A few hundred miles north of the Keys and a stone's throw from Lake Dora, you discover Tiki West Raw Bar & Grill, a new downtown Tavares eatery.
After hearing consistently positive feedback, we decided it was worth the short trek up the road to indulge for ourselves. Upon entering, the brightly painted walls, Caribbean inspired decor and indoor hammocks give you an idea of the menu that awaits.
Although normally, very skeptical about restaurant crab cakes due to the amount of tasteless fillers, I decided to throw caution to the wind and try their Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes. The appetizer order came with two thin crab cakes on a bed of fresh slaw. The cakes were big on both crab meat and flavor and were arguably some of the best crab cakes in Lake County. If there were fillers, they were undetectable. The fresh, fried oysters were large and cooked perfectly and the refreshing scallop ceviche had just the right amount of jalapeno to balance the sweet mango. Their coarsely sliced slaw was enjoyed even by those that don't typically like the dish. The less adventurous landlubbers at the table were quite happy with their burgers, truffle parmesan fries and very large bowl of amber ale French onion soup.
Throughout our meal the service was very friendly, attentive and certainly knowledgeable about the menu. In addition to the dining room, the restaurant also has two full bars, a game room and plenty of screens in the bar for watching sporting events.
Our next visit will have us sampling some of their other intriguing items including Shrimp 'N Grits, Mahi tacos, steamed clams, jerk chicken and pork belly cheddar burger.
Address: 118 Ruby Street, downtown, Tavares (across from ALS Landing)