When you walk into Cod & Capers, check your watch.
Between the clean, briny smell of seafood and the bright, airy sailing-influenced design, you’d swear you were on vacation and now, life moves on Island Time.
A Palm Beach County institution since 1984, Cod & Capers was started by commercial lobster diver Stephen Gyland and has been in the current location on US 1 for the past four years. Family is at the heart of the restaurant and Gyland’s daughter, Jessica Zabel is the one who serves as manager and keeps the place ship-shape.
“My favorite thing about my job is being able to come in to work with my family,” she said. "And I love the food!"
In addition to a full-service café, Cod & Capers also features a marketplace selling the same fresh ingredients they cook with in the kitchen. Whole lobsters, crab claws and scallops sit glistening on beds of ice surrounded by display cases bursting with wines, fresh soups and soft loaves of brioche flown in from Paris.
“My favorite is the rosemary shrimp,” said Jessica, “But if you’re coming into the restaurant for the first time, I recommend the cracked lobster or the cracked conch. The conch is a Bahamian style dish and not a lot of places do it.”
Cod & Capers strives for authenticity and a lot of their recipes are influenced directly from cooks in the Islands.
“We grew up boating and fishing and spent a lot of time in the Bahamas. There’s this restaurant on Cat Island called the Bluebird and these little ladies who worked there taught us everything,” Jessica says with a bright smile. “Our rice and peas and our potato salad recipe comes directly from them.”
Zabel is looking forward to showcasing the café’s classic crab cakes at this year’s Crab Cake Cook-Off.
“We’ve been participating in the cook-off for a couple of years now and people get so creative,” she said. “We felt it was important to showcase our classic recipe and represent who we are. When the seafood is fresh, you really don’t have to do too much to it.”
Cod & Capers' devotion to the community extends beyond merely participating in philanthropic events. As they’ve done in the past, the restaurant is contributing jumbo lump crab meat at cost to all Crab Cake Cook-Off competitors.
“It’s one of the biggest expenses and we didn’t want to preclude anyone,” Jessica said. “We want to encourage a community spirit. After all, we’re rooted in this community.”
Cod & Capers Seafood Marketplace and Cafe
1201 U.S. Highway One
North Palm Beach, FL 33408