Calypso Raw Bar & Restaurant: Pomp-Free Pompano Caribbean

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Restaurant Pompano Beach

Calypso has been a strip mall Caribbean mainstay.

When I attended Vanderbilt University, my friend Brad and I ate twice a week at Calypso Café, a mini-mall “Caribbean” restaurant conveniently located two blocks from Tolman Hall. We’d gorge ourselves on boija muffins, rotisserie chicken, and black bean nachos while scoping out the bevy of sorority girls that always ate there. It’s fitting that after college, Brad would move to South Florida and buy a house down the street from another mini-mall Caribbean spot named Calypso Raw Bar & Restaurant. The new Calypso is situated next to a laundromat and miles from the nearest college campus, so it isn’t exactly stocked with sorority girls, but the food is sensational.

Bar Pompano Beach

The thatch-covered raw bar is the place to knock back oysters and Caribbean brews underneath fish-bearing flags.

Restaurant Pompano Beach

Calypso’s sunny yellow dining room to the right is decorated with plenty of plants and ocean-themed paintings.

Restaurant Menu Pompano Beach

A blackboard labeled “Do You Really Want To Know Board!” is covered in chalk advertising the days specials, which normally includes at least four varieties of fresh fish, Florida lobster tails, crab claws, and soups.

Since the restaurant claims to serve “the Finest in Fresh Seafood and Caribbean Fare Since 1990,” I loaded up on as much Caribbean seafood as possible.

Seafood Pompano Beach

I started with a plate of house-smoked dolphin with crackers, red onion, capers and mustard horseradish sauce ($7.95). Don’t worry; I didn’t eat any of the mammal that gets fooled so easily by plastic soda can rings. Dolphin is actually another name for mahi mahi. The smoked fish slices were a bit dry, but came to life when paired with the spicy mustard horseradish sauce.

Seafood Pompano Beach

We split a starter of West Indies B.B.Q. Shrimp (4 for $8.95) sautéed in a dark brown butter, with fresh cracked black pepper, garlic, dried spices & habanero pepper sauce. The shrimp were succulent, each crustacean served on little toast that soaked up the complex, spicy sauce.

Seafood Pompano Beach

For my entrée, I ordered the grilled conch lunch platter ($15.75): Tenderized Caribbean conch brushed with our Caribbean marinade and grilled to a slight char. It was served with drawn butter, a wedge of fresh lime and came with pigeon peas & rice. Pigeon peas are a lot like lentils. That’s a good thing.

Crab Cake Pompano Beach

I sampled my mother’s pan-fried blue crab cake cutter (island for sandwich, $9.95) flavored with fresh herbs, minced peppers and onions. It was supposed to come with spicy roast red pepper tartar sauce, but it didn’t. No matter; the lump crab was still plenty juicy and flavorful.

Caribbean Food Pompano Beach

No meal at Calypso would be complete without a side of fried plantains ($2.25). They’re not the usual sickeningly-sweet, over-buttered junk available at most Caribbean restaurants. These beauties have a crispy outer crust and a molten filling.

Pie Pompano Beach

To finish our Calypso experience, we each ate a slice of Key lime pie ($3.75). This was an excellent version. It could have done without the whipped cream, but that was remedied with a brush of my fork.

Calypso is a reasonably-priced café with impeccable seafood prepared in ways I could never hope to find within 2000 miles of Los Angeles. For those reasons, I’ll return to Calypso on ensuing trips to South Florida.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

Anyone would love the food here. It looks delicious.

You should consider networking with the moms in the bizymoms Pompano-beach community.

Anyone would love the food here. It looks delicious.

You should consider networking with the moms in the bizymoms Pompano-beach community.

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