My wife and I went to Altamonte Springs for some shopping recently, and on the way back we stopped for an early dinner at The Port Steak and Seafood restaurant in Haines City. This is in remote, unincorporated Haines City, by Lake Hatchineha. The lake is large (over 6,600 acres) and quite lovely.
The Port is a bit of a drive, so you might want to go when your schedule is open-ended. The restaurant itself offers both indoor and outdoor seating, and we sat indoors. The decor is minimalist, with a few “nautical” props like anchors and “Captains Quarters” signs that are a little kitschy but we enjoyed. There are no booths and the acoustics seemed to have the potential to magnify sound, so we could imagine it getting a little noisy during peak hours. We were seated quickly and our server was friendly and cheerful the entire visit.
The menu is comprehensive and has a lot of conventional steak and seafood offerings, which we’ve found surprisingly rare considering we’re in Florida. So the menu appealed to us, with a variety of seafood or landlubber appetizers, burgers and sandwiches, oysters/clams/mussels, pasta, seafood dinner combinations, steak, and chicken. My wife had Diet Coke to drink and I had lemonade (not freshly squeezed, more like a lemon soda, but it did taste good). The interior dining area also offers a nice view of the lake.
Apologies up front for my darkish photos. I was having issues with the high-contrast lighting. Suffice to say the photos don’t really do justice to the food.
My wife ordered the crab cakes, which included 2 sides, and she chose a baked sweet potato and hush puppies (some of the other side options were mashed potatoes, rice pilaf, grits, and cole slaw). The crab cakes were mostly crab, instead of a lot of filling. The seasoning was slightly spicy but it didn’t overwhelm the crab, which seemed fresh. They were substantial, and came with a dipping sauce that had a spicy mayo flavor. The sweet potato was perfectly baked. The hush puppies were a bit on the dry side. They were sprinkled with powdered sugar, which she wasn’t wild about. The breading on the hush puppies tasted like there was a little honey, which my wife didn’t care for but I liked.
I ordered the seafood combo dinner, which also comes with 2 sides, and I got the baked potato and hush puppies. The seafood combo included a large tilapia fillet, crab, two large scallops, and 4 large shrimp. I asked for mine fried, but broiled was also an option. The tilapia fillet was the biggest component of the meal, and it was possibly the best fish fillet I’ve had in Polk County. Fresh, flaky, and just the right amount of breading. All of the seafood tasted fresh. The crab was a small, open, crab shell filled with breaded crab meat – it was on the small side but delicious. The scallops were well-cooked, not rubbery as they seem to be in so many restaurants. The same applies to the shrimp. The breading on everything was lightly seasoned and didn’t overwhelm the food. And there was no greasiness despite it being fried. The baked potato came with sour cream and butter – for a slight upcharge, “fully loaded” was an option.
We were really happy with our experience at The Port. It was a little on the pricey side – with tip out total was $54. The portions were generous and we did have leftovers for the next day. As I mentioned earlier, it seems Polk County, despite being in Florida, doesn’t have a lot of conventional seafood restaurants. Especially restaurants that offer such well-prepared food. So The Port was a happy find for us. The Port Steak and Seafood is at the east end of Lake Hatchineha Road, also known as County Road 542, in Haines City. Just drive until you get to the lake and have a delicious meal. Enjoy!