Memorable | One of the Best
Captain Joey Patti’s Seafood Restaurant
Review by: Michael Stern
Captain Joey Patti’s Seafood Restaurant and Joe Patti’s Seafood Market are two separate, proximate enterprises, the latter an immense retail seafood emporium (with a sushi stand inside and a beignet wagon outside), the former a sit-down restaurant where seafood stars. We didn’t delve into Patti family dynamics, but when we asked the waitress in Joey Patti’s place about the seafood market just yards away, she got a scowl on her face and implied that there was no love lost among Pensacola’s self-proclaimed “First Family of Seafood.”
Anyway, if you want raw fish, go to Joe Patti’s. If you want an excellent meal, find a booth at Joey Patti’s. Here the oceanic menu includes vividly peppered crab cakes, big-flavored mullet (fried or broiled), Apalachicola oysters, steamed U-Peel-‘em or butterfly fried shrimp, and a catfish variant known as basa/swai. On the side come steak fries or hearty cheese grits. Everything is served in abundance, and on a 1-10 scale, the panhandle favorite fried mullet is up there at 8 or 9, its crackermeal-crunchy skin enveloping fillets that are fishy in the most delicious possible way, their flesh oily and luxurious. I also enjoyed the basa/swai, a velvety, white-fleshed fish well-complemented by its seasoned coat. Fried shrimp are large and tasty if a bit overzealously breaded; ditto oysters. They’re all wild-caught.
Joey Patti’s has a casual diner feel: paper placemats, quick and affable service, reasonable prices, and a broad menu that even includes chicken fingers and hamburgers for members of your party who don’t like fish. But make no mistake about it: Joey Patti’s is a seafood restaurant, and a good one.
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