I have lived in the Sarasota area for nearly two years now and I just found out about Rotten Ralph’s via a piece in Sarasota magazine. How in the heck could this happen? I mean, seafood dives are kinda my thing, ya know?
It’s a funky little place located at the Anna Maria Yacht Basin. But don’t let that lead you to believe that this is a high brow dining experience. Well, I guess you sort of figured that out by the name … sorry!
My table offered a nice bay view — the place is just surrounded by million dollar boats. That might explain the pricing, which leans a bit towards the pricey side. For example, the seafood platter at lunchtime is $24. Now, I don’t know about you, but I rarely – check that – never drop 25 bills on lunch. Expense account or no expense account, that’s just nuts.
I did find one value choice – the all-you-can-eat Fish n’ Chips for $9.99. The fish arrived at my table hot and crispy. The french fries buried underneath were also piping hot. That’s the good news. As for the bad, the slaw was roughly chopped, dry, and flavorless. I might also add that I don’t think the fish is locally caught. It tasted like frozen Atlantic haddock to me. Guess that’s why it’s $9.99 and the grouper sandwich is $12.99. My platter required a good deal of salt and several splashes of malt vinegar to get the fish’s flavor fully “up on its fins.” I saved room for Mama D’s homemade Peanut Butter Pie until I learned it was $5.29 per slice. Pass!
I was duly impressed with the “Rube Goldberg” contraption shown above. A roll of paper towels dangled from a plastic clothes hanger (attached to the ceiling with rope) above each table. Pretty nifty idea, Ralph. It keeps the wipes handy but off the table for extra elbow room. They scored points for this one. Their choice in music left something to be desired. Never thought that the “island spirit” they promote on the sign out front includes Toto, Bon Jovi, etc. A little reggae, some cool jazz, and a couple of breezy Buffett tunes might be more fitting, folks!
You can pull up your yacht (whichever one you choose to take out that day), grab a bite to eat, fill up your massive tank with gas, and motor back out to the Gulf to continue your day of fishing or recreation. “That’ll be $4,000, sir!”
Visit their web site and find out how Ralph earned his dubious nickname at: www.rottenralphs.com . Give ’em a try if you’re in the neighborhood, but please don’t go out of your way to find this out of the way diner. We still maintain that there are better options for fresh local seafood, great waterfront scenery, and reasonable prices. For starters, check out the Starfish in Cortez Village or the Rod n Reel Pier on Anna Maria Island.