Ben's Tribute To
The Kapok Tree Restaurant
Walking Tour:
Inside The Restaurant
As you step through the front door, you are met with the view below. It occurs to you that this is not like any other restaurant you've ever seen. When you buy your dinner tickets (ham, chicken, steak, or shrimp) at the booth in the distance, you can also buy a souvenir brochure which includes the handy map you see here.

Walking Tour Map

The Mall, looking toward the ticket booth
Kapok Tree Inn Mall - Its vaulted plastic ceiling was built for comfort and convenience for Kapok Tree guests. The architecture is Roman and the statuary was imported from Italy. This magnificent promenade is over 300 feet long. Humidity and temperatures are constant. There are gift shops and charming foyers along both sides of the walkway.      (Color photo by Tom Brown)

The Gallery Dining Room


Gallery Dining Room - The entry doors are part of a 15th century Flemish oak room. The wall panels come from Dunfrees Castle in Scotland. The room houses a prized collection of European and American art objects.

The Red Lounge
Red Lounge - The room is dominated by a 19th century marble Victorian fountain. Authentic antique French love seats provide gracious comfort. The walls are adorned with silk screened prints of Italian Renaissance engravings.

The Crystal Hall
Crystal Hall - In 1970, the original Main Dining Room was rebuilt to become the Crystal Hall. It is accented by Corinthian columns and eight Italian crystal chandeliers. Hand-tinted prints, each depicting a month of the year, decorate the vaulted ceiling.


Patio Dining Room
Once an outdoor patio, this is actually a green house dominated by a living palm growing from the central fountain. Bougainvillaea provides a breathtaking canopy of color when in bloom. Hand-blown Italian light fixtures add soft illumination by night.

The Patio Dining Room

Chandelier Room
The room takes its name from the fabulous chandelier that dominates the vaulted ceiling. Designed and built in Clearwater, the crystal and beads themselves come from a chandelier once used at the Paramount Theatre in New York City. The white marble statue, representing the continent "America", was imported from a Scottish castle.

The Chandelier Room

The Garden Dining Room
Garden Dining Room - This room was the first addition to the original Kapok Tree Inn. It is situated in the midst of lush tropical plants and foliage for a fresh and relaxing dining experience.

Kapok Tree
Corn Fritters
Recipe courtesy of Gayle Hackbarth
from the 1961 edition of the
Gasparilla Cookbook

1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 scant teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup whole kernel corn
Fat for deep frying
Confectioner's sugar for dusting


1.  Resift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together
2.  Add egg, milk and corn. Stir until blended.
3.  Drop batter into fat a teaspoonful at a time.
4.  Maintain fat at 350 degrees and fry fritters until golden brown, turning once with a spoon to cook evenly.
5.  Remove fritters from fat and drain on paper towel.
6.  Serve piping hot on warm platter. Sprinkle fritters with confectioner's sugar before serving.

The Grape Bar
Grape Bar & Dining Room - This area takes its theme from the antique Czechoslovakian lights and cast iron trellis.

The Florida Room
Florida Room - One of our most popular rooms, it was inspired by a museum ceiling in Dublin, Ireland. It includes native Floridian plants and features a floor-to-ceiling fountain wall supported by twenty white statues.

The Grand Ballroom
Grand Ballroom & Balcony Dining Room - Considered by many guests to be our most exciting and dramatic. An enormous window wall overlooks the South Garden's multi-tiered fountain and reflecting pool. The opposite wall is dominated by a huge double staircase beneath a hand-painted cupola. The balcony carvings and ornamental balustrades were cast from 18th century carved woodwork found in the Medici palace in Florence, Italy.

Congratulations! You have walked the entire length of the Kapok Tree Inn complex.

We also invite you to explore the outside gardens both before and after dinner - the Italian garden, the East (formal) garden, the pool and fountain of the South garden, and finally the West garden and the great Kapok tree itself.

"Country Dinners served beside Florida's Famous
Kapok Tree in the midst of exotic tropical gardens."


© Copyright 2005, 2008 by Ben Mancine