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Rusty Pelican, Key Biscayne / Miami, FL (restaurant)

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Mambo posted on Thu, Aug 26, 2004 8:29 PM

Name:Rusty Pelican
Street:3201 Rickenbacker Causeway
City:Key Biscayne / Miami

I'm surpised this place hasn't been mentioned here before. This restaurant / bar is kind of a secret place, mostly only known to the locals. It is very tiki! The decor has much bamboo, thatch, seashells, trap lights and tikis in various locations.
It is on the waterfront with a spectacular view of the miami skyline which intensifies at nite. You can arrive by car or boat.The menu mainly boasts seafood, which is their specialty, however they do serve steak and chicken. The inside tiki bar in the back has fantastic water and city views. As for the music, there wasnt any playing while I was there at lunch on a saturday because of a wedding that was taking place. I would recommend a visit to this oasis when in town for the hukilau.

[ Edited by: Mambo on 2004-08-26 20:31 ]


Many Years ago I carved 2 pelicans for the Salad Bar table.I doubt if they are still there because it has been SO Long ago. They were carved from Cypress and had a burned effect with grey base and rope wrapped around the base

But... what of the drinks, Mambo? WHAT OF THE DRINKS?!?

Mambo posted on Sun, Aug 29, 2004 8:51 AM


I went during the day at lunchtime while
a wedding reception was going on. They had
the tiki bar reserved so I didn't get to
order anything alchoholic. Dont fret, as I will be going bank next weekend and will take some pics and let you all know.

[ Edited by: filslash 2008-09-15 15:00 ]


On 2005-08-25 00:51, filslash wrote:

Strange. I have a matchbox, swizzle, and now a logo coffee cup from a Rusty Pelican, but the address is 2735 W. Coast Highway, Newport beach, CA. Seafood, Prime Rib, Grog!

Perhaps it's still there?

It is, but I have not been there.



whoa! the Rusty Pelican is still around! thanks for the post Mambo (even though its a year old!)

i lived right down the street from there on North Bay Island! Brings back some great memories. that whole area along Rickenbacker Causeway/79th street was littered with great tiki /nautical themed places.

every time i go back to Miami, i'm amazed how little has changed...

I just got back from Miami last week and I went to the Sunday brunch there..WOW ! great food at reasonable prices...it was an all you can eat buffet...and all the TIKI theme you can capture in a pic. I'm gonna try to put up my pics.

Kono posted on Fri, Sep 15, 2006 2:13 AM

Did you tell them that the tiki carving on the left is upside-down?

Yeap..I noticed that too,but look at the people working there...they wouldn't know which way is up, they don't know "TIKI". or what it stands for...they treat it like another piece of furniture.Check out these pics..


Hmmmmmmmmmm, I thought I had posted about the RP before, but since I can't find anything I might have written about it before via search and Hukilau is just around the corner (who me, counting the nano-seconds? Yeah, well!)

OakTiki and I explored it on an earlier Miami trip and fell in love with it. It's little known to most Tikiphiles treasure! I think they may have one of the better internally lit glass float collections I've seen in a long time, and plenty of shell lamps and 'glass pebble' lamps. There are a few Tikis here and there, but think more nautical than overwhelmingly Tiki per-se.

As with many coastal true Tiki haunts, it's tucked in alongside a marina and is right on the water. There's a long covered walkway leading up to the front doors with lamps hanging overhead. Once you enter, in the afternoons anyway, the entryway is light and somewhat airy with tropical fans and rich dark walls.

As you can see from above in one of the pictures, booths have slight shell curtains framing them, adding to the feeling of intimacy. It's nautical through and through, and while not heavy on the flotsam and jetsam does have enough 'neat bits' to make us tikiphiles at least comfortable with the general surroundings. There is some matting, though most of the walls are wooden planking.

Mainly, the Rusty Pelican conveys a sense of time/age (with all the positive connotations thereof) and of being somewhat of an 'institution', a place that has been there long enough to make you wish the walls could talk.

I'm not sure I'd call it altogether Tiki, although it certainly has enough to keep tikiphiles interested, (doubly so, considering how much of the rest of FL suffers a relative dearth of Tiki artifacts, and constant mistaking chickee huts for Tiki.) Still, it's good food, fantastic views, a place with a real sense of place and time to it, some Tikis scattered throughout, and enough nets, lit glass floats, cork floats, shell lamps and pebble lamps, carved wood panels, lauhala matting, etc to keep us happy- when we wander beyond the sacred walls of the Mai Kai, that is!

I'm realtively certain we don't have any pictures from our earlier expedition, but we hope fo remedy that this trip.

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