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Mar 29, 2008 04:38 PM

Cape Coral

My Husband has just been transfered to Cape Coral from Tampa. We have a three year old - any ideas for places to eat that are not chains and are kid friendly? We have only found Beefs, Outback and Chili's.... Please help!

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  1. mel's diner is very kid-friendly -- and they have good food. super reubens... i love shrimp shack, too.

    also, for you and hubby (and if three year old is good) ristorante fabio on hancock, west of orange grove.

    carrabba's on pine island rd. is a chain, but good -- and i've seen kids there.

    for decent Q, go to the place on 41 in north fort myers, south of hancock intersection (toward fort myers/the bridge and across 41 from kfc). i'll try and get the name. sis and BIL go there a lot.

    i've heard biaca's for pizza is good: Biancas Ristorante Italiano & Pizzeria
    16251 North Cleveland Avenue, North Fort Myers, FL 33903

    my sis likes this: Pincher's Crab Shack - North Fort Myers
    13021 North Cleveland Avenue, North Fort Myers, FL 33903

    MOST important, buy a map of cape coral for your car!!!

    don't get pizza at angelo's on del prado.

    see this:

    this may be an interesting thread for you.

    "wing nuts" across from caloosa middle school is gooood for wings.

    ps, OT, but that supertarget is nice, there on pine island rd.

    good luck....and don't despair.

    8 Replies
    1. re: alkapal

      For some really good Cuban food- Try Azucar on Del Prado Blvd. It's really good and has some culinary creativeness the elevates it. :)

      1. re: PamelaForce

        Pamela, what is location on del prado? number or cross street?

        there is another good cuban near city hall, on viscaya (?) just before the little bridge. (near all the auto repair places).

        their cafe con leche is superb, too.

        1. re: alkapal

          btw, has anyone tried the caribbean resto up toward pine island rd., just off del prado?

          1. re: alkapal

            Azucar Restaurant & Bakery
            3326 Del Prado Blvd S
            Cape Coral, FL 33904 Map

            * (239) 549-2833

            I've been to that place too, that one's good, but the other one is a bit nicer, sit down place, with the added culinary twists I so enjoy. The empanadas with seafood and different dipping sauces are great as an appetizer.

            1. re: PamelaForce

              pam, that is cuban? why do they say caribbean, do you think?

              1. re: alkapal

                Probably because they infuse lots of flavors, and perhaps some of their dishes are not specific to Cuba, as are lots of latin dishes. For example, I cannot say ceviche is specifically ecuadorian, because Peru and Argentina make one as well. I personally like their cuisine and how they are not the typical cuban restaurant- they took it up a notch! :) Hope this helps.

                1. re: PamelaForce

                  yes, thanks. love ceviche. do they do it well?

            2. re: alkapal

              It's called El Rincon, just at the via duct ...... great food at good prices.

        2. More than slightly unrelated, but I am considering moving to Cape Coral and was hoping you would share your opinion. Tampa is another area we are considering. Please e-mail me at if you don't mind. Thank you so much!! kathi

          1. Try Chicago Pizza downtown Cape..It's a small family owned place with great Chicago style pizza, Italian Beef Sandwiches, wings, pasta, etc. It's definitely casual with a neighborhood cozy feel to it. The food is great, prices reasonable and the service is always good.
            The outside of the building doesn't look like anything great but you will be pleasantly surprised when you walk in! They deliver too-
            1227 Miramar St. 2 blks south of the Parkway

            5 Replies
            1. re: lovesfood12

              There is no good pizza on The Cape ..... best pizza in the area is Birdie's, just over the Midpoint bridge and slightly behind the Iguana Mia south of Edison Mall.

              Best pizza hands down, and don't mind the owner (Guy) ..... he's an all-around good fella when you get to know him.

              1. re: Mate In Two

                Try NY Pizza - we haven't eaten a lot of pizza on the Cape (only there a few times a year), but being from NY, we like their pies. They are located at 3816 Chiquita Blvd .

                1. re: Nancy C

                  Tried a recent addition to the Cape pizza lineup ...... Brooklyn Pizza ...... liked it and will definitely go back.

                2. re: Mate In Two

                  When I first moved to Florida from Long Island years and years ago, I was thrilled to find Sal's Pizza on Cape Coral Parkway. I'm not sure if it is still there but I can tell you that this we most definitely good pizza. The stromboli was pretty good too.

                  1. re: Mate In Two

                    Birdie's is pretty decent, but if you are going to come that far from the cape, drive the extra mile or two into town and get a pie from Downtown House of Pizza, for my money the best pizza in SW FL, and almost as good as what I used to get in Philly.

                    Downtown House of Pizza
                    1520 Hendry St, Fort Myers, FL 33901

                3. Went to Azucar for Valentine's Day dinner after reading and hearing so many plositive things about the place ...... honestly, we both thought it sucked, and that there are at least five better Cuban restaurants on The Cape ....... we were greeted coldly by the solemn gent at the cash register (better restaurants hide the cash register, by the way) ...... our servers, although polite and pleasant, were woefully under trained ..... we ordered appetizers (empanadas), a Churrasco, and a Sampler Platter ...... every Churrasco I've ever eaten has arrived at my table still sizzling noisily, but this one was not cooked to my order, cool to the touch, and with none of the flavorful carmelization you would expect for the dish ..... the chimmichurri side was tasty but the skirt steak itself was SIN SABOR ...... both the beans and rice were completely devoid of any flavor at all and you couldn't possibly salt them enough ...... my wife's platter featured COLD chicken drummettes, flavorless Masitas (what kind of Cuban makes crappy Masitas?), and a desecated Palamilla steak ....... our appetizers arrived AFTER our dinner, but only after we asked for them a second and third time ...... our Cokes were allowed to remain empty on the table for twenty minutes until we asked TWO different servers for refills (cans) ......... absolutely no excuse when your dining area is 500 square feet and your table can be seen by any of the employees running about merrily ...... I love Cuban food but wouldn't go to this place again, even if it meant McDonald's ...... the bakery section had some attractive desserts but we wouldn't venture trying one after our dismal dinner ....... the Cuban bread we were served was very good ......... prices are also higher than necessary ...... obviously, I can't recommend the place as I can Cafe Tropical, El Rincon, or a number of others.

                  15 Replies
                  1. re: Mate In Two

                    As you mention can you please tell me what other 5 Cuban restaurants in Cape Coral are better than Azucar I love Cuban food and would like to try them.

                    1. re: Feline5

                      The two I mentioned are a very good place to start. Azucar may have a nicer dining room but there's a lot more to a nice night out than a better tablecloth.

                      Try El Tropical first, adjacent to the Publix at Santa Barbara and Hancock. El Rincon is also very good, on Vizcaya at the viaduct, as is Las Americas, on SE 46th Lane clse to Del Prado, which also has a well-provisioned grocery section attached.

                      1. re: Mate In Two

                        mate in two, i am so happy there is an active chowhound in cape coral!!!!! i'm looking forward to your posts.

                        1. re: Mate In Two

                          I have tried those three you mention and those are called in my country of Cuba, Fondas you cannot compare those to AZUCAR, I am talking about a RESTAURANT, I go to AZUCAR RESTAURANT every week and I have never had a bad meal you may have gone on Valentines Day, on a very busy day those things may happen in any restaurant but, that is not to say that the food is not good or you would not recomend it. They got 4 stars from Jean Le Boeuf of The News Press, 4.5 stars from Florida Weekly and others. It is not fair to judge AZUCAR by that one experience.
                          I'll tell you AZUCAR is a NICE place to visit a very nice atmosphere, clean very corteous servers and very very good food. They have a great Bakery the pastelitos de guayaba are great , they make everything on the premises fresh every day, They have a Breakfast for $2.99 includes eggs,bacon, Cuban toast and coffee, great lunches CUBAN Sandwiches are the best, and super great dinners like The Paella Valenciana. Yes I recomend AZUCAR as THE BEST CUBAN RESTAURANT IN CAPE CORAL.

                          1. re: Feline5

                            Knock yourself out ..... I'll stick to Taco Bell before I give them another dollar ..... every aspect of my meal sucked, and that's pretty hard to do, you must admit.

                            Overpriced, tasteless and cold food, inattentive staff ..... adds up to a big fat ZERO in my book.

                            And if you can only expect a decent meal when a place is slow then what the hell good is it? Honestly, it's a sorry excuse for Cuban food.

                            1. re: Mate In Two

                              Mate In Two, I totally agree with you. Our experience at Azucar was a disaster.

                              We usually go to Mambos but decided to try out Azucar. Boy did we regret our decision !

                              Our waitress was rude. When we waved at her to signal her that we need something, she went to all tables except ours. We knew she saw us but for some reason, she decided to ignore us.

                              Their breakfast platters come with coffee and she just assumed we do not need the coffee without asking us. When we told her that we do want the coffee that came with the meal, she went all defensive and was not nice at all. No apologies either.

                              When we complained to the host about the waitress, he was even more rude!... He refused to acknowledge anything and listen to us. Justified his waitress by saying that because we have two kids with us, they usually assume that we will not have the coffee. The worse thing is, the meal was for me and not for my kids ! The host was talking so loud in an agitated manner that it was beginning to be embarrassing.

                              When you are in the restaurant business, customer service is important. But Azucar does not seem to know this.

                              The food was not good too ! The steak sandwich hardly had any steak in it. The steak was as thin as a deli slice of ham. The bacon was greasy (I could make better bacon at home).

                              We will never go back to this place again.

                              1. re: SarSiCola

                                I respectfully disagree with any negative contentions about Azucar Restaurant and Bakery in Cape Coral, FL. Azucar offers a diverse menu of Cuban cuisine that inspires the pallet. As a Cuban-American, I am reminded of my homeland whenever I taste one of their signature dishes, such as the incredible paella, steaks, and variations of coconut in their cuisine. Their menu is not only reasonably priced, but also affords you the opportunity to take home leftovers! I have referred this restaurant to many people, and have only received positive feedback.

                                I understand where there are instances where a waitress is not as cooperative as she/he should or even could be. And in those cases, those employees should be asked to leave. However, that is no reflection on the food nor the atmosphere. Azucar is decorated meticulously to provide you with a feeling of Cuba within SW Florida. Understandably, when dining at a family owned restaurant with actually “in house” made food, on a special holiday’s (ie: Valentine’s Day), there may be delays in presentation. But was it not worth it? Not only is the food incredible, yet they also have “in house” Cuban baked bread and pastries made daily. They offer a service called the Canteen, which I personally take advantage of! I get five prepaid take out meals a week so I do not have to cook, at a reasonable price, available when I get out of work.

                                I must admit, as a Cuban American, I know when my food is fresh. That is the most important thing. Azucar provides you with the opportunity to have a taste of Cuba made to order. I personally love this restaurant, and hope that the bad experiences of a few will not deter others from experiencing the greatness of this restaurant! Be an individual… try Azucar Restaurant and Bakery yourself, and decide. I strongly believe you will not be disappointed!

                                1. re: mcuba31

                                  This is your one and only post. If this is your restaurant, or if you have an affiliation with it, why not say so? You have written a nice defense. LMF

                                  1. re: mcuba31

                                    Sorry, Dude .... that place sucks ..... non-caring people and shitty food ...... El Rincon on Vizcaya at the viaduct is much better

                                    1. re: Mate In Two

                                      just to reiterate --el rincon cubano on viscaya is really, really good food -- and a great value. i look forward to going again very soon.

                                      1. re: alkapal

                                        I can concur on the fact that El Rincon is really really good. And crazy inexpensive. The Media Noche there absolutely the best, and as a guy with a weakness for papas rellenas all I got to say is "1$ for papas rellenas!?" are you kidding me, I am never going to be able to lose weight that way. Cafe Cubano is excellent. Nice relaxed "diner" atmosphere. As an anglo with so so Spanish skills I have never had a problem ordering (not true in all Cuban restaurants in South Florida) and they are fast. Having said that I want to try Azucar too. Feeling a craving for maduros or tostones, one way or another I need some plantains.

                                        1. re: Rusyoak

                                          their tostones as a side at rincon are big, tasty & hot off the press! ;-).

                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            Had the tostones yesterday. You were sooooo right!

                                            1. re: Rusyoak

                                              Finally talked my wife into trying Rincon after months of attempts. We will be back. The food was wonderful and the prices are unbelievable. I know where I'll get lunch on my day off from now on ;-)

                      2. new vietnamese (pho vinh) on del prado near pine island road is clean, modern, but the food is...well, a little too bland for my taste. i am familiar with vietnamese food (living in arlington, virginia, one of the resettlement locations for post war vietnamese), and i recognize that it is generally blander than other asian cuisines. this place, however, seems blander than usual. they provide the condiments to spice it up, though.

                        the chicken pho broth was nicely spiced with star anise/five-spice; however, i thought they were a little skimpy on the veggies/herbs that go with the pho. the spring rolls are greasy, and flavorless, and featured only one half of a shrimp each!. the grilled beef and pork was decent. service was very friendly. they opened in may and survived the summer, so that's saying something! give them a try. i'll post pics later. for cape coral, i hope they survive, because they are unique in the area (other than the terrible "viet" place on n. cleveland/41 near hancock).

                        el rincon was good this trip, but they need to focus on improving their english skills to communicate better, and hone their customer service to "aim to please" without getting grouchy when a customer doesn't understand something. their attitude will hold them back from being an "excellent" vs. "good" place to patronize.

                        siam hut -- work on customer service. acting like you don't care if we're there or not is NOT the way to go. again, though, people don't have lots of options. this was the dang weirdest order of drunken noodles i've ever had! zucchini? carrots? and how did they make it hot? with red chili flakes! not one thai bird chili in sight. and i don't think they were fresh rice noodles, despite my inquiries. if so, they were the weirdest fresh rice noodles i've ever had. again, inquiries were met with know-nothing assurances of the clueless waitress (from the caribbean, somewhere) and also with the owner's daughter's passive-aggressive hostility. hey, lighten up! maybe your mom needs to be around to make things happy and fun-to-be there. otherwise, neither the food nor the atmosphere beckons me back, and its a shame, because my family had been patrons ever since you opened in the other location!

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: alkapal

                          Alkapal, I think you should give Pho Vinh another try. We've adjusted some of our menu items since October and have added new dishes. We appreciate your plug though! :-)

                          Now, where can I find good sushi and tortellini's??

                          1. re: tamitran114

                            hi there tamitran,

                            good italian is at fabio's on hancock bridge pkwy near orange grove blvd. go for the specials on the white board.

                            next time i'm down, i'll come give your place another try!

                            attached photo is from wingnuts -- on del prado north of the hospital.

                          2. re: alkapal

                            Pho Vinh. Wow.

                            My girlfriend and I ate at this place tonight and I'm stunned at how bad the pho was. I didn't know pho could be THIS bad. This is by far the worst pho I've ever had. Where do I even begin?

                            I ordered the large pho with steak. First of all, it came with cilantro instead of thai basil. Really? Cilantro? On top of that, they gave me 3 little sprigs of it. Second, 90% of the bean sprouts were brown and not fresh. Third, the broth was disgusting. It was sweet and yet overly salty but it wasn't a salty flavor as if someone added too much salt to it. It was more salty in a MSG bad kind of way. Fourth, the noodles were sweet. Fifth, the beef didn't look all that fresh.

                            I ate about 1/4 of the soup before I got the check and left. The best part of the meal was the Sriracha sauce.

                            Never going back to that place.

                            1. re: duckfat73

                              WOW! I can't believe I found this thread. I'll start digging through all the cape coral area posts but thought I'd post here before I lost it (a little hard to find).

                              We are headed down in a week and have an infant and toddler and most importantly, MIL!! We'll probably eat most meals in rented house and know there is a Publix down the street - but if we "get out of jail" and MIL babysits - where to go nearby? We don't want to waste time driving so would probably stay in Cape. We're SE.

                              We don't subject the kids to restaurants except once in a great while (or should I say, restaurant-goers to the kids) - but does there happen to be a place that is super kid friendly - with things that would really keep the kids happy while we eat and decent food??


                              Andrea in Canada

                              1. re: andreaplants

                                IF MIL babysits, go to fabio's (mentioned upthread). it won't be far.

                              2. re: duckfat73

                                Normally, there is cilantro in the broth, and basil on the side. Many Vietnamese dishes use cilantro.

                                The sweet broth sounds gross though...

                                1. re: jenn2083

                                  it wasn't sweet when i had it. (see post above, where i said: "the chicken pho broth was nicely spiced with star anise/five-spice; however, i thought they were a little skimpy on the veggies/herbs that go with the pho."). that taste test was, however, in 2009, so i don't know what has happened since.

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    i often go to pho vinh. i have eaten everything on the menu. coming from chicago, i was worried about the lack of vietnamese food in sw florida. after many trips to naples, then pho vinh opened, i haven't returned to naples. the portions are great. and this is the first time i have ever said.. there is too much meat in the pho. it is rather delicious.
                                    and for the poster who complained about the cilantro vs basil - when you rely on fresh produce, you are at the mercy of what the market provides. and the broth is so flavorful, one doesn't often need to add the savories. we were there yesterday and will probably be back next week.

                              3. re: alkapal

                                I stopped by Pho Vinh last week. I normally try to give places a couple shots before making a judgment, but I'm not sure if I want to risk spending more money at this place.

                                The spring rolls were gummy and 95% rice noodles - hardly any flavor. On the plus side, the peanut sauce they're served with was pretty good.

                                The Pho had an odd and unpleasant artificial sweet taste to it, though I will say the bean sprouts and veggies were fresh. Heavy application of chili sauce was able to halfway rescue it, but I still didn't finish the bowl.

                                I tried a couple bites of my dining partner's basil chicken, which was better than the Pho, but still not great.

                                All in all, not a great experience.