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“Good Food, Whimsical Atmosphere”

Mad Hatter Restaurant
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $24 - $45
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Local cuisine, Scenic view, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Reviewed November 28, 2013

The Mad Hatter comes highly recommended and it lived largely up to its reputation on the occasion of our 15th anniversary. We arrived at 7pm for our reservation but had to wait about 15 minutes for our table to open up, which was a bit disappointing. They made up for it in the end with a small glass of desert wine, but they might have offered to pay for the glasses of wine we had while waiting instead. Still the gesture was appreciated.

The restaurant is small, but decorated in a whimsical way with all sorts of Alice in Wonderland art.

The meal began with an amuse bouche of blue crab claws and watercress which was a nice way to start.

I had the tuna tartar special, which was fresh and came with a few pieces of fried wanton chips that added a nice texture to the dish. For my main dish, I had the shrimp and crab special, which came with two very large shrimp over rice and crabmeat in a light curry sauce. Both of my dishes where specials, and quite good, if a little salty, as I discovered overnight when I became very thirsty.

For dessert we had the menage-a-trios, which includes espresso creme brûlée, death by chocolate, and vanilla ice cream with raspberry sauce. In all, a very nice way to end a very nice meal.

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2  Thank cplong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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813 - 817 of 1,321 reviews

Reviewed November 22, 2013

We were vacationing on Sanibel and our hotel recommended we dine at the Mad Hatter restaurant. The food and service was outstanding, one of the best meals we had on our vacation to Sanibel. Our server was extremely professional while being friendly and courteous, and the food was delicious! They had a great wine list selection as well. We had a beautiful view of the sunset over the water. It was a lovely evening, we will definitely return!

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1  Thank Bradley M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 12, 2013 via mobile

I think that Sanibel Island lacks in the food department. When I'm on vacation I like to eat well... Really, really well. There are some good ones on the island but I've yet to have a meal that blew away. This is the closest to that meal that I've had there. The theme and decor was well done and fun, and the service was good. Presentation excellent, appetizers and salads excellent... Deep fried crab cakes? Really? I wasn't expecting that. Maybe it's a Florida thing or a southern thing but deep fried crab cakes don't cut it for me. I would return but not until I try a couple more restaurants to make sure I'm not missing something!

1  Thank Seachell19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 7, 2013

We only visit Sanibel and Captiva about once a year, and only for a week - so we make it a point to evaluate our restaurant experiences critically, and are more than happy to "overpay" for unique, well-presented, "party-in-your-mouth" recipes - whether elegant or not.

Having just missed the Mad Hatter experience on numerous prior visits either due to other preferences, unavailable reservations, or being unaware of their schedule (closed Mondays) - this year we were determined to enjoy a great meal and another glorious sunset.

The restaurant is very clean, the service was mostly attentive and never incompetent, and the sunset was indeed spectacular. Everything else was more or less: average

We enjoyed a perfectly fine but average Mad House Salad, a glass of pretty fair Washington State red, tasty (but average) goat cheese pillows, average blue crab cakes with average risotto, green beans, and yucca fries (the mango cream beurre blanc was very good), slightly above average black grouper with average risotto, finished off with some excellent espresso, coffee, and a very nice creme brulee.

If you detect an overuse of the word: "average" - you guessed it, it was average - but priced like it should have been just about the best meal you've ever eaten.

So, while we won't be in any hurry to go back - we MAY try the Mad Hatter again in the future...hoping they can deliver a meal that won't make us wish we went back to Sweet Melissa's....again. There are plenty of places two people can drop a buck and a half and enjoy a great meal. This night, although nothing was "awful" nor was there even a hint of unprofessional service, we simply didn't get the enjoyment or the value we expected.

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2  Thank LawfulMoney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2013

Highly rated for ambiance & service but food simply missed the wow factor & was even bad when it came to Portuguese oysters (cold in the middle with chunks of shells & tasted old), especially for such a costly fare ($163 for two, no liquor other than 2 glasses wine). Although they replaced them with delicious goat cheese pillows they did not offer them at no charge as would be customary with a poor dish incident. Chef or manager did not even come out to apologize or discuss. Scallops & NY strip properly cooked but lacked seasoning and were not brought out hot. Complimentary blue crab sample was nice & Moscato to commemorate special occasion was a very thoughtful detail. I would still give it another try hoping food tonight was a fluke & to see sunset.

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Thank DBMiller2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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