While in Winter Haven, Florida to visit Legoland, I found an adorable restaurant to complete a day of family fun at the theme parks. Harry’s Old Place is a locally owned eatery that serves juicy steaks and fresh seafood. My daughter (Peyton) and I met two friends (Howard and Jerry) there for dinner. It was on a road that I would have never encountered without mapping it. Harry’s, whose motto is “We just want you to have a good time”, was packed with a satisfied looking clientele.
Once we entered Harry’s Old Place, I immediately liked the relaxed and homey vibe. Friendly staff greeted us and put our name on a list. Harry’s does not take reservations, and from what I hear, is typically on a wait. There was a small bar to grab beer and wine while we waited. There were different dining rooms and the decor was a hodgepodge of nautical and whimsy items and signs. After a short wait, we were seated in the back dining room with huge windows overlooking Lake Ned. Our surroundings were comfortable and not one bit stuffy.
Starters and Drinks
Since Harry’s Old Place does not serve cocktails, we went with a Florida staple, sweet tea. The night’s specials were posted on a huge chalkboard in our room, which added to the mile high list of dishes to choose from that sounded good. Harry’s fresh seafood comes from both the Gulf and Atlantic Oceans. There must have been at least 15 different types of fresh catches available, including Chilean sea bass, haddock, flounder, monkfish, and more. Your fresh catch could be cooked in whatever style you wanted, such as grilled, fried, or steamed.
Our waitress brought us a basket of warm, feathery dinner rolls to eat as we pondered the menu. We opted for Steamed Oysters and an Onion Loaf, a house specialty, to begin with. The golden brown Onion Loaf was delivered to our table and we all dug in. It was not too greasy or overly breaded. It was the best onion loaf I have ever eaten. The homemade dipping sauce paired with the sweet onions well and was tangy and flavorful. In fact, all of the dressings may have been homemade. Howard and Jerry, the fabulous voices behind Backroad Planet travel blog, enjoyed their enormous oysters and gave them a thumbs up. Unfortunately, Harry’s Old Place was out of my favorite item, Peel and Eat Shrimp.
Delicious Dinner Choices
Once we had whet our appetite with oysters and an onion loaf, we moved on to the main course. We picked a Steak & Shrimp Combo (7 oz New York Strip), Linguini with Seafood, and Grouper Imperial. I chose the most requested dish on Harry’s menu because I wanted to see if it lived up to its hype. It did! The Grouper, topped with crab meat, came with two sides, cheese grits and cole slaw. The fish was excellent; meaty and perfectly portioned. The cole slaw was sweet and tasty, but the cheese grits were just average. I would have liked more cheese and salt. I added a side of hollandaise to my fish and it was superb. We concluded our evening with a slice of Harry’s luscious peanut butter pie. Mmm, it was both rich and creamy!
A Restaurant to Remember
Harry’s Old Place gets my recommendation. I appreciated that the owner Harry was on top of everything happening in his restaurant. He frequently walked around and spoke to his guests. I could tell many were regulars because of their friendly banter. This restaurant is a good choice for seafood and steak lovers, as well as a nice place to have a beer and appetizer.
Noteworthy at Harry’s Old Place
I liked that the styles of cooking and sauces were listed in an easy to read fashion. This certainly elevates traditional seafood dishes that typically come broiled, fried, blackened, or Cajun. Garlic and capers, almandine, with berry sauce, hollandaise, and crab topped were some of the choices for accompaniments. After getting sunburned at Legoland, our waitress went and fetched me a few pieces of aloe from their plants outside. How sweet was that? Excellent service, not only in food and drink delivery, makes Harry’s Old Place a success.
Harry’s Old Place
3751 Cypress Gardens Rd.
Winter Haven, FL 33884
Check out our other epic places to dine in Florida:
KeKe’s Breakfast Cafe, Orlando