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“Forget the Theme Parks and White Table Cloth Restaurants”

Swamp House Riverfront Grill
Ranked #2 of 32 Restaurants in DeBary
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $2 - $24
Cuisines: American, Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Scenic view, Families with children, Large groups, Local cuisine, Bar scene, Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Description: The Swamp House Grill is located overlooking the St Johns River and Highbanks Marina in peaceful, beautiful Debary Florida. If you're looking for good food with a homegrown, old-Florida vibe then we're your place! Please feel free to bring your well behaved dogs and eat downstairs at The Happy Snapper Tiki Bar on Saturdays and Sundays.
Reviewed March 6, 2013

Are you coming down to Central Florida for a visit? Take one day out of your Theme Park huddled vacation and go see the real Florida. Do you live here but never ventured beyond the national chains or high end independent destination restaurants? Take a drive to DeBary.

We are very fortunate to live so close to nature and yet we seldom take advantage to live that experience. However you are getting there, whether driving which will take you to the dead end of W. Highbanks Rd. or by boat which puts you on the marina, this is certainly a connection with nature. Regular car parking is in an unpaved lot. Get ready to track around in sand.

The restaurant itself sits in the Highbanks Marina and Camp Resort. The Marina is also the starting point for the St. Johns River Eco Tours. If you want to take the tour, which is in a flat bottom pontoon boat, call ahead and make sure they are operational. During times of high winds they will not go out on the river. The camp resort houses RV. The marina acts as a parking lot for boats.

The building that houses the restaurant also houses a convenient store. There is a huge open dining room upstairs, a bar at one end, and a Tiki Bar on the ground floor along the marina. Food is served from the same menu either upstairs or downstairs. The upstairs has a private room that can be reserved for small gatherings of about 25 people. Being a Swamp House it goes without saying what adorns the walls. Alligators. There is a huge preserved Gator that kind of separates the bar area from the dining room. His headstone is proudly displayed.

Being literally on the St. Johns River, this menu showcases catfish, alligator, shrimp, and other fish varieties. Most fish can be grilled, blackened, or fried. There are Louisiana style dishes such as gumbo, crab cakes, and jambalaya. The menu has a little bit for everyone. Not feeling too adventurous, don’t know why you shouldn’t, there are safe bet items.

Fried Gator Tail – 1/4 pound hand prepared citrus marinated nuggets, corn meal battered. The batter is lightly seasoned with a delicate underlying bite. A crisp crunch to the bite just crumbles to reveal succulent tender alligator meat. This is by far one of the best tasting battered alligator tail I’ve tasted. 1/4 pound is not enough!

Grilled Grouper Sandwich – A generous portion of lightly seasoned grouper, tomato, onion, lettuce, on a bun. The fish was cooked to tender flaky perfection, seasoning was just enough to let the fish shine. Sweet potato fries lightly seasoned and fried to crispy goodness, served with Mud Sauce. Mud Sauce is whipped cream, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Mud never tasted any better.

Big Catfish B.L.T. – Fried Catfish with Applewood Bacon, Lettuce, & Tomato served with Sweet Potato Fries and that now famous Mud Sauce. The bacon was a little too crisp and hard for my liking. But the catfish stood out like a swamp star. Perfectly seasoned and cooked. I would like another piece of fish please.

This is not the kind of place to go and have a nice quiet meal. This is where you walk in and let loose. The live music attracts and allows for loud conversations. The staff encourages lively interactions and are not afraid to pass a few witty remarks at just about anything. The cold libations flow freely. From the upstairs I am sure there are enough taunting on the lower Tiki bar deck to encourage more swampy raucousness. The food is great, the atmosphere is lively, and the St. Johns River flows right along at it’s leisure. Next trip I am getting in one of those boats and float around the river. This is what Florida living is all about. Go out and live it!

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1  Thank TravelerFoodie1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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697 - 701 of 773 reviews

Reviewed February 27, 2013

This place has a great view and setting, however we were disappointed in food and service, it was not a crowded evening as it was a Monday,however it took an hour to get our meals. Food was just Ok,not a repeat.

Thank Ibelkins2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 5, 2013

Great experience here, from the setting, service and food. A little pricey for families. But the atmosphere is cool and the food was excellent.

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Thank dicostanzot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 28, 2013

Me and my family love this place. We own a boat, so this is our go to spot to stop for food and drink when we are on the river. The food is always delicious!! We take all our friends here and I haven't had one of them yet be disappointed. Great Job Guys!!!

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Thank AlleyBoard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 28, 2013

The Swamp House has a great atmosphere and friendly staff. We enjoy going there and sitting out side to watch the sunset over the river while having a great burger and beer. The place has a true southern feeling to it. It is a great place to meet friends, have a drink or two and let the day's hectic pace melt away. I highly recommend stoping by and saying hi to Dave the owner.

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Thank ericcardi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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