This Bubba Gump's is a theme restaurant where they really make the theme work to have you leave with a satisfied feeling inside and a smile on your face. In part, it's how they integrate the movie theme into more than just decor on the walls. There's your table setting, for example, which includes a galvanized bucket (literally) with the condiments. Find yourself needing another napkin or another drink? Your table has a license plate which when turned around to show "Stop Bubba, stop!" literally brings the next server passing by to a halt to take your request. But all that aside, it's the food that really counts, right? Among the many quotable lines from Forrest Gump the movie was one where the restaurant's namesake Bubba describes for Forrest a long string of ways that shrimp can be prepared and eaten. The man was also speaking for me. I likewise consider myself to be a "savourer of shrimp". I enjoyed the coconut shrimp here. Too often places leave them in the fryer too long (probably to cook the batter) which leaves the shrimps inside overcooked and dried out. Not here. The shrimps were tender and the coconut batter delicious. My wife enjoyed a combo of Mahi-Mahi and shrimp which she found to be very tasty and nicely done. .
We went on a Sunday afternoon following a visit to the nearby Aquarium. We had no reservation but were seated right away. The restaurant was full including a number of families with children; and yes, it can be noisy but not so much that it interfered with our conversation. Busy though they may have been that day, our service was very good. In fact, adding to our fun and in keeping with the theme, at one point our server even spent a minute at our table to test us with some Forrest Gump trivia questions. I would add that we came here this time with a mixture of hope and a little trepidation. We had last eaten here on our previous visit to Monterey when this restaurant had just recently opened. Curiosity attracted us in the door back then and the enjoyable experience brought us back now. But now this location is the flagship for a chain and since then, we have tried Bubba Gump's in Hawaii (good) and Orlando (chaotic service). So we came back this time hoping for the same dining fun as the first time but understandably feeling like Forrest Gump's proverbial box of chocolates, not knowing what we would get. Happily for us, we came away with a treat.
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