Dining at Ira's was an exquisite experience. Chef Ira Mittelman is a rare combination of exceptional chef and personable host. It was obvious from the first delectable bite he is committed to high quality food using fresh ingredients.
My family's meal began with 2 appetizers - the ravioli of the day which happened to be a shrimp ravioli, and a sliced tomato with basil, Romano cheese and balsamic. Everything was incredibly fresh and flavorful. Our salads were also very good. The addition of pine nuts on the Caesar salads was an interesting addition, at least our 7yr old thought so!
The entrees were outstanding. We had a pasta with a homemade sauce which was as good as anything we have tasted in the Italian neighborhoods of The Hill in St. Louis. The surf and turf special of ribeye steak and grilled shrimp was delightful and perfectly paired with the asparagus and Florida red mashed potatoes. The 2 different grilled grouper dishes were perhaps the best grouper dishes I've ever tasted. The grouper with mango and habanero pepper was especially fine.
As other reviewers have mentioned, the key lime pie is the real deal. The flourless chocolate tort lava cake was also terrific.
The service staff members were all outstanding. Each was attentive, knowledgeable and very friendly, particularly Glen. He was among the best servers we've had in any restaurant. Without question Chef Ira has one of the very best staffs in the area.
While it has been over a decade since we have visited the Forgotten Coast, my wife and I have incredibly fond culinary memories of the area thanks in large part to the late Chef Eddie Cass and his Magnolia Grill. Since our return visit this week we have been looking for that special place that offered the perfect blend of culinary excellence and personable experience. We have found that with Chef Ira. We ate at the Owl Cafe earlier in the week. It was good; however, Ira's at the Gibson Inn is better. The food, the service, the ambience - Chef Ira offers the complete experience and this is the finest dining in Apalachicola.
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