Photo credit: Marina Kuperman Villatoro / Gringa TravelingMom

Photo credit: Marina Kuperman Villatoro / Gringa TravelingMom

A fine dining night out can put the perfect end on a perfect day.

Finding a fine dining establishment in Crystal River, Florida, was easy, because Plantation on Crystal River was always at the top of the list. First of all, it is one of the most luxurious places that you will find in the area. But you still get to dress casually for it – no dressing up is required. This is a big plus when it comes to traveling with kids.

Plantation on Crystal River: Dining and Fun

The restaurant is located five minutes away from the hotel where we were staying. The property was huge, it seemed like as soon as we turned off the main road everything was owned by Plantation.

DisclosureTMOMThere are golf courses, docks, condos among other things on the property. But it isn’t until you get to the main part of the hotel, where the restaurant is, that you get transported to an old Southern Plantation.

The main restaurant is West 82º and we were the first to arrive.

Ideally, we were hoping to sit outside and enjoy the property. But it was really cold that night and it was impossible to be outside.

In this case, being the first ones there had its advantages. My kids were able to be kids without us worrying that they are bothering others. People go there for the full fine dining experience and some of them take it way too seriously. We didn’t want to feel the need to leave as fast as possible.

We got to the restaurant on a Thursday, for people that visit Plantation that means Martini night. It looked as if they take martinis very seriously. And we were able to enjoy tasting the many different kinds that they had.

Another of my favorite parts was the menu, it has a great selection and they didn’t forget about kids.

Photo credit: Marina Kuperman Villatoro / Gringa TravelingMom

Photo credit: Marina Kuperman Villatoro / Gringa TravelingMom

Our Tasty Selections at Plantation On Crystal River

1. Artichoke and Spinach Dip – It could have easily been the only thing I had for dinner. The taste was heavenly and truly filling.
2. Caesar Salad – My nine-year-old boy isn’t a fan of salads, but he does like a good Caesar. So, to see if a salad is good I give it to him first and if he approves it, it means that it’s a winner. The bad part was that he liked it so much that he ended up having more than half of mine.
3. Beef Soup – Also known as ‘the soup of the day’ is the way to start off a meal when the weather gets cold.

My husband went for Shrimp and Grits (typical southern dish), it is their signature dish and was delicious. Grits isn’t something that can be found easily in Central America, so whenever we see it on a menu we order it.

For me, it was a Seafood Mornay Pasta that came with huge scallops, lobster and shrimp. Scallops aren’t something that seems to make it to our neck of the woods either. Most people who live in Central America have never even heard of it. Even my husband who has traveled a lot with me couldn’t think of the Spanish word for it. So you can imagine how much of a treat it was for me to be able to have scallops the size of small hockey pucks.

Photo credit: Marina Kuperman Villatoro / Gringa TravelingMom

Photo credit: Marina Kuperman Villatoro / Gringa TravelingMom

Fun History Facts About Plantation Inn and How it Started

  • The Inn was constructed in 1962
  • After its construction in the 1960′s, the Plantation on Crystal River stood alone along Florida’s “Nature Coast” as a testament to elegance, southern hospitality, and splendor.
  • The property was purchased in 1975 by Will Caruth. He added an assortment of upgrades, while still maintaining its charm.
  • Caruth created a foundation that to this day gives millions of dollars seeking cures for diseases and donations to municipal police departments.
  • More improvements were done in 1998, since then $2.5 million are invested in upkeep every year.
  • Then in 2010 it was sold to investors lead by Scout Real Estate Capital LLC.
  • Scout and its partners invested more than $3 million in renovations, completed in January 2012.
  • The eco-friendly Plantation on Crystal River is surrounded by the natural springs of Kings Bay and more than 25,000 surface acres of pristine lakes and rivers, as well as wildlife refuges and state parks.