Review: TJ's Seafood Shack

Consistently amazing seafood

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  • | 4:54 p.m. May 23, 2012
Photo by: T.J.'s Seafood Shack - T.J.'s Seafood Shack offers a variety of entrees such as Parmesian Talapia.
Photo by: T.J.'s Seafood Shack - T.J.'s Seafood Shack offers a variety of entrees such as Parmesian Talapia.
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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TJ's Seafood Shack is casual, inviting and fun, and I’m happy to report that the quality of the food is consistently amazing. When you arrive, there’s a good chance you’ll meet the sister/brother owners Mary and Tim, who opened their doors in 2008 and have been winning the Taste of Oviedo every year since.

Tim, a seasoned restaurateur, partnered with his business-minded sister Mary to bring this coastal-style seafood shack to Oviedo. Their extensive menu reflects their motto — “Great Food, Fun Environment, Fair Prices.” I’m here to tell you they deliver on all three, and considering how busy they were at a recent lunch, the word is definitely out to Oviedo locals.

Tin signs and wooden plaques on the walls, bare-wood tables and chairs, and upside-down tin buckets as lamp shades may give TJ’s the look and feel of a casual seafood restaurant, but the owners are serious about their food. It always begins with fresh ingredients, and even a quick look at the menu says this is no “fry house.”

We could easily make a full meal out of the array of appetizers, so I requested an appetizer sampler and loved the gator tail (the tail is the ‘tender’ part of the gator). Gator tail has its own distinct taste, and it does not taste like chicken. It’s popular enough at TJ’s that they sell about 150 pounds of gator each month!

Another mouth-treat is the customer-named ‘most popular’ smoked Mahi Mahi fish dip, which I suggest trying in a variety of ways — both with and without the hot sauce. Adding to the ‘fun’ part of the menu, the fried pickles — a first for me — tasted pretty much as I thought they would, and they were truly fun to eat. Try them, you’ll see what I mean as they (sort of) melt in your mouth.

With my love of all things New Orleans, I’m thrilled to report that the gumbo held up to the best homemade gumbo I’ve ever had — another nod to the fresh ingredients so important to this restaurant. And then there were the sweet potato fries, a side order you can have — and should have — with any entrée. I could have munched on those perfectly seasoned little bites of heaven till the good angel on my shoulder made me stop.

And then I ordered the entrees.

The crab-cake is always the test for me, and this crab-cake was all fresh crabmeat held together — without filler — by the grace of good taste. Yes, it comes highly recommended.

Since their Fish Tacos have won awards, I tried the blackened Mahi Mahi wrapped in a soft taco and generously seasoned with a cilantro dressing. It is definitely worthy of awards and also comes highly recommended.

TJ’s Seafood Shack is open daily except Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. TJ’s is set back from the road in the Town Center Shoppes at 197 E. Mitchell Hammock Road in Oviedo. Call 407-365-3365 or visit

Finally, I had to taste the Lobster Roll, served New England style on crunchy French bread, and pronounced it amazing. All that wonderful lobster piled on to a ‘sandwich’ for less than $10 exemplified the part of the motto that speaks to ‘Fair Prices.’ With only one item on the menu coming in at $10.99 and everything else priced under $10, these prices are more than fair.

All of their platters may be ordered blackened, grilled or fried and most of the seafood entrees may be ordered in a salad form. Kids meals, with choices of meat or fish, are available. While the seafood platters and fish tacos are the ‘reason’ to visit TJ's, your non-seafood-eating friends will be happy to know they also offer burgers, chicken sandwiches and salads as well.

TJ’s Seafood Shack won third place in the favorite family dining experience category at the second annual Ovations Awards hosted on May 24 by the Oviedo-Winter Springs Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Seminole Voice. Visit for the complete list of winners.

Watch for TJ’s newest endeavor — a food truck, able to serve more than 400 meals at a stop, which joins that popular movement of “foodies” interested in food served on wheels.

Mention this review the next time you stop by TJ’s and you’ll receive a free “Honey Dipped Hushpuppy.”


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