1506 S. Parrott Avenue
Okeechobee, FL 34974
By Mike Miller November 27, 2023
The day before Thanksgiving I was driving into Okeechobee from the west on US-98. I picked up my very smart phone and asked "what is the best seafood restaurant in Okeechobee?"
It told me "Lightsey's Fish Company and Seafood" so I punched it into my GPS and went straight to Lightsey's.
Lightsey's is in the heart of Okeechobee in a modern building. It is a family-owned restaurant known locally for its fresh catch and homey atmosphere.
The ambiance at Lightsey's is a mix of rustic and nautical, reflecting its deep connection to the local fishing culture of this city on the north shore of Lake Okeechobee.
The minute you walk in you see a display case topped with gator skulls and other native memorabilia.
The interior is decorated with fishing memorabilia and marine-themed decor that creates a casual and welcoming atmosphere.
It's comfortable and authentic, making it an ideal spot for family dinners or a casual outing with friends. There is a large inside dining room and bar, and a large outside screened dining area.
The menu at Lightsey's is extensive, with a strong focus on seafood. Freshness is key here, and it's evident in every dish.
The fish is caught locally, ensuring that the flavors are as fresh and authentic as possible.
One of the standout dishes is the catfish, known for its light, flaky texture and flavorful seasoning. I ordered catfish fingers, which are actually boneless small catfish filets.
I could have ordered just the regular catfish dinner on the menu, but I got greedy and ordered the "all you can eat" catfish dinner. It was most definitely all I could eat.
The next day at a friend's Thanksgiving dinner in Coral Gables, I wasn't even hungry.
Lightsey's also serves gator tail, a traditional delicacy in rural Florida and a must-try adventure for tourists who want to experience true Florida cuisine.
Besides the seafood, Lightsey's also offers a variety of other dishes, including steaks and chicken, catering to a range of tastes.
The sides, like the hush puppies and coleslaw, complement the main courses well and add to the overall dining experience. The coleslaw was really good and really big.
One of the highlights of Lightsey's is the friendly and attentive service. Nicole greeted me at the door, seated me, and was one of my servers.
Nicole and the other staff were knowledgeable about the menu and willing to offer recommendations, making the dining experience more personal and enjoyable.
This level of service, coupled with the cozy atmosphere, adds to the charm of the restaurant.
Lightsey's meals and drinks are reasonably priced considering the quality and freshness of the seafood. The portions are generous, ensuring that diners leave satisfied.
They have a full bar and can make just about any drink you can think of, and you can also eat at the bar if you'd like.
Lightsey's is open 7 days a week.
Sunday through Thursday their hours are 11am to 9pm. Friday and Saturday they are open from 11am to 10pm.
Whether you're a local or just passing through like I was, Lightsey's is worth a visit for a meal that's both satisfying and representative of Okeechobee's fishing town heritage.