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“Waited for food but worth it.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Tarpon House

Tarpon House
17260 Harbour Point Drive, Sanibel Harbour Resort and Spa, Fort Myers, FL 33908
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Ranked #153 of 699 Restaurants in Fort Myers
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
“Waited for food but worth it.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2013 via mobile

Food was very good. Good portions. Good prices. Went there for lunch. Fairly difficult to find our waiter. Took a long time to get our check to leave.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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85 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Top Contributor
113 reviews 113 reviews
111 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
“We saved the worst for last!!!!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013

We have eaten out an average of once a day for two months in Florida with some hits, few misses and some just average. Tonight at the Tarpon House was the worst. SInce it was my last night and very warm, we decided to try the Tarpon House where we have a decent lunch before. When I called, I was told they do not take reservations under any circumstances. Not great but if those are the rules, OK.

We got there a little before 7pm and things seemed a little confused at the front desk. FInally the group before us was greeted and they said they had reservations for 5 which seemed a little strange given what I had been told earlier. When one hostess seemed a little confused the gentleman said the reservation had been arranged by the chef just as another hostess came along who seemed to know what had been arranged.

The hostess started to seat us at an outside table as we had requested but then seated another gentleman with no explanation that I heard. Another hostess came and asked if we were being helped and I replied that I was not sure and in the meantime the first hostess returned and said the other gentleman had been waiting so she had decided to sit him. I believe the first hostesses was Easter European which is fine as long as the first impression given the guest is a good one, which was not the case.

Things went down hill from there. It was quite a while before our waiter came and told us the specials. We ordered drinks and said we would order when they came. Big Mistake!

After 45 minutes after our arrival drinks arrived, at least some of them. The folks next to us who had been seated after us, got all their drinks and my husband got his soft drink. My wine was nowhere to be seen. 20 minutes later it arrived after I asked for it 3 times.

We ordered when my husband got his soft drink saying we would like to get whatever was ready first. After waiting for a while and asking what was taking so long, the appetizers and sandwiches all arrived at once (we had decided we did not want to wait for a full meal.)

The clam chowder was OK but the spring rolls were greasy with a filling which had no recognizable flavor and a strange texture. The crab cake sandwich was OK but the Rueben was terrible. There was no sauerkraut and if there had been any dressing, it had disappeared into the bread. The meat had been over grilled and was tough and tasteless. When I brought up the fact that there was no sauerkraut, the waiter did offer to bring some but give the quality of the sandwich to begin with and the expected wait for the sauerkraut, I declined and added some of the remoulade from my husband's sandwich and the little bit of slaw from the spring rolls. We had emptied out our refrigerator and just needed to eat something at this point.

When my husband asked a hostess who happened to stop by why things were taking so long, she said that the kitchen had to serve several restaurants which was not really an answer and not our problem. Looking back at it, I suspect both our waiter and the kitchen was paying more attention to the "chef's friends" than the rest of their customers. I think our waiter may have had more tables than other staff, but that is something that should be addressed by him or management.

The waiter did comp us a glass of wine, but that left us a $74 dollar meal which not only was not of good value but ruined a "last night". So my recommendation is avoid this place unless you know the chef.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
“Great presentation & ambiance, well managed”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2013

We stay at the Marriott Sanibel Harbor Resort each year. This restaurant has improved greatly since our visit last year & my previous review. They have replaced the awful wicker chairs that put your table at chest height, with lovely upholstered chairs with dark wood & classic lines. The reception hostess is professionally attired. Service has greatly improved and the large windows still make the most of the lovely view over the veranda, down to the beautifully landscaped pool & out to the river & Gulf.

We ate here specifically because we had sought out Chef Jean (from Haiti) who is often also onsite at The Cove which serves food poolside. Chef Jean makes a TOP NOTCH blackened Grouper sandwich ($16)--& this day, he was in the kitchen at Tarpon House on the Marriott's veranda. I have to wonder what other culinary delights he prepares... My mouth waters just thinking about his Grouper! We had it 3 times! Our 3rd meal of Grouper with Chef Jean (at Tarpon House) was on a cold day & we did not want to eat on the veranda (often the site of warm weather luncheons or candlelit sunset dinners--book early.) What an elegant way to pass an unseasonal afternoon!

The meal was beautifully plated, hot, and included a 1/2 lemon wrapped in lemon-yellow cheese cloth tied with green ribbon to keep seeds out of the juice as you sqeezed it over your fish. Nice touch! The Grouper was succulent, oozing flavor & blackened seasoning, on a fresh bun with tomato, lettuce & red onion garnish & a crisp, garlic dill pickle spear on the side. My only criticism was that the hot & crunchy seasoned fries were too salty--probably delivered that way from the vendor & just prepared onsite. If not, I would suggest less salt in the prep--even the Government is starting to be concerned about hyper-tension... However, this did little to detract from the meal. Coffee was strong & excellent, augmented by a porcelain creamer & a personal silver carafe of extra coffee for self-refill at the table.

Our server, Evelin, was from Eastern Europe (many of the staff are multi-national, just like at Disney World.) She spoke excellent English & was very attentive. She kindly took a moment to use my cell phone to take a souvenier photo to remember our luncheon by.

Food & Beverage manager, Lenny Spacey, effectively has his finger on the pulse of all food/bev related services on the property, & he is doing a GREAT job! We observed him numerous times throughout the resort, overseeing numerous aspects of food/beverage service . He made a point of greeting & remembering us from our past visits, sincerely welcoming our return, & offering his services in any capacity to make our stay enjoyable. His focus is truly to do whatever it takes to make guests happy. We do not know him personally, but believe he is one of the reasons Tarpon House has improved so much. My father spent many years in business identifying & promoting talent & he thinks Lenny is one of those who should be tapped for promotion. We hope the Marriott is listening... You should too. Go-- & we will be back!

Visited March 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“Great Bay View”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

Had lunch with a friend recently and was delighted with the wonderful view of San Carlos Bay that we were afforded from our table. We both had the roasted vegetable panini sandwiches that came with fries. Both were excellent. However, my favorite part of the lunch was desert. I ordered a slice of Italian lemon cake that came from the small pastry bar located just outside of the restaurant entrance. At $3.95, it was a desert bargain and was rich and luscious. The ambience, view, service and food makes this spot a winner.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Great food in a wonderful location”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2013

Located in the Marriott Sanibel Resort. The breakfast buffet was incredible with so many selections to choose from, even for vegetarians. Great coffee, too. We had excellent and attentive service.

Visited October 2012
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