Tag Archives: ahi tuna

Riverside Cafe – Restaurant Review

by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie

Beachiest Kids Photo Contest

For my next tasting experience, I head to the island and to the historic Riverside Café!  This is just one of those places that define what Florida living is all about.  It’s located on the water, you can drive up in your boat, dock and get a bite to eat, and enjoy those spectacular sunsets!  Owners David and Ellen Lane took ownership of Riverside back in 2008.  David had been working at Riverside for over 24 years and his wife Ellen, 13 years as bartenders before taking ownership. They have a long history here and know this place and their customers very well.  Chef Brandon Howard is the creative genius in the kitchen and he seems to come up with some fun & creative dishes that keep the customers coming back for more.

Considering their location, I would consider this place truly a “hidden” gem, a local’s place if you will.  If you have not lived here long or are a tourist, I’m sure you passed by this place hundred times and did not know it was there.  Those of you that are more adept with technology I’m sure have found them and know what a treasure this place is to Vero.  Parking should not be too much of an issue with their main parking lot having quite a few spaces available, of which only a few are reserved for the Bait & Tackle shop located directly in front of the restaurant.  If the main lot is full, there is overflow just outside the lot with additional parking under the bridge.  As you enter the restaurant, you are instantly transported to old Florida with a cool laid-back vibe.  An interior dining room has several low top tables available if you prefer a quieter dining experience.  The main dining room has all high-top tables to help you better enjoy the 180-degree views of the water and plenty of seats available at the bar.  A stage is also in this room for live performances by local artists.  If you are lucky enough, Jake Owen may stop in for an impromptu performance from time to time.  If you would like to dine outside, they have a limited number of seats out on the dock so you may be in for a short wait if you prefer that option during peak hours.


Now let’s dive right in and see what this place has to offer and what I had to eat and drink!

Pina Colada – ($8.00) –  Pina Colada is my go-to drink because I love coconut, so we decided to try one.  Served frozen in a tall glass, finished with whipped cream and a cherry.  It was light and refreshing with just the right amount of coconut flavor.  For me, it only gets better as it melts and becomes creamier.

Ahi Tuna Nachos – ($16.99) – I’ve been told that this dish is not to be missed so I was glad to see it when they brought it out for us to try.  A bed of seaweed is laid on the plate, house-made wontons are fried and overlapped with each other.  A generous portion of Yellowfin tuna tartar is laid on top, then its garnished with a sweet soy glaze and a cucumber & wasabi cream sauce.  Does it taste as good as it looks?  YES!!!  The tuna was very fresh, the wontons provided a satisfying crunch, and the sauces added tons of additional flavor with little to no heat.  It was awesome!

Drunken Sautéed Mussels – ($13.99) – I’ve seen, tried, and been served mussels at quite a few places during my reviews, and I think this might just be one of, if not the best I’ve tried yet.  Fresh mussels are steamed in white wine and served with a lemon, thyme, roasted garlic, and butter sauce.  The broth was the star of the dish as it was creamy and full of flavor.  The mussels were also larger than I’ve seen at other places and were very tender.  Three rolls on the side were provided so you can soak up all of that wonderful broth.

Grouper Ruben – ($MP) – Nothing says Florida like a classic Grouper Ruben!  Fresh grouper is fried and layered between rye bread with coleslaw, Swiss cheese, and thousand island dressing.  Potato salad and a pickle were served alongside.  The rye bread was perfectly toasted, the coleslaw gave it that satisfying crunch, and the grouper was light, flaky, and fatty.  It was delicious!

Filet Mignon Sandwich – ($14.99) – OMG that looks so good!  Made with thinly sliced grass-fed filet mignon and layered with mozzarella cheese, sautéed onions, a roasted red pepper remoulade, and served on a brioche bun.  The filet was cooked to medium rare and was very tender, the sautéed onions were nice and sweet, and the red pepper remoulade paired perfectly with the filet.  The French fries are also worth a mention here because they were larger than normal and had a satisfying crunch on the outside, yet were soft and fluffy inside like mashed potatoes.  It was amazing!

Mahi Caprese – ($25.99) – They say we eat with our eyes first and I think I devoured this one without even taking a bite!  The grilled Mahi is topped with sliced locally grown tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, and drizzled with a sweet balsamic reduction sauce.  Rice and steamed veggies were served alongside.  The Mahi filet was huge, it goes all the way up and is leaning on the rice.  It was perfectly grilled and still very moist and flaky.  I don’t usually talk about the sides too much but the steamed veggies with a creamy butter sauce were outstanding. 

Crème Brulee of the Day – ($6.99) – The day we visited just happened to be Grand Marnier flavored Crème Brulee day and I’m happy that it was.  This was the most flavorful and creamy version I’ve ever had.  The wife and I were fighting over the last few bites, it was that good.

In Conclusion:

I can’t believe it’s been nearly 4 years since I first visited Riverside Café.  I’m kicking myself now for waiting so long to come back and rediscover it.  I do enough of these reviews that I don’t always appreciate the food as much as I should when I’m at the restaurant, but when I’m writing the review and looking back at the photos, I then realize how good it really was.  The food, the atmosphere, and the possibility that Jake Owen could stop by for an impromptu concert is reason enough to stop by and check these guys out, I know you won’t be disappointed!

Riverside Cafe Website  |  Riverside Cafe Menu  |  Riverside Cafe Facebook Page

Address3341 Bridge Plaza Dr, Vero Beach, FL 32963

Phone(772) 234-5550

Hours:  11:00am – 10:00pm, 7 days a week

The Green Marlin – Restaurant Review

by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie

Beachiest Kids Photo Contest

My next Tasting Experience review takes me to The Green Marlin!  One of the most highly anticipated restaurant openings in 2017, at least for me, was The Green Marlin.  Owner, Louis Kolbauer also owns Chive, whose slogan is “Quick Creative Cuisine”, so I could not wait to see what he has in store for an actual sit-down restaurant. 

Located in the old Outback Steakhouse building just off US Hwy 1, only the outside seems to be reminiscent of the old restaurant with the white siding and the trademark green roof.  While I never visited the old Outback, the inside seems to have undergone a transformation to make it a totally new space.  The large bar is a beautiful centerpiece upon entry with green accent lighting. The bar itself offers plenty of seating along with several high top tables.  The dining room is composed of lightly stained wood booths and tables that are comfortable and spacious. The abundance of fish décor throughout the restaurant lets you know the direction he is going with the menu.  While the parking lot seems quite small, their location at the front of the shopping mall does allow for ample overflow. 

So, does this new restaurant live up to the hype? 

Let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat and find out!

Ahi Tuna Bomb – ($8.95) – This appetizer was suggested to us since its one of their best sellers.  The Ahi Tuna is marinated in soy sauce and tahini, then wrapped with basil, then rolled in an egg roll wrapper and deep fried.  It’s garnished with a Sriracha & Wasabi Aioli and topped with sesame seeds.  The tuna was served rare in the middle which helps keep it moist and tender.  The egg roll wrapper had a nice crunch to it which added a nice texture.  The two sauces were a nice touch, adding additional flavor without bringing much heat to the dish. 

Raw Oysters Sampler Platter – ($21.95) –  If you know me personally, then you know that I’m not a fan of raw oysters.  In the interest of the article, and since they are known for many raw items on the menu, I decided to give them a try.  Our sampler platter had four varieties on it.  They were Dirty, Sushi Style, Ceviche, and Asian.  The oysters were very fresh and the toppings added bold flavors and different textures, making them palatable for someone like me that is normally not a fan.  If you are a fan, then I think you would be impressed with their selections.

Guinness Beef Tenderloin Stew – ($14.95) – With all of the cooler weather we have had lately, this sounded like a good option to try and it definitely hit the spot.  Grass-fed beef tenderloin is slow cooked with carrots, celery, and Guinness stout.  A generous dollop of mashed potatoes was served on top.  First of all, the bowl it’s served in is huge!  I think a basketball would fit comfortably in it.  The stew was thick, rich and beefy.  If you’re not a fan of beer, don’t worry, the flavor is subtle enough you can’t really taste it, but it does add a certain richness to the broth.  The potatoes had a few lumps in them so you know they were real.

Chicago Burger – ($10.95) – Now that’s one colorful burger!  An 8 oz. patty of fresh never frozen steak burger is accentuated with banana peppers, diced red peppers, sliced tomatoes, red onions, and leaf lettuce on a grilled bun.  The burger patty was cooked to a perfect medium and was very juicy.  I like the addition of the banana peppers, it gave it some crunch and a pop of flavor.  It was delicious!

Mahi & Scallop Cake Dinner – ($18.95) – Two of my favorite kinds of seafood in one dish, YES, please!  Butter poached Mahi and Scallops are combined with light panko, bell peppers, scallions, and onions, then pan fried until golden brown.  Each cake was about 4 inches in diameter and had the texture of what you would expect from a crab cake.  The outside had a slight crunch and the inside was soft and tender.   Rice and beans were served alongside.

Chocolate Cake – I was a little disappointed to find out they were out of their Grapefruit Pie, which is very much just like a key lime pie, only they use grapefruit juice instead of key lime.  We decided to go for the chocolate cake to finish out our meal and it was an excellent choice.  It was light, fluffy, and not too rich, a wonderful way to round out the evening. 

In Conclusion:

So, did The Green Marlin live up to the hype?  It absolutely did!  There is something here to please just about any palate.  Unique and creative dishes that I’ve not seen on other menus will keep diners coming back.  It’s also nice to see another place with a salad bar too.  I can’t wait to head back with my family and have another meal, so I recommend you check them out, I know you won’t be disappointed!

Have you tried The Green Marlin?  What has your experience been with them?  Sound off in the comments below and let me know your thoughts, or feel free to email me at thefoodguy@verovine.com with your questions or comments.

Curious as to what it takes to bring you one of my reviews?  Check out the video below of a time-lapse video I took while doing this review!  2 hours compressed down to just under 3 minutes!  Enjoy!

The Green Marlin  |  Website  |  Menu  |  Facebook

Address1475 US Hwy 1, Vero Beach, FL 32960

Phone(772) 999-5248


The Wave Kitchen & Bar – Restaurant Review

by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie

Beachiest Kids Photo Contest

My next tasting experience takes me beachside to a restaurant that has been on my list to review for quite a while now, The Wave Kitchen & Bar located inside Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa.  Owned by seven-time Grammy Award-winning musical artist Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio Estefan, the resort brings Miami chic, sophistication, and the Estefan’s personal taste and style throughout the resort.  It’s centrally located on Ocean Drive in what is known as the “Hamptons of Miami”.

The resort is hard to miss as you drive past it on Ocean Drive due to the geometrical architecture of the covered entrance and the waterfall in front of it.  The landscaping is always well maintained and very tropical.  While their parking lot is mostly reserved for valet parking, there are a few spots that you can still self-park.  As you enter through the front door, you walk directly into the lobby.  The restaurant is just a few steps away to the right and through a stone arch with only their logo to identify what it is.  The hostess stand is on your right and is made up of wood, metal, and glass.  You will notice in the middle of the dining room there is a large table surrounded by black bead walls.  This is their VIP table for special events and can host up to 14 guests.  Gloria and family have been known to use this area for their family gatherings while staying at the resort.  Once you walk past the VIP table the next thing that draws your attention will be the view of the pool deck, the Cabana bar, and of course the ocean view.  Blue accent lighting is used throughout the resort and it’s quite stunning once the sun has set.  


Now on to the food!  Let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat and drink!


Blueberry Mojito – The Wave is known for their spectacular mojitos, so I had to get one.  I’ve tasted them several times while attending the Taste of Vero event and always enjoyed them.  This one is made with Bacardi Anejo, fresh lime juice, fresh mint, simple syrup, soda water, and fresh blueberries.  It was garnished with a sugar cane stick, lime wedge, and more blueberries.  The blueberry flavor at first was subtle, but the longer I let it sit, the better it got.

Ceviche Trio – Below is the description of each one starting on the left:

Left:  Local Seasonal Fish Ceviche – It’s made with fresh local fish, freshly squeezed lime juice, cilantro, and red onion.  Fried plantain chips were served alongside.

Middle:  Salmon and Ahi Tuna Poke – It’s made with fresh salmon and ahi tuna, scallions, red onion, avocado, jalapeno’s, nori, cilantro, soy sauce.  Fried wontons were served alongside.

Right:  Coconut Seafood Mixto – It’s made with scallops, lobster, shrimp, citrus, coconut milk, mango, avocado, and jalapeno.  Fried plantain chips were served alongside.

What I really liked about this dish was that each ceviche was completely different in both flavor and in texture.  The one on left had the traditional bold lime flavor, the middle one had a subtle Asian flavor, and the one on the right had a more mellow sweet coconut flavor.  My favorite of the three was the one on the right.  With the variety of seafood in it, plus the sweet coconut flavor, and the plantain chips to eat it with, the variety of textures and flavors made this the winning ceviche of the trio.

Mojo Braised Mussels – The garlic aroma coming from this dish when they sat it down in front of us was intoxicating!  It’s made with fresh mussels in a garlic citrus broth, sea salt, and herbs. Yucca fries were served alongside.  The mussels were perfectly cooked and very tender.  The broth was the real star of the dish.  It was bright from the citrus and of course had a lot of garlic flavor.  It was quite delicious!

Spinach Cobb Salad – It’s nice to see a different twist on a classic salad like the Cobb.  It’s made with a bed of spinach, carrot shreds, diced egg, crumbled bacon, bleu cheese crumbles, diced avocado, and chopped walnuts.  Most Cobb salads I’ve had usually have finely chopped romaine lettuce, but in this salad, they used baby spinach instead.  Everything smelled very fresh and was quite colorful.  The dressing served alongside was slightly sweet and tangy.

Pan Roasted Red Snapper – Red Snapper is one of my favorite types of fish, so I was looking forward to trying this one.  It’s made with a red snapper filet served over a warm truffle summer bean salad, artichokes, roasted tomatoes and a ramp-Leek vinaigrette.  The snapper was a touch overcooked on the edges, but was still moist and tender inside.  The bean salad had a little crunch and was a little bit tangy from the vinaigrette.  The roasted tomatoes had a rich roasted tomato flavor, very much like you would expect from a sun-dried tomato, and they were one of my favorite parts of the dish. 

Filet of Beef – We just happened to be at the restaurant on Wednesday night which is also steak night, so we got to try a few of their best offerings.  First up is the Filet of Beef.  Premium Black Angus steak sourced from Creekstone Farms is some of the best quality beef that money can buy.  Their cattle are fed a non-GMO diet, never given antibiotics, and no growth promoting drugs.  The filet was topped with a shallot crust, and served with roasted pearl onions, mashed truffle yucca, watercress salad, and a red wine demi-glaze sauce.  While filet is not my personal favorite cut of beef, this one was quite exceptional.  It was seasoned lightly with salt and pepper and seared to a perfect medium.  The demi-glaze that was served on the side was rich and sweet and was a nice compliment to the steak. 

Paella a la Costa (for one) – I must admit, this was the first time I’ve ever tried Paella.  I did not know what to expect, so this was going to be a new experience for me.  It’s made with Calasparra rice, clams, mussels, a U10 scallop, jumbo shrimp, chorizo, chicken, peppers, peas, and an additional half lobster was added to the top to complete the stunning presentation!  All my favorite types of seafood were sitting atop what I can only describe to someone that has not tried paella before as a Spanish fried rice.  The seafood was cooked and seasoned to perfection.  The rice picked up its beautiful color from the saffron and a subtle smoky flavor from the chorizo which added yet another layer of complexity to the dish.  I think I just became a Paella fan!

Cuban Coffee Rubbed Bone-In Ribeye Steak – Next up for my tasting pleasure on steak night is The KING of all steaks, the one and only cowboy cut bone-in ribeye, and my personal favorite!  The steak was rubbed with Cuban coffee grounds, salt and pepper, then grilled to a perfect medium.  Large hand cut steak fries and a Cuban inspired Chimichurri sauce that was made with cilantro and lime was served alongside.  Why is this my favorite cut of beef you ask?  The flavor of a bone-in ribeye is hard to beat.  It’s rich, it’s fatty, and has the deepest most beefy flavor I’ve ever tasted in any cut of beef.  While everything served to us this evening was fantastic, I think this was my favorite.

Pina Colada Cake with Lime Sorbet – By this time of the evening, we were getting full, but there is always room for dessert!  The cake is made with 2 layers of yellow cake separated by a layer of whipped cream with shredded coconut and crushed pineapple in it.  It was served with a side of lime sorbet and garnished with whipped cream, a mint leaf, and toasted coconut.  The cake was amazing!  It was light, fluffy, and the whipped cream filling really tasted like a Pina Colada.  While not made in-house, the lime sorbet was creamy, smooth, and had a bold lime flavor.

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake –  My absolute favorite dessert is cheesecake and this one did not disappoint.  Served alongside was a pecan brittle, strawberries, and it was garnished with whipped cream and a mint leaf.  Presentation on the blue plate was gorgeous!  The cheesecake was dense and packed with a rich caramel flavor.  The pecan brittle was sweet, crunchy, and quite good. 

In Conclusion:

I think most people assume that the food served in this restaurant is Cuban due to the owner’s heritage, but they could not be more wrong.  While they do have a few Cuban dishes on the menu, most of them are New American with Cuban / Spanish influences. Everything we tasted was freshly prepared to order and artistically plated, so not only was the food pleasing to the eye, but also to the palette.  If you have not been here in a while, or even if it’s new to you, then might I suggest you come check out their new menu items, the impressive ocean views, the pristine beaches, and rediscover everything that The Wave Kitchen & Bar has to offer.

Have you tried the Wave Kitchen & Bar?  What has your experience been with them?  Sound off in the comments below and let me know your thoughts, or feel free to email me at thefoodguy@verovine.com with your questions or comments.

Atmosphere – 5 Forks

Service – 5 Forks

Food – 5 Forks

Rating Scale Legend:

1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent


Coming up next month, please join us for the Vero Beach Foodie VIP Dessert Experience at The Wave Kitchen & Bar!  Limited seating is available for this exclusive event and it will sell out quickly, so be sure to get your tickets early!

Cost: $50.00 per person – Your VIP experience includes free valet parking (including tip), champagne reception, 3-course plated desserts that were created just for this event, coffee, and iced tea. A cash bar will be available if you would like any additional drinks during the evening.

When: Wednesday, December 13th starting at 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

To purchase tickets, go to  https://verobeachfoodie.ecwid.com/


The Wave Kitchen & Bar Website  |  Facebook Page

Address3244 Ocean Dr, Vero Beach, FL 32963

Phone(772) 410-0100