Today is Tuesday, but I’m still thinking about the amazing brunch I experienced on Sunday for our next stop on the Tampa Bay Brunch Tour. Our group dined at Oystercatchers for their brunch buffet, and the spread, atmosphere, and service were all top notch!
I don’t even know where to start. When we arrived, our group was seated beside a large picture window with a gorgeous view of Tampa Bay. We even happened to spot some dolphins during the course of our meal – cool right? Seeing dolphins frolic in the water is so quintessentially Floridian; I could think of no better spot to dine (as a Floridian OR if you happen to have guests visiting from out of town). Anyway, the interior of Oystercatchers is open, bright, and cleanly decorated. The tables are spacious, the seats are comfortable, and the gorgeous natural light let in by the windows sets the perfect scene.
When it came to the brunch buffet, it was almost overwhelming to determine where to start. Do you begin with breakfast items, followed by lunch ones? Do you eat dessert BEFORE your meal? Do you just grab a little bit of everything and make multiple return trips to the buffet to taste as many items as possible? After perusing the entire spread, I decided to just go for a little bit of everything that sounded tasty…in no particular order. On a side note: we were informed that Oystercatchers changes up the theme of their brunch fare every week…so what we sampled on Sunday is not necessarily what you will find on a return trip – kind of nice, right? I always appreciate a restaurant that switches things up regularly; it gives me a reason to go back!
Oystercatchers sets up a spread of charcuterie, cheese, caviar, and salmon for guests to enjoy, as well as a raw bar with shrimp and oysters. I immediately gravitated toward this table and picked up an assortment of cheese to sample (by far my favorite: the drunken goat cheese. I wish I could have taken a to-go container filled with it. Yum.). Although I didn’t partake in the caviar or oysters, Megan commented that they were wonderful…especially paired with the sparkling wine poured at our table!
Yes, unlimited sparkling wine, mimosas, bloody Marys, and sangria. The set price of the brunch buffet includes these items, so I could not resist a glass of bubbly! Our waiter was great at topping off our glasses and making sure we had fresh squeezed orange juice available to create mimosas.
The Oystercatchers bloody Mary bar was also impressive to see. They served quite the spread, including three different bloody Mary mixes, assorted spice/salt rims to dip your glass in, and a slew of garnishes to adorn your drink, from shrimp, to stuffed olives, to celery, and even slices of bacon!
Although I did not sample the sangria myself, I heard rave reviews from a dining buddy. And I must admit – the dark plum color of the concoction would have been speaking my name on any other occasion. Next time I find myself at Oystercatchers, I am making it a point to sample this beverage!
On this occasion, I decided to opt out of many of the breakfast items, but they received many approving “oohs” and “aahs” from my fellow diners, from macadamia nut pancakes, to lobster topped eggs benedict, to alligator sausage. I made myself an egg white omelet at the egg station, and it was fluffy perfection. Oystercatchers offers the option for selecting regular eggs, egg whites, or quail eggs for their omelets – very fun!
I found myself drawn to the wide range of salads and cold dishes on display, from a Mediterranean tuna salad, to a marinated grilled chicken salad with peppers…
…to a fresh caprese style salad with gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, to a Caesar salad made with fresh greens. Somehow I missed out on photographing my favorite salad of the day: a quinoa salad with blistered corn, tomatoes, and herbs. SO good!
In addition to the salads, Oystercatchers also displayed a selection of sushi (California rolls and spicy tuna rolls), hummus, and grilled pita bread.
These veggie spring roll wraps were definitely deemed a big hit around our table – the fresh, crisp vegetables and shrimp were a bright and flavorful bite, and when you topped them with the fresh chili sauce, they were summer perfection on a plate!
As for lunch options, there were many for diners to choose from. Oystercatchers offered grouper, steak, and a freshly sliced veal, to name a few options my fellow dining buddies selected from. For a more filling option on the lunch side of the spectrum, I decided to sample their made to order pasta bar. Oystercatchers allows you to select between a few different pastas, sauces, and an assortment of fresh fixins to create you own signature pasta. I opted for feta and sundried tomato stuffed ravioli, topped with marinara, asparagus, sundried tomatoes, and prosciutto. Yum!
When we were sufficiently stuffed from our meal portion of brunch, we soldiered on to the dessert room! Yes – Oystercatchers sets out their desserts in a separate room, and on this occasion there were over 30 selections to choose from. There were cupcakes, adorable mini tarts, chocolate fondue, chocolate mousse cups, coconut macaroons, blondies, and even a make your own ice cream sundae bar with toppings!
Aside from the assortment of prepared desserts on display, Oystercatchers also offered two desserts made to-order: bananas foster and apple beignets with a maple glaze. I had to try both, and was glad I did. Apples and bananas are healthy, right? Haha…
I have to say: I left Oystercatchers on Sunday feeling gloriously full (but not too full, thankfully). It was such a great location to gather with friends for a Sunday afternoon, and I would definitely give it my seal of approval based on this particular visit. I think Oystercatchers would be a perfect location if you’re searching for a brunch spot where you can spend a few hours catching up with family or friends…enjoying a spread of food that will please everyone!
Do you have a favorite brunch spot to dine at?