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May 2, 2007 06:08 AM

Sanibel/Captiva Good Eats?

We'll be in Sanibel for a couple nights over Memorial Day Weekend. What's the best food on the islands? The guidebook recommends Mad Hatter--do you Hounds agree? We want to do one "splurge" meal; otherwise we'd like to just enjoy the local flavor and vibe of the place. Suggestions, please?

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  1. I have no idea whether it still exists, but Timmy's Nook on Captiva had a grand Key Lime pie.

    1. I am just one of a handful of people that can say they grew up on "The Island" as we call it!! I have some great recommendations that will keep you craving long after your vaca is over. A must for an any evening meal is Lazy Flamingo, two locations, one right as you get onto the island, on the right side of Periwinkel, and the original location at Blind Pass, that's where Sanibel and Captiva connect. Both are the best wings, caesar salad, burgers, grouper sandwiches, and cold beer you could ask for! Also if you are daring, ask for the POT, its overflowing with shrimp, clams, mussels, and all sorts of stuff! Mad Hatter is nice, but try Mucky Duck for the splurge, fun, good food, and the best sunset on the planet! For the best breakfast you have to hit the Sanibel Cafe at least once. A finer diner with amazing food! But for every special occasion I had growing up, we always went to McT's! It doesn't seem like much from the outside, but its the best food, dressy casual, and I still am missing their Mud Pie! Seafood, steaks, and of course everything Shrimp! Enjoy and have a bite for me!

      3 Replies
      1. re: scottinotown

        Wow, Scott, thanks for the great recs! I've read other good things about Mucky Duck. We will definitely try as many of your suggestions as we can and report back!

        1. re: laurie


          My husband & I just returned from a week on Sanibel. I'd have to say that our two best meals were at Traders and Thistle Lodge. The latter was our splurge on the last night. Lovely location, sunset, piano music in the background. Food was superb. Then again, you can't really go wrong with any of the fresh fish dishes.

          Traders had a real "Tommy Bahama" vibe. From the bread basket, to the last bite of trout stuffed with blue crab - delicious! My husband had the grilled scallops and gave them a thumbs up, too.

          We also loved Cheeburger Cheeburger for lunch, which had the best onion rings I've ever tasted. Fantastic diner-style burger place.

          We went to McTs and I have to ask, is there more than one? We went to McT's Shrimp House and it was one of the worst meals I've ever had! We were nearly hysterical with laughter by the time we left because it was so terrible. Maybe we didn't order the right thing? But they do shrimp, right? So, I got garlic shrimp, and they were so briny I nearly gagged. Even the salad was pathetic!

          Timbers was good, too. Really fresh fish. Had the blackened halibut. The portions are so big though, that you could easily split a main.

          The best breakfast was the Lighthouse Cafe. The french toast was fantastic. This place was packed and clearly a local favourite.

          Oh, and Gramma Dot's in the marina - we had grouper & chips. It was the first thing we did when we arrived. Fantastic. We tried to go back again, but they close at 8pm. Don't miss it.

          Our whole trip was wonderful. Enjoy your time there. Report back!

          1. re: cinda

            Great report, Cinda--thanks. We'll definitely try to check out Traders and Thistle Lodge. That trout with blue crab is calling my name. . . .

      2. Do not miss the Lighthouse Cafe for breakfast. They have a web site.

        1. The new edition (June) of Food & Wine has a nice article on Sanibel. They recommended the Mucky Duck and Amy's Over Easy Cafe for casual comfort food.

          1. We just took a vacation to Captiva recently. We loved the Mucky Duck so much that we ate there once and got take out once (we have a young son, so were not into going out one night). Very, very good and a fantastic sunset. I must say that their burger was a top 5 burger of all time for me.