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Jan 28, 2009 06:04 AM

eating with kids in Naples

We visited Naples last year and had a difficult time finding places that weren't chains, where we could dine with our ids and enjoy our meal as well.
We did Yabba's one night and that was ok. Another evening we took the kids to an area called Venice or the Venetian or something where we could have drinks, be by the water and feed them chicken nuggets. It said it was family friendly, but it wasn't really.
Ideally, we'd love to find a place near or on the water (I understand Ft Myers is more likely to have this than Naples, as Naples is more high end and not
'beach bar" friendly).
We vowed this year we'd be more prepared as we know the area a bit better. We're staying on the beach, a very short drive from 5th. Any suggestions? Our kids are 2 and almost 5.
Thanks in advance,

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  1. The Dock isn't on the beach but is on Naples Bay with a nice view. It's a fun place with reasonable prices and good food.

    1. Polly, there IS an establishment in Bonita Springs (which is closer than Ft. Myers!) called Doc's Beach House...I haven't been there in a long time...but it IS right on the beach on Bonita Beach Road...used to be very casual & fun and offered your usual suspects: burgers, chicken fingers, etc. I'm hoping that someone else who has been there more recently can say "yea" or "nay"... I hope it hasn't become a total dive...I don't think it has but I'm not sure. Kids would be very welcome...too bad Naples has such a bad rep for little ones! It is a pretty "uptight" place, though.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Val

        Doc's has been the same place since we started going there in 2000...nothing has changed. Our kids were younger then and that was the place of choice. Like Val said it is very casual, in fact we walk along the beach to eat there, so they accept most any attire. The burgers are great! The menu is more sandwiches, burgers, tacos, etc. I've also heard the pizza is Chicago style, but have never had it. They only accept cash and have a money machine on site, just in case you run low. You can get a drink, something to eat and watch a beautiful sunset all in one place. I would say it's worth the drive if you are looking for a beach experience. It's located where Bonita Beach Rd makes the turn to go north to Ft. Myers on Hickory Blvd. As far as Ft. Myers Beach, I've always been underwhelmed with the dining options on the beach. With our kids, for really nice dining, we always had luck at Roy's in the Promenade, on US 41. They have a kids menu with multiple courses and we could have a wonderful dinner with cocktails. Iguana Mia on Bonita Beach Rd and US 41 is always packed with families. Randy's Fish House also on US41 is a good family place...not on the water but the food is really good. All of these places may be more of a hike than you care to make. Enjoy your vacation!

        1. re: grouper

          Thank you all for your suggestions. I checked the Docs Crayton Cove site and there wasn't anything for my kids to eat, but I thought it looked great! The Doc's Beach House reminds me of Ft. Myers, pretty much exactly what I was hoping it would be! I imagined the kids playing on the sand while the husband and I enjoyed a few beers and munching on some apps. Thanks again!!!

          1. re: pollyprincess

            You might try a trip to the Isles of Capri off of 951 (take 41 south to a right on 951, to the Isles exit). It's about 20 minutes from 5th Ave.
            Pelican Bend has good food and the kids can munch on chicken fingers, "real" fried chicken, or other casual stuff. Both indoor and outside seating on the water.
            The Capri Fish House has some decent chow these days too. It's right next door. Your kids can play on their beach while you sit at a table with your feet in the water, or you can be right inside the screened dining room.
            Both places are really laid back. You'll swear you're in the Keys.

        2. re: Val

          I just got back from Naples/Ft Myers and we spent on day on Bonita Beach. I would like to say that I will NEVER EVER go back to Doc's again. Never in my life have I been to a place that is full of business loathing, arrogant servers and a manager (I'm talking about Joe).

          Tried to valet - they wouldn't because we planned on being there longer than 2 hours drinking beers, eating their food, and watching the kids play in the sand. Reason was "owners don't even park here - why should you be allowed to?" I believe the Manager forgot it was people like me who pay for the "owners" car.

          Tried to order burgers - but there is a specific line to order from. There was not 1 table taken, 5 servers standing around, and none of them doing anything. Why not open a second line or start service for patrons?

          Tried to order cheese burgers with different toppings and was told "Just order the burger and you get what you get GUY." I don't believe I have ever been in receipt of such condescending remarks from a man taking my money.

          Right after I paid for the burgers (had not even moved aside yet), my friend's 2 year old asked for chicken fingers. Order taker refused to add the chicken fingers to the order and forced me to get back in line - wait 5 minutes to order.

          To Sum it All Up: The burgers are NOT worth it. Bubba Burgers are gourmet Kobe beef compared to these overcooked pieces of cardboard. HONESTLY, THERE IS NO REASON TO GO HERE.

          1. re: WStampa

            You may want to try TinCity
            May not find chix nugs, more likely grouper nugs.

        3. I realize you are looking for on the water, but there is a very good, kid friendly, chicago style pizza place, called Aurelios.
          Each time I go to Naples, I go to Aurelios. The servers are always friendly and there are some electronic games in the back of the restaurant for the kids to play.

          Aurelio's Pizza
          590 Tamiami Trl N, Naples, FL 34102

          1. I have a whole file on visiting the area that I would be glad to send you if you email me at Put Naples restaurants in the subject please.

            • Blue Water Bistro, seafood, Estero
            • Boathouse, waterview
            • Buffalo Chips, great wings, dirt bar, Bonita
            • Charlie Chang’s, North Naples .. like PF Chang's only with outdoor dining on the Cocahatchee River
            • Cove Inn, Naples, GREAT for breakfast
            • Doc’s Beach House, Bonita Springs - great for sunset view, below adequate food
            • Hyatt Regency Coconut Point -- eat around the pool
            • Ridgeway, American gourmet, Naples outdoor garden
            • Ritz Gumbo Limbo Beach Pavilion, only lunch, outside overlooking Gulf Silver Spoon, Naples, Waterside Shops, tasty and reasonable
            • Swan River Seafood
            • Tommy Bahama’s, Naples, Caribbean
            • Turtle Club, good food, awesome Gulf view, eat right on the sand, upscale