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Sanibel Island where to eat dinner

going to sanibel island resort and spa for a quick get away with the wife .I am looking for a great local dinner spot (not a chain ) .. need good bar and wine list , great food prepared simply. no french crapola..

open to any location

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  1. My favorite in Sanibel is Doc Ford's for an inspired, creative menu that is executed superbly.

    2 Replies
    1. re: laurie

      Sorry, but I disagree about Doc Ford's. Been there twice and found the food to be average at best and the service abysmal. Recommend Timbers, Jacaranda, Thistle Lodge, Grandma Dot's (lunch), Lazy Flamingo, Ellington's (jazz dinner), Lighthouse Cafe (breakfast), Old Captiva House and Trader's. Mad Hatter has become overpriced and "precious".

      1. re: laurie

        We were all happy with Doc Ford's. Agree, the shrimp with Yucatan sauce was awesome. So was the shrimp and grits. I am a Southerner and that has to be some of the best grits I have tasted. The buffalo mozerlla dish was great. The only downsides were the drinks (tasteless mojito in an unappetizing presentation and watered down Manhattan) and the crab cakes, which were not chunky but kind ground up. The fish tacos were so-so. Still, I recommend it heartily. Go for their strong suits.

      2. The Bubble Room was / is a fine establishment on Sanibel / Captiva.....Eaten there many times in the past and it was extremely good....pricey....worth it.....On the flip-side....loved the Chee-Burger/Chee-Burger there!!...(LOL)......But if the Bubble Room is in operation then that's a great place to start.....It's been a few since I've been over that way....Choice are limited on Sanibel / Captiva....If they still have the Saturday night seafood buffet at South Seas Plantation on the end of Captiva that was very good as well....

        Emac

        1. in sanibel, timbers restaurant, definitely. old school fish market type atmosphere and wonderfully fresh fish. if you want to go all the way to captiva, hands down go to the sunshine seafood cafe. no view, but excellent food and nice wine list. on a 5 day trip, we ate there twice.

          2 Replies
          1. re: faq

            We are hoping to return there soon. Can anyone tell me if The Twilight Cafe is still open on Sanibel? We had a nice meal there and the gallery was really fun. And is RC Otters still open on Captiva? We loved the breakfasts there.

            1. re: 3catsnh

              The original RC Otters owner sold to Sandy Stilwell, who owns most of the Captiva restaurants now. The place is still fun for breakfast but not as good as it once was.

              Twilight Cafe has been gone for a few years. Red Fish Blue Fish has taken its place, but I am not sure if it is still around. It had the great misfortune to open right after Hurricane Charlie.

              To the comments on Timbers. I think it is dreadful. Fish there should be pristine and not farm raised. Not so.

              I love Sunshine Seafood. Excellent tripletail. They know their fish. Also owned by Sandy Stillwell.

              Bubble Room survives in some sort of nostalgic haze. Food stinks, and one had better pray that the house lights don't go up in this place. It is so busy, it never gets cleaned. Kiddies love it I guess and when they grow up they want to take their children there. Gruesome desserts weighing in at a pound per each. LMF

          2. Jacaranda(for the Lobster Bisque & Crab stuffed Mahi-Mahi), Dolce Vita(anything with Pasta & seafood) & has a dance floor & live music, & Doc Ford's(for an appetizer of delicious mussels & other sandwiches & meals) . The Mucky Duck is great for sunsets,but the food is so-so.Both Lazy Flamingos are casual & have delicious grouper baskets & steampots of yummy seafood.The Timbers has fresh fish,but the service isn't always attentive.Keylime Bistro has delicious nachos,huge fish sandwiches(Mahi or grouper) & quenching drinks.

            5 Replies
            1. re: linleedo1

              Re: Keylime Bistro

              We had dinner there over the Memorial Day weekend & can't really recommend this place. We had two pricey entrees ($35 & $26) and both were indifferently prepared. Had a much better dinner at the Green Flash, not to mention at a more reasonable price.

              1. re: linleedo1

                ditto on the Mucky Duck and the Lazy Flamingos and Key Lime Bistro. Bubble Room for drinks if you have to see the place. Sunset Grill for apps and wine.

                1. re: edible complex

                  Interesting side bar on the Bubble Room...we stopped in for after dinner drinks, which were the cheapest on Captiva. My B&B was a strangley priced $6.13, before tax. While at the bar, saw of lot of the famed desserts being served. Hearing about them does not prepare you to actually seeing how big they are. Unless you have a huge sweet tooth, these things will serve 3, at a minimum.

                  1. re: cavandre

                    yes, I remember those ginormous desserts well. we always took them back to the condo and fed on them for a week.

                    1. re: edible complex

                      Trust me, the hype is all they are about. You could make a comparable cake by picking up a cake dr cookbook! Enough said!

              2. The Sanibel restaurants I went to were mostly disappointing. The Hungry Heron, the Timbers, Lighthouse Cafe (all three were from the Frommer's guide); and the Tarpon House and Charlie's Cabana Bar at the Sanibel Harbour Resort and Spa were universally so-so and expensive. Both the Tarpon House and Charlie's Cabana bar had great water views and friendly service. The only restaurant I loved was the Courtside Steakhouse at the Sanibel Harbour Resort and Spa. The food and service was phenomenal, but the bill was also phenomenally expensive ($145/per person for our tab). The view wasn't anything to mention (the tennis courts), but the interior decor was nice and formal. They even have high-chairs for little ones, but it isn't a great place to take a screaming baby.