Summer date with Mango's
Lauren Feinman uses an apt analogy when describing how she and her family (mom Annie and dad Rick) have during the past three years fine-tuned their Mango's Dockside Bistro.
"It took us about three years to finally get our ducks in a row," said Feinman, who established Mango's after first running a much smaller restaurant and deli called The Chef's Express at Olde Marco.
"It takes time to instill policies and procedures," Feinman said. "This past season was by far the busiest for us, but for us it was also the most organized."
The restaurant, down the promenade at The Esplanade complex off Collier Boulevard and adjacent to the Smokehouse Bay Bridge, is appropriately nautically themed.
To one side, it has a huge horseshoe bar with some dining tables to the side. More tables throng a central dining area with high ceilings, and a raised sushi bar completes the interior. Outdoor tables with umbrellas in summer and heaters in winter are popular because of the expansive view of Smokehouse Bay and its flotilla of expensive boats.
The restaurant also has a shop specializing in gifts, interior decorating items, wall hangings, and figurines – most nautically themed to go with the restaurant's image, said Feinman.
On the food side, the accent is naturally on seafood, with prices hovering around $14 for meals such as a tropical island salad (Romaine lettuce, a pineapple boat, chicken salad, red onion, blue cheese crumbles, walnuts and a sweet and sour sauce); or the Key West salad with grilled shrimp, cranberries, almonds, feta cheese and a sweet onion dressing.
Most expensive item on the daily special list is variations on fresh grouper at $18.
New for summer, Feinman said, is a happy-hour bar menu, serving $5 appetizers such as a half-dozen raw oysters (or 3 oysters Rockefeller) and shrimp cocktail, for example. The appetizers are served at the bar only, between 3-9 p.m. Happy-hour drinks are between 3- 7 p.m.
Regular restaurant hours are Monday-Friday from 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday from 8 a.m.- 9 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Breakfast is served Saturday and Sunday.