Tapas at Europa South

Yesterday, my friend Kate was in the area for a wedding dress fitting. Since she lives up north and we don’t get to see each other too often, we decided to make a day of it.

We took a drive to Asbury Park to visit Matt at Taka (and indulge in their happy hour specials). Then, we went across the street to Cookman Creamery for some ice cream. I got cookie butter and lemon cookie. Kate got cookie butter, too, as well as peanut butter crunch with whipped cream. It was quite possibly some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had – so rich and creamy. Cookman Creamery also offers a wide variety of vegan and gluten free options, which is great!

The absolute highlight of our day, however, was dinner at Europa South in Point Pleasant. Kate and I really ended up there by accident, mostly because we both had to use the restroom. It was packed, but we got a small table in the bar area. They offer an extensive tapas menu (at the bar only) and we looked over everything carefully before picking three things to share: fried calamari, Prince Edward Island mussels, and pan amb oli with Serrano ham.

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We also ordered a half pitcher of white sangria and had a basket of fresh bread with butter. Everything was presented beautifully. The mussels were seemingly never-ending, cooked in a buttery white wine broth. The calamari was hot and crispy, served with a sweet chili sauce. Finally, the pan amb oli, might have been the tastiest thing on the table. There were thick pieces of Serrano ham atop fresh bread with olive oil, garlic, and tomatoes. Just wow.

While the food was incredible, it wasn’t even the best part of our experience. What we didn’t know when we walked in was that there was live music and dancing. It was wonderful to eat and chat while hearing a live singer and watching couples on the dance floor. And, better yet, the whole bill was only $44!

I definitely have to go back here with Matt. It would be perfect for a date night.

 

 

Sunset Dinners at The Shrimp Box

One of my favorite restaurants in Point Pleasant Beach is The Shrimp Box. It makes me think of summertime and good, homey seafood dishes. This afternoon, I went there with my mother for Palm Sunday. Unfortunately, Matt had to work today and couldn’t join us.

We had a reservation for a booth by the window, overlooking the harbor. The sun was shining and the breeze was gentle. It was a lovely view.

The best thing that The Shrimp Box offers, in my opinion, is their sunset dinners. They are available Sunday through Friday from 12PM to 6PM and on Saturdays from 12PM to 5PM. Your choice of entree includes a cup of clam chowder or salad bar, potato, vegetable, dessert, and beverage. I think it’s an excellent deal.

To start, we ordered fried calamari. It was light, crispy, and came with sides of marinara and chipotle sauce to dip. For my entree, I ordered the broiled seafood trio (shrimp, scallops, flounder) with a baked potato, and mixed vegetables. My mother ordered the stuffed twin fillets of flounder with mashed potatoes, and mixed vegetables.

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My seafood was cooked perfectly. The flounder was moist and flaked apart easily, the scallops were rich and sweet, and the shrimp was deliciously buttery. I literally couldn’t stop eating. The baked potato was cooked well, too, and I topped it with butter and herby sour cream. Yum!

By the time we were finished with our entrees, the waitress came and asked us what we would like for dessert. We told her up front we would definitely be taking it to go, but we had the following treats to pick from: carrot cake, chocolate cake, apple crumb, rice pudding, or Jell-O. I went with the carrot cake and my mother picked the apple crumb. I’m still too stuffed to eat it, but it will make a nice treat for later tonight!

I’ve never been disappointed at The Shrimp Box and always look forward to eating there.

Do you have any favorite local seafood restaurants? What do you like to get when you go there?