A Guide to Din­ing in SW Florida

Bonita & Estero Magazine - - DEPARTMENTS -

Bonita Springs

OLD 41

Just Like Home ... Es­pe­cially for those from Philly. The corned-beef hash, Texas French toast with caramel and pecans, Car­bon’s malted Bel­gian waf­fles and the rice pud­ding ac­com­pa­nied by fresh-ground Colom­bian cof­fee are rea­son to come for break­fast. Pop in for lunch and it’s the Philly cheeses­teak hands down. BL 25091 Bern­wood Park­way, Bonita Springs, 239-948-4190, old41rest.com

PINCH­ERS CRAB SHACK

Gulf to Ta­ble. Fresh, cut-to-or­der fries; made­from-scratch slaw; a deca­dently rich, hot cheese-and-crab dip; and full-on fruity, trop­i­cal cock­tails com­ple­ment the fresh­est seafood on the coast. LD Mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions through­out South­west Florida: 28580 Bonita Cross­ings Blvd., Bonita Springs, 239-948-1313; 18100 San Car­los Blvd., Fort My­ers Beach, 239-415-8973; 6890 Es­tero Blvd., Fort My­ers Beach, 239-463-2909; 15271 McGre­gor Blvd., Fort My­ers, 239-415-4009; 10029 Gulf Cen­ter Drive, Fort My­ers, 239-4154040; 5501 Palmer Cross­ing Cir­cle, Sara­sota, 941-922-1515; and 1200 5th Av­enue South, Naples, 239-434-6616, pinch­er­scrab­shack.com

Es­tero

FORD’S GARAGE

The taste is in the de­tails. The dé­cor takes you back to the 1920s, when Henry Ford walked these parts, and the menu in­cludes burg­ers like the Model “A” and the Boot­leg­ger. Fresh Black An­gus beef topped with ev­ery­thing from arugula to fried egg will make your mouth wa­ter, and the craft beer menu in­cludes names like Kona Big Wave and New Bel­gium Fat Tire. LD 10801 Corkscrew Road, Suite 519, Es­tero, 239-332-3673, fords­garagefl.com

PAG­ELLI’S RUS­TIC TUS­CAN GRILL

Bring the Dancing Shoes! The cui­sine at this lo­cally owned restau­rant is Ital­ian in­spired, and so is the am­bi­ence. Dance to live mu­sic by the lake ev­ery night while you en­joy the pa­tio bar’s sig­na­ture cock­tails. LD The Shops at Co­conut Point, Es­tero, 239-226-4242, pag­el­lis.com

RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE

Al­ways a Siz­zling Suc­cess. Vaulted tray ceil­ings and metic­u­lously set white linen-cov­ered ta­bles set the mood. From pe­tite filets to cow­boy-size rib-eyes, the steaks are ten­der and juicy; chose from tra­di­tional sides like creamed spinach and tem­pura onion rings. D The Shops at Co­conut Point, 23151 Vil­lage Shops Way, Suite 101, Es­tero, 239-948-8888, ruth­schris.com

TAR­PON BAY RESTAU­RANT

New-Fash­ioned Clas­sic. The Hy­att Re­gen­cyCo­conut Point de­signed its restau­rant to pay homage to the old-Florida fish house. At he ce­viche raw bar find eight types of raw seafood that is “cooked” in var­i­ous mari­nades. For en­trees, try the crispy-fried red snap­per. D 5001 Co­conut Road, Es­tero, 239-390-4295, co­conut­point.hy­att.com

Naples

PINCH­ERS CRAB SHACK

Gulf to Ta­ble. Fresh, cut-to-or­der fries; made­from-scratch slaw; a deca­dently rich, hot cheese-and-crab dip; and full-on fruity, trop­i­cal cock­tails com­ple­ment the fresh­est seafood on the coast. LD Mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions through­out South­west Florida: 28580 Bonita Cross­ings Blvd., Bonita Springs, 239-948-1313; 18100 San Car­los Blvd., Fort My­ers Beach, 239-415-8973; 6890 Es­tero Blvd., Fort My­ers Beach, 239-463-2909; 15271 McGre­gor Blvd., Fort My­ers, 239-415-4009; 10029 Gulf Cen­ter Drive, Fort My­ers, 239-415-4040; 5501 Palmer Cross­ing Cir­cle, Sara­sota, 941-922-1515; and 1200 5th Av­enue South, Naples, 239-434-6616, pinch­er­scrab­shack.com

ZIZI

Cucina Toscana. Ex­pect Ital­ian fla­vors and flair from this small restau­rant and lounge. The chef pre­pares cre­ative Mediter­ranean-Amer­i­can cui­sine, with lighter of­fer­ings for lunch. Zizi is lo­cated in­side the Bel­lasera Ho­tel, walk­ing dis­tance from Fifth Av­enue South, down­town Naples’ main street. BLD 221 Ninth Street South, Naples, 239-262-4835, ziz­inaples.com

Fort My­ers Beach

CHLOËS

Rais­ing the Beach Bar. One of Fort My­ers Beach’s finest din­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, Chloës is known for its gor­geous beach and sun­set views, along with dishes that de­part from stan­dard fried-shrimp fare, like stuffed floun­der and duck “noopie.” B D SB Di­a­mond­Head Beach Re­sort, 2000 Es­tero Blvd., Fort My­ers Beach, 239-765-0595, chloesfl.com

DOC FORD’S FORT MY­ERS BEACH RUM BAR & GRILLE

The Se­quel. This is what we want with a good story—a se­quel. South­west Florida nov­el­ist Randy Wayne White’s sec­ond restau­rant serves up a view of Matan­zas Pass along with banana leaf snap­per and Texas baby back ribs. En­joy live mu­sic Fri­day through Sun­day nights. LD 708 Fish­er­man’s Wharf, Fort My­ers Beach, 239-765-9660, doc­fords.com

NER­VOUS NEL­LIE’S

A Neu­rot­i­cally Good Time. The mas­sive menu in­cludes ev­ery­thing from ga­tor bites to Thai dy­na­mite shrimp salad, and the amaz­ing grilled

sal­mon Os­car, with lo­cal crab, wild sal­mon and ten­der baby as­para­gus, is sure to please. Check out Ugly’s Wa­ter­side Bar, just up­stairs, “where ev­ery­one gets pret­tier,” and don’t for­get the all-day happy hour. LD 1131 1st St., Fort My­ers Beach, 239-463-8077, ner­vous­nel­lies.net

Fort My­ers

BISTRO 41

In­no­va­tive Global Cui­sine. Vis­ually stim­u­lat­ing pre­sen­ta­tions and stel­lar ser­vice are paired with a di­verse wine list that keeps both reg­u­lars and first-time guests com­ing back. The grilled lob­ster melt with tomato-Parme­san bisque is a hit at lunchtime. LD Bell Tower Shops, 13499 South Cleve­land Ave., Fort My­ers, 239-466-4141, bistro41.com

BLU SUSHI

Cobalt Cool. An in­cred­i­ble va­ri­ety of sushi and out­ra­geous cock­tails high­lights the menu, but there are also tasty choices for din­ers who pre­fer steak and chicken. LD 13451 McGre­gor Blvd., Fort My­ers, 239-489-1500; 10045 Gulf Coast Drive, Fort My­ers, 239-334-BLU3, blusushi.com

COURT­SIDE STEAK­HOUSE AT SANI­BEL HAR­BOUR RE­SORT

Beefed Up. Re­fined with wood, brass, leaded glass and a sub­tle sports theme, this steak­house de­liv­ers some of the tasti­est “butcher’s breed” Black An­gus steaks. Din­ers can also opt for the buf­fet aboard the re­sort’s el­e­gant Princess yacht. D 17260 Har­bour Pointe Drive, Fort My­ers, 239-466-2138, mar­riottmod­ules.com

CRAVE

Cozy & Con­tem­po­rary. Mod­ern Amer­i­can cui­sine, pre­pared when you or­der it. Break­fast, served un­til 4 p.m., is your choice of omelet or vari­a­tion of eggs Bene­dict. Af­ter noon, dishes like ba­con-wrapped meat­loaf and shrimp jam­bal­aya, plus sal­ads and sand­wiches, at­tract hun­gry din­ers. The Sun­day brunch crowd packs the house, so you may have to wait—but it’s so worth it. B L D SB 12901 McGre­gor Blvd., Fort My­ers, 239-466-4663, crave­menu.com

CRISTOF’S ON MCGRE­GOR

Old-Florida Charm. De­signed to re­sem­ble a de­light­ful, Old Florida–style home and sur­rounded by trop­i­cal land­scap­ing, Cristof’s on McGre­gor has quickly be­come a lo­cal hotspot. Whether you choose a rib-eye steak or south­ern bouil­l­abaisse, you will re­ceive gen­er­ous por­tions made with the best in­gre­di­ents. LD 10231 McGre­gor Blvd., Fort My­ers, 239-791-8473

DARUMA

Make a Wish! Din­ner is served in tra­di­tional or tep­pan-style, which means the chef comes to your ta­ble and pre­pares your din­ner. Clas­sic Ja­panese fa­vorites like shrimp tem­pura are of­fered, as well as com­bi­na­tions like lob­ster Nip­pon and filet mignon teriyaki. D 13499 South Cleve­land Ave., Fort My­ers, 239-344-0037, daru­marestau­rant.com

FORD’S GARAGE

The taste is in the de­tails. The dé­cor takes you back to the 1 920s, when Henr y Ford walked these parts, and the menu in­cludes burg­ers like the Model “A” and the Boot­leg­ger. Fresh Black An­gus beef topped with ev­ery­thing from arugula to fried egg will make your mouth wa­ter, and the craft beer menu in­cludes names like K ona Big Wave and New Bel­gium Fat Tire. LD 2207 First Street, Fort My­ers, 239-332-3673, fords­garagefl.com

THE FIRE­STONE

Four lev­els of fun. Brick and wood pro­vide a warm at­mos­phere, and tires mov­ing along the walls re­mind you why it’s called The Fire­stone. Try the filet mignon or paella in the Grille Room or tapas in the Sky Bar , or dance to live mu­sic in the Mar­tini Bar on Fri­day and Satur­day. D 2224 Bay Street, Fort My­ers, 239-334-3473, f ire­stonefl.com

LAZY FLAMINGO

Cold Beer, Raw Bar. Come try the plumpest raw oys­ters, steam­ing hot-spiced peel-and-eat shrimp, fresh grouper and in­cen­di­ary Dead Par­rot Wings. The reg­u­lar hot buf­falo wings are your best bet. LD Four lo­ca­tions: 6520-C Pine Ave., Sani­bel, 239-472-5353; 1036 Peri­win­kle Way, Sani­bel, 239-472-6939; 12951 McGre­gor Blvd., Fort

My­ers, 239-476-9000; and wa­ter­front at 16501-B Stringfel­low Road, Bo­keelia, 239-283-5959, lazyflamingo.com

LOS CA­BOS CANTINA

Come to Eat, Stay to Party! Come try the very best fresh tacos, bur­ri­tos, en­chi­ladas and gua­camole, or sig­na­ture dishes like Ar­rachera Steak, topped with our home­made chimichurri. You’ll feel like you stepped into a 100-year-old cantina, but with all the mod­ern ameni­ties. LD 2226 First Street, Fort My­ers, 239-332-2226, losca­boscant­i­nafl.com

PINCH­ERS CRAB SHACK

Gulf to Ta­ble. Fresh, cut-to-or­der fries; made­from-scratch slaw; a deca­dently rich, hot cheese-and-crab dip; and full-on fruity, trop­i­cal cock­tails com­ple­ment the fresh­est seafood on the coast. LD Mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions through­out South­west Florida: 28580 Bonita Cross­ings Blvd., Bonita Springs, 239-948-1313; 18100 San Car­los Blvd., Fort My­ers Beach, 239-415-8973; 6890 Es­tero Blvd., Fort My­ers Beach, 239-463-2909; 15271 McGre­gor Blvd., Fort My­ers, 239-415-4009; 10029 Gulf Cen­ter Drive, Fort My­ers, 239-4154040; 5501 Palmer Cross­ing Cir­cle, Sara­sota, 941-922-1515; and 1200 5th Av­enue South, Naples, 239-434-6616, pinch­er­scrab­shack.com

SUN­SHINE GRILLE

A Sunny De­light. The great menu fea­tures wood-fired spe­cial­ties and seafood, such as the duck breast with roasted corn and por­to­bello mush­room rel­ish, and the pan-seared Florida red snap­per pic­cata. LD 8700 Glad­i­o­lus Drive, Fort My­ers, 239-489-2233, sun­shine­grillefm.com

THE EDI­SON RESTAU­RANT

Fort My­ers Il­lu­mi­nati. This restau­rant hon­ors its leg­endary name­sake ge­nius, Thomas Edi­son, with a dis­play of his­toric pho­tos. The menu is steeped in Amer­i­can culi­nary tra­di­tion, with dishes like the sig­na­ture chicken pot pie re­ceiv­ing raves from din­ers. LD 3583 McGre­gor Blvd., Fort My­ers, 239-936-9348, edis­onfl.com

THE PRAWN­BRO­KER

Agent Fish. The food here is tried-and-true. Sal­ads along with fish, steak and pasta dishes

have been pleas­ing palates since 1982. Soup or salad ac­com­pany all din­ners, just like in the good old days. Early din­ers catch good deals from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Cozy booths, fish art and nau­ti­cal de­tails give this restau­rant a sea­far­ing vibe. D 13451-16 McGre­gor Blvd., Fort My­ers, 239-489-2226, prawn­bro­ker.com

UNIVER­SITY GRILL

Head of the Class. This place gets the busi­ness crowd at lunch and the beau­ti­ful the­ater­go­ers at din­ner. They come for a “pri­vate club” at­mos­phere and a happy bal­ance of seafood and steaks. LD 7790 Cy­press Lake Drive, Fort My­ers, 239-437-4377, prawn­bro­ker.com

Cape Co­ral

DUBLIN ALE HOUSE PUB

A Pint Full of Va­ri­ety. This rous­ing Ir­ish pub’s im­pres­sive va­ri­ety of beer styles and fla­vors does not dis­ap­point. Shepherd’s pie and fish and chips top the menu of fresh Ir­ish fare. Sláinte! D 1708 Cape Co­ral Park­way West, Cape Co­ral, 239-541-2663, dubli­nale­house­pub.com

FORD’S GARAGE

The taste is in the de­tails. The dé­cor takes you back to the 1 920s, when Henr y Ford walked these parts, and the menu in­cludes burg­ers like the Model “A” and the Boot­leg­ger. Fresh Black An­gus beef topped with ev­ery­thing from arugula to fried egg will make your mouth wa­ter, and the craft beer menu in­cludes names like K ona Big Wave and New Bel­gium Fat Tire. LD 1719 Cape Co­ral Park­way East, Cape Co­ral, 239-332-3673, fords­garagefl.com

MARKER 92

Nau­ti­cally Nice. A sushi bar and wood-fired pizza oven draw in guests from be­yond the Ma­rina Vil­lage Re­sort, where the restau­rant is lo­cated. En­joy the sig­na­ture flat­bread piz­zas on the breezy wa­ter­side ter­race. BLD Westin Cape Co­ral Re­sort, 15951 Sil­ver King Blvd., Cape Co­ral, 239-541-5600, marker92.com

Sani­bel

DOC FORD’S SANI­BEL RUM BAR & GRILLE

Novel Cui­sine. A band of lo­cal restau­rant folk joined with South­west Florida nov­el­ist Randy Wayne White to de­velop a restau­rant, and it’s a best-seller! The menu of­fers sand­wiches, sal­ads and en­trees. Don’t skip the mo­jito. LD 975 Rab­bit Road, Sani­bel, 239-472-8311, doc­fordssani­bel.com

THE DUNES

Not a Mem­ber? Not a Prob­lem! The menu is clas­sic with an in­spired twist. Try the sig­na­ture lump crab bisque, the East­ern, Western or South­ern Burger, crisp em­panadas with pulled beef or the seared cow­boy steak. LD 949 Sand Cas­tle Road, Sani­bel, 239-472-3355, dunes­golf­sani­bel.com

THE IS­LAND COW

Bovine Bounty. With a mas­sive menu that fea­tures ev­ery­thing from omelets to fish to pasta, this is no beef joint, de­spite the cow ref­er­ences. The fish din­ners are a good choice, un­less it’s break­fast, when you might con­sider the fish omelets. BLD 2163 Peri­win­kle Way, Sani­bel, 239-472-0606, sani­belis­land­cow.com

IS­LAND PIZZA

A Slice of Par­adise. A tasty tra­di­tion on the is­land for more than 20 years. Pizza just the way you want it, with your choice of five crust op­tions. Pasta, cal­zone and salad are also pop­u­lar. You might try cala­mari or br­uschetta for an ap­pe­tizer, and don’t miss the daily happy hour. LD 1619 Peri­win­kle Way, Sani­bel, 239-472-1581, is­land­pizza.net

THE JACARANDA

Lo­cal Leg­end. It’s a ro­man­tic, in­ti­mate din­ner house; a re­laxed, open-air gath­er­ing place; and an en­er­getic nightspot all in one. Food ranges from splen­did seafood in­side to tasty burg­ers and sand­wiches in the lounge, where there’s live en­ter­tain­ment nightly. D 1223 Peri­win­kle Way, Sani­bel, 239-472-1771, jacaran­daon­sani­bel.com

LAZY FLAMINGO

Cold Beer, Raw Bar. Come try the plumpest raw oys­ters, steam­ing hot-spiced peel-and-eat shrimp, fresh grouper and in­cen­di­ary Dead Par­rot Wings. The reg­u­lar hot buf­falo wings are your best bet. LD Four lo­ca­tions: 6520-C Pine Ave., Sani­bel, 239-472-5353; 1036 Peri­win­kle Way, Sani­bel, 239-472-6939; 12951 McGre­gor Blvd., Fort My­ers, 239-476-9000; and wa­ter­front at 16501-B Stringfel­low Road, Bo­keelia, 239-283-5959, lazyflamingo.com

MATZALUNA

Well-Smoked Ital­ian. The Five Cheese with Gor­gonzola, ri­cotta, spinach and ar­ti­choke hearts is just one of the pop­u­lar wood-fired piz­zas. Fresh pas­tas, chicken, seafood and veal round out the menu. D 1200 Peri­win­kle Way, Sani­bel, 239-472-1998, prawn­bro­ker.com

THE SAND­BAR

Wel­com­ing. The fresh Florida stone-crab claws, which the small restau­rant of­fers as a din­ner ap­pe­tizer, are un­sur­passed. Fresh seafood and steaks grilled to per­fec­tion are sure to please all palates. Try the red vel­vet cake or creme brulee for dessert. LD 2761 West Gulf Drive, Sani­bel, 239-472-0305, sani­bel­sand­bar.com

SANI­BEL GRILL

Lo­cal Color. Sani­bel Grill serves up your typ­i­cal pub fare—juicy burg­ers, seafood bas­kets and crusty pizza—and more. You’ll find sea­soned bar­tenders and the of­ten-sought-but-nev­er­found neigh­bor­hood bar feel, which ex­plains the pop­u­lar­ity of this spot. D 703 Tar­pon Bay Road, Sani­bel, 239-472-4453, prawn­bro­ker.com

SEA STAR CAFÉ & BAR

Culi­nary Lu­mi­nary. Break­fast op­tions in­clude bagel sand­wiches, break­fast bur­ri­tos, French toast and

pan­cakes with caramelized ba­nanas or ap­ples. For lunch, try a salad, burger or panini. The din­ner menu of­fers pasta, seafood and steak. BLD 937 East Gulf Drive, Sani­bel, 239-579-0195, seast­ar­cafe­and­wa­ter­front­bar.com

STARFISH GRILLE

On the Beach. Grab a ta­ble over­look­ing the palm tree-stud­ded beach. Din­ner is cit­rus grilled Florida mahi or braised beef short ribs for meat lovers. Ca­sual fare in­cludes the flame-grilled TOTI Burger with An­gus beef and aged ched­dar. BLD Sani­bel Hol­i­day Inn, 1231 Mid­dle Gulf Drive, Sani­bel, 239-472-7827, starfish­grille­sani­bel.com

SWEET MELISSA’S CAFÉ

Good Thing, Small Pack­ages. Chef Melissa Tal­mage pre­pares cour­ses in ap­pe­tizer and half-por­tions, giv­ing din­ers the op­tion to sam­ple mul­ti­ple dishes, such as seared duck breast and cured Ja­panese yel­low­tail. LD 1625 Peri­win­kle Way, Sani­bel, 239-472-1956, sweet­melis­sas­cafe.com

THIS­TLE LODGE

Vic­to­rian Ren­dezvous. Cre­ative cui­sine such as veal Os­car, lob­ster and crab-crusted sea scal­lops or fried whole snap­per mojo adds to the al­lure of Vic­to­rian trap­pings, as do glo­ri­ous beach views from al­most any ta­ble. L D SB Casa Ybel Re­sort, 2255 West Gulf Drive, Sani­bel, 239-472-3145, thistlelodge.com

THE TIM­BERS RESTAU­RANT AND FISH MAR­KET

Dine In or Do It Yourself. Fa­vorites in­clude cala­mari salad with Ja­panese veg­eta­bles, seafood plat­ters and crab cakes (all lump). Fresh fish is al­ways on the menu. Be sure to visit the fish mar­ket, right next door. D 703 Tar­pon Bay Road, Sani­bel, 239-472-2722, prawn­bro­kers.com

TRADERS

A Shop­ping and Din­ing Ex­pe­ri­ence. Traders is a shop­ping em­po­rium and a restau­rant, with live en­ter­tain­ment on Tues­day and Thurs­day evenings. The menu fea­tures fresh Florida gumbo, pan-seared crab cakes and macadamia-en­crusted grouper. D 1551 Peri­win­kle Way, Sani­bel, 239-472-7242, trader­ssani­bel.com

Captiva

CANTINA CAPTIVA

Na­cho Madre’s Mex­i­can. En­joy lunch and din­ner in the gar­den or in­side, where bright ser­ape col­ors, piñatas, terra-tiled floors and adobe-style walls subtly sug­gest that we’ve gone south of the bor­der. LD 14970 Captiva Drive, Captiva, 239-472-0248, cap­ti­vais­landinn.com

CAPTIVA HOUSE

Old Florida/New Amer­i­can. Chef Ja­son Miller’s al­ways-chang­ing menu cen­ters on the bounty of the sea­son with plenty of fresh fish. Wines from an eclec­tic list com­ple­ment the pre­sen­ta­tions, and the view from the Sun­set Room takes the breath away. BD

15951 Captiva Drive, Captiva, 239-472-5161 ext. 4, tween­wa­ters.com

KEYLIME BISTRO

Changes in Food­i­tude. A white picket fence and cheery blue canopies give this place an is­land set­ting, while daily out­door live mu­sic pro­vides a Jimmy Buffett beat. The eclec­tic menu in­cludes wal­nut-crusted snap­per, sausage and pep­pers, and es­car­gots baked with blue cheese and tomato. BLD 11509 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva, 239-395-4000, cap­ti­vais­landinn.com

THE MUCKY DUCK

Quack Up. Start at the bar with a fresh pint from a long list of beers brewed “on the other side of the pond.” The menu is a com­bi­na­tion of Florida cui­sine and English pub grub. Visit the great out­door beach­side pa­tio for live mu­sic and sun­set gaz­ing. LD 11546 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva, 239-472-3434, muck­y­duck.com

RC OT­TER’S

Ot­terly Beach Amer­i­can. The mul­ti­tude of menu choices may be daunt­ing. Steamed clams, fish bas­kets, que­sadil­las or even meat­loaf are sure to sat­isfy your crav­ings. Din­ers en­joy live mu­sic out­side seven days a week dur­ing lunch and din­ner. BLD 11508 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva, 239-395-1142, cap­ti­vais­landinn.com

SUN­SHINE SEAFOOD CAFÉ AND WINE BAR

In­spired Bistro. This charm­ing, small café of­fers a menu with a Euro­pean touch. Din­ers can en­joy the wood-grilled spring lamb chops or mahimahi, or per­haps a pecan-crusted goat cheese salad. Out­door seat­ing is avail­able. LD 14900 Captiva Drive, Captiva, 239-472-6200, cap­ti­vais­landinn.com

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