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Hard as it is to believe, there isn’t an Intracoastal restaurant in Boca Raton where the public can just dock their boat, plop down at a waterfront table and enjoy a meal and some drinks.
There are piers attached to private club properties, but if you want to slip into a boat slip to dock-and-dine (or for that matter, drive a car to a waterfront restaurant) and maybe listen to a band without becoming a club member, then SeaSpray is your only option in Boca Raton.
“Most of Boca Raton is a residentially zone community,” explains Matthew Lane, a managing partner with the Waterstone. “There’s not a lot of commercial space on the waterfront. You have to go all the way north to Delray or to Pompano to the south of here to [dock and dine].”
The Waterstone has 280 feet of dock space and can comfortably handle eight to 10 boats, or more if boaters give permission to stack the vessels side to side.
“What makes SeaSpray so unique is we have a dock that surrounds the restaurant with a dock master present,” adds Lane. “We’re open to all boats…up to about 120 feet. We don’t care if they’re coming in on a WaveRunner or a mega yacht.”
The restaurant will also have watercraft rentals “right from your table,” says Lane. “A boat, a kayak or even a FlyBoard as well if you want to try something a little more adventurous.”
According to executive chef Kelley Randall, SeaSpray is “a community-based, locally sourced approach to fresh seafood [and] Florida fare — some of the mainstays you would see at a waterside restaurant, but with our twist, our take on it, the SeaSpray twist on it.”
For example, there’s a Reuben sandwich on the menu, but interpreted with a SoFlo vibe.
“I think people will really like our Mahi Reuben sandwich,” Randall says. “It’s our take on traditional delicatessen fare…[but]…instead of roast beef, we use seafood that we have in our own back yard, lightly blackened and served with a house-made tangy slaw and Thousand Island dressing. The accompaniments resonate louder and brighter with the fresh seafood. It is a game changer.”
Randall — who has worked at The Office in Delray Beach, Vic & Angelo’s in Palm Beach (and Delray Beach) and The Venu Restaurant & Bar in Boynton Beach — says they “gave every dish a lot of thought and love” and believe there will be several “fan favorites…a few specialty dishes really unique to SeaSpray” such as the shareable plate of grilled octopus with chorizo, fingerling potatoes and olives from Sicily.
“Another one would be the SeaSpray Cobb salad,” he adds. “This is a beautiful representation of the vibrancy that we are trying to achieve here at SeaSpray. This salad is light, refreshing and colorful.”
Even one of the desserts, a shareable dish of Campfire S’Mores, emerged from a place of love, Lane says.
“This is something that chef and I and the team here are extremely excited about. This came about when we were closed for COVID, working with the menu and figuring out what guests are going to want when they come back to restaurants. So we’re sitting in these sort of fireside chats catching up and…we came up with this dessert that is representative of bringing people back together, a real nod to family and friends getting back together around a fire, enjoying something to eat, telling stories, having fun and enjoying themselves and each other.”
The Mahi Reuben is $19. The SeaSpray Cobb is $14. The Campfire S’Mores are $26.
“We have an all-day menu where prices don’t change,” Lane explains. “Like $14 for great salad all the way up to…[something like the] Frutti Di Mare…dish for up to $48. So the average sits in the mid 20s and great handhelds and salads in the teens. We want people to come back two or three times a week because they know they are not getting gouged.”
Randall says that he’s really excited about a Cook Your Catch program they are starting at the restaurant.
“This is fun for me,” he says. “It’s always really nice to be able to involve the community…to take their boating experience and their fishing experience and bring it all together. [We] have myself or one of the chefs cook their catch. They can bring what they caught out on Lake Boca or in the ocean and I will take care of it personally. And they can eat it there or take it back to their boat. It’s quite different and I look forward to it.”
Waterstone Resort & Marina opened in 2015 before a year later becoming a part of the Hilton Curio boutique property brand.
When the hotel first opened there was a restaurant called Boca Landing. Later on there was another restaurant adjacent to the pool deck called Rum Bar & Grill. It is that space that SeaSpray has renovated with a $400,000 build-out.
SeaSpray will have 120 seats spread out over 2,000 square feet of al fresco dining, a portion covered and the rest with umbrellas over tables. There is also a private dining room inside.
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With seating tiered to the waterfront, the restaurant is an expanse of spaces arranged to give guests little groupings.
“The SeaSpray [layout] does have different moments that seems to have the feeling of a level of privacy, but in a convivial atmosphere,” he explains.
EoA Group custom designed all the furniture, including continental height tables that allow comfortable dining in the couch seating lounge-style areas.
Gabriela Benatar, an artist who developed some of her techniques while at the Boca Raton Museum Art School, free-hand painted a massive tropical bird mural spanning six walls.
“Everyone is finding their own favorite and taking a photo next to it,” adds Lane. “It really frames the mindset when you walk through the door.”
He says they want to have two or three live entertainment acts per week. “We feel is it so appropriate in the space. We think it s just going to be really special.”
- SeaSpray at the Waterstone Resort & Marina is located at 999 E. Camino Real, in Boca Raton.
- While SeaSpray won’t open to the public until June 14, the restaurant is accepting reservations starting June 7 via OpenTable.com.