Guy Harvey is a German-born Jamaican, the founder of the conservation group The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, and a popular artist famous for dramatic aspect paintings of sea life. So what does he have in common with Farm-to-Table sustainable seafood? Not much, unless you are visiting St Petersburg, FL.
In the center of St Pete Beach, in the middle of the TradeWinds Island Resort, you’ll find a popular destination restaurant called The RumFish Grill. It is here that you’ll also find the area’s largest selection of Guy Harvey merchandise for men, women and children. From flip flops to head gear to highly acclaimed marine art, Guy Harvey’s signature style adorns far more than his iconic T shirts. Paired with some of the best seafood in town, the TradeWinds beach resort gift shop and restaurant features all things seaworthy.
I am not a fan of touristy Disneyesque resorts whose main purpose is to funnel sunburnt visitors in and out of merchandise-focused establishments. Have no doubt, this is a tourist destination. But there is something a bit different about RumFish.
RumFish boasts a “laidback feel and ocean-inspiring experiences” for out-of-town guests as well as locals. It has become a favorite of mine, as the restaurant sources whole fish from the Gulf of Mexico that chefs fillet on site. They also serve local sustainable seafood, including clams farm-raised and harvested straight from the waters of Bradenton Florida.
On my latest trip, I ordered the sautéed Florida clams off the bar menu. I found this to be a delightfully palatable pleasure and wanted more as I scraped the last bits from the bowl. With a mild briny flavor of the sea, these clams were extremely fresh, paired with a perfectly seasoned bath of roasted garlic, fennel pollen, lemon and white wine. Delish!
My wife Rachel sampled the tuna tartare, highly recommended by our bartender, but not offered on the menu. Fresh chunks of tuna, tossed in a citrus herb sauce, were presented in a mound atop radish slices, drizzled with a trio of sauces and served with sliced bread. Rachel enjoyed every last morsel and then used her leftover bread to soak up my leftover clam broth.
Local Catch Program
Prices are reasonable as well. And if you’re local to the region, the resort offers Local Catch program. Local Catch is a an additional sweet deal that gives local Florida residents a 15% discount on food, drinks, and store merchandise.
A 33,500-Gallon Aquarium
And if the Guy Harvey retail shop and fresh fish don’t get you excited, the ambience will. The RumFish Grill is home to three larger-than-life saltwater fish tanks, one of which is the famous 33,500-gallon aquarium featured on Animal Planet’s hit series, TANKED, and commissioned by the President of TradeWinds Island Resorts, Keith Overton, and Dr. Guy Harvey himself. The aquariums contain over 37 species of fish, most indigenous to Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. As stated on the Rumfish Grill website, the aquarium is home to “snook, grouper, tarpon, southern stingrays, and even a green moray eel. Lionfish, an invasive species now causing havoc on the reefs of Florida and the Caribbean, are featured in the predator tank in [the] bar area, too!”
With stunning backdrops of sea life and fresh, locally sourced seafood, I feel at home here. I have dined at the RumFish Grill on three occasions, and I am now hooked. So, it is safe to say that RumFish Grill is officially Fishmonger Approved. Put them on the list of places to dine for quality local fin-fare.