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The Best and Worst Menu Items at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville started as a song and turned into a restaurant empire. The eateries became renowned for good eats and, of course, margaritas. 

But how do you narrow down your choices with so many menu options?

We’re discussing the best and worst menu items, so you know what to order next time you visit!

Let’s nosh!

Who Is Jimmy Buffett?

With a fanbase of nearly 30,000 fans, known as Parrotheads, you’ve probably heard of Jimmy Buffett. Originally from Mobile, Alabama, he loved to spend time in the Gulf of Mexico. His father served as a ship captain and traveled all over the world, giving Jimmy a sense of wanderlust. 

When Buffett left for college, he joined a fraternity. He began to notice his brothers wooing women by strumming on their guitars and quickly decided to learn the guitar himself. Within a year, he put together a band and began busking in New Orleans up to six times per week. After graduating, he took a job with Billboard magazine and relocated to Nashville.

Buffett took a trip to Key West, Florida, in 1971. It hadn’t yet become the bustling tourist hub you see today. Instead, it mainly consisted of drifters and artists. He moved to the town shortly after his trip, where he began developing his famous beach-bum persona. Buffett started playing for free drinks at a hotel and gradually grew his reputation.

The artist released his breakthrough hit, “Margaritaville,” in 1977. The song spent 22 weeks on the Billboard charts, peaking at number 8, and on this success, he built an empire. Throughout his life, Jimmy Buffett has released 27 studio albums, written three number-one best-sellers, and even wrote a musical. He has opened dozens of Margaritaville restaurants and even started a line of shoes.

Cocktails by the beach
From restaurants to RV resorts, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville has made a name for itself.

What Is Margaritaville?

What began as a song became a way of life. Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville locations celebrate his carefree, beach-loving lifestyle. The artist has opened Margaritaville-themed hotels, restaurants, and even a cruise ship. He has RV parks in Florida and Tennessee called Camp Margaritaville. 

This franchise began when a chain restaurant tried to trademark a specialty drink called Margaritaville. Jimmy Buffett sued the restaurant, and when he won, he began branding his business expenditures with the song title. Today he owns 30 hotels and 150 restaurants that rake in nearly two billion dollars each year. Let’s take a closer look at these restaurants. 

How Many Margaritaville Restaurants Are There?

The first restaurant, located in Orlando, Florida, was launched in 1999. Since then, over 30 more Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville restaurants have opened across the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean. 

The Mall of America in Minnesota has one of the restaurants, as does Navy Pier in Chicago. You can visit one of five locations in Florida or stop by the location in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Many travelers enjoy visiting one of the three Margaritaville locations in Jamaica or the one on Grand Caymen. 

Whichever location you end up visiting, be sure to remember the following best and worst menu items to order!

Pro Tip: Spend the night at this New Margaritaville RV Resort That Highlights What’s Wrong With Every Other RV Park.

Drinking margaritas
Bring paradise to you by dining at Margaritaville.

The Best Menu Items at Margaritaville

Though menus vary by location, keep your eyes peeled for any of these entreés with an authentic taste of paradise. Whether you’re in the mood to enjoy a classic favorite like the Double Cheeseburger in Paradise or something more unique like Caribbean Chick Egg Rolls, you can’t go wrong with these top five choices. 

#1 Surf and Turf

One of our favorite items on the Margaritaville menu, Surf and Turf, combines extraordinary flavors to leave you feeling satisfied. If you have difficulty making decisions, this entreé just may be exactly what you need. Not sure if you want steak or seafood? Get the best of both worlds by ordering a ten-ounce steak and a pile of shrimp.

#2 Seafood Combo

As the name suggests, this entreé is one for seafood lovers. The Seafood Combo comes with fish, chips, fried shrimp, and coconut shrimp. The dipping sauces offered alongside the fish steal the show. Keep things fresh with sweet pineapple sauce, or try the Thai chili dip. We love to scoop up some of the jalepeño tartar sauce for a twist on a classic. 

#3 Double Cheeseburger in Paradise

A play on another Jimmy Buffett song, the Double Cheeseburger in Paradise gets our mouths watering. The restaurant takes a classic burger seasoned and cooked to perfection, then tops it with American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles.

If you love sides, upgrade to sweet potato waffle fries. For lighter fare, you can order a single Cheeseburger in Paradise instead. This entreé can be customized in many ways, making it a dish everyone will love.

#4 Caribbean Chick Egg Rolls

This appetizer, something you can’t get anywhere else, might just upstage the entreé you’ve ordered. These eggrolls come filled with Caribbean chicken, peppers, onions, and cheese. You can dip them in delicious chipotle aioli. While the eggrolls taste great on their own, the sauce truly takes them to another level. Consider ordering this favorite to share with the table during your next visit. 

#5 Volcano Nachos

Volcano Nachos feature a mountain of chips smothered in beef chili and covered with creamy queso. The dish is topped with pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole. Though this dish can be found under appetizers, it may be too good to share. Try ordering this dish as an entreé if nachos strike your fancy or as an appetizer for the table to share if you’re feeling generous.

Pro Tip: Can’t make it to Margaritaville? Try out one of these Best Canned Margaritas for Your Camping Trip instead.

Woman eating meal in Margaritaville restaurant
While there are some great menu options at Margaritaville, some are worth skipping.

The Worst Menu Items at Margaritaville

We’ve probably all placed an order for something that looked really good on a menu but fell flat on the table. Consider avoiding the following menu items that might not live up to your standards. 

#1 Beach Club

The Beach Club comes with bacon, ham, and swiss on white bread with mayonnaise. If we wanted a ham sandwich, we could make one at home. This sandwich lacks the flair that so many of the other dishes have to offer. While nothing is inherently wrong with this dish, you may miss out on much better food served at Margaritaville. 

#2 Chicken and Broccoli Pasta

This restaurant specializes in classic beachfront cuisines like fish and chips or burgers. Have you ever seen anyone eating a bowl of creamy pasta on the beach? This entreé choice detracts from the entire experience of visiting Margaritaville. The Chicken and Broccoli Pasta also comes in a cream sauce resulting in a rich and heavy meal.

#3 Fried Pickles

This classic southern appetizer, now found in thousands of restaurants around the country, comes with ranch. Adding a stereotypical dressing to an appetizer found everywhere feels lackluster compared to the thoughtful dipping sauces for nearly all their other menu items. While you may think a restaurant can’t ruin deep-fried pickles, this menu item leaves much to be desired.

#4 Cobb Salad

Margaritaville offers a Cobb Salad with ranch dressing, bringing boredom to the forefront. Additionally, the large portion of lettuce makes it hardly worth the price tag. While the salad features traditional ingredients like eggs and bleu cheese crumbles, the toppings could be fresher and better quality. 

#5 Hand-Battered Chicken Tenders

The Hand-Battered Chicken Tenders served with a side of fries feels like an afterthought to the menu. The dish lacks creativity, and nothing sets these chicken tenders apart from what you could order at any other restaurant. 

Is Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Worth It?

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville is all about the experience. Dine at any location, even the one in Las Vegas, and you’ll instantly find yourself transported to the beach. 

On your next visit to the restaurant, instead of ordering lackluster chicken tenders, consider ordering something that will play into the experience, like Surf and Turf. We think a visit to Margaritaville should be on your foodie bucket list!

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