• Lisa Marie

Monty's Raw Bar: Flavorful Bar Food with a Culinary Finish

Monty's Raw Bar has been a part of the Miami food scene since 1969. It's a waterfront tiki hut with cool ocean breeze and American bar food with a Florida - Caribbean twist. It has a relaxing atmosphere with live music, a fun staff, and ocean views from every seat.

Interestingly enough, my husband and I have lived in Florida for almost thirty years and last week was our first time going to the iconic Monty's Raw Bar. When we arrived, the waterfront tiki hut felt like the true Florida life that you typically see in Key West. It reminded me of a carefree casual eatery where you can enjoy good food, hearty laughs with friends, and gaze at the ocean as you remind yourself of all the reasons that you chose to live in Florida.

My husband and I chose a table by the water and ordered our drinks. I ordered the pina colada and my husband ordered the margarita. Our server, Mark, brought our drinks to the table. At first, I thought that he brought the wrong drink to the table because my pina colada was pink. He immediately saw the confusion in my eyes and shared that Monty's is honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month so they are making pink coladas to support the cause. Monty's is also donating 10-15% of all frozen drink proceeds to support Breast Cancer Awareness for the remainder of October. It is really nice to see a restaurant take the initiative to support such an important cause. I began to sip my pink pina colada, but my sips quickly turned into gulps because their pina colada was absolutely amazing! It was made with natural juices and flavors. The combination was a perfect blend, and I was so glad that it wasn't draped with syrups or a heavy sugary taste. The combination of the ocean breeze and their refreshing pina colada took my mind to the nearest Caribbean island. I was so impressed that I ordered two!

Monty's is the king of appetizers. They know how to make flavorful bar food with a culinary finish. We had the coconut fried shrimp with a sweet orange marmalade, the Island Conch (picture above), and the "Gator Bites" (picture to the left). The coconut fried shrimp was absolutely delicious. They were crisp on the outside and tender within, and the marmalade sauce had a sweet and tangy taste of perfection. The Island Conch may have been the best conch fritters that I have ever had in my life! I've had conch in the Bahamas, the king location of conch, and it didn't taste as good as Monty's Island Conch. Then, we ordered "Gator Bites." This was my first time eating alligator. As a Florida State alumni, I had no problem going in on a "Gator Bite." It's hard to describe the taste of the meat, but I liked it. I guess anything that's fried well and covered with cajun sauce at Monty's is bound to make the cut on my list.

For our main entree, my husband and I ordered the Jamaican Jerk Chicken and the"Bake and Shark" sandwich. The Jamaican Jerk chicken comes with corn, black beans and rice, and plantains. As you all know, my husband and my parents are Jamaican, so we grew up on authentic Jamaican food. Monty's Jamaican Jerk chicken is not a traditional Jamaican jerk chicken dish. The difference in taste may be due to the jerking process, the method that Jamaicans use to "jerk" or prepare the chicken. The rice and beans served with this entree are commonly seen with Latin dishes. Jamaicans eat rice and peas with red kidney beans. The corn, although absolutely amazing, was more of a Mexican delicacy.

The "Bake and Shark" sandwich is a cape shark from Trinidad nestled in a fried bread made on the premises (cooked to order). The dish comes with french fries and a scotch bonnet hot sauce. This was my first Trinidadian shark, and I was really excited to try it! The shark taste was unlike any other fish that I have eaten because it was meatier. I was really impressed with their fried bread. It was so unique and innovative! As Jamaican as we are, the scotch bonnet pepper sauce was steaming hot! It was good, but I couldn't handle the heat. I can't wait to hear what you think!

For dessert, we had the best rum cake that I have ever had! It was moist and fluffy. The ice cream and coconut shavings were a perfect touch to this slice of heaven. If I could click my heels and close my eyes, I would transport my body right back to Monty's Raw Bar for another slice.

Extra information: The servers and managers are incredibly friendly. Ask for Mark. He will take care of you!

Happy Hour specials are weekdays from 4-8 p.m., with all drinks discounted along with $1 oysters, clams and shrimp, with stone crabs discounted.

They have a live band that really sets the mood for fun. Monty's really has so much to offer for all ages. My husband and I spend most of our Sunday afternoon there enjoying the food, breeze, view, and entertainment.

If you came in the past, I want you to know that Monty's Raw Bar have updated their entrees and drinks. They have more options beyond fried bar food and they have changed their drink menu to include more natural sweeteners to avoid sugars and syrups.

Would I recommend it: Yes. If you are looking for a great causal place to dine with a Caribbean bar-like atmosphere you've found your place. Treat yourself to an appetizer or dessert! You'll love it!

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