By Megan Schumacher
PORT ORANGE - I have driven past Hidden Treasure Tiki Bar & Grill on Rose Bay more times than I can count.
Each time, I told myself I would stop by the quirky, rustic-looking, waterfront restaurant sometime soon. It looked too fun to pass up.
So, on a recent Sunday afternoon, I finally stopped in, and I wished I hadn't waited so long.
My friend and I sat outside and had a nice view of Rose Bay with the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse in the distance. Part of the restaurant is actually built out over the water, and you can see the water through the slats in the wood floor, adding to the rustic, nautical feel.
But the menu is not just for seafood lovers. There are items for landlubbers, too, including burgers, steaks, pastas and wings.
We ordered fried gator tail as an appetizer. Another great appetizer is the seared ahi tuna, served with a cucumber wasabi. While we waited for it, we caught up on the football game playing on the TV at our table and enjoyed watching people in kayaks paddle by on the bay.
Our first course came out hot and fried to perfection, crunchy on the outside and tender and delicious inside. The wild-caught, all-white meat gator tail was served with the restaurant's special "treasure" sauce.
Our server, Jessica, was very knowledgeable about the menu; she told us the Hidden Treasure Bucket was a popular choice, and we couldn't pass up a dish named after the restaurant itself. The bucket included snow and Dungeness crab, steamed "Key West pink" shrimp and steamed crawfish. I had never had crawfish or crab legs before, and I was pleasantly surprised. They were both delicious. The bucket also included red potatoes, corn on the cob, cole slaw and Texas toast.
We were plenty full and decided against dessert, but the key lime pie and different flavored cheesecakes were certainly tempting.
The restaurant has lots of TVs and a full sports bar that would be a perfect place to meet friends or catch a game. It also offers daily & nightly dinner specials and happy hour from 2-7 p.m.
The owners also have the Hidden Treasure Rum Bar & Grill at 4940 S. Peninsula Drive in Ponce Inlet. It offers the same menu as the Rose Bay location and another fantastic view. Each location offers live music just about every night. If you're looking for a piece of "Old-Florida" with fabulous food, great prices and beautiful views, you owe it to yourself to visit either of the Hidden Treasure locations.
Hidden Treasure Tiki Bar & Grill is at 5993 S. Ridgewood Ave., Port Orange. Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Information: (386) 756-9565 or www.HiddenTreasureOnRoseBay.com.
Hidden Treasure Rum Bar & Grill is at 4940 S. Peninsula Dr., Ponce Inlet. Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:00 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Information: (386) 761-9271 or www.HiddenTreasureOnPonceInlet.com