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Jul 9, 2009 09:15 AM

waterfront dining naples

Looking for a fun place to eat by water while visiting naples in the off season. Suggestions?

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  1. "Fun" is hard to find here in stodgy Naples...but there's the Boathouse on the Bay, food is good, not stellar, last time I was there about a year ago. Kelly's Fish House is also on the Bay as is Pincher's. Pincher's my least favorite, though. The only places I can think of right on the Gulf are expensive and snooty; Baleen at La Playa is reportedly really fabulous but definitely on the high-end side and the Ritz which speaks for itself.

    1. Turtle Club is fun, food is pretty good, sunsets right there. Flip flops and t-shirts are ok, although most dress a little for dinner.

      Baleen is lovely and elegant. I didn't think it snooty at all. Expensive and definitely not a t-shirt place.

      When someone asks for somewhere fun, I do not know if they are looking for a themey place, or a boozy place, or someplace less expensive and using the term in that way.

      Fun would be dinner at Tommy Bahama's and then walking the 3 blocks to the Naples Pier to watch the sunset.

      5 Replies
      1. re: LilMsFoodie

        I agree with the above selections by Val and LilMsFoodie.

        Baleen is pricey, pretty, and not "fun" food quality is ok to very good-I never know what to expect. Great spot for drinks at sunset. Buz's Lighthouse is um, super casual, come there right from the beach in your suit and flipflops, and it's fun with drinks on the water. It's not typical of Naples, and not a gourmet spot, however burgers and fish sandwiches were good when I visited several years ago..

        The Dock at 12th Ave South has ok food, nice view of the boats, at the city dock. Bay House is in north Naples, with good food and a view of mangroves and a lazy little river, tho :"fun" doesn't come to mind. .

        Gumbo Limbo at the Ritz is on the water, with casual items. Not cheap, however could be fun, as it's casual. The Ritz has other dining rooms, "fun" is not what comes to mind at these, however the food can be terrific. Roy's is at Bayfront, more indoor dining this time of year, with very good Asian style food. Miramare has a lovely view of the bay, and could be "fun". Naples Beach Hotel has a rounded spot on the beach that's indoors.

        Wish you were more specific on "fun" for you. To me it could mean casual, a place for drinks and a casual meal while dressed a step above beach wear.

        1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

          (((((Ivan)))))) good to see you here! My son used to work at Gumbo Limbo at the Ritz...he always liked it...but again the word "fun" definitely can vary from person to person.

          1. re: Val

            Hi Val!

            I like Gumbo Limbo in the few months just after and just before season, as I don't care for crowds. A few bugs and humidity don't scare me off.

            Towards your neck of the woods, I like Two Brothers Baci for great Italian food at Imperial Golf Course Blvd. Prices are very good, and portions are big. There's free, very good quality live entertainment 7 nights a week-would make a New Jersey or New Yorker feel right at home, in a good way!

            There are so many places offering two for one's, and all sorts of prix fix three courses meals for great prices. I hope they can make it through the summer to season.

            Blu Sushi (Naples), Gabriellos, Wylds Cafe, Crust, Trilogy, Corks and Ruths Chris are closed. Fifth Avenue can be a ghost town some nights, however Pazzo and 821 are ok. Bonita's Angelina's is closed now on Mondays. .Scary times for independent places. Blu Sushi McGregor doesn't look too good. Cin Cin is terrific, and holding its own. It is good times for those who have opened new places, such as AZN, Piola, The Pub at the Mercato.

            Now is when I cook more at home-a little of this, a little of that, sauteed, or on the grill-its fun!

          2. re: An Insatiable Appetite

            Grouper reuben sandwich at Buzz's is great. It is the only real waterfront "dive" in the area. They get a lot of locals and it used to be packed at 4 pm with all the people working construction. Alas, no more.

            I love Gumbo Limbo and it seems the Ritz has a newer place to catch the view of the water. The Naples Ritz is luxurious but has no "sense of place" to me. That ostentatious lobby could be in any metropolitan area in the country but that is the interior designer in me.

            Have you heard anything about the new Ritz beach restaurant, or was it put on hold? I may check it out and report back.

            edit: I looked at the Ritz website and they did build The Beach House, but it is designated for weddings and special functions. It is stunning, I did a walk through a year or two ago during construction. Too bad, I hoped it would be a nice place LMF

        2. Thanks for the suggestions! We love (and have already done this trip) Tommy B's. We opted for the Turtle Club tonight and were happy. Food was fine, especially the crab / heirloom tomato special appetizer. Setting was just what we wanted, on the beach, fairly casual without plastic cups or umbrellas in all the drinks. Sunset was exquisite. Service was also good. When we asked about a wine, they offered a taste before we got the bottle. Nice touch. It was, though, the only place we've been in Naples this past week that didn't have some sort of an 'off season' deal, like a three course special offering.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kscwilson

            I'm glad you liked my suggestion. Turtle Club is one of a kind on the SW coast until you get up to Anna Maria Island.

            I imagine no deals are required there because of their special location and the fact that the Ritz and LaPlaya guests can walk the beach to this place that would seem a bargain compared to their respective resorts.

            My only gripe is that it is often like the bar at Campiello, lots of "cougars" stalking men <G>.

          2. Drive down to Goodland on Marco Island. I don't think you find a place on the water that is more fun then Stan's Idle Hour Restaurant.

            Go on Sunday afternoon for a great time.

            13 Replies
            1. re: KansasTravel

              That is a great place,also there is Little Bar.


              Dive bars of many people's dreams. LMF

              1. re: LilMsFoodie

                Are there particular times when Little Bar is best?

                Their website is confusing.

                1. re: KansasTravel

                  That crazy website is meant to be off-putting for tourists but that is a good part of their business. Weekends just like Stan's and it is dead in the summer of course.

                  1. re: LilMsFoodie

                    I just had dinner at Naples' M Waterfront Grille, and the quailty just gets better and better. Somedays I go for drinks and enjoy sitting by the Bay.

                    Tonight Chef Brian Roland had his toughest crowd to please yet, some 40 chefs and others in the restaurant biz, as he hosted the Amercan Culinary Federation's installation of new officers. He brought out the big guns. He slow cooked a whole pig, and it was heavenly, with crisp skin, and tender to the bone. His seared U10 scallops were so big that 5 weighed a pound. They were ocean fresh, sensually light, and beautifully caramelized.. They came from Atlanta's Halpern's Steak and Seafood, and were over the top. Other delights were fresh organic squash, beans, eggplants herbs etc from nearby Fort Myers The Fresh Garden, supplying Denise's Muir's coveted Rabbit Run Farm hydroponic produce. Her things are bursting with flavor I've not often had in years! It doesn't get better than this. loved the selections. To see a chef have his peers and competitors in awe of his cooking and his suppliers, well, that just raises everyone's appreciation to an exponentially higher level.

                    Cru's loss has been Naples' wonderful gain.

                    Brian's insistence on freshness, organics, and seeking out local suppliers opened quite a few other chef's eyes and palates. I'm excited . This raises Naples standard, and perhaps others in SW Fla will join him in raising the area's bar for quality.

                    1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                      I had to look up The Fresh Garden and it is a website selling tomatoes only. Looks great and primarily for restaurants alas, as I have no need of 50# of tomatoes. I didn't realize Rabbit Run was growing this summer. I went out to the farm and spoke with Denise and she was planning to pull everything out for the rainy season (of course we are not having one here so far) and replanting in the fall. I guess I'll have to call. I bought purple carrots, patty pan baby squash, tomatoes and strawberries from her last year.

                      Thanks for the report on the Grille. I was never that fond of his cooking a Cru, I think he has concentrated his skills and is using better ingredients and hopefully less of them.

                      1. re: LilMsFoodie

                        The Fresh Garden's site needs to be updated to show their Rabbit Run connection! TFG sells 10 lb lots of tomatoes on the website. They are not really geared for the individual consumer.

                        I prefer shopping for my produce at Fort Myers Green Market and Naples' various Farmers' Markets. In this summer's heat, my (neighbor's) tomatoes are no longer producing, and I'm amazed at the tasty heirloom whoppers Rabbit Run has with their hydroponics.

                        I foresee Sysco doing more organics, as they have the distributing network to get them into all sorts of restaurants. I've been amazed at the steady growth of organics over the last 10 years. Who'd a thunk Publix would have organic sections. Whole Foods has goosed other marketers like Fresh Market to step up organic stock too, that's one side of the coin. The other is consumers paying the % more to cover the cost of organics production, to complete the cycle. It's getting there, and soon the difference in price may be only 5-10%. Worth it to me.

                        I am looking to go to Rabbit Run and other independent farms to do a story on the local bounty of produce. I'd go with some other foodies to make it worth Denise's time, let me know if you wanna go on a weekend, and I'll be there.

                        1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                          I went again this morning to the Fort Myers Green Market and it really isn't worth anyone's time unless they just need something to fill their time. Rabbit Run had a few chinese eggplant, some swiss chard and some summer squash. No tomatoes or anything else, no herbs.

                          The cheese lady was there from 55. A few cheese, mainly goat cheeses, $25 per pound which is probably in line with Whole Foods. Naples French Bread bakery but I can't see buying bread that is exposed to humidity like now. Someone had mangoes, someone had honey otherwise it was pretty pathetic but I really wouldn't expect much given how difficult it is to grow produce here in the summer. Maybe in the fall.

                          Publix has such good organics now, actually better tasting than Fresh Market, at least in the past month that has been true. MP

                          1. re: LilMsFoodie


                            Summer heat and humidity are getting worse-shame Ft Myers' Green Market is withering with the heat.

                            I was just at Naples Farmer's Market behind Tommy B's, and picked up beautiful produce, fresh tarts, slipper lobster tail and fish. Perhaps 40 vendors are there today. I have photos at:


                            Ii'm off to try Lanin Marican cuisine tonight, rain or shine!

                            1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                              There IS another little farmer's market at the corner of Vanderbilt Beach Road and Airport in front of Pei Wei...not as upscale as the one downtown, Ivan, to be sure. Just a little note to those who may not want to drive downtown for produce; last week, Rocky had red peppers, corn, tomatoes, I think cantaloupe, radishes, cucumbers, other items that I did not buy... No herbs, sadly but it's also a good little 'stand' if you don't want to drive the extra miles. Just trying to help out ALL of our farmer's markets...hard to come by in these hot summer months.

                              1. re: Val


                                Thank you for the heads up on this market.

                                In the Fall, the North Naples United Methodist Church Farmers' Market is allegedly moving to this Vanderbilt/Airport location. Since Ada's skipped out on their rent, there's not been another anchor for the little shopping center.

                                Mercato's Blue Martini 's nightlife and mixed drinks is taking dwindling anemic Naples Absinthe's last few remaining customers. Pei Wei has unremarkable food. Outside of visiting The Good Life, I now will have a reason to visit, if only Saturday mornings, for the Farmer's Market!

                                1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                                  I work on 5th Ave South m-f, so I don't want to drive to Tommy Bahama's for produce on Saturday mornings, that's for sure. Yep, 5th Avenue is really a DEAD zone and has been for quite a while...Mercato is buzzing, it seems. Well, so many people have been saying for so many years: North Naples is where it's at, business-wise.

                                  1. re: Val



                                    I just went to a top chowhound- type gem of a restaurant. I would expect to run into RevrendAndy, you, LMF, or others here..

                                    Inca's Kitchen on 951 by Golden Gate Parkway, I'll have a review up in a few weeks after a second visit. Terrific Peruvian style food, and prices are all under $17. Tops in seafood with huge ceviche, great steaks, and beautiful desserts.

                                    I had drinks friday at Bonita Springs' Vincenzo's on the Bay. A pretty setting on the water for Italian food. Under new management for the last 8 months. They had a party of 30 on a Friday night. I left before I could hear how the food was. Anybody tried it?

                                    1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                                      Too funny, Ivan--I just read your post about Inca's a few minutes ago under the Peruvian thread and have to venture over to that vicinity today for a different reason but may have lunch there! Sounds so delightful...not sure if they are open for lunch on Sundays, heh, probably not but at least I'll know where it is. Thanks!

            2. When I was still in Chicago good Peruvian food was available. I'm really looking forward to trying Inca's Kitchen when I return in October. Sounds like a chowdown in the making.

              1 Reply
              1. re: RevrendAndy

                I've been a busy bee.

                I visited Inca's Kitchen twice, and love it! Put my write up and photos at:

                Did photos on Naples Farmer's Market by Third Street South. Nice that they are open year round, now.