Epi­cu­ri­ous

Key: B= Breakfast, SB= Sun­day Brunch, L= Lunch, D= Din­ner

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A Guide to Din­ing in SW Florida

FORT MY­ERS

Blu Sushi: Cobalt Cool. Star t with… well, star t with what­ever the chefs de­cide to send you. In fact, just put the menu down and tell the chefs to bring what they sug­gest. In their hands, you can­not pos­si­bly go wrong. They’ve proven this ( again) with one of their new cre­ations— the TOTI. com Sushi Roll. It’s packed with fla­vor, just like the mag­a­zines. Next, or­der a nice bot­tle of chilled sake ( think dry white wine), kick back, and en­joy the flashy flir tatious show. The lava drops are sur­real. 13451 McGre­gor Boule­vard, Fort My­ers, 239- 489- 1500; 10045 Gulf Coast Drive, Fort My­ers, 239- 334BLU3, blusushi. com. L, D.

The Prawn­bro­ker: Agent Fish. With their salad, fish, steak, and pasta, they have been pleas­ing palates since 1982 in a taste­ful, nau­ti­cal am­bi­ence. Star t with raw oys­ters Ro­manoff topped with caviar and sour cream. Then, choose from a scrump­tious se­lec­tion of shrimp dishes or a grilled fil­let mignon. Soup or salad ac­com­pany all din­ners, just like in the good old days. Early din­ers can catch good deals from 4: 00 to 5: 30 p. m. 13451- 16 McGre­gor Boule­vard, Fort My­ers, 239- 489- 2226, prawn­bro­ker. com. D.

Sun­shine Grille: A Sunny Delight. Ex­pe­ri­enced restau­rant owner Sandy Stil­well makes it easy for her guests to feel at home with a warm and wel­com­ing at­mos­phere at her Fort My­ers restau­rant. It em­braces you right away and stim­u­lates the senses— sunny colors, classy live mu­sic, and the fra­grance of a wood fire. The great menu fea­tures wood­fired spe­cial­ties and seafood, such as the duck breast with roasted corn and Por­to­bello mush­room rel­ish and the panseared Florida red snap­per pic­cata. For lunch, tr y one of their fa­mous flat­breads, the que­sadilla of the day, or the pecan- crusted goatcheese salad. The bar is invit­ing and as long as the wine list, which of­fers selec­tions from all over the world. 8700 Glad­i­o­lus Drive, Fort My­ers, 239- 489- 2233, sun­shine grillefm.com. L, D.

Univer­sity Grill: Head of the Class. This place gets the busi­ness crowd at lunch and the beau­ti­ful the­ater- go­ers at din­ner. They

come for a “pri­vate club” at­mos­phere and a happy bal­ance of seafood and steaks. Since they change their of­fer­ings daily, you get new taste treats on ev­ery visit. The crunchy grouper is a sta­ple, and a lit­tle New Eng­land in­flu­ence also swims among Florida seafood selec­tions. 7790 Cy­press Lake Drive, Fort My­ers, 239- 437- 4377, prawn­bro­ker. com/ flori­dawest/ Univer­si­tyGrill. L, D.

FORT MY­ERS BEACH

Pinch­ers Crab Shack: Gulf to Ta­ble. The best way to treat qual­ity ingredients is to present them as true as pos­si­ble, and when you’re next door to a body of wa­ter chock­full of plump, de­li­cious del­i­ca­cies, then that rule be­comes law. This seafood group has in­tro­duced hun­gry din­ers to the fruits of the Gulf of Mex­ico for nearly two decades and has gained world­wide fame and an in­ter­na­tional fol­low­ing by pre­sent­ing a steady stream of im­pos­si­bly fresh grouper, shrimp, blue crabs, and stone crabs in a per­fectly Florida, flipflop, and ca­sual en­vi­ron­ment. Fresh, cut- to­order fries, made- from- scratch slaw, a deca- dently rich, hot cheese & crab dip, and ful­lon fruity, trop­i­cal cock­tails com­plete the ex­pe­ri­ence. It’s ca­sual. It’s fun. And it’s in­cred­i­bly fresh. Mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions through­out South­west Florida: 28580 Bonita Cross­ings Blvd., Bonita Springs, 239- 948- 1313; 18100 San Car­los Blvd., Fort My­ers Beach, 239415- 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 Cir., Sara­sota, 941922- 1515; 1200 5th Av­enue South, Naples, 239- 434- 6616, pinch­er­scrab­shack.com. L, D.

SANI­BEL

Matza­luna: Well- Smoked Ital­ian. One is struck by the in­tox­i­cat­ing smell of wood at the door; there’s noth­ing quite like the smell of a fire. It is that very aroma em­a­nat­ing from the oven that fla­vors the piz­zas so won­der­fully. The Five Cheese with Gor­gonzola, ri­cotta, spinach, and ar­ti­choke hearts is but one fa­vorite. There is also a full se­lec­tion of fresh pas­tas, chicken, seafood, and veal. The fes­tive at­mos­phere is a

“I have long be­lieved that good food, good eat­ing is all about risk. Whether we’re talk­ing about un­pas­teur­ized Stil­ton, raw oys­ters, or work­ing for or­ga­nized crime ‘ as­so­ciates,’ food, for me, has al­ways been an ad­ven­ture.”

An­thony Bour­dain

strong draw for fam­i­lies, but not as strong as their crisp, hot pies. 1200 Peri­win­kle Way, Sani­bel, 239- 472- 1998, prawn­bro­ker. com/ flori­dawest/ Matza­luna. D.

Pinoc­chio’s Ice Cream and Gep­petto’s

Beach Food­ies: The In­sti­tu­tion. This is a place where child­hood mem­o­ries come alive. As Sani­bel’s ice cream in­sti­tu­tion for thir ty years, Pinoc­chio’s serves a reper­toire of over 130 home­made fla­vors ev­ery day, in­clud­ing the sig­na­ture ice creams Sani­bel Krunch and Dirty Sand Dol­lar. Gelato, sor­bets, sher­bets, and yo­gurts are also on the menu, all served in gen­er­ous por­tions. The new Gep­petto’s Beach Food­ies gourmet shop next to Pinoc­chio’s will sur­prise you with home­made crois­sants, baguettes, souf­flés, pas­tries, breads, panini, foc­ca­cias, and more. 362 Peri­win­kle Way, Sani­bel, 239- 4726566, pinoc­chiosice­cream.com.

Sani­bel Grill: Lo­cal Color. Join the lo­cals at this in­ter­est­ing bend on the old sports- baras- wor­ship- hall theme we so of­ten see. Sani­bel Grill of­fers much bet­ter than the typ­i­cal pub fare, in­clud­ing juicy burg­ers,

“He who dis­tin­guishes the true sa­vor of his food can never be a glut­ton; he who does not can­not be oth­er­wise.”

~ Henry David Thoreau

“Eggs Bene­dict is ge­nius. It’s eggs cov­ered in eggs. I mean, come on, that per­son should be the pres­i­dent.”

~ Wylie Dufresne

seafood bas­kets, pizza, sea­soned bar­tenders, and the of­ten sought but never found neigh­bor­hood bar feel, which ex­plains the pop­u­lar­ity of this spot. 703 Tar­pon Bay Road, Sani­bel, 239- 472- HIKE, prawn­bro­ker. com/ flori­dawest/ Sani­belGrill. D.

Starfish Grille: On the Beach. Lo­cated within the trop­i­cal Hol­i­day Inn Re­sort on Sani­bel, the Starfish Grille and the Star Bar on the beach of­fer a re­laxed out­door set­ting un­der palm trees and ca­sual din­ing in­doors. The lush grounds can be reached by both boat and car, or via a leisurely stroll on the beach. The breakfast menu pro­vides a whole­some star t as well as a “sweet temp­ta­tion” French toast and a heftier al­lAmer­i­can skil­let with ba­con, sausage, and ham. The wild mush­room and goat cheese br­uschetta and the pan- seared Day Boat scal­lops make a de­li­cious lunch or a per­fect star ter for din­ner. As an en­trée, tr y the slowly braised beef short ribs, the roasted gar­lic in­fused wild salmon, or the flame grilled Toti. com Burger with an­gus beef and aged ched­dar. 1231 Mid­dle Gulf Drive, Sani­bel, within the Sani­bel Hol­i­day Inn, 239472- 4123, starfish­grille­sani­bel. com. B, L, D.

“One can­not think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

~ Vir­ginia Woolf

This­tle Lodge: Vic­to­rian Ren­dezvous. Cre­ative cui­sine such as veal Os­car, lob­ster and crabcrusted sea scal­lops, or fried whole snap­per mojo adds to the al­lure of Vic­to­rian trap­pings, as do glo­ri­ous beach views from al­most any ta­ble. The out­door din­ing pa­tio is one of the area’s fa­vorite lunch spots. If you have no room for one of the lus­cious desserts, but you are crav­ing the fla­vor, a part­ner­ship be­tween the restau­rant’s Ex­ec­u­tive Chef John Wolff and Ir­re­sistible Con­fec­tions has solved this sweet- tooth dilemma. To­gether, they’ve de­signed cho­co­late truf­fles that im­per­son­ate the fla­vors of the dessert menu, such as crème brulée, key- lime cheese­cake, molten cho­co­late lava cake, Granny Smith ap­ple crisp, and tiramisu. Casa Ybel Re­sort, 2255 West Gulf Drive, Sani­bel, 239- 472- 3145, thistlelodge.com. L, D, SB.

The Tim­bers Restau­rant and Fish Mar­ket:

Dine In or Do It Your­self. The first page of the menu lists the “stan­dards” for which this restau­rant is known. A few of these in­clude selec­tions of bi­valves pre­pared a va­ri­ety of ways like cala­mari salad with Ja­panese veg­eta­bles, seafood platters, and crab cakes ( all lump). The en­tire se­cond page lists daily fresh fish spe­cials, which can run from the finned va­ri­ety to giant king crab legs. Of course, there are al­ways al­ter­na­tive selec­tions for land­lub­bers. Ad­ja­cent to the restau­rant is the fish mar­ket, where lo­cals pur­chase the fresh­est seafood. 703 Tar­pon Bay Road, Sani­bel, 239- 472- CRAB, prawn bro­ker. com/ flori­dawest/ Tim­bers. D.

Traders: Sani­bel Is­land’s Most Unique Shop­ping

and Din­ing Ex­pe­ri­ence! Serv­ing lunch and din­ner since 1998, Traders is also a shop­ping em­po­rium filled with hand- made jew­elry, per­fumes, lo­tions, and gifts from around the world. Even the kids can’t wait to shop! Guests en­joy live en­ter­tain­ment from Tues­day through Thurs­day with lo­cal mu­si­cal sen­sa­tions Danny Mor­gan and Chris Work­man and dine on Chef Mike’s Amer­i­can Bistro Cui­sine, fea­tur­ing fresh Florida Gumbo, pan- seared crab cakes, and Macadamia en­crusted grouper. Happy hour is from 3: 00 to 6: 00 p. m., lunch from 11: 00 a. m. to 2: 30 p. m., and din­ner from 5: 00 p. m. to 9: 00 p. m. Re­serve your ta­ble and find out why the lo­cals voted Traders their fa­vorite, and fol­low them on Face­book, too. 1551 Peri­win­kle Way, Sani­bel, 239- 472- 7242, trader­ssani­bel.com. L, D.

CAP­TIVA

Keylime Bistro: Changes in Food­i­tude. This bistro de­liv­ers a heap­ing bunch of pastel­col­ored, en­er­getic charm that en­gulfs you at the front door and fills you with the cava­lier ca­su­al­ness of is­land life. The eclec­tic menu is all over the map and filled with in­ter­est­ing twists that in­clude grilled, red- leaf let­tuce, hearts of palm, ar ti­chokes tossed in toma­toor­ange vinai­grette, and es­car­gots baked with blue cheese and tomato. Lunch din­ers opt for a Big Bad Burger, or other tasty sand­wich, while the breakfast menu grabs the early ris­ers and the full lounge at­tracts any late bloomers. The bistro has out­door live mu­sic ev­ery day. 11509 Andy Rosse Lane, Cap­tiva, 239- 395- 4000, cap­ti­vais­landinn. com/ din­ing. cfm. B, L, D.

Old Cap­tiva House: Old Florida/ New

Amer­i­can. Chef Ja­son Miller’s al­wayschang­ing menu cen­ters on the bounty of the sea­son with a fo­cus on fresh fish. The ever- grow­ing global mar­ket bas­ket is on full dis­play here with dishes such as gouda- stuffed veal chop with por t- wine glace and saf­fron risotto, or jerk- rubbed grouper with pump­kin tar t. Beef, veal, and duck lovers will find equally in­spir­ing dishes. An eclec­tic wine menu com­ple­ments the pre­sen­ta­tions, and the view from the Sun­set Room takes the breath away. 15951 Cap­tiva Drive, Cap­tiva, 239- 4725161 ext. 4, tween­wa­ters.com. B, D.

" Wine makes daily liv­ing eas­ier, less hur­ried, with fewer ten­sions and more tol­er­ance."

~ Ben­jamin Franklin

BONITA SPRINGS

Old 41: Just Like Home . . . and it’s es­pe­cially like this for ever yone who’s from Philly. Bonita Springs’s con­nec­tion with Philadel­phia was never so de­li­cious! Check out the Philly Breakfast with Tay­lor pork roll or scrap­ple and the Philly cheese steak ser ved on gen­uine Philadel­phia- im­por ted Amoroso rolls. The restau­rant’s made- from­scratch dishes will win over even non- Philly af­fil­i­ates. The corned beef hash, the in­cred­i­ble Texas French Toast with caramel and pecans, the Car­bon’s malted Bel­gian waf­fles, or the rice pud­ding are all home­made and ac­com­pa­nied by fresh- ground Colom­bian cof­fee. Old 41 and Bern­wood Park­way, Bonita Springs, 239- 948- 4190. B, L.

ES­TERO

Hem­ing­way’s Is­land Grill: The Din­ner Bell Tolls. In­side, it looks manly, like “Papa” him­self, lined with dark wood, pho­tos of Hem­ing­way, and bright, trop­i­cal paint­ings. Out­side, ta­bles over­look the foun­tain pond at Co­conut

Point. The ex­ten­sive menu takes ad­van­tage of the kitchen’s grill with steaks, pork, salmon, and more, doc­tored with Cuban and other Caribbean in­flu­ences. Good choices in­clude lob­ster bisque, conch chow­der, co­conut shrimp, filet Por­to­bello, and key- lime pie. The bar menu lists thir teen se­lect rums, but spice- heads should go for the Ab­so­lut Pep­par Bloody Mary. The Shops at Co­conut Point, Es­tero, 239- 495- 7240, hem­ing­wa­y­sis­land­grill.com. L, D.

NAPLES

Gor­don’s on the River: Classy Club. The idea be­hind this fine din­ing spot is to re­vive the clas­sic sup­per club. The atmos-

“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re wait­ing for the steak to cook.”

~ Ju­lia Child

phere is el­e­gant, yet in­ti­mate; the ser vice, ex­cel­lent; and “non- mem­bers” are wel­come, too. It is Chef An­drew McLaugh­lin’s food, how­ever, that draws gourmets from be­yond Naples. The menu of­fers culi­nar y legends, such as Veal Os­car and Florida Lob­ster Ther­mi­dor, as well as cre­ative, sig­na­ture dishes like Gor­don’s Quar­tet, a truly gour­mand com­po­si­tion of wild boar sausage, ostrich wing, veni­son ten­der­loin, and ox­tail, each ser ved in a unique sauce. The air y, co­conut cake with berries might be the best you will ever eat in your life. Som­me­lier Ian Ponsford not only cre­ated a fab­u­lous wine pro­gram with more than 150 selec­tions, but he is also on the floor ev­ery night. Naples Har­bour, 475 North Road, Naples, 239- 213- 1441. D, SB. TOTI Me­dia, Inc. does its best to en­sure that in­for­ma­tion in this list­ing is up- to- date. How­ever, we still en­cour­age our read­ers to call ahead for de­tailed in­for­ma­tion and/ or reser­va­tions be­fore vis­it­ing these lo­cal es­tab­lish­ments.

AWARD- WIN­NING CHEF JOSH OF THE STARFISH GRILLE ON SANI­BEL HAS ADDED TO HIS LIST OF SA­VORY CRE­ATIONS. THE TOTI BURGER IS AN EIGHTOUNCE, FLAME- GRILLED AN­GUS BURGER THAT IS TOPPED WITH AGED CHED­DAR CHEESE AND CLAS­SIC STEAK BUT­TER, WHICH GIVES IT SUCH AN...

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