Nestled next to the Intracoastal Waterway at the South Harbour Village Marina and perched securely within a row of well disguised Caribbean-style commercial denizens is Joseph’s Italian Bistro. Southport has very few fine dining establishments, but Joseph’s offers an upscale experience with both its ambiance and impeccable service. Location is everything and Joseph’s doesn’t disappoint. Overlooking the marina, diners enjoy the serene, azure waterway and captivating salmon-hued sunsets.
The Tuscan-chic décor and melodic sounds of Sinatra, Martin and Torme lull patrons into a Romanesque reverie, unmatched in the area. Joseph’s has become a bi-monthly dining destination. I’ve enjoyed many meals in the main dining room and out on the veranda with a view of the marina. My favorite spot is being nuzzled up to the bar enjoying wine, cocktails and witty banter with Ben, the drink-master that holds a very high position on my list of Best Bartenders. The bar is small and intimate with its own scenic view out into the harbor.
Oftentimes I’ll order appetizers and meals right at the bar. Being of Italian descent, it is very difficult for me to credit any Italian fare other than that made by my mother or grandmother, but as commercial Italian-American food goes, I can admit that Joseph’s is a notch above some of the others. I’ve enjoyed the Eggplant Parmigiana, the Frutta de mare, and Scallops sautéed with artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, and spinach. Special mention should be given to the Soft Shell Crab served with polenta and a lemon beurre blanc. Divino!
Depending on the hour, the bar area bustles with a mix of locals and tourists. It’s quite a pleasant atmosphere and I’ve had many lively conversations with perfect strangers. Ben is extremely attentive and interactive with all his guests. I highly recommend a visit to the bar – you may even stay awhile. I’ll wager that you’ll also return time and time again.
Joseph’s Italian Bistro is open Monday through Saturday for dinner and during the summer on Sundays between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Their address is 5003 O’Quinn Boulevard, in Southport. Visit their website at http://www.josephsitalianbistro.com