Wine Dine and Play: Hooked Island Grill

Hooked Island Grill

The logo to the Hooked Island Grill restaurant in Matlacha, Florida

The atmosphere And Service, Will Have You Hooked
Matlacha, Florida, USA
Cuisine Style: Seafood
Average Price: $$
Overall Rating: 2/5
Dined: October 2019

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:

Hooked Island Grill Zomato rating:

Island Cafe on the Bay Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Hooked Island Grill is a waterfront seafood restaurant formally called the Island Cafe on the Bay was bought by Husband-and-wife team Scott and Barb Koenig in 2017 after they settled in the area from Wisconsin. When driving down Pine Island Road if it wasn’t for the sign, you would not even see it, but once inside you have found a hidden gem in Matlacha that brings back locals and tourists both. The patio faces out to the Matlacha Pass where every seat has a sunset view or if you prefer dining indoors you have a nautical theme and a vibrantly active bar scene. Besides the convivial dinners with live local bands, they also feature a Sunday brunch with large a Bloody Mary bar. 

Hooked Island Grill Menu:
    • Starters
    • Salads and Soups
    • Sandwiches, Wraps, and More
    • Dinner Entrees
    • Desserts

My wife and I sat at the outside bar and nibbled on a few foods, but mainly drank as we enjoyed the sunset and the band. Almost enjoyable as the band was a patron with turtle tattooed onto his head. Oh, Florida!!

locals enjoy a night out at Hooked Island Grill in Matlacha, Florida including a man with a tattoo of a turtle on his head.
Hooked Island Grill / Turtle Head

My wife had the house Sauvignon blanc, while I had a few different varieties of beer. The wine list is a basic red or white choosing from basic producers that manufacture cheaper wines on a large industrial scale. If the crowd of people you get is not wine drinkers or sophisticated in wine drinking, then why go through the trouble of making a wine list or hiring a Sommelier, when the two-buck-chuck fills the slot. The beer list had your typical name brands plus a few IPA’s of interest. Unfortunately they were from out of state but still smaller breweries. One great thing about Florida is that it has several smaller microbreweries that more people should pay attention to and ask for at their local restaurants.

I began with the Pumpkinhead beer by Shipyard Brewing Company from Portland, Maine. According to the beer makers tasting notes, the Pumpkinhead is a crisp, refreshing wheat ale with delightful aromatics and subtle spice flavor. The malt style is a pale ale, with whole wheat, and Munich Light that was first brewed in 1995. Considering it was October, the beer fit the Halloween theme. The next beer was the RESIN IPA by Sixpoint Brewery in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The ingredients include Chinook and Centennial Hops, with tons of resin and pine notes, for a massively complex hop bouquet.

A chalk board listing of all beers on tap at the Hooked Island Grill in Matlacha, Florida
Hooked Island Grill / Beers on Tap

The bartender recommended the special black bean hummus appetizer over the other starters from the menu which included a red pepper hummus, gator bites, smoked fish spread, and a yummy-sounding baked brie topped with mango salsa. The black bean had a very rich flavor probably from the added fat of the olive oil when being pureed plus the roasted garlic pieces. The tahini was barely noticeable at all. The dish was served with fried pita chips.

The black bean hummus appetizer special at Hooked Island Grill in Matlacha, Florida is served with fried pita chips
Hooked Island Grill / Black bean hummus

The next item was a side of rosemary garlic roasted potatoes and a small house salad with cucumber, shredded carrot, cherry tomatoes, and purple cabbage. What made the salad was blue-pomegranate dressing, served separately so that you could blend both or just use one, whichever you preferred. The blue cheese was a basic blended possibly a pre-packaged dressing from a major manufacturer as it did not have a house-made taste or crumbles of blue in it. The pomegranate dressing was very sweet, with a hint of acidity from some vinegar. The potato side dish did not have the crispiness I expected from an oven-roasted potato, but more as if it had been wrapped in aluminum foil, and then baked. The flavor and taste were very nice, but the potatoes were a little mushy as if the moisture was not able to escape during the cooking process. 
Rosemary roasted potato side dish at Hooked Island Grill in Matlacha, Florida
Hooked Island Grill / Roasted Potato

For my entree, I had a take on the classic Reuben sandwich on rye bread with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and thousand island dressing. They did use coleslaw instead of sauerkraut which was an interesting taste, and in place of traditional corned beef brisket, the sandwich was called the Gruben, loaded with a local fresh catch of Florida grouper, lightly blackened, then placed into the sandwich, with a side serving of a vegetable medley. The crust of the bread had a nice fennel flavor, and the sauce was not overindulged as some Rueben sandwiches have a tendency to be. The grouper flavor went great with the slaw and cheese, plus the slaw gave the sandwich a crispier texture where sauerkraut would not have done the same. I missed the flavors of kraut, but this slaw was a good way to change up a sandwich for the more pronounced flavor profile, so good job to the person that made the sandwich and added it to the menu. 

The Gruben sandwich which is a play on a classic rueben sandwich but instead of corned beer, you add blackened Florida grouper with cole slaw and thousand island with Swiss cheese on rye bread at Hooked Island Grill in Matlacha, Florida
Hooked Island Grill / Gruben sandwich

If this type of sandwich is in your favorites lists they also offer burgers, chicken, fish tacos, BLT, quesadillas, and wraps. Or you can go for the full dinner entree menu with soft shell crab, lobster ravioli, mahimahi or sirloin steak. While enjoying our food the sun went down, every table was occupied, the band played some classic hits from the 70s and 80s, and the manager came out on several occasions to strike up a conversation with us. Overall I would label it to be a good experience until dessert came.

We were sold on the fudge overload dessert which ended up being the more disappointing part of the night because we were told that it was house-made. When we ate it, we could taste the preservatives, and the heat coming from it smelled and tasted like it came out of a microwave. It hit the spot to fulfill a sugar rush, but nothing more. Maybe if it was actually a house-made dessert, our opinion would be different. The worst thing about that part of the experience is that it was the manager selling us on it when he above all others should know to not do that. Don’t false advertise a product, especially when you don’t know who your audience is. My wife and I between us have been involved in some aspect of the food and wine industry for nearly twenty years each, and my wife had an impeccable palette that blows mine out of the water.

A fudge dessert called the overload at Hooked Island Grill in Matlacha, Florida
Hooked Island Grill / Fudge overload dessert

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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 ambience, 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 Hooked Island Grill a 2 out of 5 stars, meaning that they were far above the average dining experience of most restaurants. The score would have been higher if it were not for the disappointing untruth about the dessert from the manager.

Scores are detailed in the factor chart below:

Formula Factor Conclusions and Overall Ratings for Hooked Island Grill
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: 
76% Rating with a 0 point “wow” bonus
Far Better Than An Average Dining Experience
Corkage fees:
Hooked Island Grill does not list any corkage fee’s however, most American restaurants charge $25.00 per bottle
Casual dining
Cuisine Style at Hooked Island Grill:
Allergen or dietary accommodations: 
Gluten-free choices, Local, Low Carb Choices, Pescatarian, Vegetarian Options
Not Required
Accepted, but not guaranteed
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! 
Hooked Island Grill Experiences:
Trendy, Lounge, Hotspot, Great bar, Great outdoor dining, Good for special occasions, Rustic, Scenic views, Great brunch, Hole-in-the-wall, Tourist grabber, and a Neighborhood Gem.
Cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express
Hooked Island Grill has a private 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:
Hooked Island Grill is a non-smoking restaurant with a non-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)

**Currencies reflect the world’s major travelers, restaurant, or wine connoisseur’s**

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

 Alcohol prices:

$36.00 USD

Hooked Island Grill:

4200 Pine Island Road, 
Matlacha, Florida 33993

Contact Information: 

Restaurant website:
Maître d or host:
+1 239-540-3463
Website Contact:

Email Us:

Serving hours:
Eastern Standard Time
(GMT, Zulu, or UTC - 5:00)
Mon - Fri
11:00 am - 9:00 pm
9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Social Media 
Accolades for Hooked Island Grill:
Hooked Island Grill Facebook link                

The world’s 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.

A few to tease you with…
Rodízio buffet and churrascaria
 Niagara, Canada
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Savannah & Charleston, South Carolina, USA
German Bites in Bavarian-style Tavern 
Ruskin, Florida, USA

Other Hooked Island Grill Pictures:

A tourist sign of a shark saying to send more so that they can be eaten outside the Hooked Island Grill in Matlacha, Florida
Hooked Island Grill / Tourists

The dining room at Hooked Island Grill in Matlacha, Florida is a nautical theme
Hooked Island Grill / nautical dining room

The patio deck at Hooked Island Grill in Matlacha, Florida faces the Matlacha Pass and the Gulf of Mexico for perfect sunset views
Hooked Island Grill / Patio deck

The local band plays at Hooked Island Grill in Matlacha, Florida
Hooked Island Grill / The band plays

The black bean hummus special dish with pita bread at the Hooked Island Grill in Matlacha, Florida
Hooked Island Grill / black bean hummus

The house salad with a blue cheese and pomegranate dressing at the Hooked Island Grill in Matlacha, Florida
Hooked Island Grill / House salad

A local band prepares to play at the Hooked Island Grill in Matlacha, Florida
Hooked Island Grill / The local band

The dining room at the Hooked Island Grill in Matlacha, Florida
Hooked Island Grill / Dining room

“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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