And the gem isn’t the restaurant (but it’s excellent too!)

The La Cote Basque Menu

The La Cote Basque Menu

We recently spent a few days in and around St. Pete Beach, Florida. We enjoyed our fair share of typical beach fare. I lost track of how many of “The Beach’s Best Grouper Sandwiches” I had. The Brass Monkey was probably the best of these spots. And twice we hit up an excellent Mexican spot called Agave. Best breakfast was Beverly. But the real gem was located in the nearby town of Gulfport, Florida. La Cote Basque was the site of our best meal.

Newspaper articles abound.

Newspaper articles abound.

And the gem was not the restaurant, but the proprietor, Grandma Frohne! We’d been told about La Cote by Brandon Frohne, up and coming rockstar Nashville chef of Mason. The quaint French and continental┬árestaurant has been in the family since 1972, and is straight out of a Victorian novel. It seats only a few people at a time so it’s recommended that you make reservations.

One section of the Dining Room

One section of the Dining Room

And do check their website for valuable coupons. Our server, Dalton, another grandson, was our server and was extremely pleasant and helpful (especially when we started talking about our upcoming fishing trip!). Grandma, or Oma as Brandon calls her, came out to greet us on at least three occasions. She is in her 80s and still comes in every day to cook, on her stool, and supervise the perfectly prepared dishes. SHE is the gem of the area! She was so sweet to us that we wanted to bring her home with us!

Grandma Frohne

Grandma Frohne

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We started with her homemade bread dotted with sesame seeds that was as light as air. We started by splitting a bowl of Swiss Cheese Soup and whenever I’m sick, I want to airlift a bowl of this back home. It was so rich and delicious. Then M had, as Brandon recommended, Schnitzel Holstein with rice, sauted vegetables, and an OUT OF THIS WORLD braised cabbage. The veal cutlet was breaded and served with sunny side egg and anchovies and capers.

Oh this bread!

Oh this bread!

Swiss Cheese Soup

Swiss Cheese Soup

Schnitzel Holstein

Schnitzel Holstein

I had the best piece of salmon in my life. Grilled and finished over Lobster Bisque. Everything was very hot… Like lava. And I have no idea how she was able to get a piece of salmon that hot and it remain so delicate and juicy. My sides were the same and when Grandma gave her midmeal checkin to us, because we loved the cabbage do much, she brought out another steaming bowl of it for us to share. Did I mention how sweet she was?

Salmon

Salmon

There wasn’t any space left for dessert unfortunately, because the servings are not skimpy. We were miserably full the rest of the evening but there was no way to not clean the plates.

If you are in St. Pete/Tampa do visit La Cote Basque… But not only for the food, but to meet the real Gem, Oma Frohne!