Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen – Aloma Shopping Center 2203 Aloma Avenue Winter Park.
I must have driven past the Aloma Shopping Center strip mall hundreds of times and never really given Tibby’s a second thought. That was until a friend recommended I visit, as in her words this was a “Hidden Gem”.
The entrance to the restaurant is as you would expect from a strip mall location, a large colorful restaurant name across the facia but nothing more than that to entice you inside.
But when you open the door!!! – Wow you are transported to New Orleans. The décor, music and atmosphere, sights and smells make you feel you could have just slipped into a bar off Bourbon Street.
Mardi Gras decorations and Creole style paintings adorn the restaurant walls and seating choices from high top fours in the bar and booths in the main restaurant invite you to sit and stay a while.
But make no mistake, this is not some theme park attempt at creating a New Orleans themed restaurant, this is the real thing, the Vibe, the Funk, the Heritage are all there.
In terms of the food, N’awlins style classics are everywhere on the menu. Muffuletta, Gumbo, Fried Oysters, Po’Boys, Catfish, Crawfish and Etouffee and at a great price point.
What did we have to eat?
On recommendation we tried two dishes, the first was their signature appetizer, BBQ Shrimp which is described as Large Shrimp sautéed in butter, beer and spices. This was served with a whole French Loaf and boy did we need it for mopping up the delicious cooking sauce. The dish was simple but excellent, with just the right amount of heat to compliment succulent prawns.
The second dish was Maw’s Fries, described as Medium cut Fries smothered with Roast Beef “debris” Gravy and loaded with Cheese. A sort of Poutine on “Steroids”. This one goes to the top of my comfort food cravings and well deserved, I believe this to be the invention of a food mastermind. What’s not to like, Fries, Gravy, Beef and Cheese. Health conscious, maybe not, delicious, absolutely.
As we sat in the bar area our service was from Bret who alternated with his duties behind the bar, but gave great attention and as great bartenders do, never let us feel neglected. Tibby’s have a good selection of beer, both bottled and draft, with accent as you would imagine given to some Southern Brews, the Abita Brewing Co beers were very good. A small selection of wine, but great quality and again a reasonable price point. Cocktails complete the drinks selections with all the usual expectations including Sazerac and Mint Julep and of course Pat O’Brien’s “Hurricane” a French Quarter legend.
We wanted to try more of the food or even a Beignet, but we were so stuffed we settled for another glass of wine and schooner of beer while we soaked up the atmosphere.
After ignoring Tibby’s for so long we have a lot of catching up to do, I will of course report what we eat next, Fried Oysters anybody ?