A Guide to Din­ing in SW Florida

Times of the Islands - - Departments -

BLUE GI­RAFFE

Ca­sual Ex­cel­lence. Af­ter a re­lax­ing day on the beach or brows­ing Sanibel’s nu­mer­ous shops, it’s time to treat your­self to some de­li­cious, is­land-in­spired food. Sit at hand-painted ta­bles in­side, or en­joy the gar­den at­mos­phere of Peri­win­kle Place and sam­ple our Mon­terey Chicken Panini or Shrimp ‘n Chips for lunch, or come for dinner and try the Pina-co­lada Co­conut Mahi―truly a treat! Our break­fast menu of­fers a tempt­ing va­ri­ety of omelets and pan­cakes, or you can try Eggs Nan­tua: two poached eggs on top of a crispy crab cake, topped with Hol­landaise sauce. Come see why the lo­cals love us! BLD

2075 Peri­win­kle Way, Sanibel, blue­gi­raffe­sani­bel.com

DOC FORD’S SANIBEL RUM BAR & GRILLE

Novel Cuisine. Lo­cal restau­rant folk joined with Southwest Florida nov­el­ist Randy Wayne White to de­velop a restau­rant based on a fic­tional char­ac­ter, and it’s a best-seller! The menu of­fers sand­wiches, sal­ads and en­trees. Don’t skip the mo­jito. LD

2500 Is­land Inn 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. Check out the new full bar, of­fer­ing trop­i­cal cock­tails and sig­na­ture drinks, in­clud­ing their home­made White Mango San­gria! 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. F ood 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 pee­land-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

LIGHT­HOUSE CAFÉ

The World’s Best Break­fast. Res­i­dents and vis­i­tors have been en­joy­ing this Sanibel clas­sic for six decades, and it’s easy to see why . Start your day with an Ocean Frit­tata: sea­soned shrimp, scal­lops and krab­meat, sautéed with broc­coli and fresh mush­rooms and topped with an ar­ti­choke heart and our creamy Al­fredo sauce as you view the pic­tures of our

his­toric light­house that line the walls. Cal­la­head seat­ing is avail­able. BL

362 Peri­win­kle Way, Sanibel, 239-472-0303, light­house­cafe.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.

1200 Peri­win­kle Way, Sanibel, 239-472-1998, matzaluna.net

THE NORMANDIE SEA­SIDE CAFÉ AT WEST WIND

In­dulge Your­self. Banan­aberry French Toast or an Ital­ian Omelet for break­fast? We of­fer that and much more, in­clud­ing a Florida fruit bowl or Veg­gie Omelet, served with Columbian cof­fee or a choice of artisan whole-leaf teas. Re­lax in our old-world at­mos­phere as you en­joy a Ba­con Wrapped Chicken Roulade or Normandie Snap­per for dinner, paired with the per­fect wine from our ex­ten­sive list. Check out our Sun­set Menu for daily spe­cials served with salad and dessert. BLD

3345 West Gulf Drive, Sanibel, 239-472-1541, west­windinn.com/normandie-restau­rant-sanibel

PINOCCHIO’S ICE CREAM AND GEPPETTO’S BEACH FOOD­IES

The In­sti­tu­tion. As Sanibel’s ice cream in­sti­tu­tion for 30 years, Pinocchio’s ser ves a reper­toire of over 130 home­made fla­vors daily, in­clud­ing the sig­na­ture ice creams Sanibel Krunch and Dirty Sand Dol­lar. En­joy ge­lato, sor­bets, sher­bets and yo­gurts as well, all served in gen­er­ous por­tions. Geppetto’s Beach Food­ies gourmet shop, next to Pinocchio’s, sur­prises with crois­sants, baguettes, souf­flés, pas­tries, breads, panini, fo­cac­cias and more. 362 Peri­win­kle Way, Sanibel, 239-472-6566, pinoc­chiosice­cream.com

THE SANDBAR

Wel­com­ing. The fresh Florida stone-crab claws, which the small restau­rant of­fers in its fish mar­ket, are un­sur­passed. Fresh seafood and steaks grilled to per­fec­tion are sure to please all palates.

2761 West Gulf Drive, Sanibel, 239-472-0305, sani­bel­sand­bar.com

SANIBEL FISH HOUSE

Tried and True. Fresh seafood en­trées on the all-day menu range from sand­wiches and sal­ads to fried bas­kets and house

spe­cial­ties, such as seared tuna with rice cakes and sea­weed salad. The sal­mon can be or­dered broiled, grilled, black­ened or Ja­maican jerked. LD

Three lo­ca­tions: 1523 Peri­win­kle Way, Sanibel, 239-472-7770; 4685 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, 239-495-5770; and 320 Old San Car­los Blvd., Fort My­ers Beach, 239-7656766, the­fish­house­r­estau­rants.com

SANIBEL GRILL

Lo­cal Color. Sanibel Grill ser ves up your typ­i­cal pub fare— juicy burg­ers, seafood bas­kets and spicy buf­falo wings—and more. You’ll find sea­soned bar­tenders and the of­ten- sought- but- never- found 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 and French toast with caramelized bananas and mango syrup. 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

SUN­SET GRILL

Floribbean Gourmet. For lunch, tr y the crab cakes or black­ened chicken Cae­sar wrap. Morn­ing peo­ple might choose eggs “San­tiva” and “Cap­tiva,” which are vari­a­tions of eggs Bene­dict with ei­ther smoked sal­mon or lump crab cake. BLD

6536 Pine Ave., Sanibel, 239-472-2333, sun­set­grill­sani­bel.com

SWEET MELISSA’S CAFE

Good Thing, Small Pack­ages. Chef Melissa Tal­mage pre­pares en­trees in full and pe­tite por­tions, giv­ing din­ers the op­tion to sam­ple mul­ti­ple dishes, such as seared duck breast and oven roasted co­bia. LD

1625 Peri­win­kle Way, Sanibel, 239-472-1956, sweet­melis­sas­cafe.com

THISTLE LODGE

Vic­to­rian Ren­dezvous. Cre­ative cuisine such as black grouper, oven-roasted co­quelet and herb-crusted lamb rack or black­ened yel­low­tail 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, 239-472-9200, thistlelodge.com

THE TIM­BERS RESTAU­RANT AND FISH MAR­KET

Dine In or Do It Your­self. Fa­vorites in­clude fried cala­mari, seafood plat­ters and crab cakes (all lump). Fresh fish is al­ways on the menu. Be sure to visit the next door fish mar­ket. D

703 Tar­pon Bay Road, Sanibel, 239-472-2722, prawn­bro­ker.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 cake sand macadami­aen crusted gro up er.LD

1551 Peri­win­kle Way, Sanibel, 239-472-7242, trader­ssani­bel.com

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