Friday, December 24, 2010

Citrus Restaurant on Naples 5th Avenue South

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Citrus opened in November, 2010, sandwiched between Paddy Murphy’s Irish Pub and Bellini Bar on Naples’ 5th Avenue South. With plenty of patio seating facing 5th Avenue and seating for 40 inside, it’s a nice addition, and a welcome, upscale contrast to the numerous pizza spots on 5th Avenue.

Their specialty is fresh, fresh seafood, not citrus, despite the somewhat confusing name. Co-owners, Paula and Jay Powell, visitors to Naples over the last 37 years, feel that Florida is the "epitome of Citrus, sunshine and seafood," hence the name. The seafood is lovingly prepared, and served with uniquely seasoned sides of starches and vegetables.

Sit outdoors, and people watch on 5th Avenue, day or night.
Walk in, and manager Brooks will seat you at a linen decked table with linen napkins.
The background music is low key, with Vivaldi and light jazz. Underwater photographer Kevin Sweeney's vibrantly colored larger than life fish photographs brighten the walls.  Soda, bottled water, coffee or hot tea is $2-very reasonably priced! Order a Blue Moon beer ($6) from a selection of over a dozen fine beers, or a nicely priced glass of wine and relax!
 I ordered the fresh tangerine mimosa ($10), and was treated to a table side treat as David first poured the Mumm Napa sparkling champagne, er, wine.
then added the tangy-sweet tangerine. Muy elegante y delicioso!
There’s a good assortment of light appetizers and meals, and five standard entrees, including a 7 oz tenderloin fillet ($29) and 3 oz tenderloin filet with fresh Maine lobster cake for $18. Nightly, some 6 to 8 fresh seafood specials appear. Try a trio of ceviche for $15, with grouper Peruvian style, scallops Jamaican style and shrimp Cuban style. Other appetizers include seared ahi tuna ($12), large stone crab claws ($34), and lobster tower (15).
Lobster Tower
For $15, there's a lot of tender lobster! It's a delicious fresh meal, a light salad with mango, diced tomato and crisp, crunchy jicama. Here's the toppled tower!

For lunch or light dinner, there's grilled chicken Caesar ($10), grilled pineapple-glazed chicken (9), Ruben sandwich (9), Angus burger (9) fish and chips (14) and Baja fish tacos (16).
Grouper Firecracker, Lobster Purse, Stone Crab Wontons
We ordered the Trio appetizer, with lightly fried firecracker grouper, lobster purse and stone crab claw meat in fried wontons.
I really enjoyed the truly fresh tender grouper firecracker, in a very light fried batter, perfectly cooked, attractively tied with a green onion bow. The cabbage bed is delicious. The lobster purse (center) is an attractive presentation, however it is creamy and somewhat bland with scant lobster taste. To be fair, for 1/3 of $14, I don’t expect much lobster, either. I’d suggest a “seafood purse” instead of “lobster” to allow the restaurant to add chunks of seafood, and have a win-win dish. I like the slightly spicy sauce on its shaved cabbage base. The fried stone crab wonton is delicious, placed on top of fresh tomato, lettuce and drizzled with a tasty sauce. Three sauces accompany the trio, two with a soy base.
 The chef is an artist with his food, and every item we had was fresh, fresh, fresh.

For entrees, we ordered two specials. The Red snapper topped with stone crab claw meat ($25) comes with a side of smashed potatoes, a big crisp baked parmesan cracker or wheel, and crisp green beans, nicely displayed. I’d get this again!. The snapper is more “buttery” than the cobia, which has a swordfish like texture.
The ($24) fresh grilled Cobia is glazed with fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice,
and topped with crisp, long fried plantain chips. It comes with diced sweet potato and pineapple in a delicious mildly spiced sauce. Another winner!

Top off a refreshing meal with the tasty Blood Orange Mascarpone (8), with a bright blood orange marmelade and edible sugared pansy flower placed atop layers of blood orange mousse and mascarpone, all on a thin sponge cake base, with hidden dollops of candied blood orange peel. The desserts are the only items not made on premises. Made by Attilio Bindi, they have been a regular in the Neiman Marcus catalog. The sorbets are served in the fruit's natural skin (7). Choose from Mandarin orange, peack, mango, pineapple and coconut. Chocaholics, ask about the chocolate souffle, truffle or straciatella.
Chef Fauston Vega hails from the coast of Ecuador, and I delight in  his subtle and creative spicings and respect for cooking fish properly. He's also cooked in Peru and NYC, and mastered many styles. He's been joined by Chef Annie Prizzi, who is also a successful Naples area caterer. You're in good hands!

There are various drink and food specials-$1 beer was our night’s special, and attracted a young crowd to dine outdoors. Owners Paula and Jay Powell have a created a  welcome sunlit gem on Fifth Avenue South.
455 5th Avenue South, 435-0408.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

excelente............felicitaciones

Anonymous said...

Excellent restaurant and food. I've been to many but this is my favourite now. Desserts are just awesome. Great service as well. Will go anyday again!!

George D'Angelo said...

The food is excellent, this is the best seafood place in old naples. give it a try you come back again and again.

Linda said...

Upon our arrival at "Citrus" one of the owners, Paula was sitting, smoking just outside the front door. We were asked by the waitperson if we wanted to sit inside or outside. We stated inside, as we would prefer air conditioning. They seated us two tables from the kitchen in the rear of the empty restaurant. They neglected to mention the A/C was not turned on. Nor did they offer to turn it on. Needless to say it was hot inside. I retired to the ladies room to wash-up before looking at the menu. There weren't any clean towels to dry my hands. The soiled cloth handtowels were in a basket on the floor. Next to them was an open waste
basket with a dirty diaper. I mentioned the lack of towels. One of the other members of our party found clean towels
in a drawer and set them out.
We looked over the menu. I ordered the "Fish and Chips".
When my food arrived it looked like it came from "Long
John Silvers". White plate, fries on the bottom, 3 Tempura
battered filets on top. Not a lemon slice or sauce in sight. I
used the Lemon slice from my water. The food was hot,
however ordinary. The owner sent over 2 offerings for
dessert. Coconut sorbet, in a coconut shell, extremely
sweet. Also an Orange sorbet, in a frozen rind, the top of
which was almost too small to dip ones spoon into. 3
people, 3 spoons, no plates to serve the desserts onto.
I guess they assumed we enjoy eating off one anothers
food. I'll leave it up to the other guests to comment on their
meals. We were at "Citrus" for an hour and a half. No one
else came in to eat while we were there. When we left it
was difficult not to notice the thriving restaurants that
surrounded "Citrus". They were full of patrons, noisy and
people were having fun. At "Citrus" the outdoor seating
was empty with the exception of the owner smoking at a
table near the front door. We were at the restaurant at the
height of the tourist season. It is not likely they will be
around for next tourist season in November. Good Luck
Paula and Jay.

Anonymous said...

to "Linda", I've never been to this restaurant, and I don't know anything about it, but you sound really uptight and nasty. why are you writing angry comments towards the owners and wishing that they fail? why don't you get a life?

Barbara said...

I live in Naples and have been a regular dinner on 5th Ave for about 8 years. Needless to say I have experienced many of the restaurants. When I first tried "Citrus" I was blown away. The staff are friendly, personable and will do anything to make you're dining experience perfect. Every time I go in Paula the owner comes to say hello, she is a wonderful woman. Jay her husband is always greeting guests on that patio and making sure every one is happy. I don't even know how to express in writing how delicious the food is. The appetizers are fun, fresh and the perfect starter to a fabulous dinner. If you love seafood you have to come to "Citrus" they get fresh local seafood every day and prepare it perfectly. My personal favorite is the snapper with a generous portion of lump crab on top. And who could resist their homemade fruit sorbet served in the original fruits peal. I have tried the pineapple and orange and loved both. Aside from food the restaurant also has an extensive beer menu full of delicious unique beers not common in the US. If you are feeling adventurous why not have beer for desert. "Citrus" has a Belgium chocolate beer to dye for. I have become a regular at "Citrus" and would choose dining there over any other restaurant on 5th Ave.

Anonymous said...

We had dinner last night at this very delightful restaurant. I am a "true" foodie and appreciate fine service. We tried the dinner special; appetizer, entree and a bottle of wine. Generally, the "dinner specials" on 5th are somewhat disappointing. The offering are the least expensive item the chef has on the main menu and the cheapest bottle of lousy house wine AND a limited time frame. Low and behold someone got it right. If you offer a selection of your best items and good wine you just bought yourself a loyal customer. Jay & Paula have created a wonderful dinning experience. Brooks our waiter was outstanding, very accommodating.

The other more noted restaurants on 5th should take a lessen...don't sit on your laurels, customer satisfaction it the key to success. Congratulations to Citrus, we wish you many years of success. We will see you again, and again, and again.

Terry Fowler said...

After reading abput Citrus in "Gulfshore Life" I was anxious to try it -- we had a wonderful dinner tonight --no owners present, but Brooks and Stevie made us feel at home. The triple tail snapper was fantastic as well as the lobster/filet combo. This is already a favorite of ours!!!

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