HOME > Chowhound > Florida >


Fort Myers Restaurants?????what the heck?

we need good food here!
Does anyone know where to go in fort myers?????

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. Do you mean Fort Myers or Fort Myers Beach. So many tourists do not know the difference. Plenty of places in Fort Myers, unless you are looking for major metropolitan area gourmet experience or off beat ethnic.

      Fort Myers Beach is another story. Pretty awful there. New restaurant, Bay Front Bistro at the new marina mid-Island is excellent and worth a try. I'll try to write it up soon. I'd like to go again in the next week.

      2 Replies
      1. re: LilMsFoodie

        The posts on the Ft. Myers & Ft. Myers beach area are discouraging me from renting a beachfront condo in the area around Christmas time. We rented a beachfront condo this past Christmas on Marco Island and loved it. We did not have any bad seafood meals. We started the trip out by having lunch at Doc's in Bonita Beach on the beach b4 heading to Marco Island. We had great grouper sandwiches. We've rented beachfront up and down the coast just about every where except Ft. Myers/Ft. Myers Beach. We loved Marco Island. "Beachfront" on Marco Island means a half mile hike to the beach from the condo; you have to haul all your beach gear in a cart & it can make the bathroom situation a little difficult. Beachfront on Anna Maria Island or Bradenton Beach means stepping out of the condo on to the beach - you can run back to the condo easily for bathrooms or to refill your cooler. Marco Island is warmer than AMI/BB around Christmas time b/c it is further south. We're from northeast Ohio and we like both the beach & the culinary experiences that go with our trips. I'm more inclined to go back to Marco Island if there are no good places to eat in Ft. Myers/Ft. Myers Beach.

        1. re: CurryLover

          There are pros and cons about everywhere; you have to choose your priorities. For us, we like golf, so we rent at a country club community and some lunches are convenient and required at the clubhouse. Naples is elegant, but the restaurants and leases are expensive so you pay that premium. Sounds like you love the beach, so rent there and realize that a lot of the places closest to you will be primarily bars serving food that is simple or a second priority. We have found good places -- our favorite in Ft. Myers the last three seasons has been Sasse's for Italian from its woodburning oven. Before that we enjoyed Bistro 41 in the Bell Towers. And I like Bonefish Grill a lot better than the Prawnbroker or some of the independent seafood places -- I don't automatically turn my nose up at a chain that does a really good job. I don't like making the drive down to Naples just for dinner more than once or twice a week, so we make an evening of that or going two-thirds and eating at Wyld's Cafe in Bonita Springs, which is excellent. My mom entertains a lot of out of town guests, so proximity to RSW is helpful, and for me, I like to be able to dash over to the orange juice place across from the Twins' complex!

      2. This is quite a challenge, but if you are willing to be adventurous and try some under the radar places, you may be surprised by what you find. Here are some of my favorite Fort Myers restaurants:

        Crave: located in the shopping center on McGregor btwn Cypress Lakes and College (near anytime fitness and the Chico's call center). This place is completely under the radar. When you walk in, the decoration is extremely sparse... in fact there is really not much in it other than tables, but the food is FANTASTIC. The chef is really talented. They are open for breakfast/brunch, lunch, and dinner. They make one of the best turkey burgers I have ever had and I love their omelets. Also, dinner is great and they have everything from Shephard's Pie to grilled salmon! Truly a hidden gem!

        Roadhouse Cafe: Another one of those hidden gem type places. Located in the back of a shopping center on San Carlos, almost immediately after the intersection of McGregor, San Carlos, and Gladiolus. They have an extremely eclectic menu... everything from Italian (chicken parm, etc...) to asian stir fry (amazing), but everything that I have ever had has been excellent. They also have jazz music on certain nights of the week.

        Bacchus - located in Bell Tower Shops. Contrary to what a lot of people say, I think this restaurant is really quite good. I love the Spanish influence on the food and Shannon is really a great cook. Its one of the only true trendy restaurants in the area.

        Some others that I find to be decent eats: Cafe Cibo, Bistro 41, The French Connection (downtown), Delicious Things (also downtown).

        Also, as a side note: Shannon (the owner of Bacchus) has now opened Mad Takeout. Its a bit pricey, but the food is EXCELLENT. Great pizza and salads. They also have things like sushi and burgers. You can even order online which is pretty helpful!

        7 Replies
        1. re: NiKoLe1625

          Re: The Roadhouse Cafe: when the owner's father is in town the jazz on Tuesday is great. I'm not as high on the food as you, but it is much better than others and ia managing to stay in business. I think the eclecticism of the menu is a problem and wish they had stuck with a more focused menu. Classic New England roadhouse food: cod, steaks, whatever. Location is off-putting to some being near the Big Lots and resale shops but I guess that is "atmosphere" for Fort Myers.

          I agree with Bacchus. I like it very much and they have toned down the "hip" thing since the crash of Cru.

          I've never eaten dinner at The French Connection and refuse to do lunch there anymore as everything on the uninspired menu tastes like cantaloupe. Delicious things has had how many chef's so far. 5, 6? I've had good meals there but the best was the first one and that time has past. Barolo and porcini fest. It was amazing. They manage to stay open in the dismal downtown area, which is quite the feat.

          I have eaten at Cru a couple of times and the food is excellent. I always eat too much there. They have tried to improve the decor a bit lately but it is still very basic and the wine list is very basic and minor. This would be a great place to take an old relative or child or just a family type meal out.

          Bistro 41 has a loyal clientele and they feed them what they want. Nice wine list, decent service and pretty good classic bistro food.

          1. re: LilMsFoodie

            I agree that Roadhouse's menu lacks focus and you are right, the food is not GREAT, but its better than most other establishments in the area.

            I have never eaten Dinner at French Connection either, but I had a great lunch there about a month ago! But i could definitely see your point on a lack of inspiration.

            1. re: NiKoLe1625

              i love the pizza at mad takeout. Also the protein pack salad (beans, feta, tomatoes) is awesome. If you ever order a salad from there, make sure you ask them to put extra lettuce. My mom got into a fight with them one day because they literally gave her like 2 pieces of lettuce in her salad. it was a bit ridiculous

            2. re: LilMsFoodie

              correct an error above: I meant to write Crush not Cru. I do not go to Cru and the comments there are totally off when it comes to Cru, which has a derivative "hip" decor from the 90's and it not a place to take an older relative or child by any means.

              1. re: LilMsFoodie

                I have really become a fan of Bacchus and probably eat there about 2 to 3 times a month. I havent had a lot of luck with his new concept, Mad Takeout, but I have hope that it will improve.

                1. re: Suzie

                  I tried the spelt pizza at Mad and I didn't like it at all and I was predisposed to like it. Aftertaste was not what I look for in a pizza.

              2. re: NiKoLe1625

                Shannon has left Fort Myers to do whatever. He is no longer affiliated with Bacchus or Mad Takeout. MP

              3. I think all of those places are way too pricey.....

                5 Replies
                1. re: chopslick

                  so what are you looking for? None of those restaurants are extraordinarily expensive. In fact some, like Crave (not Crush as I wrote above) are very inexpensive. I see you liked Ada's and I thought their food was like hospital or cafeteria food, only made with organic or semi-organic ingredients. Zero atmosphere, no service, not that cheap for what it was, that is why they are closed. It was not a Chowhound type of place.

                  Some of the mexican taquerias might be cheap. The French Connection is inexpensive at lunch, and dinner is reasonable if you like their food.

                  If you were looking for cheap, you should say so.

                  1. re: LilMsFoodie

                    Yeah, I know, I am sounding cheap...it's just that i spend sooo much money out on food that rarely is amazing. Im sick of inconsistent restaurants. I don't really mind paying if I get delicious food.
                    My favs
                    ~Passage to India on Bonita Beach Rd. Hoo boy, good stuff, consistent.
                    ~H2 untill recently, hard a*s bread, undercooked chicken, snotty waitress, strawberry rissotto under my foie gras instead of the menus description cherries and pistachios
                    ~Ada's Fort Myers...definately my favorite. (hospital food?ya think? wow)I agree to disagree, ate there everyday, mouth watering just thinking about it.
                    ~Crave is great, I dig it
                    all the sushi joints kinda disappoint, if I had to choose Id pick Ichiban Downtown

                    1. re: chopslick

                      I think all restaurants are under heavy pressure here and elsewhere. People are dining out less, ordering less, cheaper wines, one cocktail instead of two, eating out once a week instead of 3 or 4 times. For an independent restaurant, this makes survival difficult. There have been articles this week in the Wall Street Journal and NYTimes about the top tier restaurants like Per Se serving small plates at their bars.

                      H2 will survive as a bar. Their food, imo, has gotten poorer and poorer since Harold's closed.

                      I have lived here 14 years and you are the first person I've heard say good things about Ada's. They made huge real estate bets with their health clubs and plans for expansion. They could not compete with Publix for organic groceries. They would often be twice the price or more. I liked them when they were the small place on 41. I hated the larger place and stopped going. I do remember a pretty good carrot cake. <G> LMF

                      1. re: LilMsFoodie

                        I totally agree with you about Ada's...ridiculous owners, terrible businessmen
                        I'm just talking about the food in the deli, amazing Chef ...(Brooke was her name)
                        just such incredible and adventurous food

                        1. re: chopslick

                          Brooke is opening her own cafe.

                          Heres the info from the news press. "She hopes to open Chef Brooke's Natural Cafe on May 1, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. The restaurant is at 1850 Boy Scout Drive, midway between U.S. 41 and Summerlin Road. The 1,800-square-foot space used to be a coffeehouse, she said."

                2. I guess the thing to keep in mind here is that this is a city that keeps voting Perkins as the best breakfast spot in town. The older folks stick with what they know...and that is bland, uninspired food.

                  I enjoyed some amazing meals at Peter's La Cuisine back in the day (before Chef Kurt left and the new guy ran the place into the ground)...but those days are long gone.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: digyourself

                    I went to Peter's many times and don't know who owned it after him. Harold's was much better in its prime that Peter's ever was. What Peter's had was a lock on new cuisine in a sleepy old southern town. There was no competition back then.

                    Your comment regarding Perkins lines up with cities all over the country who routinely vote Olive Garden as their favorite Italian. The vast majority of Americans are not that much in food that they pay attention. They want big portions and a reasonable cost and the big chains deliver. Fort Myers is no different from Indianapolis, Reno, etc. in this regard.

                    1. re: LilMsFoodie

                      I believe that Peter's was always owned by Peter Schmid. Chef Kurt left and I believe that his Sous Chef was given the Exec. job. This is when things began going downhill.

                      I have never eaten at Harold's. Wish I would have given it a try.

                  2. After living, eating and working in Ft Myers for 26 years in and out of the restaurant industry, I have a few to add and a few to agree with.

                    For consistently high quality seafood and turffood, the Bell Tower's Blue Point. They are completely anal about freshness and the price is moderate. Seating outside and in with 1/2 price "Happy Hour" for raw bar and beer & wine 4-6 & 9-close daily. Tell Doug or Ryan who sent you, they know me well, as I helped open the place and visit with them frequently. One of the best crab cakes in town and be sure to at least once order the Parmesan Crusted Lemon Sole. Another fav is the huge rawbar app (never half price, though) with chilled lobster, shrimp oysters and clams. Enough for 2-3.

                    For those of you who wish for a more sophisticated, and yes, can afford to put out the green, you can visit one of the city's private clubs on Wednesday eve for guest night (again, tell Mitch or Corey who sent you), The Blue Coyote Club at Caloosa Yacht & Racquet Club under the overpass on College before the Cape Coral Bridge. Consistent on the menu is Kobe beef, Osso Boco, an escargot app to die for and be sure to try the baked mac n cheese. Also on the menu are several items priced at $20. They are right on the river, be there at sunset!

                    Shannon's ability to create new restaurants and gift for great staffing is renowned in FM; he originally had Bacchas downtown, started Bistro, Cru and then went back to Bacchus in BT. Hope he doesn't get too board too soon with this new one...

                    I stopped the French Connection for anything some time ago. If I am downtown for lunch, I do The Veranda. Same owners, menu and staff for years; Craig P used to run Smitty’s on W 1st St, also a FM icon (another of my old haunts). The Portabella Salad is my fav.

                    Or, for a real walk on the old side, try The Oasis on MLK. Old style dinner food, independently owned and a bang for the buck.

                    Another great for breakfast & lunch is First Watch. Yes, I know it’s a franchise. I like their fresh ingredients and consistent food quality. And, they like some spice.

                    Also find Cibo and Bistro good eats. Haven’t tried Crave yet, but the word is out, on the list, just haven’t yet.

                    Wonder what happened to Brooke at Ada's; word is out that they closed.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: MartiniGenie

                      After working out at the Omni the other day, they had a huge stack of free veggie burgers, wow so good. I found out that Chef Brooke (formerly of Ada's) made them, brought them over to share and is opening up her own organic restaurant across the street.
                      now thats what I call good news!

                      1. re: chopslick

                        Cool Beans :), thanks for the info. I will share with my buds who used to frequent Ada's.

                      2. re: MartiniGenie

                        Brooke just opened Brooke's Natural Cafe - delish, flavorful organic cuisine. See this review.

                        Chef Brooke's Natural Cafe
                        1850 Boyscout Drive Unit A106, Fort Myers, FL 33907

                        1. re: MartiniGenie

                          Hi-we're coming to FM next month for sons graduation and need suggestions for a nice celebration restaurant--besides Flemmings & Ruth Chris.

                          1. re: MartiniGenie

                            Nice Post!!!

                            I live in Naples, love to travel and enjoy excellent (real) food. I work in Fort Myers (commute 76 miles per day) and entertain business associates regularly in Fort Myers. I know a few 'good' restaurants. Fort Myers (city) is limited and until recently, lacking in creativity and diversity. Your suggestions are excellent! Thank you for broadening my horizons.

                          2. We went to Cin Cin yesterday to check out the new concept. They are calling themselves a Gastro Pub. We tried the soup of the day - Squash curry puree which was delish and also had the French Onion which was also really good, The Lobster Mac and Cheese is soooooooo good! The steak sand and the Cuban Sand were also really good.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Suzie

                              Cin Cins recently had a management change, for the better. I was looking at their menu just yesterday - they have become more reasonable with the "off happy hour" prices. News is that they are offering some apps for $5 during the happy hour...4-7.

                            2. Recently discovered Farmers Market Restaurant on Edison, near the City of Palms ballpark. Southern downhome cooking. Tasty. Cheap. NOT dietetic. Try it after a ballgame. www.farmersmarketrestaurant.com
                              Motto: "Put a Taste of the South in Your Mouth" and "Food is So Great, You’ll Sop your Plate”

                              Also love Brew Babies, just across the bridge in Cape Coral, off Del Prado. Good food, al fresco dining. Live music.

                              1. this cuban restaurant in cape coral is really very good! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/617714

                                11 Replies
                                1. re: alkapal

                                  I second Brooke's Organic and natural foods, and also Brewbabies-both have tasty food and uniquely great homey atmospheres. Brewbabies may be closed in summers. Bistro 41 is good at the Bell tower. I have not been back to Bacchus after Shannon left.

                                  I really like Cin Cin for its great assortment of very good food, and this summer, incredibly inexpensive options, such as three good sized appetizers (tapas) for only $10,

                                  Shannon Yates has returned to Cru as bartender, not a chef. He's well worth a visit.

                                  H2 by the river is also good for tapas, dancing and live music-I've been a fan of owner Harold Balink for years. Yabo's has tasty Italian food and very good life music.

                                  1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                                    Shannon is bartending! Now that is some crash and burn flameout! I think he started as a bartender at Bistro 41 ages ago. I might be wrong though.

                                    As for Bacchus, I have been several times and never once did I see Shannon except at a cocktail reception once. I think he was not cooking. LMF

                                    1. re: LilMsFoodie

                                      I doubt they are going to be able keep him out of the kitchen (even if there is some kind of agreement with Bacchus), lol.
                                      We usually saw Shannon behind the line when we were at Bacchus. Sometimes he was cooking and in the thick of things and sometimes he was fussing and just overseeing what was going on. Only once that I can think of was he ever not behind the line and that was because he was in the dining room giving just about everyone there a taste of some rare whiskey. He seemed to be enjoying some himself, lol.

                                      1. re: Suzie

                                        Well, he is good at publicity and is a legend in his own mind.

                                        1. re: LilMsFoodie

                                          lmao! You are so right. He was walking around like he was a rockstar!

                                          1. re: LilMsFoodie

                                            Seems like more than just "in his own mind"...he sure gets a lot of play on these boards. Whats the deal with this guy? Did a lot of cooking in a few different places in "the Fort" a while back and I've never heard of him.

                                            1. re: digyourself

                                              He curried favor with a couple of local reporters and had a publicist for a while. What is the masculine name for Diva? He's a good chef, but you need to be much more than that to have long term success in a restaurant.

                                              Things have really changed in the past two years and will continue to evolve.

                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                  Oh...one of those. Probably watches a little too much Top Chef and Food Network. The best chefs crave perfect food...not attention.

                                      2. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                                        Cin Cin closed today. I find it very sad. They were trying to keep business flowing but in the end, did not have enough business to stay open. LMF

                                    2. Go over to Pine Island and try Red's , north on Stringfellow Road. It is really an excellent restaurant. Have had one disappointing meal out of about 10. (Unfortunately it was my birthday last year) But, just went for early bird last night and had the ubiquitous fried shrimp. Outstanding. But do not stop there. I admit to being an old foodie from the NY area and I am impressed; glad to have this place around. Stay tuned: after lurking for years I think I will begin posting as we are finally moving to Cape Coral. I thank LilMsFoodie and someone else who recommended A Table Apart in Bonita Springs. it is worth the long drive down there.

                                      A Table Apart
                                      4295 Bonita Beach Rd, Bonita Springs, FL 34134

                                      1. My daughter and I had a lovely dinner at H2 Downtown Bistro. I had the hanger steak, she had a caesar salad. We shared the Key Lime Brulee....yum!!!!
                                        Will go again when in Fort Myers.