Bahama Mama's motto is: "If it swims in Florida waters, we get it from Florida waters." The owner is a lifelong Florida resident and fisherman.
The open, airy dining space of this Clematis Street eatery, which opened last November, is spackled with bright whites and blues alongside weather-worn wooden tables. The large, U-shaped bar is a destination all its own, the perfect place to slurp down a signature tropical drink, from the standard Bahama Mama to the restaurant's specialty version of the rum-heavy "pain killer." Calypso music chimes softly in the background.
The menu covers land and sea for reasonable prices. Dishes meld traditional Florida staples and Bahamian-style specials. All-star appetizers include crispy cracked conch (an entrée-sized helping of fritters the size of a fist), and tender ceviche-style salad in a tangy, spicy lime bath. There are also a few surprises, like lobster-cargo: lobster in puff pastry and topped with herb-infused butter.
Entrées highlight Florida seafood, with pan-cooked local snapper, grouper, and spiny lobster. A favorite: lobster tacos with mango, onions, and goat cheese served with island-style mac 'n' cheese. Landlubbers need not fret: The menu also features steak, chicken, and pasta and even a homemade personal pizza — given an island twist when topped with conch and lobster.