EPICURIOUS

Bonita & Estero Magazine - - DEPARTMENTS -

A Guide to Din­ing in SW Florida

Sani­bel

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 en­trées. Don’t skip the mo­jito.

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.

949 Sand Cas­tle Road, Sani­bel, 239-472-3355, dunes­golf­sani­bel.com

IL CIELO

Cre­ative Amer­i­can Cui­sine. Is­land so­phis­ti­ca­tion is ev­i­dent in this restau­rant’s taste­ful decor and im­pres­sive menus.

Start with the sig­na­ture Blue Cielo-tini, a gin and blue cu­ra­cao cock­tail. F or ap­pe­tiz­ers con­sider PEI mus­sels, cala­mari or char­cu­terie. En­trees in­clude osso buco, Dun­geness crab ravi­oli and fresh catch with jumbo lump crab top­ping the list. Wrap your evening with a se­lec­tion from the af­ter-din­ner drink menu that fea­tures fine scotches, co­gnacs and ports. Scott McDon­ald is on the pi­ano from 6 p.m.

1244 Peri­win­kle Way, Sani­bel. 239-472-5555, il­cielosani­bel.com

IL TESORO RIS­TORANTE

Pasta with Per­son­al­ity. Chef A.J. Black cre­ates an Ital­ian fam­ily feast at­mos­phere. Every­body’s laugh­ing, eat­ing pasta and sip­ping wine. Not only does Black in­ject spirit and heart, he heaps on the fla­vor start­ing with the an­tipasto. All the finest fla­vors of Italy come to­gether. Penne put­tanesca with ca­pers; riga­toni with egg­plant, fresh ri­cotta and cherry tomato sauce; and short ribs with gnoc­chi are hard to pass up. The seafood spe­cials are equally in­trigu­ing. Try the cloud-like tiramisu.

751 Tar­pon Bay Road, Sani­bel, 239-395-4022, il­teroso.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 Loaded Seafood Omelet. Check out the new full bar, of­fer­ing trop­i­cal cock­tails and sig­na­ture drinks, in­clud­ing the homemade White Mango San­gria!

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, and be sure to try the fa­mous “Crusty Curl Crust.” Pasta, cal­zone and salad are also pop­u­lar. You might try cala­mari or br­uschetta for an ap­pe­tizer, and don’t miss the daily happy hour.

1619 Peri­win­kle Way, Sani­bel, 239-472-1581, is­land­pizza.net

THE JAC SANI­BEL IS­LAND BAR & GRILL

Lo­cally Sourced, Art­fully Pre­pared. Light and airy with rus­tic de­tails such as barn-style doors, The Jac has a fresh is­land ap­peal. Chef Philipe

Schroeder fo­cuses on seafood, with chili-rubbed yel­low­tail snap­per and a crab mas­car­pone risotto with shrimp, scal­lops and mus­sels on his menu. But meat lovers score here as well with Jac’s spiced pork belly and the drunken short ribs. 1223 Peri­win­kle Way, Sani­bel, 239-4721771, the­jac­sani­bel.com. 1223 Peri­win­kle Way, Sani­bel, 239-472-1771, the­jac­sani­bel.com

LAZY FLAMINGO

Cold Beer, Raw Bar. Come try the plumpest raw oys­ters, steam­ing hot-spiced peel-and-eat shrimp, fresh grouper and in­cen­diar y Dead Par­rot Wings. The reg­u­lar hot Buf­falo wings are your best bet. Four lo­ca­tions: 6520-C Pine Ave., Sani­bel, 239-4725353; 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 crab­meat, sautéed with broc­coli and fresh mush­rooms and topped with an ar­ti­choke heart and creamy Al­fredo sauce. Or try the Light­house Lo­cal Grouper Plat­ter for din­ner, as you view pic­tures of the is­land’s his­toric light­house that line the walls. Cal­la­head seat­ing is avail­able.

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

NORMANDIE SEA­SIDE CAFÉ

In­dulge Your­self. Lo­cated at the West Wind Inn on the Gulf side of Sani­bel Is­land, this cozy restau­rant is open for break­fast, lunch and din­ner. Banan­aberry French Toast and the Ital­ian Omelet are among the break­fast fa­vorites ser ved with Colom­bian cof­fee or a choice of ar­ti­san whole-leaf teas. Re­lax in the cafe’s old-world at­mos­phere as you en­joy an Is­land Curry Chicken Salad or Pressed Cuban Sand­wich for lunch. Chef Tom Sis­son cre­ates a din­ner menu with is­land

flair, and you can pair your food with the per­fect wine from an ex­ten­sive list.

THE SAND­BAR

Wel­com­ing. The Seafood Trio, which in­cludes bronzed grouper, scal­lops and crab cake, is a fa­vorite. Fresh seafood and steaks grilled to per­fec­tion are sure to please all palates.

SANI­BEL FISH HOUSE

Tried and T rue. 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.

SANI­BEL GRILL

Lo­cal Color. Sani­bel Grill ser ves up typ­i­cal pub fare—juicy burg­ers, seafood bas­kets and spicy Buf­falo wings—and more. You’ll find sea­soned bar­tenders and the of­ten-sought-but-nev­er­found neigh­bor­hood bar feel, which ex­plains the pop­u­lar­ity of this spot.

THE SANI­BEL SPROUT

Fresh Is­land Good­ness. Sani­bel Is­land’s pop­u­lar ve­gan and veg­e­tar­ian gourmet take-out restau­rant of­fers a de­light­ful va­ri­ety of meals, smooth­ies and juices pre­pared fresh daily. Chef Nikki Rood uses only 100-per­cent or­ganic, gluten-free, nonGMO, farm-fresh in­gre­di­ents in each cre­ation, in­clud­ing the pop­u­lar Smoked Pa­prika Hum­mus & Sprouts. An­other best-seller is the Raw Ve­gan Lasagna. The heart of The Sani­bel Sprout is “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” (quot­ing Hip­pocrates) and this is re­flected in ev­ery de­lec­ta­ble dish it of­fers.

SUN­SET GRILL

3345 West Gulf Drive, Sani­bel, 239-472-1541, nor­mandier­estau­rant.com

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

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, 239-765-6766, the­fish­house­r­estau­rants.com

703 Tar­pon Bay Road, Sani­bel, 239-472-4453, the­sani­bel­grill.com

Bai­ley’s Cen­ter, 2463 Peri­win­kle Way, Sani­bel, 239-472-4499

Floribbean Gourmet. For lunch, try 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.

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

SWEET MELISSA’S CAFE

Good Thing, Small Pack­ages. Chef Melissa Tal­mage pre­pares en­trées in full and petite por­tions, giv­ing din­ers the op­tion to sam­ple mul­ti­ple dishes, such as Grilled Oc­to­pus or Smoked Mul­let Frit­ter. 1625 Peri­win­kle Way, Sani­bel. 239-472-1956, sweet­melis­sas­cafe.com.

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.

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 ad­ja­cent fish mar­ket.

703 Tar­pon Bay Road, Sani­bel, 239-472-2722, tim­ber­sof­sani­bel.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.

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

T2 TRADERS

New is­land fa­vorite. Opened by the own­ers of Traders. T2 of­fers new de­li­cious dishes, like trendy tacos and sa­vory flat­breads, in ad­di­tion to coastal­in­spired clas­sics. A full bar with mixol­ogy cock­tails such as Sani­bel Sun­set and El­der­flower Bloom, a ro­tat­ing Florida craft and draft beer se­lec­tion, and a wine list to envy all add to the unique and lively Florid­ian dé­cor. Out­door seat­ing, full bar, gift shop, T2 is the per­fect place for lunch, din­ner and any­time in be­tween!

2340 Peri­win­kle Way, Sani­bel, 239-558-8919, T2­traders.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.

14970 Cap­tiva Drive, Cap­tiva, 239-472-0248, cap­ti­vais­landinn.com

CROW’S NEST BEACH BAR AND GRILLE

Great Food, Great Fun! Take a trip to Cap­tiva for a fun new din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence! The menu is filled with your fa­vorite ap­pe­tiz­ers, in­clud­ing flat­breads, chicken wings and the al­wayspop­u­lar baked goat cheese dip. For din­ner you can choose sa­vory en­trées such as Chicken Sal­tim­bocca, pre­pared with fresh sage leaves, lemon ri­cotta and prosci­utto-wrapped chicken over lin­guine. The Crab Races, tak­ing place on Mon­day and Thurs­day, re­ally keep the room hop­ping!

15951 Cap­tiva Drive, Cap­tiva, 239-472-5161, crowsnest-cap­tiva.com

DOC FORD’S CAP­TIVA RUM BAR & GRILLE

The Stor y Con­tin­ues. Build­ing on con­tin­ued suc­cess, this pop­u­lar chain based on nov­el­ist Randy Wayne White’s fic­tional char­ac­ter brings its unique menu to the doors of South Seas Is­land Re­sort. Start with Doc’s Beach Bread while you con­sider en­trées such as panko-fried shrimp and dr yrubbed rib­eye.

5400 South Seas Plan­ta­tion Road, Cap­tiva, 239-312-4275, doc­ford­scap­tiva.com

THE GREEN FLASH

A Rare Din­ing Trea­sure. Have a seat and en­joy the beau­ti­ful view of the wa­ter as you browse the de­light­fully di­verse menu. The Grouper “Café de Paris” is the house spe­cialty, baked in white wine, lemon and Worces­ter­shire, fin­ished with a but­ter y herb top­ping. Or tr y the Vene­tian Plat­ter, which fea­tures salmon, sword­fish, scal­lops and tiger prawn ser ved with sautéed po­lenta. Sa­vory beef and pork en­trées round out the menu for land­lub­bers, and the dessert menu is pos­i­tively deca­dent!

15183 Cap­tiva Drive, Cap­tiva, 239-472-3337, green­flash­cap­tiva.com

KEYLIME BISTRO

Changes in Food­i­tude. A white picket fence and cheer y 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.

11509 Andy Rosse Lane, Cap­tiva, 239-395-4000, cap­ti­vais­landinn.com

LATTE DA COF­FEE AND ICE CREAM SHOP

Once Upon a Time ... Find a wide range of cof­fees, in­clud­ing the ex­tra-strong Red Eye Cof­fee, cap­puc­ci­nos and lat­tes at this cozy spot. Those with a sweet tooth in­dulge in scoops of Quee­nie’s lo­cally made ice cream, milk­shakes and sun­daes.

11508 Andy Rosse Lane, Cap­tiva, 239-472-0234, 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.

11546 Andy Rosse Lane, Cap­tiva, 239-472-3434, muck­y­duck.com

OLD CAP­TIVA HOUSE

Old Florida/New Amer­i­can. Chef Greg Nel­son’s al­ways chang­ing menu cen­ters on the bounty of the sea­son with plenty of fresh fish. Come check out the new sushi menu, which of­fers an ad­ven­tur­ous va­ri­ety of more than 30 choices of sushi rolls, sashimi, spe­cialty rolls and select sakes. Wines from an eclec­tic list com­ple­ment the pre­sen­ta­tions, and the view from the Sun­set Room takes the breath away.

15951 Cap­tiva Drive, Cap­tiva. 239-472-5161 ext. 4, cap­tiva-house.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 .

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 rack of lamb or black­ened salmon, or per­haps a pe­can-crusted goat cheese salad. Out­door seat­ing is avail­able.

11508 Andy Rosse Lane, Cap­tiva, 239-472-6200, cap­ti­vais­landinn.com

Fort My­ers

BLANC

Food for the Epi­curean. Start with Bread Jenga, a toasted bread tower with cheese sauce, mod­eled af­ter the pop­u­lar game and al­most as fun! Then choose an en­trée from the ro­bata grill, such as Lamb Lol­lipops with roasted gar­lic and rose­mary re­duc­tion, or the Oc­to­pus S&S, served with sweet ha­banero sauce. Blanc’s menu also in­cludes “Al­most En­trées,” de­signed to be en­joyed and shared by the en­tire ta­ble. Re­lax in the clean, con­tem­po­rary am­bi­ence as you sa­vor the cre­ations of Chris Whi­taker and chef Jean Claude Roge, whose tal­ents lift Blanc above its peers. Closed Sun­days.

13451 McGre­gor Blvd., Ste. 10, Fort My­ers, 239-887-3139, blan­cen­ter­tain­ment.com

BLU SUSHI

Cobalt Cool. An in­cred­i­ble va­ri­ety of sushi and out­ra­geous cock­tails high­light the menu, but there are also tasty choices for din­ers who pre­fer steak and chicken.

13451 McGre­gor Blvd., Fort My­ers, 239-489-1500; 2262 First St., Fort My­ers, 239-362-2843, 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.

17260 Har­bour Pointe Drive, Fort My­ers, 239466-4000, mar­riott.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 such as ba­con­wrapped meat­loaf and cedar plank salmon, 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.

12901 McGre­gor Blvd., Fort My­ers, 239-4664663, crave­menu.com

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.

13499 South Cleve­land Ave., Fort My­ers, 239344-0037; 241 Cen­ter Street North, Naples, 239-591-1200; and 5459 Fruitville Road, Sara­sota, 941-342-6600, daru­marestau­rant.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 culi­nar y tra­di­tion, with dishes like the sig­na­ture chicken pot­pie re­ceiv­ing raves from din­ers.

3583 McGre­gor Blvd., Fort My­ers, 239-936-9348, edis­onfl.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.

2224 Bay St., Fort My­ers, 239-334-3473, fire­stonefl.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 such as the Model “A” and the Low Carb-ure­tor. Fresh Black An­gus beef topped with ever ything from arugula to fried egg will make your mouth wa­ter , and the craft beer menu in­cludes such names as Kona Big Wave and Goose Is­land 3 12.

2207 First St., Fort My­ers, 239-332-3673, fords­garagefl.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 4-7 p.m. Cozy booths, fish art and nau­ti­cal de­tails give this restau­rant a sea­far­ing vibe.

13451-16 McGre­gor Blvd., Fort My­ers, 239489-2226, prawn­bro­ker­fort­my­ers.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. Early din­ers will find good deals from 4-7 p.m.

7790 Cy­press Lake Drive, Fort My­ers, 239437-4377, uni­ver­si­ty­grill.net

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