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Nov 3, 2008 07:26 PM

Recommendations in Ft Myers/Naples area?

Will be heading to the Sand Castle competition this weekend. Anything worth trying over there? Something like seafood, bbq, etc., not Asian.

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  1. In Naples, Truluck's is a very nice restaurant focusing on seafood. Roy's is an upscale small chain that we like very much, with a location in Naples and another just north in Bonita Springs. Many people love their butterfish, and they also serve a three-course prix fixe menu for $35 (could be up to $38) with choices of entrees and desserts (get the molten chocolate mousse cake). Chops is a local very small chain, also with locations in Naples and Bonita Springs, with very good steaks, fish, and a lively bar scene. Our favorite meal last season was at Wyld's Cafe, serving contemporary food in Bonita Springs. For French fare, Blue Provence. For a very casual lunch, try Grouper and Chips. If you are interested in a more casual seafood meal, I strongly recommend Bonefish Grill. They are also a chain, run by the same corporation that owns Roy's and Outback, but they are extremely popular and really do things right.

    1 Reply
    1. re: nosh

      The Sandy Butler houses both a gourmet market if you want to pack a picknic or a full service restaurant if you want to dine in.

      Sandy Butler
      17650 San Carlos Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931

    2. Was I incorrect in focusing on Naples and Bonita rather than Ft. Myers? Is the sand castle competition on Ft. Myers Beach? To be honest, I've been vacationing visiting my mom in Ft. Myers (near RSW) for about a week every winter for well over a decade, and we've yet to find a favorite restaurant at the beach. Sure, there are places for the spring breakers to drink. And yes, there are hotel restaurants with nice views and incredible prices. Sometimes its fun, mostly its disappointing, but it is never impressive or memorable for the food.

      My favorite restaurant in Ft. Myers, by far, is Sasse's. It is in a strip mall near a couple of big hospitals and features a woodburning oven. It is family owned, serves big portions of very tasty Italian food, and while not inexpensive is a great value. For seafood in Ft. Myers, I've got to admit that my favorite meals have been at Bonefish Grill. Yes, big crowds, usually a wait, and pretty casual. But if you order your fish simply grilled, you get it like you request -- not overcooked. Fresh food, excellent value, happy people. There is a place that does incredible business called the Prawnbroker, and they serve tons of people and start with nice loaves of hot wheat bread with crocks of butter served on wooden cutting boards. But after that I feel like a cattle being guided through the slaughterhouse -- pedestrian salad, mediocre fried or grilled fish, high prices, fast turnover, wine in cocktail glasses poured from a box. I'd so much rather pay less and be much happier at Bonefish. There are a number of restaurants in the Bell Towers complex on Daniels Parkway at 41, with a number of independents in the center and a bunch of chains (Outback and others) surrounding. Cru is one of the frou-frou restaurants in town, obviously focusing on wine, but they let you know about their attitude. I've been a longtime fan of Bistro 41, which has had its ups and downs, and while they serve a lot of much trendier and stylish food, I'm a sucker for their wonderful meatloaf and mashed potatoes with a superb mushroom gravy at a very reasonable price. Downtown, I was glad to see Harold's on the Bay fail -- I loathed their attitude, but we enjoyed the prior occupant of that space, Peter's La Cuisine, for years -- but I haven't tried their more casual H2 next door.

      2 Replies
      1. re: nosh

        Thanks for the suggestions.
        While the Sand Castle Festival is on the beach, we drive from Miami so definitely can drive in search of good food, especially if the beach only serve over priced mediocre food to tourists.
        We have lots of Bonefish in Miami too so I am more interested in checking out the little indies, or chains local enough not to be in Miami.

        1. re: tarepanda

          Fort Myers Beach restaurants are pretty dismal and poor quality. The sand castle competition is mid island and there is nothing around there. The idea of a picnic from the Sandy Butler might be your best choice.

          I think the best restaurant in the FM Beach area is Parrot Key. It wins awards all the time. Beware of the hokey entertainment. Night with the Stars, etc. It is a lot of fun if you go with the right attitude but this is not a sophisticated restaurant although some of the entrees can be quite sophisitcated. Very much a Key West party atmosphere down on the Shrimp Docks.

          I really wouldn't bother with the downtown Fort Myers area. It has years of construction to go before it will be worthwhile. H2 is a tapas/wine bar down there and about the only place with any business other than The Veranda. If you would like to visit a real "throwback" restaurant, The Veranda might work for you. Southern (sort of)cuisine in two old homes. Has a charming ambiance...and the food is ok, just not that special. There is a low country restaurant down in Bonita that fills that Southern ambiance much better. The Bay House. It has many great reviews here on Chowhound.

      2. My two favorites are Wylds Cafe in Bonita (best by far), with very creative dishes, nice ambiance and fantastic service. I also love Randy's Seafood in Naples- more casual type but extrememly fresh seafood of all styles. Ok and one more, whenever I get out of New England I search for a Bonefish Grill - excellent.

        4 Replies
        1. re: lexpatti

          lexpatti, we could definitely get along foodwise. I have not been to Randy's -- their website has extensive, detailed menus, but one of my pet peeves, no prices listed. What are prices like for dinner? About the same as Bonefish Grill -- entrees in the mid-teens? Or less or more??

          1. re: nosh

            Nosh we were at Randy's last Saturday. Both my husband and I had the grouper, at market price, and I think it was about $27 and I enjoyed the way they prepared the grouper much better than Bonefish last month. I had the broiled which was prepared with herbs and very tasty. My husband had grilled and enjoyed it, too. Both came with salad, green beans and a potato. Very relaxed atmosphere and you can view the fish at the counter before ordering. They have a lot of choices at varied prices on the menu. Always a long line, in season. We printed off a gift certificate from that gave us a nice deal.

            1. re: nosh

              As grouper says, it's quite a varied menu (price and style). You can get a really nice fried oyster sandwich or a dozen freshly shucked or sauted up with some fancy sauce. Love the oysters here. He was the chef at Rhodes when it was a huge success, then opened his own place. Has a fish market as welll to bring home your favorites.

              1. re: lexpatti

                To report back... we ended up eating both meals in Naples area.
                We wanted to go to Grouper and Chips, as my hubby loves fish and chips, but unfortunately they are closed on Sundays.

                We went to Randy's. The food was good, but to us it was nothing to write home about. We had the gumbo, fried oyster, fish & chips and something else I forgot what. The fish was a bit on the mushy side, but that was more the texture of the fish rather than an indication of freshness (or lack of).

                For dinner we went to USS Nemo, which was highly recommended on this board, and I have to agree it was a memorable dinner. We liked the decor as we stepped in. The bread was excellent, along with the dip and hummus they served. We all loved what we ordered and the seabass was exceptional. Love the plum ice cream for dessert, though I didn't care for the puff pastry it came in. I have since recommended it to anybody who mentioned that they would be heading to Naples.

                Thanks for the rec!!