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“Sunday Brunch at The Camel”
Review of Thirsty Camel

Thirsty Camel
Ranked #229 of 712 Restaurants in Norfolk
Cuisines: Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar Scene
Dining options: After-hours
Bradenton, Florida
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Sunday Brunch at The Camel”
Reviewed 2 September 2013

On a lazy Sunday morning, there's something about a beach front dive bar with the statute of a camel in front, buried up to its knees in sand, that is inviting. It is one of those ineffable things that appeals to an atavistic instinct in all imbibers of alcoholic beverages.

The Thirsty Camel is indeed a dive bar in the Willoughby section of Norfolk beach on West Ocean View Avenue, that is at once both appalling and appealing. Surveying the building from the outside with its small windows, you just know it is going to be dark inside, and populated by locals having a "hair of the dog" to wipe up away the previous evening's excesses. And you would be correct! That is exactly what you will find.

Our party of six gathered on a recent Sunday morning (8/18/13) at 10:30 for the "world famous in Norfolk" $9.90 Sunday brunch offering. This deal includes a Bloody Mary or mimosa with your meal. You can choose steak and eggs, pork chop and eggs (though you have to know to ask for that combination since it's not on the menu), bacon and sausage with eggs, etc. You get the picture. The ubiquitous and mandatory "home fries" are included, along with toast.

Upon entering, we were quickly seated and all of us ordered a Bloody Mary or mimosa. Our waitress was Brenda, and Savaud (sp?) manned the kitchen duties as chef. The Camel was about 1/4 full when we arrived, but tables continued to be filled by patrons throughout our meal.

Brenda took our brunch orders and told us to let her know if we needed anything else. In short order, more drinks were forthcoming as we all ordered a second cocktail. I surveyed the inside of The Camel, and I was reminded of establishments I hung out in during my misdirected youth. There's a long bar up against the wall to the right as you enter the building with tables in the middle of the floor parallel to the bar, and booths along the far wall. It looks as though the place will seat about 50-60 people. It is dark (as indeed all dive bars must be in the mornings), and the lit beer signs add an aura of hazy translucent illumination to the proceedings.

Our brunch orders arrived. The food was what you'd expect from someplace like this. Satisfying, but far from singular or gourmet. My bacon showed crispy as ordered, the sausage links were large and had a hint of maple syrup, while my sunny side up eggs were properly cooked, as were the home fries, and non-buttered whole wheat toast. One of our party ordered the steak and eggs. The meat (it looked like sirloin) was probably 1/4 inch thick and weighed about 6 ounces, but it was delivered as ordered (rare) and devoured. Another of our party ordered the pork chop and eggs. Again, the chop was thin, but it provided a nice alternative to bacon or breakfast sausage for the protein selection.

We finished our brunches and sat back a few minutes chatting, letting the food settle. Brenda provided us with prompt service during our visit, and the brunch selection was good for what it was.

I rated the experience average, because, after all, this is far from a gourmet food. However, no one walking into The Camel has any right to expect ne plus ultra comestibles in this place. What you do get is good service, an inexpensive brunch with plenty of food that includes a cocktail for $9.90, and an ambience that should transport you back to your younger bar hang-out days (if you were so inclined). Would I rather eat Sunday brunch at The Camel than some nameless diner? Indeed. And so should you.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank John D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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56 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    12
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    9
    3
    8
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Cleveland, Ohio
2 reviews
“Local Pub, Good Food & Nice People”
Reviewed 21 May 2013

Stopped by the Thirsty Camel last Saturday for dinner. It was a really good time. The people were cool, the food was a good value, and the atmosphere was a nice laid back casual locals meeting place. This restaurant may not be for everyone, but if you like hard find local places, it will be for you.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank BuckeyeVacations
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Norfolk, Virginia
Level 5 Contributor
34 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Thanks for a Great Place”
Reviewed 16 May 2013 via mobile

There are times when you just want to be laid back & chill. The Camel is the joint you want to end up or start at. When it comes to Willoughby Thitsty Camel is quinsitensial (work w it) Great food & entertainment too. Thx Ronnie for keep making OV Great

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Finless
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alexandria, Kentucky
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
“Dinning :”
Reviewed 29 April 2013

GREAT SERVICE AND FOD for . Awesome that they have Homemade potato salad. Wonderful hamburgers. Smaller inside than I thought. But it is a Bar/Grill hen go back want to try Breakfast on weekend. Neighbors around us say it's good. And good steaks I think it was Fri night? Sausage sandwiches were god also. Can't wait to try again.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Linda A W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jacksonville, Florida
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
“Great lunch”
Reviewed 29 January 2013

The Thirsty Camel has great lunches. It has plenty of character and the staff are friendly. I've had the prime rib sandwich (Friday special) and the French Dip (Tuesday special). Both were great, especially the prime rib sandwich.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
Thank Jaxwally
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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