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Naples, Florida Dining
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  • Naples, Florida Dining

    Post #1 - January 5th, 2005, 3:12 pm
    Post #1 - January 5th, 2005, 3:12 pm Post #1 - January 5th, 2005, 3:12 pm
    Now that I've had my wonderful visit from Mr. & Ms. Wiv, I've been strongarmed into posting some of my local favorite dining establishments in southwest florida.

    The absolute best fried grouper is at Grouper & Chips. A close second is on Ft. Myers Beach at a place called the Beached Whale. Great florida atmosphere.

    Pinchers is my favorite crabshack.

    Upscale Italian would be Campiello and Pazzo, both in downtown Naples.
    More moderate is Il Fresco di Cafe Roma, in North Naples.

    Andre's for Steak

    Chops is a great place for fusion-it's pricey but has a hip atmosphere and is located both in Bonita Springs and downtown Naples.

    Tropical Reef(with an incredible crunchy Grouper) and USS Nemo are my seafood restaurants of choice. I also like Roy's but they are now ubiquitous.

    Wullaert's has true Belgian truffles and has a small retail establishment in an industrial park on old 41 in North Naples.

    For lunch, in downtown Naples, Tommy Bahamas has a wonderful outdoor cafe with fried grouper rivaling Grouper & Chips. You can buy an expensive shirt at the attached store while waiting for your food. Hopefully there will be some cash leftover to pay the food bill. Yabba is a nice alternative with tropical caribbean food and terrific drinks.

    Tokyo Bay, in Bonita Springs, has the best sushi. The other half of the restaurant is Teppanyaki, but I haven't tried it yet. Blu, in downtown Naples would be your best bet.

    Happy Grouper!
    RevrendAndy
  • Post #2 - January 5th, 2005, 3:27 pm
    Post #2 - January 5th, 2005, 3:27 pm Post #2 - January 5th, 2005, 3:27 pm
    For once, an out of town thread I can comment on!

    Couple of years back, I ate three fancy meals in Naples, two of which you mention.

    Yabba I thought was what a Bombay Bicycle Club dreams of becoming when it goes to heaven. Fun tropical decor, food that was pleasant but undistinguished by any particular relation to any actual cuisine other than that vague Caribbean school that involves fish and pineapple in every dish and a few Mexican touches. But I suspect drinks, decor and loud music are the drivers here.

    Campiello I liked a lot, especially dining outside. I can't remember what I had but I thought it compared nicely to high-end Italian in Chicago. Easily the winner of the three.

    The third was the Ritz-Carlton. Very competent meal, but nothing was too daring to scare those whose hair has a tinge of blue, I wished I had spent that kind of Ritz-Carlton bucks somewhere like Chicago rather than there.
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  • Post #3 - October 20th, 2005, 9:09 pm
    Post #3 - October 20th, 2005, 9:09 pm Post #3 - October 20th, 2005, 9:09 pm
    Looking forward to some good fish n chips, thanks for the post.

    Any ethnic oriented dining? (Cuban or Asian in particular)
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #4 - October 21st, 2005, 1:45 am
    Post #4 - October 21st, 2005, 1:45 am Post #4 - October 21st, 2005, 1:45 am
    Unfortunately the ethnic restaurant scene is pretty weak. There's very good high end cuisine and great fried food but the middle is difficult, other than a few italian places. Naples is beautiful but it's very whitebread. Not that there's anything wrong with whitebread. I grew up on Wonder :lol:
  • Post #5 - October 21st, 2005, 10:57 am
    Post #5 - October 21st, 2005, 10:57 am Post #5 - October 21st, 2005, 10:57 am
    I don't recall you ever growing up.
  • Post #6 - October 25th, 2005, 3:19 pm
    Post #6 - October 25th, 2005, 3:19 pm Post #6 - October 25th, 2005, 3:19 pm
    My parents have a house in Naples and I concur with most of the recommendations here. Campiello's is great as is Tommy Bahama Cafe. The latter is excellent for dining with kids. Not a huge fan of Yabba Island Grill, except for the tropical drinks, which are yummy. I prefer Cafe Lurcat in Old Naples, espcially if you sit downstairs, which is livelier and less pretentious.

    On Route 41, we like Mel's Diner for a fun diner experience. Good fried grouper sandwich.
    Good Americans, when they die, go to Paris.
    -Oscar Wilde
  • Post #7 - December 12th, 2005, 12:39 am
    Post #7 - December 12th, 2005, 12:39 am Post #7 - December 12th, 2005, 12:39 am
    I found this post covering Naples. I'll be going there for my 2nd visit this month. My visit will actually encompass that general area with some day trips. I appreciate the suggestions here but have some more questions.

    Has anyone had a lobster roll in this neck of the woods? I'm desperate for one after the attachment that I developed during the summer while I was on the east coast/Mass/Rhode Island area.

    What about Asian? My family has this crazy tradition of getting Asian on Christmas Eve. Last year, we got it at a decent place on the main road. I remember seeing a Thai place by one of the big groceries that looked good. Any recommendations?

    I enjoyed Tommy Bahamas, so we'll probably return there. We also thoroughly enjoyed lunch at the Turtle Club. We'll swing over to the Sannibel area and will probably try the Bubble Room. Other ideas or suggestions? I would love a good place for lobster rolls!
  • Post #8 - December 12th, 2005, 2:47 am
    Post #8 - December 12th, 2005, 2:47 am Post #8 - December 12th, 2005, 2:47 am
    If you want a good lobster roll, I'd probably try to schedule your flight thru Boston. It's not exactly a local delicacy here. I haven't really seen it, but that doesn't mean it's not available somewhere. This is the land of grouper. I stand by the recommendations in my earlier post. As I've mentioned, good asian is hard to come by. In Bonita Springs, Bo Lings has a very respectable dim sum on weekends, with rolling carts and bubble teas. You'll see a lot of asian families, always a good sign. Dinner will not make you forget chinatown but some dishes they do well, and if you're desperate for a Chinese fix, this is the best I've found in the area.
  • Post #9 - December 12th, 2005, 9:06 am
    Post #9 - December 12th, 2005, 9:06 am Post #9 - December 12th, 2005, 9:06 am
    Yes Reverend, the home turf does not even have true lobsters, which do not live in the warm waters of the Gulf and Caribbean. No claws to speak of. Still, the Florida guys are good. Never seen one on a roll.

    Saw your review of Bern's. Spot on. I will be visiting later this month.
  • Post #10 - December 12th, 2005, 9:54 am
    Post #10 - December 12th, 2005, 9:54 am Post #10 - December 12th, 2005, 9:54 am
    JeffB wrote:
    Saw your review of Bern's. Spot on. I will be visiting later this month.


    Please report back on Bern's. I'd love to hear your take on it.
  • Post #11 - December 12th, 2005, 10:13 am
    Post #11 - December 12th, 2005, 10:13 am Post #11 - December 12th, 2005, 10:13 am
    I'll be trying the Sanibel Steakhouse on my next visit, the week after Xmas. Will be sure to come back with a review.
    Good Americans, when they die, go to Paris.
    -Oscar Wilde
  • Post #12 - December 12th, 2005, 10:36 am
    Post #12 - December 12th, 2005, 10:36 am Post #12 - December 12th, 2005, 10:36 am
    Well, I can hardly be objective about Bern's. My first meal there was in 1984, for the Webb Jr. HS prom. I know a few career waiters and grew up not far from Bern's organic farm off of Waters.

    I'm looking forward to digging into the wine list, but I'm pissed that the City decreed that cigars can no longer be smoked even in the dessert rom, which as you know consists of closed-off wine casks turned into booths. Each one has its own state-of-the-art air purification system. You would hardly notice if the party one cask over was smoking like a chimney. This in a city built on Cigars, and a city that otherwise and infamously has absolutely no zoning and no legislation pertaining to morality.
  • Post #13 - December 12th, 2005, 4:41 pm
    Post #13 - December 12th, 2005, 4:41 pm Post #13 - December 12th, 2005, 4:41 pm
    ekpaster:

    Just an FYI, the toll is now $6.
  • Post #14 - December 13th, 2005, 10:49 am
    Post #14 - December 13th, 2005, 10:49 am Post #14 - December 13th, 2005, 10:49 am
    ekpaster wrote:I'll be trying the Sanibel Steakhouse on my next visit, the week after Xmas. Will be sure to come back with a review.


    I don't recommend Sanibel. I've been there for apps, which were ok but my wife ate there and was very unimpressed. Thought steak was just ok and the sides not good at all. Expensive and not worth the money.

    My recommendation would be Andre's, in Naples. The owner worked at Peter Luger in New York and modeled it after that. It's got that old time New York steakhouse look and feel. I had a wonderful meal there(of course, I'll still take the original Morton's in Chicago over anything). My second choice is Flemings. I know it's a chain but they have a great wine list with 100 choices by the glass. The steaks are prime and very good, with sides to match. Service is very accomodating.
  • Post #15 - December 13th, 2005, 11:03 am
    Post #15 - December 13th, 2005, 11:03 am Post #15 - December 13th, 2005, 11:03 am
    Revrend Andy, I appreciate the warning about Sanibel Steakhouse. Unfortunately, the choice was not mine to make. We're going with another couple. I will have low expectations and hope to be pleasantly surprised. Thanks for the other recs.
    Good Americans, when they die, go to Paris.
    -Oscar Wilde
  • Post #16 - December 13th, 2005, 3:25 pm
    Post #16 - December 13th, 2005, 3:25 pm Post #16 - December 13th, 2005, 3:25 pm
    EK, maybe my wife caught them on a bad night. I'll be interested to hear of your experience.
  • Post #17 - December 14th, 2005, 9:35 am
    Post #17 - December 14th, 2005, 9:35 am Post #17 - December 14th, 2005, 9:35 am
    JeffB, not sure if you're talking about Chicago or Naples, but the "Dry Precinct" ordinances in Chicago certainly qualify as morality laws.
  • Post #18 - December 14th, 2005, 10:44 am
    Post #18 - December 14th, 2005, 10:44 am Post #18 - December 14th, 2005, 10:44 am
    Sorry, I mistakenly thought the context was clear. The cigar city and the city with little to no legislation restricting First Amendment freak flag rights is Tampa.
  • Post #19 - January 3rd, 2006, 12:47 pm
    Post #19 - January 3rd, 2006, 12:47 pm Post #19 - January 3rd, 2006, 12:47 pm
    Hi all. Just back from a wonderful week in Naples. Not only was it (mostly) sunny and in the 70's, but with a four-adult-to-one-toddler ratio, I got more "me" time in a week than I have all year. Thank goodness for grandparents!

    We only ate a few meals in restaurants other than the beachside restaurant in Pelican Bay, my parents' development. (For the record, that restaurant, Sandpiper's, has distinctly mediocre food but the best darn location I know.) But I will try to provide some reviews. First the good. Aqua Grill in the Waterside Shops near Pelican Bay. Delicious seafood and really top-notch service in a well-appointed room. (Avoid sitting on the patio though -- crowded and no view.) Yummy cocktails too. They were so accomodating of my daughter's food allergies too. Next, Sanibel Steakhouse. We didn't actually have to go to Sanibel for this, since they have a branch in Naples now. IT was pretty cheesy all told. We had a great time because we were out with friends (and no kids) and got rather boozy, but it was expensive and the entrees were blah. I did, however, enjoy my beef carpaccio appetizer. We were easily the youngest people in there. It seems to be geared towards an older clientele who want a certain glitzy atmosphere and fancy ingredients (surf and turf) without really caring about the food. Finally, our old standby, Mel's. Always good for breakfast or lunch. Love the fried grouper sandwich and the fountain creations.

    My parents also recommend Cote d'Azur and E.V.O.O. Market.

    If only I were still there....
    Good Americans, when they die, go to Paris.
    -Oscar Wilde
  • Post #20 - January 3rd, 2006, 6:10 pm
    Post #20 - January 3rd, 2006, 6:10 pm Post #20 - January 3rd, 2006, 6:10 pm
    ekpaster wrote:My parents also recommend Cote d'Azur and E.V.O.O. Market.


    I wholeheartedly agree with your parents' recommendation. Cote d'Azur has terrific french food with a particularly good bouillabase(which you need to order ahead as it's not on their menu anymore) and EVOO which is also some good eating. Sorry you couldn't avoid Sanibel.
  • Post #21 - January 4th, 2006, 12:19 am
    Post #21 - January 4th, 2006, 12:19 am Post #21 - January 4th, 2006, 12:19 am
    We recently had a bunch of dining experiences during our 2nd somewhat annual weeklong holiday trip to Naples....

    Christmas Eve was Chinese takeout. Can't remember the name of the place, but it's decent Chinese food along one of the main roads.

    Christmas Day was at Bayside, same place as last year. My food was okay, and the others seemed to enjoy their meals more.

    Christmas evening we landed at the Ritz Carlton's beachfront location and had some drinks at their bar just in front of the water. Artists built a large elaborate sand castle complete with torches on the beach in front of the hotel. Awesome and completely unexpected.

    Lunched at Turtle Club twice. This is still my favorite. Great views - may either dine inside, on patio, or on sand. Great crab cakes! Good service and they don't push you out despite how crowded it gets.

    Lunched at the Boathouse. Food was okay, the decor could be updated.

    Went to Captiva's Bubble Room for lunch. Mixed reviews. Next time, I'll bite the bullet and try dinner or just pick up another large slab of cake.

    Lunched again at Tommy Bahamas. As with before, good service and enjoyable downtown outdoor dining. Mai Tai was a bit disappointing, my salad was good, hubby said some of the other places where he ate grouper were better.

    Lunched at Plantation, which is only open to the public for lunch on some days it seems. It's part of a resort or condos and you dine right by the pool. Food was good, service was horrendous. I initially planned to tip meagerly until I got the bill which automatically charged 18% gratuity for a party of 4. We escalated our experience to management that was generous in clearing our entire tab, not just the gratuity.

    Dinner at the Dock. Ordered two appetizers, one good and another was okay. Split an entree, which was okay. This place gets a lot of business and the completely covered outdoor location by the water was nice. I'd go back and order some other things.

    Hope this helps some of you out on future Naple excursions.
  • Post #22 - January 5th, 2006, 11:31 pm
    Post #22 - January 5th, 2006, 11:31 pm Post #22 - January 5th, 2006, 11:31 pm
    Noticed that Chops only got one mention in this thread. Had dinner there (downtown Naples) three nights straight about a year ago and was totally impressed. I think we had every item on the menu over three evenings and couldn't claim a bad one in the bunch. Service was really friendly and attentive. Sat at the kitchen bar the last night night and the kitchen guys really took care of us. Sure, a little pricey, but highly recommended.
  • Post #23 - January 7th, 2006, 10:29 am
    Post #23 - January 7th, 2006, 10:29 am Post #23 - January 7th, 2006, 10:29 am
    Has anyone tried Tre Amci? We have to make at least one visit their each time we vacation in Naples. The owners (husband and wife) are from NY and are very gracious hosts.

    The menu is heavy on meat and fish, on my last visit I had the special of the day which was Cioppino. The mussels and clams were very fresh, it was an outstanding dish.

    They only have a license to serve beer and wine but if they get to know you they will bring out a shot of homemade sambuca to have with you capachino. Or, if not having an after dinner coffee they willl bring you a shot of homemade limoncello.
  • Post #24 - September 20th, 2007, 5:48 pm
    Post #24 - September 20th, 2007, 5:48 pm Post #24 - September 20th, 2007, 5:48 pm
    RevrendAndy wrote:Tokyo Bay, in Bonita Springs, has the best sushi. The other half of the restaurant is Teppanyaki, but I haven't tried it yet.


    Any other suggestions for Bonita Springs?

    Apparently the resort we are staying at has a AAA Four-Diamond restaurant called Tanglewood which I have to be honest, I'm leery about dropping some $$ at, would prefer "down n dirty" local.

    --
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #25 - September 20th, 2007, 8:14 pm
    Post #25 - September 20th, 2007, 8:14 pm Post #25 - September 20th, 2007, 8:14 pm
    We stayed at the Hyatt in Bonita Springs this last March. We dined at Tanglewood one evening. It was very nice, but I think you would be better off leaving the resort grounds and heading to the mall across the street. It is beautiful. It has many restaurants and some great stores. We ate at two fabulous restaurants. One was called Blue Water Grill and the other was The Grillroom. After dinner you can walk around the outdoor mall. Also, a few miles from the hotel is a great small Italian restaurant called Vincenzo's on the Bay. Ask for an outdoor table and go during sunset. Hope this helps! :-)
  • Post #26 - September 30th, 2007, 1:28 am
    Post #26 - September 30th, 2007, 1:28 am Post #26 - September 30th, 2007, 1:28 am
    Blue Water Grille is very good seafood. I would only go to Vincenzos if you love cream sauces. most of their pastas are swimming in it. Chops is excellent for fusion. They have a black grouper dish to die for. Roys, at the Promenade shops is very good, but of course its a chain, albeit upscale. Wylds Cafe, on Bonita Beach Rd. is another wonderful restaurant. Make sure to get the calamari appetizer and Kurobota pork chop. They are wine friendly and may not charge you any corkage if you bring your own bottle. If you want a crabshack, Pinchers would be my choice.
  • Post #27 - May 14th, 2008, 2:25 pm
    Post #27 - May 14th, 2008, 2:25 pm Post #27 - May 14th, 2008, 2:25 pm
    The Bay House restaurant, in North Naples, has a new chef and wonderful food. The setting has always been beautiful-a warm, old Florida atmosphere overlooking the Cocohatchee River. However, the menu had been old fashioned and uninviting. With the arrival of a new chef and more interesting menu, MsRev and I decided to give it a go with some friends.

    The menu has some Southern, mostly seafood, and tilted towards the low country cuisine of Charleston and Savannah.

    Crispy fried oysters with Cajun remoulade were ethereal. They serve some of the best mussels I’ve had down here. They don’t use the ubiquitious New Zealand green-lipped and taste more like mussels we ate in Italy last fall. Crushed olive Caesar was quite tasty, an interesting twist on the usual Caesar. The beet carpaccio was a bit bland. If soft shelled crab is offered as a special appetizer, order it. Even the hot out of the oven buns were delicious.

    The shrimp and grits entree is to do die for. It’s better than any we’ve had in the low country itself. Other entrees we thoroughly enjoyed were the oven roasted black grouper, seared jumbo sea scallops, and roasted sea bass with artichoke and shrimp fritters.

    They serve a respectable key lime pie and crème brulee. Chocolate cake was a bit heavy and doughy.

    Prices are moderate, with all seafood entrees under $30 (unfortunately, that’s moderate for Naples nowadays).

    http://www.bayhousenaples.com/

    The Bay House
    799 Walkerbilt Rd
    Naples, Florida
    239-591-3837
  • Post #28 - May 15th, 2008, 9:49 am
    Post #28 - May 15th, 2008, 9:49 am Post #28 - May 15th, 2008, 9:49 am
    Baleen is located in the LaPlaya Hotel, right on the beach, with a gorgeous setting. As with many hotel restaurants, this won’t be an inexpensive meal. However, the quality of the food is excellent, and this would be a special occasion restaurant with its memorable views of the beach and gulf.

    We shared a beautifully unusual presentation of a wedge salad. It was a half round of iceberg lettuce with a hole scooped out of the middle, filled with blue cheese, pancetta, tomato, and cucumber, resting on a pool of cilantro buttermilk dressing. Delicious. The salad was accompanied by a cylindrical tower of bread, with a crispy crust and a soft, herb flavored interior.

    Entrees were a wonderful grouper with bacon and artichoke mashed potatoes with sautéed spinach nestled underneath, and caper lemon sauce, and a whole, perfectly fried crispy snapper. I also ordered a side of sautéed forest mushrooms, with a very woodsy taste.

    Dessert was spectacular. Chocolate monkey cake-dark chocolate cake stuffed with white chocolate and topped with bananas foster ice cream, caramelized bananas, and chocolate and raspberry sauce.

    http://www.laplayaresort.com/laplaya_...
  • Post #29 - May 15th, 2008, 9:54 am
    Post #29 - May 15th, 2008, 9:54 am Post #29 - May 15th, 2008, 9:54 am
    A welcome new Italian restaurant has opened in Bonita Springs. It serves good pizza(for Florida) and other Italian dishes at great prices.

    AA Two Brothers Pizzeria is owned by 2 brothers from New York whose philosophy is to cook everything from scratch with fresh herbs and other ingredients. The restaurant is small and very casual and you will likely be greeted by 1 or both of the brothers during the course of your meal.

    Garlic knots were brought to our table and I warn you, they are addictive. The knots alone were delicious but they were served with a house made tapenade, which was a great paring. We started with a traditional cold antipasto plate($9.95), including in-house roasted peppers, light years better than the jarred peppers that most restaurants serve. Mussels marinara($9.95) were pristine, served in a wonderful marinara sauce that would be equally delightful on pasta. As a side we had some homemade meatballs, also with marinara sauce. They were some of the best meatballs I’ve had in my life. Caesar salad was the only weak item of the night, with too much olive oil in the dressing.

    Pizza is thin with a crispy crust. Ingredients included pepperoni, mushrooms, and green peppers. All were fresh. There are many others to choose from. In the future, I would be interested in trying their white pizza.

    Linguini with red clam sauce turned out to be the best I've ever had. Coming from Chicago, with a large Italian population, there are terrific mom and pop Italian joints. Generally, the clams in those dishes are a bit rubbery(it is the midwest after all), and the red sauce thick with a texture of tomato paste. What set this dish apart was the sauce was more souplike, with an intense flavor of the sea and the taste of the tomato more of an accent. Besides the generous portion of whole, middleneck clams, were pieces of chopped clams mixed into the broth. The clams were tender as could be. As the chef stated, they want the taste of this dish coming from the juices of the clams, not the extraneous ingredients. This is the Italian philosophy of cooking(and I don't mean Italian American). The dish was $17.99 and served with a side salad,

    A complimentary tasting of their bread pudding was sent to the table for dessert. It's a denser style than typical bread pudding, but very good.

    There’s a small deli counter serving prepared foods. They have a variety of stuffed breads. I have tried the pepperoni and provolone and highly recommend it.

    There’s a dearth of moderately priced restaurants in the area and this fills a wonderful niche.
  • Post #30 - November 24th, 2011, 9:28 pm
    Post #30 - November 24th, 2011, 9:28 pm Post #30 - November 24th, 2011, 9:28 pm
    Bumping this thread to see if anyone has any current recs for Naples--I'm heading there on my own for one night only (respite from too much family). Arriving around noon on Saturday and leaving around 3:00 on Sunday and will have time for a meal or two, especially dinner on Sat. night. Good food though need not be anything fancy (all variety of suggestions appreciated.) Prefer to stay in Naples only--this is a stopover between one family in Tampa and another in Plantation so no recs for TPA, St. Pete, Sarasota, etc., please. Thanks!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington

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