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When you step inside the courtyard at the Shops of Olde Marco, you suddenly feel transported to the Florida Keys; so naturally, you start craving fresh seafood, right?

You’re in luck. Because the Shops just so happen to be the home of Lee Be Fish Company, “the littlest, biggest fish market in the area.” Yup, you read that right. Just go with it.

The market and eatery has two boats making fresh catches in Southwest Florida waters, and you can taste that freshness. But beware, your credit is no good here. If you wish to partake of fresh seafood, only cold, hard cash will do, matey!  

There’s a certain informality that I loved when stepping up to the register. The person supposedly manning the station was “out back, doing some work.” He had a deep, booming voice, a larger than life personality and you knew you were in the presence of a fisherman. With emphasis on the man.

I’m guessing he may have caught our food himself. I know he took the order, cooked it up and served it to us.

The menu is simple enough: fish or shrimp or fish and shrimp (grilled or fried). You can have a basket, a platter or a sandwich and you can choose between cole slaw, fries, black beans and rice.

I picked the shrimp basket with black beans and rice, and I have a lot of great things to say about it.

First, nice portion size. There were like 12 grilled shrimps, perfectly seasoned and cooked just so.    

The beans and rice came in a cup and was topped with cilantro, salsa, onions, cheddar cheese and a dab of sour cream.

While the sides may not sound like a culinary piece of art, it did kind of look like modern art. As we all know with modern art, its beauty rests in the eye of the beholder. What I saw had no pretension but plenty of flavor.

My partner in dine had the fish and shrimp combo. I bartered a few extra shrimps for a taste of the fish that 10 minutes ago I had dismissed. I’m a complicated guy. I could learn a thing or two from my uncomplicated surroundings.    

The fish was heavy on the spices (Arthur Treachers, a personal fav, I suspect); but it worked for me. It’s exactly the way I would have cooked it at home – but who has time for that?

The cole slaw was above average. Not creamy; but crispy and salad-like with some spices in the mix. And unexpected delight.

If you have a hankering for fresh fish and uncomplicated exchanges, Lee Be Fish Company is here for you; just don’t forget the Benjamins.

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If you go

Lee Be Fish Company

  • 350 Royal Palm Drive, Marco Island
  • 239-389-0580
  • www.leebefish.com
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