Back in Florida, new to Naples
Hello fellow CHers. Its good to be home, albiet 3 hours south. So tell me everything I need to know; foodwise, about Naples, FL.
My hubbie and I love sushi, authentic Italian, steak, seafood, Thai, all spicy food, Indian, Spanish tapas, good old american grills, cupcakes/bakeries, breakfast/brunch spots etc. We are here for 13 weeks and want to eat our way through the town.
We'll do a high end ($200ish for wine,1app, 2entrees, 1dessert) type dinner once or twice a month, than stick to reasonably priced meals the rest of the time.
On a side note I could also use a good butcher, place for fresh seafood, cheese shop, farmers market produce, and I am in need of an Indian grocery for items from a new cookbook I got for Christmas. We also love wine, so any nice wine bars or retail shops are appreciated. Already found 2 Fresh Markets (yeah), any other grocery stores of note?
Working downtown Naples, living North Naples by I-75. Not afraid of driving 20-30 minutes, just left LA!
Addressing the sushi, Thai, and Indian side of this query:
Saffron Indian Restaurant
2059 Pine Ridge Road
Naples, Fl 34109
Finally, an Indian restaurant in Naples (joining Passage to India in Bonita Springs in this overlooked category). Saffron bills itself as a casual Indian restaurant offering tandoori cuisine, rice dishes (biryani), Indian breads. Open 5 - 9:30 pm. Located where the old Cracklin' Jacks was. On-line menu: http://saffronnaples.com/menu.html
2555 Tamiami Trl N
Naples, FL 34103
Located in the back of the Fujiyama restaurant, this is Naples' oldest sushi bar. It's more popular with locals than with tourists. The most important thing to know about this place is that the sushi is big ... I mean really BIG. This is sushi for people who are actually hungry. The quality is excellent and the prices are reasonable considering the quantity. If you're used to other sushi places, you better check the portion sizes before you order. The vibe here is casual and laid back, not trendy or stylish. Other sushi places may look better, but none can match the serious sushi size of Club Sushi.
Sushi-Thai of Naples
7935 Airport Pulling Rd N
Naples, FL 34109
This delightful place now has three Naples locations, two in North Naples and the newest one in Old Naples, right at the corner of 9th St (US 41) and 5th Ave. Remarkably, the prices at the 5th Ave shop are the same as the other locations - i.e. reasonable - which means cheap for Old Naples. The quality of the food here (both Thai and sushi) is very good. They have a great lunch special, served before 3 pm on weekdays: a choice of 18 entrees, served with steamed rice, soup and appetizers of the day (often a Thai spring roll), all for $6.95. Can't beat it.
Jimmy P's is the butcher shop, The Wine Merchant for wine and great cheese selection, and my favorite seafood market is Paradise Shrimp on Marco Island. If you belong to Costco, they also have a wonderful cheese selection. But for the greatest ever surf 'n' turf, nothing beats Kelly's Fish House on the Gordon River.
For high end high quality dining, I'd recommend pricey Blue Heron on Isle of Capri, or the mom and pop Escargot 41 in Naples which is no more expensive than on 5th Ave, however it's 50 seats are often filled weekends i advance, For reasonably priced great Italian, go to Ristorante Gaja just off 3rd St in Naples, or Ristorante Farfalla in Estero-two mom and pop type places with great food. There's other French and Italian places that are good, these are my favorites, and where my French and Italian friends rave. For other Italian, Sam-Buco is a few doors North of Naples Tomato, and has as good or better food, I prefer both over Evoo, and can be happy at all 3. I eat out less often during the "season" unless I eat at 5:30-I'd rather cook for myself /friends than have a long wait and harried waitstaff.
Try the app's at Bha Bha's it's Persian.
Asia Pok on Pine Ridge, or the newer Asian Depot www.88asiandepot.com
3879 Tamiami TRL East(239) 775-8080 have some Indian items, unfortunately youll have to drive to Fort Myers for India Bazaar 5240 Bank St, Fort Myers, (941) 939-0797 for a 100% Indian market with fresh and frozen goodies. India Palace is a good restaurant there, and there's Indian markets around it, within a few blocks.
55 degrees has top cheeses located North in the Gulf Coast Mall off I-75.
Agree with Val and RevrendAndy overall I get seafood at Swan River, also at Randy's Fishmarket best meats at Jimmy p's, and catch as can at Megastores like SweetBay, Fresh Market, Whole foods etc. The are better than Publix, which is grudgingly selling fresher healthier food since these markets grabbed up smart customers.
Havanas has great Cuban on Immokalee and Airport, Marias is great Mexican, and is in bonita Springs with other good ones, not the rubbish served at Iguana Mia or the Taco Bell. French Deli has a nice lunch, as does Chrissy's and Grouper an dChips. Habaneros has decent Mexican, just across from the Hospital downtown Naples, and on side street. Peruvian is at Machu Picchu.
If you like live music and great Italian food, go to Yabo in Fort Myers. While there check out Harolds, H2, Cru. Sandy Butler is just north of Fort Myers Beach, and has a huge selection of gourmet items, and good food.
re: An Insatiable Appetite
VAl, It's owned by a Chinese family, and is definitely different ownership than Asia Pok. What's nice is if you call earlier in the week, they can have a Peking (Beijing now) Duck, cooked pig, and other goodies ready for your pick up on Friday, and I'm told the duck's the real thing, needing 24 hours to prepare. One can get Durian (frozen), and other fresh ingredients. As I live closer to Asia Pok, I am splitting my time between the two, the on on East Rtail seems to have more variety in what I cook.
Tom, I agree with you your list, I'd take off only the CheeseCake Factory-I've had better food at other branches than this one in Naples.
The newest thing in Fort Myers and Naples is the South American grilles-Chilean, Brazilian etc. Fort Myers has Amazon Grill (on my blog), and another. Naples has The Grill Room by Roy's and Chrissies, where Il Bellagio was-early bird all u can meat and huge salad bar for $25, later it's much more!
My favorite butcher is Jimmy P's, across from Coastland Mall. Great selection of meat and game, from choice to prime to Wagyu. By all means get some Kurobota pork chops. At 12.99 a pound they are expensive but they taste like pork, not the other white meat.
EVOO market is a gourmet grocer that opened a few years ago with some interesting items and good prepared foods. The attached bistro is excellent.
Total Wine opened at Pine Ridge and Airport Pulling Rd. and has the best selection of wines and spirits at great prices. It's huge. The Wine Merchant, on 41, has some harder to find wines, but they are pricey. However, they have a good selection of cheeses.
For good farmers market produce, drive to Georgia, or pretty much anywhere but Florida.
As Nosh mentioned, poke around the board and you'll see many restaurant suggestions. My 2 favorite restaurants for a nicer meal would be Campiello and Cru, which is in Ft. Myers at the Bell Tower Shops.
For Indian cooking supplies, I believe the only act in town is a delightful shop called Asia Pok Market on Pine Ridge Road. They seem to offer more and more Indian items but you may want to call them before you go to see if they have what you need, phone 593-8822. Sadly, there aren't too many ethnic markets here, though I've found a few Jamaican/Caribbean ones in Golden Gate. For fresh seafood, I would recommend either
Swan River on U.S. 41 North or Captain Jerry's in the Wynn's grocery store in downtown Naples. Coming to Naples, FL from LA you will find Naples truly lacking in ethnic foods but it has become a little better.
When you settle in, scroll down the Florida board. Yes, it is dominated by Miami, Orlando, and other cities. But every few days, somebody posts something about the area from Ft. Myers through Bonita to Naples.
High end Italian: Campiello. Rustic French/Tuscany: Blue Provence. Hotel-like stone crab: Truluck's. Stylish: Tommy Bahama. Popular chain or multiple: Roy's or Chops.
For spicy ethnic, a couple of years ago there were some raves for Miss Saigon, in a small strip mall. There were a couple of threads recently on taquerias from Naples but more centered on Ft. Myers.
If you have any reason or need an excuse to get up to Ft. Myers, my favorite find over the past year is Sasse's, which is only open for dinner Tu-Sa eves 5:30-8:30, though they are planning to open for lunch later in the season. Woodburning oven, really well-executed food (perhaps the best eggplant parm I've ever tasted, good veal piccata, osso buco or even pork shank) served in big portions.