Bonita Springs/Naples Recommendations?
Haven't found much while looking thru the boards about "can't miss" places in Bonita Springs. I've never been to this area of Florida, and am mostly interested in fresh seafood.
Would drive as far down as Naples if the food was worth it.
Only in the area for one dinner and a breakfast or lunch.
Concerned more with the food than the ambiance.
Any and all recommendations are appreciated.
I second Grouper and Chips, more for lunch than dinner. Incredible fried grouper. Near Bonita in North Naples is my favorite seafood-Tropical Reef. Don't miss the hot and crunchy grouper. Nemo's, further south in Naples has good fusion seafood. The Hyatt at Coconut Point also has a pretty good seafood restaurant called Tarpon Bay. Get the roasted whole sea bass. Roy's in Bonita is always good, but it's a chain, albeit an upscale one, and you may have already dined there. If not, it's also worth a look.
Randy's Seafood is fabulous. (restaurant and seafood market) I try to go twice when I'm there for a week. It's always packed so expect a wait. Awesome oysters, both raw and fried.
I love Bonefish Grill (it's a chain) but wouldn't know it. I'm from New England (no Bonefish Grill :-( and crave their bang bang shrimp - check out their website.
We spent the past few days in Bonita/Naples and tried three of the places recommended in this thread so wanted to report back.
Grouper & Fish was disappointing. The grouper was indeed fresh and the batter/frying nicely done, but their "chips" were lackluster and the key lime pie should be avoided at all costs. It tasted like condensed milk and was pitifully adorned with cool whip. Not a trace of fresh lime in the slice. If you do want to go for the grouper though, note that it's not open on Sundays.
Randy's Fish Market on the other had was excellent. The special of the day was black grouper which I had sauteed with pine nuts, asparagus, garlic and tomatoes. Divine. We had grouper fingers & conch fritters as appetizers and both were delightful. The service was warm and efficient and the ambiance was more locals than tourists. And the highlight of the experience was the key lime pie - fresh lime, tart but not tangy, perfectly formed graham crust and real whipped cream. Once we had the pie we understood why Randy sells his pies through QVC and at the airport. Undoubtedly the best key lime we found in south west Florida (and we had quite a few of them!).
We actually stayed at the Hyatt in Bonita Springs so had our first meal at Tarpoon Bay. The setting couldn't be beat - screened outdoor patio overlooking a lake/lagoon of sorts. We were treated to a dramatic (but not dangerous) thunder and lightening storm the night we dined there so sitting in this indoor/outdoor space was even more exhilarating. Our shrimp cocktail appetizer consisted of three very large, fresh shrimp. Main courses were lobster tail and grouper, both excellently prepared though I can't elaborate more due to the fog that rolled in over my brain from the Pouilly Fuisse and pre-dinner cocktails. I think my dining companion said the lobster tail could have been more tender, but she was comparing it to a lobster tail experience she had in Maine 30 years ago when maybe lobsters in general were just more tender creatures. The key lime pie was solid but the chocolate dessert (I forgot the official name) was phenomenal.
One place not mentioned here that a local referred us to was City Docks in Naples. This little gem is nestled on a boat dock a few miles inland from the Naples pier and was not easy to find, but was worth the effort. The ambiance was nautical and celebratory. We chose the jamaican short ribs and tuna nicoise salad and both were excellent. We opted out of key lime (for once) and tried the volcano cake which was tasty - not too heavy but adequately chocolatey and moist. The margaritas, pina coladas and other frozen/festive cocktails were all expertly prepared by friendly bar tenders and could stand alone as an attraction for visitors.
Hope this review is useful for some and thanks for the great recommendations!
As a Minnesotan who spends half the year in Naples, I'll second two of the above spots. Randy's (on the Gulf side of U.S. 41 in North Naples, between Immokalee Road and Vanderbilt Beach Road) is great - partly because it is so dependable. The Tropical Reef is just a little further south, on the inland side of U.S. 41 just south of Vanderbilt Beach Road, is a little smaller but also serves good fresh seafood.
All good recommendations. I would only add Wyld's Cafe (or its less expensive sister Crust Bistro), both on Bonita Beach Rd west of 41, both of which have creative fish entrees. And if you want try USS Nemo's in North Naples, go at lunch - the same good food but substantially less expensive. Also if you like sushi, Club Sushi (the sushi bar in Fujiyama's in Naples on 41) is a favorite of local Neopolitan sushiphiles - not much ambiance, but very generous and fresh sushi.