Upscale Bonita Springs / Marco Island?
I'm organizing an event and am looking at Bonita Springs and Marco Island as potential locations. Would like to be someplace where people are able to break off on their own for dinners, and most will probably be looking for something more upscale.
Are there places which will fit the bill in either Bonita Springs or Marco Island? Are Naples or Fort Myers within reasonable driving range for a dinner, and if so, suggestions? Thanks in advance.
There are several good places in the Bonita area. I would suggest Chops, Bonefish, Blu Water and I think a Ruth Chris is now open at Coconut Point. The Naples area has many fine restaurants that would satisfy upscale dining. Naples is within 15*20 minutes of Bonita or just have event in Naples !!!
Yeah, yeah, Chops, Pazzo, Yabba, Blue Water Bistro are all owned by the same corporation, Culinary Concepts. Whatever they do, they do well, but it all feels so ... scripted. Here's a truly unique idea for your event: a private cooking class and chef's dinner at the Robb and Stucky KitchenAid Culinary Center in Bonita Springs. The furniture retailer entered into a joint venture with the appliance company. Executive chef, Martin Murphy, conducts top-notch cooking classes and serves his creations for dinner. These dinners have good wines paired with them also. Go to www.robbstucky.com and click on Culinary Center for more information.
I've attended some events there. The food was delicious. The interaction with the chef was priceless for an amateur cook like me. The experience was memorable. I can't wait to go back. Oh, and i didn't buy a thing!
If you really want upscale, I can easily recommend Roy's in Bonita Springs (better than Naples) and Ruth's Chris. Other excellent choices are Escargot 41 in Naples, the best French food in all SW Florida, and The Tropical Reef in Naples, an intimate seafood restaurant featuring fresh local ingredients in classically innovative preparations.
"Yeah, yeah, Chops, Pazzo, Yabba, Blue Water Bistro are all owned by the same corporation, Culinary Concepts."
While technically true, this is a bit misleading. The ownership of all these restaurants is local and each is unique (other than the two Chops in Bonita Springs and Naples).
Your comment that the experience seems scripted might be true, but I don't find it detrimental -- no restaurant can serve quality food and provide good service day-after-day and not follow a "script." As I heard on chef state (and I paraphrase) "Creating a meal is an art, duplicating it over and over is a science."
That being said, I would say the same goes for Roy's and Ruth Chris', at least as much.
As a longtime winter resident of Bonita Springs (almost 18 winters!) my wife and I are longtime fans of Culinary Concepts especially Chops and Pazzo. We were delighted when they opened Chops in Bonita a few years back just a couple miles from our home. But alas there are problems there as well. We dined there last Sat. night (11/17/07) and left disappointed. I had the small filet and it was a horrible piece of meat - tough, trimed poorly and overdone - and at $26.50 with no side. My starter was the seared chilled tuna with wasabi & ginger. It arrived luke warm and was full of tough areas. My wife had the pot stickers which were bland and soggy. Worst of all, our entres arrived right after our appetizers did which is something that should never happen where the bill always tops $100 for two not counting drinks.
Just a few days before that we dined at their new place, Blue Water at Coconut Point. The seared tuna appetizer was perfect but the accompanying sauces were bland. My wife had the 3 Crab California roll which was basically sushi. Not much taste and the sauces were tasteless. She also had the BLT salad which was pretty good but on a scale of ten about a six compared to the may "wedge" salads around. In prior trips we tried the BBQ basted bacon wrapped scallops(this dish does not work - too many things going on), Sugar Shack Shrimp(a copy of the excellent Bonefish Bang Bang Shrimp without any flavor), etc., etc. Sad to say the Blue Water Bistro is the worst restaurant in their little chain. A real disappointment.
Culinary Concepts had the whole deal working a few years ago but the wheels have fallen off. As a true chowhound, it pains me to report that the most consistently good large restaurants in the area are all owned by Outback.
Flemings is far superior to Chops (it was the other way around a few years ago). Roy's (the Bonita one) is by far the best high end chain rest. in the area with consistently great food. Carrabas Italian Grill is terrific and cheap. Bonefish is always the best high end fish in the area. And all these restaurants are within a five mile stretch of Hwy. 41 where I live.
The best bet for a decent dining experience is with the many small chef owned restaurants in the area. I will post some suggestions soon.
Pinchers Crab Shack is great for seafood but not what I would call upscale or is Doc's Beach house located on Bonita Beach. Definately agree with all the rest of the posters on Chops City Grill in Bonita. They have the best aged steaks anywhere. Its costly but very good & their seafood is good as well. They are located just off US 41 & Coconut Road in a shopping center & you can see it from the road.
Roy's of Bonita Springs located in The Promenade is good as well as is Ruth's Chris. Know the Chef at Big Hickory Seafood & Marina on Hickory Blvd. heading towards Ft. Myers. Its very good & expensive but its not upscale. Its another great place for seafood & is located right on the bay. Bella Vita has excellent Italian, make sure you bring your credit card for this place, located at 24940 S. Tamiami Trail.