had not even et up yet. The restaurant logo was a swordfish jumping out of the water, so this design was placed in pictures and sculpture in several areas around the dining room, bar, and outside areas.  

My wife started with Tito’s vodka martini from their menu, while I enjoyed a beer that my father had introduced me to years earlier from the oldest brewery in the United States called Yeungling. Later in the meal, my wife switched to a rosé, one of her favorite wines, and from the three on the menu, she had the 2015 Centine Banfi from Castello Banfi Winery Tuscan vineyards in Siena, Italy. From their website, the wine was a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. A complex and full bodied, very aromatic wine. The fresh, crisp character of this rosé is preserved by the screw cap closure and received an 88 by wine speculator. 

We ordered and shared the sushi oysters from the raw bar menu. A half dozen raw oysters topped with seaweed salad, sushi grade tuna and wasabi. We also added the upgrade of shrimp cocktail. Other appetizers on their list consist of smoked fish spread, mussels, chicken wings, calamari, and an item I have not seen before - grouper cheeks, blackened, grilled, or fried. I will have to try that the next time I visit.

Their salad and sandwich menu is very typical of an island or beach style Florida seafood restaurant with grouper, po’ boys, lobster sliders, and so forth. My wife on a later trip to the restaurant enjoyed a tuna wrap pictured below.

From their entrees, you could order assorted pasta dishes with chicken, seafood, or shellfish, Caribbean pork, or a tropical chicken stir fry dish pictured below.

We did not get dessert on this trip, however, they had a few options that looked really good to include the chocolate fudge cake and a drunkin’ bread pudding.

Please see these guidelines for Tipping in Restaurants and on following proper etiquette, customs, cultures, and avoiding assumptions when you dine out.

Other Noteworthy Seafood and Raw Bar Restaurant Favorites:
400 Beach Seafood and Taphouse Relaxed coastal cuisine in St. Petersburg, Florida
Alioto’s Restaurant Historic restaurant serving Sicilian-infused seafood in San Francisco, California
Bonefish Grill Contemporary 200+ chain with a seafood-centric menu; reviewed in St. Petersburg, Florida
Capt’n Jacks Waterfront Grille Waterside bar, w/laid-back tropical atmosphere, Tarpon Springs, Florida
Cobalt upscale locally sourced seafood eatery with ocean views in Vero Beach, Florida 
Copperfish Casual seafood eatery in Tampa, Florida
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood A Jazzy upscale seafood eatery chain in 9 States, review from Tampa, Florida
Fresco’s Waterfront Bistro Laid-back dockside spot for global eats in St. Petersburg, Florida
Hank’s Seafood A classy southern seafood eatery house in Charleston, South Carolina
Hyman’s Seafood Enduring southern seafood eatery in Charleston, South Carolina
Jack Dusty’s Nautical themed eatery with crafted cocktails and raw bar at the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota Florida
Jekyll Island Seafood Company New American seafood restaurant, Atlanta airport, Atlanta, Georgia
Moshulu New American dining on a restored ship in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Perla’s Seafood and Oyster Bar Laid-back Cape Cod-style seafood restaurant in Austin, Texas
Red Shrimp A Japanese / Emirati Cuisine beach-style restaurant at Bur Juman Mall, Dubai, UAE
Red Snapper Kiwi “fush n’ chups” takeaway restaurant in Sumner, New Zealand
Sandbar Restaurant A Chef driven seafood restaurant in the  City of Anna Maria Island, Florida
Sea-Guini Chic restaurant with seafood & Italian-inspired cuisine in Clearwater Beach, Florida
Sea Salt A Fine-dining and innovative seafood restaurant a with raw bar in St. Petersburg, Florida
Spinners Rooftop Revolving Bistro Buzzy seafood spot & 360-degree views in St. Pete Beach, Florida 
Squid Lips Eclectic and casual style seafood dishes in Melbourne, Florida 
Two Oceans Restaurant Seafood and sushi with panorama views of Cape Point, South Africa
Waterfront Restaurant and Craft Bar, Global seafood with a comfort feel, City of Anna Maria, Florida

See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary

Final notes, review basics, observations and more pictures:

Most reviews are subjective, depending on the writer; but they should also be responsible, and respectfully written, upholding the truth, and accurately conveying the experience to the best of the writer's knowledge, even if it includes metaphors the restaurant may not like to read about. My ratings are by the stars I award (from 0 to 5). The rating is calculated on a point accumulation of six separate factors based on individual experience. They include wine and other beverage selections, plate presentation, customer service, restaurant or café ambiance, food quality, and wow factor. To see more details of this rating list, read this article:

Overall from this experience, and the score factors outlined in the ‘about page’ section, based on my individual experience and rating, I give Island Grille a 2 out of 5 stars, meaning that they were far above the average dining experience of most restaurants. 
Scores are detailed in the factor chart below:

Formula Factor Conclusions and Overall Ratings
Max Points Possible:
Total Points Awarded:
Total Points deducted:
Food quality
Plate presentation
Customer service
Alcohol and other beverages
Total regular points awarded
Total percentage — less the Bonus


“Wow” factor BONUS
Total bonus percentage


Total percentage and bonus for a final star rating


Stars Awarded (see chart below)
             0 - 5

**A full break down and explanation of the observations and point disbursement is available in the linked article above. To receive a detailed copy of your score, feel free to contact me at any time and I will provide it to you.**


Overall Star Rating:
2 of 5 Stars: 
77% Rating with a 0 point “wow” bonus
Far Above The Average Dining Experience
Wine List:
Wine rating:
5 of 10
Old World selections: 
France, Germany, Italy

New World selections: 
Argentina, California, Chile, New Zealand, Oregon, Washington State
Corkage fees:
This Restaurant does not list any corkage fee’s however, most American restaurants charge 
$25.00 per bottle
Restaurant style:
Casual dining
Cuisine Style:
American, Seafood
Allergen or dietary accommodations: 
Local, Low Carb, Pescatarian, Sustainable, Vegetarian Options
Not Required
Dress code:
Casual attire
It’s Florida, everybody wears flip-flops!
Child policy:

The Restaurants reviewed on this site may have a kids menu or cater to them; however, for full enjoyment of food and wine, it is recommended that kids not to be in attendance, unless they have been trained in proper etiquette. 
If not then:
Hire a Babysitter! 
Lounge, Great bar, Great outdoor dining, Scenic views, and a Neighborhood Gem
Cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express
Public Lot
The restaurants reviewed on this site may have Wi-Fi, but do not require you to go online, because the excitement of the food and wine alone will keep you too entertained instead of checking your social media and emails.
Noise level:
Nonsmoking restaurant, with a smoking patio
Patio or terrace:

Food Prices 
(excludes, alcohol, taxes & 20% gratuity’s)

$£€¥ -                Under 50.00 (inexpensive)
$£€¥ x 2 -          51.00- 99.00 (moderate)
$£€¥ x 3 -          Over 100.00 (pricey)
$£€¥ x 4 -          Over 200.00 (expensive)

$£€¥ x 5 -          Over 400.00 (very expensive)

United States Dollar (USD)
Great Britain Pound Sterling (GBP)
Canadian Dollar (CAN)
Chinese Yuan (CNY)  
European Union (EUR)

Alcohol Prices:


Island Grille And Raw Bar:
210 Madonna Blvd 
Tierra Verde, Florida 
33715, USA

Contact Information: 

Maître d or host:
+1 727 767 0020
Restaurant website: The Island Grille
Serving hours:
Eastern Standard Time (GMT - 5:00)

Lunch: Mon-Sun
11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Dinner: Mon-Sun
5:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Happy Hour: Mon-Fri 
4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Email or webpage contact: Contact the Island Grill
Social Media 
Facebook link              

The worlds best restaurants is a subjective list of who is writing it and changes on a regular basis. The Wine Dine and Play best experiences are based on my highest rated stared restaurants, meaning that the visit was an outstanding or extraordinary experience. From cafés, chains, mom + pops, hole in the walls, to fine dining including a few Michelin spots. Visit the Top 100 page to see the entire list.

“Culinary perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, 
But in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”
-Angelique Arnauld (1591-1661)

Who is John Galt?


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