Thursday, April 7, 2011

I Heart Yelp

Have you used yelp? I hadn't heard of it until this past summer when my sister introduced me to the site.  Basically, it's a referral site for services, restaurants, and businesses.  I find it invaluable when traveling - or even here in my hometown.  The reviews are usually spot-on.  Yelp was started in San Francisco in 2004.  I don't have an account, but if we start traveling more, I'll definitely consider it. 

Obviously, I utilize yelp for finding restaurants or markets.  I personally love reading reviews that contain words like: reasonably priced, authentic, large portions, off the beaten path.  I would much rather rub elbows with the common man and find ethnic food than in a stuffy restaurant eating food I can't pronounce. 

So, on our recent time away, we used yelp to the fullest and found some terrific places to eat!

There were a few places that we didn't take our camera - a pizza buffet that was $7 and surprisingly delicious, and a totally rockin Mexican tortilleria.  We will be visiting these restaurants again and we will be taking our camera (our camera is huge and it's mildly embarrassing to be taking pictures of your dinner plate).  The pizza buffet had homemade potato salad, pasta salad, split pea soup(all on their salad and soup buffet), and wood-fired pizza - all for $7 a person (oh, and some average-tasting soft serve was also included).

Can you see the line?  about 50 people were waiting to get in!

The mexican cafe was located in the back of a grocery store - and we were just about the only ones there who weren't bi-lingual (even though Rob lists himself as such on his resume...anyway).  It was so, so good.  And cheap.  We ordered the enchiladas with a red sauce (I voted for the green sauce - but Rob was scared there may have been cilantro).  We received five large pork enchiladas on a platter with rice and beans, lettuce, tomato, and mexican cheese - our total was $7.44. 

Next up on the docket: I had a hankering for some seafood.  I'd read on yelp about the Dry Dock.  Supposedly the lobster tacos were to die for. I had the grouper tacos and they were to die for.  And the views were phenomenal.  We were able to sit upstairs and had a vista of the bay.  The Dry Dock is connected to just that, a dry dock for boats (basically a storage warehouse).  We could have waited longer for seating outside, but honestly, our view was better.

as you can see, the boats are stored on "lifts", stacked about 4 high

the tacos - with a cilantro vinaigrette

our view from the upper story

the view for the outside seating

We did have a disappointing meal, though.  Rob wanted to surprise me and took me to Mozaic in Sarasota.  The reviews were great - but our review, not so much.  The food wasn't bad - but it was kind of an uppity place and the food was definitely overpriced.

my herbs and greens salad

Rob's roasted tomato soup - the best part of the meal, by far

I ordered the duck breast

Rob ordered Chilean Sea Bass

All in all, yelp was a great tool to find great restaurants in an area where restaurants are plentiful.  And, we have a list for when we return. 

Fire and Stone Pizza
10519 Cortez Rd W
Bradenton, FL 34210
(941) 792-5300

Acalpulco Mexican Restaurant
1833 Lakewood Ranch Blvd.
Bradenton, FL 34211
(941) 708-3308

Dry Dock Restaurant
Longboat Key, FL 34228
(941) 383-0102

1377 Main Street
Sarasota, FL 34236-5619
(941) 951-6272

1 comment:

  1. I haven't heard of YELP and must check to see if it's available here. I use Urbanspoon for searching restaurants, it's really good as it gives the relative cost, the type of cuisine, location, reviews and sometimes menus.