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FORT MYERS, CAPE CORAL -- Need recommendations for TOP PICKS

alkapal Sep 21, 2009 04:35 AM

I'm looking for the best restaurants in the following cuisines/styles:

ITALIAN - there's some place mentioned a lot, located on College Parkway near Cleveland? I'm a big fan or fresh, stuffed pastas, like ravioli -- esp. with seasonal ingredients. maybe seasonal, like sweet potato gnocchi with brown butter & sage sauce.

MEDITERRANEAN -- isn't there a place around College (or Daniels?) that is Italian and other Med. food, because the owners are not Italian?

MIDDLE EASTERN -- braised lamb, stuffed vine leaves, mezze

PIZZA -- i like all styles, but ingredients must be top quality. wood burning or coal fired oven a plus. "Old Monty's" in Punta Gorda is the very best (pizza and strombolis -- GREAT!), but it is a special trip to get it.

INDIAN - again, quality ingredients very critical.

CHINESE -- not "americanized" gloppy stuff, but somewhat CLOSE to authentic -- Cantonese or Hunan/Szechuan specialties a plus

CUBAN -- I'm a big fan of Rincon Cubano in the Cape. Is there any better?

TAPAS

THAI -- must have FRESH rice noodles so I can get my fix of drunken noodles. good som tum a plus.

GREEK -- all types, from gyros up to more elaborate dishes with seafood, lamb, etc.

SEAFOOD -shrimp, grouper, snapper, smoked fish....

CHEESEMONGER -- retail sales of gourmet cheeses

BEST REUBEN Sandwich

BEST BBQ -- RIBS and Pulled Pork

FRENCH -- Heck, I'm an optimist! ;-)).

and while I'm asking:
does anyone know where I can buy some fresh green (new, raw) peanuts to make boiled peanuts? or where I can buy some good BOILED PEANUTS?
.....

NOTE: I'm looking ONLY for recommendations in FORT MYERS, N. FT. MYERS, CAPE CORAL, PINE ISLAND, (maybe also Ft. MYERS BEACH). Please give me your top picks. THANKS

(NOT interested in recommendations in Naples, Bonita, etc., where I know the "pickins' are better, but I'm limited.)

  1. Bumstead Sep 21, 2009 07:55 AM

    I know Mexican is not on your list but it's the one cuisine I can cast a definite vote for best in class: La Casita

    http://tinyurl.com/n5mbdl

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bumstead
      alkapal Sep 21, 2009 12:06 PM

      la casita, the purple shack? with the great carnitas and dark dos equis in a pitcher? plus, great fresh roasted salsa and chips?! i like it!

    2. Bumstead Sep 21, 2009 09:44 AM

      SEAFOOD: Skip One in Ft. Myers. Not fancy but good.
      http://tinyurl.com/SkipOne

      A bit off topic again but I've come to realize in the short time I've been here that the best seafood will come from your own kitchen. With that in mind I've taken the liberty to add FISHMONGER.

      I consider one of my real "finds" the Jug Creek Fish Market on Pine Island. It doesn't get any fresher than this. He also has great smoked mullet that he smokes himself in a converted refrigerator.
      It's at the end of Tortuga St. in Bokeelia. I'd say follow the signs but there aren't any.
      http://tinyurl.com/JugCreek

      10 Replies
      1. re: Bumstead
        alkapal Sep 21, 2009 12:17 PM

        bumstead, this jug creek fish market is news to me, but i'll check it out. thanks. i looked at google "look around" and there does not seem to be any commerical spot, but i'm willing to give it a shot for decent smoked mullet.

        my nephew fishes around there, and i want to find a place that offers prepared/restaurant "real" food, so that i can go get good fish when he has not ventured out in his boat. i don't want tourist food.

        also, tell me more about skip one, if you would.

        1. re: alkapal
          Bumstead Sep 21, 2009 12:50 PM

          believe it or not you were "looking" right at it. 2 buildings at the end of the drive. The one on the right is a small marine store, on the left is the fish "market". No signs or anything.

          Skip One looks like an old fast food type place, It's small and no frills but you're there for fish, not ambiance.. We went last March and it was busy. Service was friendly and quick once we got in. We did have to wait but the food was very good.

        2. re: Bumstead
          Bumstead Oct 17, 2009 11:44 AM

          Just back from Jug Creek. Stone Crab is $8.00 lb. and, with a bit of bay seasoning, made for a great lunch. I also picked up 4 mullet. When I told him they were for smoking he gave me 4 intended for his smoker that he had just filleted.

          1. re: Bumstead
            alkapal Oct 17, 2009 02:04 PM

            hi bumstead, did you see my post about smoked mullet with swamp mustard?

            1. re: alkapal
              Bumstead Oct 17, 2009 02:23 PM

              I just checked it out. It does sound good, I'll definitely give it a try. Thanks.

              1. re: Bumstead
                j
                jabes Apr 6, 2010 04:15 PM

                Jug Creek Fish Market is closed. Has been for awhile the owner of Jug Creek Marina who says they are not "related". May I suggest Andy's Seafood on the Matlacha road towards Pine Island proper? It is good; going to try the lightly further one in two days and will post. So far in Cape Coral this is the best way to buy fresh fish.

                1. re: jabes
                  Bumstead Apr 16, 2010 07:32 AM

                  I called Jug Creek and was told they have closed the Bokeelia location but have a second location in St James City at the end of Palm Street. Haven't been yet but I'll go soon and report back.

                  1. re: Bumstead
                    j
                    jabes Apr 22, 2010 06:18 PM

                    and I am now putting Andy's on Hold. Last snapper was more than two days old. will check out the old fish house, old fish shack, what ever it is just further along the road to Pine Island Proper. Jabes, Cape coral

                    1. re: jabes
                      e
                      eaterjen Mar 16, 2011 11:18 AM

                      andy's service has changed quite a bit. the shrimp prices have gone up $1/lb. but i still love their crabcakes. but way better than merricks - which just smells bad.

          2. re: Bumstead
            l
            luv2eat12345 Apr 26, 2010 02:54 PM

            The food wasn't too bad but the place is tiny with the bathroom near the tables in the place, someone went number 2 and stunk the whole place out it was disgusting, and unsanitary. The cook or owner did alot of swearing, i was with my family so it was embarassing to say the least, I will never go there again...unsanitary, unprofessional, uneverything

            -----
            Yabo
            16681 McGregor Blvd, Fort Myers, FL 33908

          3. s
            seminole phil Sep 21, 2009 11:08 AM

            BANGKOK THAI 11751 SOUTH CLEVELAND YOU WONT GO WRONG, UNBELEIVABLE VOLCANO CHICKEN, AWESOME PAD THAI AND APPETIZERS, ALL THE VEGGIES WERE CRISP AND FRESH AND CLEAN PLACE, GO BACK EVERYTIME WE GO THRU THERE TO FT MYERS BCH

            1 Reply
            1. re: seminole phil
              alkapal Sep 21, 2009 12:13 PM

              seminole phil, can you give me a concept about the fresh rice noodles, please? and hold the caps, if you would.

            2. s
              seminole phil Sep 21, 2009 02:27 PM

              i really dont know much about their noodles other than they are awesome and not glued together

              1. r
                Rusyoak Sep 22, 2009 04:50 AM

                Thai: believe it or not Siam Hut in Cape Coral makes a pretty decent Phad Thai, but the real treat is the green curry.

                Pizza: I like Sal's on Cape Coral Pkwy in the Cape.

                Cuban, stick with Rincon Cubano, you aren't going to get much better outside of Havana

                1. Bumstead Sep 22, 2009 07:49 AM

                  For Italian I'd recommend La Trattoria Café Napoli, 12377 S. Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers.
                  We went last spring based on recommendations in this thread:
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/324960 and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's pretty nondescript looking from the outside but inside was warm and friendly. Luckily we were there early as it's small and filled up quickly.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Bumstead
                    LilMsFoodie Sep 22, 2009 10:38 AM

                    Trattoria d Napoli is more mediterranean than italian but it is very good. I've never seen the kind of pasta Alkapal is looking for there.

                    The chef/owner is locally known for her paella. Is she still open, however. I'd call first.

                    1. re: LilMsFoodie
                      Bumstead Sep 23, 2009 11:25 AM

                      Passed by today - they're still there...

                  2. LilMsFoodie Sep 22, 2009 10:47 AM

                    No french in Fort Myers. The only little French style storefront closed overnight about a month ago. It was about time as it had deteriorated with new ownership.

                    Cheesemonger has been brought up here. I don't like 55 in Gulf Coast. The last two cheeses I bought from her at the Green Market here in town had the taste of refrigerator, not a good sign.

                    The Sandy Butler has good cheeses. Better to go there in season when stuff is moving. Desparation can take you to Fresh Market which has some ok selections but everthing is wrapped up like mummies.

                    I like to buy fish at Skip One when I don't feel like driving to Fort Myers Beach or Matlacha but it is not really for dining, it is more for scarfing down ok fish. Miserable wine in little plastic cups...need I say more. This isn't some waterside place. Just a throwback.

                    Greek here is dismal. Others may disagree. Drive to Naples.

                    Best Reuben: Fort Myers does jewish deli very poorly. Miami Connection had good corned beef, but alas, they have closed.

                    Boiled Peanuts are sold at roadside stands in high season. Otherwise I don't know where.

                    Chinese food in Fort Myers...absolutely nothing edible here IMHO. Again, travel south.

                    Fort Myers is a white bread kind of town. LMF

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: LilMsFoodie
                      An Insatiable Appetite Sep 25, 2009 09:36 AM

                      LMF,

                      I heartily agree with you. Slim pickings for any very good food for Alkapal in the area. H2 had tapas, but with Harold gone, I'd not rely on it anymore.

                      Siam Hut gets rave reviews from my FT Myers friends for Thai.

                      Which French style place closed down?

                      1. re: An Insatiable Appetite
                        LilMsFoodie Sep 25, 2009 01:57 PM

                        My post disappeared. Do you know what Harold is going to do. I knew his wife's sister but do not see her anymore. If Bell Tower were not on life support, I'd pull for him to open in the old D'Amico space. The kitchen style would suit him, wood oven, big piano cooktop, lots of carry out space. He could polish off Cru.

                        French place: First it was Andre's, lovely for crepe lunches, simple dinners and spectacular pastries. Andre's made the pastries for the Ritz Carlton for many years.
                        Then it was called LaLavande with pretty murals, basically the same food but a different pastry chef...good but not as good. Last owner, well, it didn't last long. When I started going there everyone spoke in French. Very charming and french sans Gauloises stench. They disappeared in the middle of the night. In a little strip where Cafe Cibo, Crave and Pizza Fusion are. Also the worst of the worst Greek places....

                        1. re: LilMsFoodie
                          An Insatiable Appetite Sep 26, 2009 07:17 AM

                          Harold is mum so far on his options... dunno who will take over Cru "Lite" and get it off the tired Kagan's back. Bistro 41 leaves them in the dust.

                          Besides Harold's and H2, Harold's done some amazing, tasty and creative catering for high end customers in Naples. I'd hire him for catering in a New York second-most of the other caterers have the same items, year after year-you can sometimes tell who the caterer is, by a quick look at, or bite of an item.. Yep, he has some good options open to him, just needs an investor who puts quality ahead of quantity, and solid long term profits ahead of a quick fix and flip situation..

                          Wonder if he (and others) may follow Scott Sopher and Brian Roland to greener pastures in larger restaurants in Naples. Rumor has it that some are looking..

                          Re French place. Andre is baking the superb goodies at Naples French Bread Oven-I've picked up a few dozen bread and pastry treats, and am still going strong! While they sell some bread at the Ft Myers Green Market, it's not an ideal setting, and the variety of pastries is worth coning south, and getting a dozen! . If I lived in Ft Myers, I'd consider a membership at Blue Coyote, based only on two friend's positive reports. Pay more get more. I may hae to go way up to Pine Island aea for Red's and some other spots to get good seafood north of Collier county. Sad.

                          So far, Bonefish Grill has the best seafood and steaks in Cape Coral. I've never been disappointed at that one, or the Naples one.
                          Alkapal, wish I could deliver better news!

                          1. re: An Insatiable Appetite
                            LilMsFoodie Sep 26, 2009 10:48 AM

                            I was a member at Blue Coyote for a while. I'd rather cook at home.

                            Outback does a great job with Bonefish Grill.

                            1. re: LilMsFoodie
                              An Insatiable Appetite Sep 30, 2009 08:36 PM

                              LMF,

                              Thank you, saved me a trip!

                      2. re: LilMsFoodie
                        r
                        Rovingtastebud Oct 11, 2011 07:54 PM

                        Best French/Italian Bistro is a new place called Bistro in Vivo on Milton Street off of Cape Coral Pkwy in the Cape. The best food, great prices and excellent ambiance. They are currently open from 8:30- 4 and serve wine and beer. Will be open for dinner starting in November. A place worth checking out.

                      3. meatn3 Oct 2, 2009 09:55 PM

                        Alkapal,

                        Are you driving down? I recently drove to/from the Clearwater area and saw signs for green peanuts and boiled peanuts at roadside stands/produce tents on 301 between Ocala and Hawthorne.

                        Have a good trip!

                        20 Replies
                        1. re: meatn3
                          An Insatiable Appetite Oct 3, 2009 08:24 AM

                          Harold Balink and Shannon Yates are now co-chefs at Cru.

                          I expect the Kagans to sell Cru's lease contract to them in 2010 at a very good price, and thus gracefully extract themselves from Cru. Over the past few years,Cru has been a rollercoaster of highs and lows for the Kagans and dismissed staff.

                          Can Harold and Shannon make Cru successful? They have my vote! With the moves of Scot Sopher and Brian Roland to Naples, there's not many very good spots left in Fort Myers.

                          I hope they change the restaurant name, for a fresh start in peoples minds. With a pair of very competent and complementary chefs, I expect very good things.

                          1. re: An Insatiable Appetite
                            Suzie Oct 3, 2009 08:27 AM

                            Last I talked to Shannon his non compete clause was not up till May of 2010. After that he can get in the kitchen. Did something change?
                            Personally I think CRU is a waste of time and money. The last meal I had there was horrible and I am done with the place.

                            1. re: Suzie
                              An Insatiable Appetite Oct 3, 2009 09:15 AM

                              Lawyers make a very profitable living finding loopholes in contracts.

                              Shannon may not be "in the kitchen" till May, however he can cook up goodies and tapas at a portable table at the bar,, as "bartender" or whatever they need to title him as, to not displease Bacchus.. He'll l be a chef in deed, if not in name, to suit the contract. That may put a smile on his face.

                              For the contract non-compete, perhaps Harold will be Executive Chef till end of May, then things change, and Shannon can put his toes back in the kitchen.

                              1. re: An Insatiable Appetite
                                Suzie Oct 3, 2009 09:30 AM

                                Yeah he told me about his plans about the kitchen at the bar but I even joked about I am sure they can't keep him out of the kitchen and he got very serious and made is very clear that his contract will not let him in the kitchen till May. He seemed a little upset about it but he also said it was an agreement reached by all parties involved.

                                1. re: Suzie
                                  LilMsFoodie Oct 3, 2009 11:08 AM

                                  I smell fiasco. Two very strong personalities with differing styles in the kitchen. Not particularly complementary, I don't see that. Good luck to them. I hope they come up with a completely different menu, style and name. Cru needs to be buried along with the era of excess that created it.

                                  1. re: LilMsFoodie
                                    An Insatiable Appetite Oct 4, 2009 02:52 PM

                                    LMF,

                                    You know these Fort Myers personalities far better than I, with my few visits to each spot, I value your opinion. Upside is, both chefs get paid till May,or till they find something better. Downside, Cru just continues its death spiral.

                                    With your take on things, I wouldn't bet against you on this Odd Couple lasting long past May.

                                    This doesn't bode favorably for any one betting on Cru, leat alone buying Cru within the next year. or two.

                                    1. re: An Insatiable Appetite
                                      LilMsFoodie Oct 4, 2009 03:41 PM

                                      I'm certainly not betting against them. I hope they succeed. We need good independents. It is hard. I am part of the group that is to blame, and I know it. When we want to have a night out, we drive to Naples or up to Sarasota or a weekend on the east coast. I've eaten at Carrabbas twice in the past month. I love their mussels, they are better than any others including some first tier independents. We sit at the counter facing the grill and watch them cook our dinner.

                                      Friday we went fishing at Blind Pass. Cap-San village. We had perfect Appalachicola oysters, spicy french fries and ice cold Foster beer. It doesn't get better than that, at least for me. They have a tiny menu, a few things done well, just a great little fish shack. They do grouper perfectly. They will cook your own fish for you. They make money in any economy, at least at that location.

                                      I just wish restaurants would try to focus on a few things they do in a superior way. That used to be a model that worked for good restaurants and I think its time has come again. I think they would be better off and would be able to improve their profit picture. Just my opinion, of course. LMF

                                      1. re: LilMsFoodie
                                        An Insatiable Appetite Oct 5, 2009 06:07 PM

                                        LMF,

                                        Which restaurant served the oysters?

                                        What would be your top 5 picks for dining in the Greater Fort Myers area?

                                        1. re: An Insatiable Appetite
                                          LilMsFoodie Oct 6, 2009 06:44 AM

                                          Lazy Flamingo in Cap San Village had the oysters. They are the best I've found here, although some of that opinion will be colored by location and the fact that I've always spent a morning on the beach or fishing and the cool briny flavor combined with ice cold beer is perfect in that setting.

                                          Do I have any top picks in Fort Myers. Hard to say right now. So many places cutting corners, surly help because their income is so far down (creating a bigger spiral down for them), I am hard pressed.

                                          Dives: Berts Bar (for their potato chips and fish sandwiches only) and the spectacular view of pine island sound.

                                          Lazy Flamingo for oysters. Their slogan is "life in the raw". I only would go to the original LF, not the one on Periwinkle, which doesn't have the "ambience".

                                          Bistro 41: kudos to a place knowing what they do well and sticking to it. Very good bartenders mixing a good drink. They could do a little better on their wine, but I'm not complaining.

                                          I shudder to put this in my list but the Carrabbas on 41 near Bell Tower does the best mussels around. Carrabbas has their own mussel fields and so they have a steady primo supply. Ducale Gold Chianti is cheap there, showing the restaurant has a good attitude towards wine. Not a fine wine place.

                                          Suzy will scream, but I am going to put The Veranda on the list for now. Yes, it is old fashioned but they know who they are and they stick to their style. I think the old fashioned style is needed. "Foam", Coulis of whatever, balsamic reductions, etc have their place but they are tiresome after a while. Cheese grits, perfectly poached fish, salads assembled tableside by waiters that have been there for 20-25 years. We have had several dinners there lately for business as they are one of the few places that has dedicated rooms for this, and they have been excellent. (we had one dinner at Angelina's and it was horrible: cold food, incompetent service, tough veal, etc.) I had grouper meunier two weeks ago and it was perfect. Not many kitchens can do a traditional meunier presentation. I had one at one of the first tier restaurants in Naples that used Panko instead of a light dusting of flour. It was a soggy disgusting mess. The place needs new carpet, but otherwise I wouldn't change it. Eating on the patio in season is delightful without the cougar stalking clientele you get at Campiello.

                                          Normally I would have Sunshine Seafood Cafe on Gladiolus on this list but I haven't been in a long time. Bayfront Bistro is also another, but again, I try only to recommend places I've been in the last two months. Things can go downhill so quickly right now. LMF

                                          1. re: LilMsFoodie
                                            Suzie Oct 6, 2009 07:31 AM

                                            Screaming!!!!!!!! aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!!

                                            1. re: Suzie
                                              LilMsFoodie Oct 6, 2009 08:22 AM

                                              just shows that Fort Misery is earning its name. <G>

                                            2. re: LilMsFoodie
                                              An Insatiable Appetite Oct 6, 2009 07:45 AM

                                              LMF,

                                              Sad to hear Angelina's Ristorante has gone downhill so quickly, it was my favorite Italian spot in southern Lee County for a year. I was to bring a party of 40 folks there, however I won't risk lousy food and service. Next! Maybe Chef Nick was visiting Italy, and not just sleeping on his laurels.

                                              I;ve had solid lunches at Bistro 41. I like Delicious Things, and, for healthy organic food Brooke's is very good.

                                              I also like Carrabas mussels! I love Lee Roy Selmons' Southern foods, and bring back an assortment each time I'm in the area. I grew up in S Florida with Southern food, Latin cuisine-whole pigs roasted in backyard pits, Roumanian, etc, I also ate friends fresh venison and boar, and caught fish for my dinner- a whole mix of things serve as my "comfort foods".

                                              Bayfront Bistro's quality has gone downhill since opening, and Doc Ford's Fort Myers Beach still has mediocre quality, unlike their Sanibel spot. You don't have be more than mediocre to do well on Ft Myers Beach -it's a captive audience. I do like Flippers' food and view.

                                              Yabo's has a great funky young atmosphere, and solid food and live entertainment-It's been a while since I was there.. I heard Siam Hut is tops-I had good food at Brew Babies a year ago. I rarely get to Cape Coral. I need to try Pho Vinh.

                                              With Harold gone, I'll not return to H2 for months, till I hear they get their act together. A TAble Apart has been my spot in Bonita. New Bonita spot- Home Thai sushi looks good, will visit them in a few weeks.

                                              Come to Naples for dining! I have enjoyed Inca's Kitchen-superb cuisine, be it ceviche, savory fish or beef wiht superb saucing, and have been there 3 times in 2 months! I was at beachside's Turtle Club's 10th birthday yesterday, and had great meals at sister Bay House on the mangroves in the last month. There's little European spots for better than home cooking-European Bakery, Little Prague, and some very European markets. Yes, it's a drive for you to come South for good food. Since Cin Cin closed, it's now a painful drive north for me, as there's not ta handful of spots worth an hour's drive to Fort Myers anymore. .

                                              1. re: An Insatiable Appetite
                                                Suzie Oct 6, 2009 07:59 AM

                                                Speaking of Cin Cin, does anyone know the Chef or owner? I found an e-mail and have tried e-mailing 2x now asking for the recipe to the Lobster Mac and Cheese or at the very least the cheeses they use and the first time it was deleted and the 2nd time it was read but not answered. Its a long shot but I was just hoping one of the regulars on here might be able to help.

                                                1. re: Suzie
                                                  LilMsFoodie Oct 6, 2009 08:32 AM

                                                  butter poach the lobster and make sure you use a mix of cheeses: aged gruyere is important, good parmigiana reggiano and aged cheddar. That is not CinCin's recipe but it is mine. I use butter sauteed fresh bread crumbs on top, usually sourdough french. I feel like I should have a coronary angioplasty just talking about it<G>

                                                  1. re: LilMsFoodie
                                                    Suzie Oct 6, 2009 11:05 AM

                                                    Thats really close to one of the ones I make but I also saute a little shallot and a touch of garlic. It yummy (but what mac and cheese isn't, lol). I have tried probably 2 doz variations over the years and that one is a favorite but the one I had at Cin Cin was one of my favorites I have tried so I was hoping I would get the recipe. : (

                                                  2. re: Suzie
                                                    An Insatiable Appetite Oct 6, 2009 10:43 AM

                                                    Suzie,

                                                    Cin Cin's chef Scott Sopher left closed Cin cin for greener pastures, in all senses of the phrase, and he is now at Naples Olio's.

                                                    The Lobster Mac n’Cheese (14) at Capital Grill is luscious with tender chunks of lobster and a quartet of melted cheeses, said by Chiara Assi to be grana padano, havarti, and mascarpone, topped with white cheddar and crisp buttered bread crumbs

                                                    1. re: An Insatiable Appetite
                                                      Suzie Oct 6, 2009 11:07 AM

                                                      Yep, found something close to that one line and it was good. I knew the place was closed and the Chef was gone but there is still a working e-mail and its and aol addy and I have an aol addy and I can tell when something is opened or deleted and someone on CIN CINs end is still there looking at e-mail.

                                                  3. re: An Insatiable Appetite
                                                    LilMsFoodie Oct 6, 2009 08:27 AM

                                                    If you have an important dinner coming up, I'd do a preview at Angelinas. We might have just hit a bad night, although it was Thursday and the restaurant was fairly busy for August. Not sure what is going on. We probably shouldn't judge an independent in off season. They are lucky to keep their door open. Maybe more should just close for the summer and open Columbus Day.

                                                    I have had some nice meals at Yabbo. Fun entertainment. The name is Australian slang for a beach bum i think. Again, I haven't been for a year.

                                                    I love Turtle Club and we meet friends there often in season. I also have been very fond of Baleen. Again, I've not been this summer except for champagne at sunset. It can not be beat for that. Contrast that with beer in a plastic cup at The Mucky Duck, the only beachside restaurant in Lee County. (no one even mention that dreck on Fort Myers Beach, doesn't count.)

                                                    1. re: LilMsFoodie
                                                      An Insatiable Appetite Oct 6, 2009 11:07 AM

                                                      It is so often a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde dichotomy- off season and in season, at restaurants.

                                                      I''ve generally had better food and service off season, than than in the season's hustle and bustle. Then, places are packed, and young, chirpy hostesses could care less if you are a local or tourist-the long wait's often the same for you, and locals pay the same for a dinner as a tourist..

                                                      Off season, places really need and want the business, and thus offer 1/2 price coupons, prix fixe meals, and may toss in a bottle of wine.

                                                      A finer dining spot like Angelina's should have consistency day to day, and service should be at its best off season. Sadly, there's no acceptable excuse for lousy food ever leaving the kitchen, in or out of season, whether Angelina's Ristorante is serving 2 or 40 people. I'll return to Angelina's as a two or four-top in the next few months, I can't risk 40 unhappy people, when there are other restaurants ecstatic to have such an evening's business.

                                                      I expect and pay 18-25% tip for good to superb service, whether I am a two top or my group of 40 people. My dinners for my group, held at Bay House, IM Tapas, Capital Grill, McCormick & Schmick's, Escargot 41, and M Waterfront, were great. I'll look at Olio's and others for the next dinner.

                                  2. re: An Insatiable Appetite
                                    c
                                    cevichequeen Oct 14, 2010 06:49 PM

                                    I think you are wrong ,STAY AWAY FROM THIS TWO,Mediocre food and expensive.

                                2. alkapal Oct 13, 2009 07:11 AM

                                  siam hut -- go only on friday or saturday when the mom (owner) is there. the daughter is surly. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5040...

                                  we've been patronizing siam hut since it opened. the quality is now only so-so, and i just had a weird, weird, weird drunken noodles, where they swore it was fresh noodles (but i know fresh noodles), and they had zucchini and carrots in the dish. they made it hot with red chili flakes. not a thai bird chili in sight.

                                  too-sweet pad thai (my mom HAS to get this dish).

                                  siam hut is not what it used to be, but it seemed somewhat busy on a recent monday lunch.

                                  the viet place on del prado is bland, even for vietnamese food. skip the spring rolls.

                                  ~~~~~~
                                  ps meatn3, my nephew got some green peanuts from s. georgia, so i was able to have my boiled peanuts. i made them cajun style, and they're addictive.
                                  ~~~~~
                                  enjoyed our first visit to buon appetito. the veal stew was ok, but heavy on the potatoes; mom's eggplant parm was light and tasty. the roasted veggies as my mom's side were strange -- they reminded me somehow of those chinese vegetables you used to get frozen. i'd get some other veggie as a side next time. a lemon sponge cake/souffle with white chocolate and raspberry puree was delicious. the chianti was quite nice, and after lunch, the sambuca brought out with the espresso was delightful. next time, i'm getting the antipasti/salumi platter to start. i overheard the owner telling the guys that he'd just made the mozz that morning.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: alkapal
                                    MartiniGenie Oct 18, 2009 03:06 PM

                                    French / Viet Nam restaurant right behind Outback on 41 The French Roast Cafe. Very good on both cuisines.

                                    Greek - I haven't eaten there in years, but Athenian Restaurant 1130 N Tamiami Trail, N Fort Myers has the menu you are asking for. They have been there for at least 30 years.

                                    I love La Casita! Yeah the little purple shack.

                                  2. b
                                    BLewin Oct 20, 2009 07:30 PM

                                    Fabios is a family run business with great home-made Italian food. Try the gnocchis with pesto or any of the daily specials. Good bread and salad, friendly atmosphere, but most importantly, good food.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: BLewin
                                      alkapal Nov 16, 2009 05:58 AM

                                      yep, we've loved fabio's for years. i hear they take credit cards now.

                                    2. Bumstead Nov 16, 2009 05:38 AM

                                      Found a great little seafood shack on Pine Island. Gulf Seafood in Bokeelia. Features FRESH LOCAL seafood. Small menu: Mullet Sandwich 5, Mullet Fritters 5, Fresh Gulf Shrimp 8, Smoked Mullet 4/8, Fish Cakes 5, Fish of the Day - Market.
                                      We had fish cakes and sesame seared yellow fin tuna (7). Quite Good
                                      Eat outside at picnic table or inside overlooking the water. A beautiful spot nestled in the mangroves.
                                      North Sstringfellow - Right on Barrancus 2nd Left Porto Bello to end.

                                       
                                       
                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: Bumstead
                                        alkapal Nov 16, 2009 05:56 AM

                                        interesting. when i was down, my nephew and i went out to charlotte harbor and got lots of mullet. what was the fish of the day?

                                        bokeelia marina is the building in your photos, right? the food is from the trailer?

                                        what's your opinion of the lazy flamingo in bokeelia?

                                        how is the place down at the end of bokeelia these days?

                                        1. re: alkapal
                                          Bumstead Nov 16, 2009 06:26 AM

                                          The fish of the day was the Tuna (I assume - it was on the chalk board but not the menu).
                                          Yes it is at the marina and the food is cooked in the trailer. They have tables inside so I guess you can either go in, sit down and order or just order at the trailer and eat outside.
                                          We walked in and looked around - great view. It was so nice we ate outside at the table.
                                          The place at the end (Capt Con's) did not impress me. No local seafood! Their fish sandwich is ".. just like Grouper and comes from New Zealand.." Nice location though..

                                          I haven't been to the lazy flamingo.

                                          1. re: Bumstead
                                            LilMsFoodie Nov 16, 2009 09:35 AM

                                            Cap N Cons has been poor for a number of years now. It somehow coasts on the old rep it had when the original owners were there, with their real grouper, home made coconut cream pies, and the resident Great Heron working as a doorman. <G> I have fond memories of the place 13 or 14 years ago. The owner moved to St. James City at the other end of Pine Island. I do not recall the restaurant's name that he opened. Lazy Flamingo isn't nearly as good as the CapSan Village original.

                                            We generally don't get further than Bert's these days. Love that dump and their potato chips. LMF

                                            -----
                                            Lazy Flamingo
                                            6520 Pine Ave Ste C, Sanibel, FL 33957

                                            1. re: LilMsFoodie
                                              Bumstead Nov 16, 2009 12:34 PM

                                              Hear, hear!

                                      2. alkapal Jan 5, 2010 06:56 AM

                                        I've found my fried shrimp heaven: Pincher's Crab Shack on N. Ft. Myers! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/678307

                                        I hear their crabcakes are great, too.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: alkapal
                                          LilMsFoodie Jan 6, 2010 06:04 AM

                                          I'm glad you like Pincher's but not all of the chain are good, or even mediocre. Just so you know. I've never been to the N Ft. Myers one. I think it is in a location that has been many restaurants over the years.

                                          1. re: LilMsFoodie
                                            alkapal Jan 6, 2010 06:37 AM

                                            pincher's has been in that nfm location for quite a while. you actually think you're pulling into the best western hotel parking lot -- immediately before you get to the bridge heading south -- past rib city (and immediately past the days inn), but just before the pull-off for the riverside park (googlemaps is wrong in where it places the marker, as that is the park entrance). you may be thinking of the places that one accesses off of hancock bridge parkway. that group of buildings really has had a ton of different places over the years.

                                        2. d
                                          Deanna1014 Jan 9, 2010 09:57 AM

                                          BEST REUBEN - Try Oasis in Fort Myers near downtown, best one i've had in the area

                                          ITALIAN - Yabo all the way! I'm not sure if it's really classified as true Italian, but I had some fantastic gnocchi there. Also I recently had a great Italian meal at Cibo. I've heard great things about Geo's in the Cape but haven't tried it yet.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Deanna1014
                                            An Insatiable Appetite Feb 12, 2010 11:47 AM

                                            I went over a year ago to Brew Babies in Cape Coral and liked the homey decor and live music. I didn't have time to eat there.

                                            Any experiences?

                                            1. re: An Insatiable Appetite
                                              LilMsFoodie Feb 15, 2010 04:54 AM

                                              We were there two weeks ago but we also didn't eat. Had a great wine, the owner sat and spoke with us about the design. The entertainment was enhanced greatly by a volunteer from the audience who was obviously a professional singer. They do mainly background jazz with a live quartet or quintet. Owner's wife sings at the keyboard.

                                              I looked at a room they have for private functions, very nice, and booked frequently for medical dinners.

                                              Surely someone has eaten there from the Chowhound regulars.

                                              1. re: An Insatiable Appetite
                                                d
                                                Deanna1014 Mar 14, 2011 03:41 PM

                                                Brew Babies is the Cape's best kept secret IMO. Love the decor and atmosphere, the menu is relatively limited but everything is top noch. The lamb was delicious without being tough or gamey. I've eaten a few other things off the menu as well but can't remember exactly what, but I've always found everything to be delicious. Great champagne, wine and port too. The owner is always around keeping an eye on everything, chatting with regulars. His wife and son sing and play instruments adding to the atmosphere. I recommend you give it a try!

                                                -----
                                                Brew Babies
                                                1520 Lafayette St, Cape Coral, FL 33904

                                                1. re: Deanna1014
                                                  alkapal Oct 16, 2013 01:24 PM

                                                  my sis introduced me to brew babies and it is really nice. not at all what you'd expect from the name!

                                            2. m
                                              meritbrown Mar 28, 2010 08:25 AM

                                              Cape Coral Farmers Market in the middle of town has a boiled peanut stand. Straight up and Cajun.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: meritbrown
                                                alkapal May 13, 2010 06:15 AM

                                                oooh, didn't know the cape had a farmer's market! http://www.capecoralfarmersmarket.com/agents/73632/index.asp
                                                darn, the season just closed! maybe the peanut people will head over to the fort myers farmer's market under the bridge.
                                                ~~~~~~~~~

                                                (btw, i'm still loving "el rincon cubano" on vizcaya. tremendous flavor and value! my sister and i got the bum's rush at "el mambos" cuban restaurant -- at 9:30 on a friday night! i'll elaborate with the full story later, but suffice it to say, we ain't goin' back. the food wasn't "all that," either).

                                                p.s., the farmer's market in fort myers under the bridge on thursdays has a nice stand with lots of produce and **terrific** new potatoes -- they genuinely taste "like butter!" it is run by an hispanic lady and her daughter (i presume); maybe a son worked there with them, too.

                                                ~~~~~~~~
                                                phensri thai is new-ish near publix on orange grove and hancock. very good (but no fresh rice noodles, alas and alack!). cornelius, the proprietor, is very friendly and can do special requests. my sister and her husband are crazy about an "off menu" item -- chinese sausage salad.

                                                i'm not a fan of tilapia, but his fried tilapia with a panang curry type sauce is quite good. i'm a shrimp fiend, so i got him to make a special shell-on shrimp dish with coconut milk and similar to a panang curry. veeeeerrrrrryyyyyy good!

                                                i recommend phensri thai as the best thai in the fort myers area. (but i do not recommend their pad thai; it is too sweet, for one thing).

                                                warning, this website has only one thing that is "completed" from being just a generic template start-up page -- the message of "who they are" is right (even fort myers is MISSPELLED!) """"
                                                Welcome to Phensri Thai Restaurant in Ft. Meyers, Fla. My name is Cor Moenandar and me and my team are your hosts for the evening! We are specialized in Thai food. The Thai cuisine is acknowledged to be one of the most popular in the world. Thai foods include hundreds of exotic vegetables, meats, spices and herbs done in a special way. The people of Thailand are a colorful people, living in a tropical area and they put the color and flavor in a unique way in the preparation of their food. This preparation is now available in Ft. Meyers and your hosts Cor, Jennifer, Arthur, Marijke, Jennifer, Jonathan and Nick are anxious to see you soon!""""

                                                the photos do NOT depict the restaurant. http://phensri-thai-restaurant.com/
                                                here is a good baromometer: http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=phensri+thai&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

                                                ~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                laishley crabhouse in punta gorda was a big surprise to me. i expected such a big place to have food "mass produced" and taste like it -- but this place was *very good*!
                                                my fried shrimp platter was huge, with super-fresh shrimp perfectly fried. there were *at least* a dozen really nice-sized shrimp (menu says jumbo, but seemed larger, imo) in a very light batter. (gives pincher's a run for their money). two sides were included -- i got a baked potato and a "ratatouille" with fresh summer squash (lovely, though a bit oversalted). only $15!!!!

                                                my sister got a seafood platter with shrimp. scallops and grouper. again, very generous (but my shrimp were larger). $20! (also available broiled. ho hum! ;-)). my great-niece got a very "real deal" looking burger, too, cooked to a perfect "medium." brother in law got a grouper reuben, and could only eat half it was so generous in size. it had slaw instead of kraut. he really liked it.

                                                i recommend laishley's. http://www.laishleycrabhouse.com/ (my nephew said this trip to laishley's was better than his first experience, when he was not so happy with his fried catfish.). it has a nice outdoor bar overlooking the river, too. next time. i'll give that a try, maybe. it would be perfect for a sunset!

                                                ~~~~~~~
                                                hi mods; i tried to edit to add Phensri Thai and Laishley's Crabhouse as "links," but it doesn't "take."
                                                ~~~~~

                                                update on pincher's crab shack in north fort myers: in addition to terrific fried shrimp, their scampi is awesome! i recommend that two shrimp lovers (read "shrimp fiends," like me) getting 1-1/2 pounds of shrimp -- half done fried, half done scampi-style (oooh, the buttery, garlicky goodness!).

                                                i *still* don't like their fries, but the green beans side is outstanding (believe it or not).

                                                ~~~~~~~~
                                                ooooh, new place: "marker 92 waterfront bar and bistro" at tarpon point village (?) on the river in cape coral. http://www.marinavillageresort.com/dining
                                                what a stunning locale. http://www.tarponpoint.com/

                                                my grouper with chimichurri was terrific. my sister got some new orleans type seafood dish. the fresh oysters and shrimp as appetizers were nice. (excellent sauces, cocktail sauce especially). the olive tapenade brought gratis is addictive!

                                                warning: if you dine outside, like we did, wear mosquito repellant. they have to do something about those mosquitos!!!

                                                here's info from their site:
                                                """
                                                Marker 92 Waterfront Bar & Bistro – Located at The Resort at MarinaVillage | 5951 Silver King Boulevard
                                                Cape Coral, Florida 33914

                                                Fine dining, authentic cuisine and an intimate ambiance. Enjoy signature wood-fired dishes including pizzas made to order, fresh seafood and steaks, our signature sushi, and a large wine selection. Dine indoors or outside on the patio and savor your favorite dish al fresco.

                                                Phone: 239-541-5600

                                                Open daily:
                                                Breakfast: 7am – 11am
                                                Lunch: 11am – 2pm
                                                Dinner: 5pm – 10pm
                                                Lounge opens at 4pm

                                                1. re: alkapal
                                                  alkapal Jul 3, 2010 02:06 PM

                                                  phensri thai has the fresh rice noodles now. YAY!!!!

                                                  here is their new website, too: http://phensri-thai-restaurant.com/

                                                  another nice thing is that they serve the unsweetened thai iced tea, if you like iced tea without all the extra thai fixings.

                                                  1. re: alkapal
                                                    An Insatiable Appetite Jul 3, 2010 06:29 PM

                                                    Alkapal,

                                                    Thank you for the update. Happy 4th!

                                              2. alkapal Jul 10, 2010 03:41 AM

                                                Enjoyed the Sandy Butler near the Beach this last trip. A little pricey, but good quality seafood, interesting preparations, and good & friendly service. Thanks for your recommendation.

                                                -----
                                                The Sandy Butler
                                                17650 San Carlos Blvd., Fort Myers, FL 33931

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: alkapal
                                                  An Insatiable Appetite Jul 11, 2010 02:49 PM

                                                  I've not been to Sandy Butler since they switched chefs-I heard there's no real difference, and your visit confirms it.

                                                  My friends on fort Myers Beach like the food and pricing better at Sandy Butler than at nearby Bayfront Bistro-They go to Bistro with out of town guests for the view and drinks. For dinner with friends or guests, they look forward to the less crowded atmosphere, dinner choices and nicely priced wines at Sandy Butler.

                                                  Both Sandy Butler and Bayfront Bistro are on the pricier side for Fort Myers Beach area. I've enjoyed both spots, and I like that both spots raise the quality available to people in the Fort Myers Beach area.

                                                  Let me know when you try Brew Babies-they are closed for some of the summer. It's often too hot for me to dine with friends at Flippers, Parrot Key and the other open air spots-that's where the "character" of FMB can best be found!. Let the tourists buy T-shirts at Doc Fords, or visit Nevous Nellie's/Icabod's nearby, the food's better and atmosphere more memorable at the funkier older spots nearby.

                                                  -----
                                                  Bayfront Bistro
                                                  4761 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931

                                                  The Sandy Butler
                                                  17650 San Carlos Blvd., Fort Myers, FL 33931

                                                  1. re: An Insatiable Appetite
                                                    alkapal Jul 11, 2010 04:19 PM

                                                    since i was born and raised in fort myers (we are talking about before "ye olde holmes house" came and went), i'm not a "beach person" and do not want to sit outside in the heat. (GAH!) (love the beach at dusk or sunrise, though). whenever i return to d.c. from florida, everyone always says, "i thought you were in florida; where's your tan?" my last stint at the beach was for a high school reunion, and we were at the diamond head inn for a weekend (nice little poolside bar they have there). my sister's got a reunion at the pink shell in august; we checked out the bar there. (cheesy!). (boy that place has changed from only the cottages "back in the day."). we had been on a recon mission when we stopped into sandy butler.

                                                    i'll check out beachfront bistro. i have tried doc fords on sanibel and did not think much of it. overpriced, imo.

                                                    how's the beer at smokin' oyster brewery? i just noticed the place the other day.....

                                                    ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                    ps, my sister says harold is cooking somewhere (we used to go to harold's up top of that building downtown).

                                                    1. re: alkapal
                                                      An Insatiable Appetite Jul 11, 2010 10:16 PM

                                                      I've not been to SOB's so can't say anything on that. I've had decent food at the Sanibel Docs. Problem is, I've had not so good food and not good drinks at the Ft Myers Beach Doc Fords. The staff did try to make it better. Other diners have had similar experiences at the FMB spot in the past year. Wth their deep pockets and extensive advertising, they'll be full with tourists regardless, much like Michelbob's ribs in Naples advertising campaign.

                                                      The only chef Harold I know is Harold Balink from Harolds' and H2, he's now exec chef at Bell Tower's Cru. That guy can cook delicious food!

                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                        n
                                                        niquejim Jul 17, 2010 10:37 AM

                                                        The one house beer they have is brewed and bottled at one of the other breweries in the state(so the name is somewhat misleading). The food is what you'd expect for a beach bar

                                                  2. t
                                                    TuteTibiImperes Jul 14, 2010 10:03 AM

                                                    I can possibly help with a few of these.

                                                    Pizza - My current favorite is Downtown House of Pizza, although Taste of New York in Belltower and Birdie's also put out a good pie. If you like the woodburning or coal burning oven thing, there are actually a couple chains, Arizona Pizza and Tony Sacco's, that do a good job, but even without a fancy natural fuel oven I think Downtown House of PIzza makes a better product.

                                                    Seafood - I'm partial to Three Fishermen in Sam's Club Plaza off of 41 near Page Field. I don't know where they source the fish from, but everything I have had there has been fresh, and the sides are solid too (great cheese grits).

                                                    Cuban - I've never been to Rincon Cubano, but I will have to check it out. Mambo's is the best of the ones I have tried, and though I dislike driving into the Cape, it is better than any of the places I've sampled in Fort Myers. Mabo's is a bit hit and miss, the empanadas are nothing special, and the boiled yucca and black beans aren't as flavorful as some other places, but the mains are usually very good. They have a stewed pork in a red sauce dish that is absolutely incredible.

                                                    If you want to branch out a bit, try the Peruvian place called El Patio which is in a little shopping center on the left side right after you cross over Colonial on 41 heading north. I haven't eaten there in a little while ( I need to fix that and head back soon) but in the past every time I have been it has been great.

                                                    Chinese - There are no traditional style Chinese places that I know of, but if you want very good Americanized Chinese that is made with fresh ingredients and light on the glop check out Tim's Magic Wok on Daniels between Metro and Ben C Pratt. Their Tea Smoked Duck is my favorite.

                                                    Indian - Your only real choice in Fort Myers is India Palace hidden in the back of the sprawling plaza on 41 between Boy Scout and College that also contains Bangkok Thai (never been) and Amazon Grill (great lunch buffet). India Palace has probably the best lunch deal in town, though their dinner prices are quite a bit higher for the same portions. Try the Keema Egg Matar lunch special, which comes with dal soup, salad (which is pointless and served with no dressing, might just ask them to skip this one), naan, chutney, and very good rice all for $9, you won't be disappointed.

                                                    Now for some of my own categories -

                                                    Wings - I have yet to find anywhere that does amazing wings (and if anyone knows a place, please let me know) but Il Primo Pizza and Wings has better wings than most. Their pizza isn't too my taste, too thick of a crust, but the wings are always cooked well and though they lack of a variety of sauce flavors, they do traditional buffalo wing style very well.

                                                    Burger - Stevie Tomatoes wins this one for me hands down. Plus Stevie's has that nice local sports bar atmosphere, and their other lunchy menu options are solid too. The Mahi Mahi sandwich and grilled steak tips sandwich are both work a try.

                                                    Mexican - For fast Mexican that isn't quite authentic, but isn't Taco Bell either, try Mucho Taco in Morse Shores plaza off of Palm Beach Blvd near the I-75 exit. Great prices, quick service, and a nice variety. If you want something a bit more authentic but don't want to spend much money try the lunch counter at the Supermercado on Palm Beach Blvd near the intersection with Ortiz. It helps to know a little bit of Spanish as some of the girls at the counter don't speak any English, and there are no English translations on much of the menu, but if you can stumble through you will be rewarded with good food. If you are craving tacos or tortas there is a taco truck that sets up shop in the little convenience store parking lot at the intersection of Marsh Ave and Palm beach Blvd, across Marsh from the U-Save. It's hit and miss when the truck will be there, but if you are driving by, hungry, and see it, swing around, they have some of the best Tortas I've had.

                                                    If anyone knows of some good authentic Mexican places for dinner that are slightly more upscale I would love to hear. I especially would like to find a place that uses big fresh shrimp for the Camarones ala Diabla or that has other good fresh Mexican seafood dishes.

                                                    -----
                                                    India Palace
                                                    11605 S Cleveland Ave Ste 20, Fort Myers, FL 33907

                                                    Tim's Magic Wok
                                                    6900 Daniels Pkwy Ste 38, Fort Myers, FL 33912

                                                    Amazon Grill
                                                    11609 S Cleveland Ave Ste 30, Fort Myers, FL 33907

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

                                                    El Patio Restaurant
                                                    4444 Cleveland Ave Ste E, Fort Myers, FL 33901

                                                    Rincon Cubano
                                                    958 Country Club Blvd Unit A, Cape Coral, FL 33990

                                                    10 Replies
                                                    1. re: TuteTibiImperes
                                                      alkapal Jul 14, 2010 01:16 PM

                                                      rincon cubano is much better than el mambos, i think. rincon is a regular place for me when i'm there in fort myers. there is another cuban place out in the publix plaza where hanccock bridge pkwy runs into pine island road. it was in a smaller place there, but just recently took over where the italian place had been for years (the italian place left due to increased lease rate). i want to give it a try.

                                                      for wings, try wingnuts on del prado in the cape, north of the hospital. big & meaty. i wish they had a sesame teriyaki flavor. http://capecoralrestaurants.net/wingn...

                                                      you've tried la casita for mexican? near the "beach cut-off" on mcgregor. really good salsa. and the best carnitas i've ever had. pitchers of the dark dos equis, too.

                                                      i went to three fisherman years ago, but i wasn't impressed enough to return.

                                                      arizona pizza in north fort myers is closed "for renovation" allegedly to re-open in the fall. one brother in law speculated that it is kaput, and the other that it had to get rid of chinese drywall.

                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                        alkapal Jul 14, 2010 01:46 PM

                                                        here are some pics, from wingnuts
                                                        and also pincher's (north fort myers)

                                                         
                                                         
                                                        1. re: alkapal
                                                          t
                                                          TuteTibiImperes Jul 25, 2010 02:26 PM

                                                          I picked up some takeout from Wingnuts today. While I see some promise, there were also some letdowns. Some friends and I split some of the breaded wings, the sauced chicken strips, and some of their bacon cheese fries.

                                                          The Good - The wings (with the extra hot buffalo garlic sauce) were excellent. Even though the wings are huge they were cooked all the way through and still moist. The breading was still intact and crispy even after driving back into Fort Myers from the Cape. The buffalo garlic sauce is tasty, though the extra hot still isn't that hot.

                                                          The Bad - The chicken strips weren't breaded (even though the menu says they are) and had a huge variance in size. The largests ones were barely overcooked, the smaller ones were almost chicken-jerky. We got the Hit&Run sauce on these, which while not bad, had a bit too much BBQ sauce in it for my tastes, I was expecting more heat, less sweet. This actually brings up another issue I have - neither the online or the take-out menu have any kind of explanation of what the flavoring of the various sauces are. While some are self-explanatory, reading the name 'Hit & Run' , 'Three Amigos', or 'Ape Shit' does little to tell me what it will actually taste like. I could have asked I suppose, but I'd like to see it explained.

                                                          The Ugly - The fried were completely underwhelming. They were natural cut and looked a lot like beach fries, which was promising, but they lacked any seasoning or flavor. We originally wanted the chili fries, but as they were out of Chili we settled for bacon-cheese, which was a bad idea. The cheese sauce was flavorless, and the bacon as sort of a dust on top, and lacked any real bacon flavor. I know bacon cheese fries are hardly haute cuisine, but when they're good, they're really good. These were really bad. One final gripe is that no blue cheese or celery is included with your order, which seems kind of cheap to me considering the wing prices here are already higher than many other places.

                                                          All in all, I'll probably give it a second chance, but just stick to the wings and leave the strips and sides alone.

                                                          -----
                                                          Wingnuts
                                                          311 Del Prado Blvd S, Cape Coral, FL 33990

                                                          1. re: TuteTibiImperes
                                                            alkapal Jul 25, 2010 05:24 PM

                                                            we never had the strips.

                                                            he needs work on some new sauces.

                                                            the beer is cold.

                                                            the onion rings are good.

                                                            bottom line: fresh, big wings, underwhelming but not bad sauces, cold beer and good rings.

                                                            1. re: alkapal
                                                              t
                                                              TuteTibiImperes Jul 25, 2010 06:05 PM

                                                              For what it's worth, as I was there, the girl behind the counter was talking to who I assume is a business manager. From what I gleaned, apparently Charlie, who used to run the place, still owns it, but is having her take over the day to day management type of stuff.

                                                              1. re: TuteTibiImperes
                                                                alkapal Jul 26, 2010 04:13 AM

                                                                i sure hope that it isn't the gal who waited on us, because she knew very little about the sauces that *were* available (in terms of flavor profiles), though she was very friendly.

                                                                i think the owner prides himself on using fresh, never-frozen wings. they are certainly meatier (by far) than hogbody's.

                                                                ~~
                                                                my sister and brother in law like to go to that place on hancock, just west of orange grove (past the greek place) for wings and -- on certain days -- 25 cent beers. Brookes Restaurant & Lounge
                                                                4450 Hancock Bridge Pkwy,
                                                                North Fort Myers, FL 33903
                                                                it is a decent lunch spot, too. good burgers, waffle fries, specials, huge salads.

                                                        2. re: alkapal
                                                          t
                                                          TuteTibiImperes Sep 12, 2010 07:15 PM

                                                          I checked out Rincon Cubano on your recommendation (actually I stopped by a few times) and you are right in that it is a great value, and good food. I'm not ready to say that it is better than that I've had at Mambo's yet, but it could be that I keep managing to stop by on the days where they don't serve my go to dish - Pork Fricase. I've tried the chicken fricase, and found it to be a underseasoned and a bit bland, but the Picadillo is great.

                                                          The yuca was a miss for me, and the special hot sauce that I requested with it (that I have seen served with boiled yuca in other places) didn't have a lot of flavor. This isn't a problem with Rincon Cubano alone, I've had more misses than hits with the yuca around here. I had absolutely amazing yuca somewhere in Fort Myers, I just wish I could remember where so I could go back.

                                                          Overall I don't want to sound too negative about the place, I do like it, and having been back more than once even though it's a good ten miles and a toll out of my way coming back from work, I guess that says something.

                                                          -----
                                                          Rincon Cubano
                                                          958 Country Club Blvd Unit A, Cape Coral, FL 33990

                                                          1. re: TuteTibiImperes
                                                            alkapal Sep 13, 2010 02:08 AM

                                                            pork fricassee is monday lunch special. my fave, too. agree yucca is meh. love their tostones, though.

                                                            have you tried the cuban at hancock and pine island -- in the publix shopping center near-ish to kohl's?

                                                        3. re: TuteTibiImperes
                                                          m
                                                          mickired Jul 14, 2011 11:00 AM

                                                          By now you know Taste of Ny , ad Stevie Tomato are gone As for Tims Wok- I tried it on recomendation-it taste like canned food.The people at the next table to us left everything and just walked out Yuk!

                                                          1. re: mickired
                                                            t
                                                            TuteTibiImperes Jul 16, 2011 05:25 PM

                                                            Sorry you didn't have a good experience. I haven't been to Tim's in a while, I moved to the opposite end of town and I'm not a big enough fan of Chinese to go out of my way for it, I guess it could have gone downhill. E&L Chinese on 41 by the Outback is well regarded here. I've been impressed with their dim-sum menu, and while there regular menu is decent, it hasn't blown me away. I like Jackie's on Summerlin a lot, and a few of my coworkers love Tung Hing on Fowler.

                                                            Taste of NY is closed yes, which is a bit of a shame, but the place that opened in the same general area, Grimaldi's, is great, so at least there is still excellent pizza to be had in the Bell Tower. Stevie's has apparently condensed down to the Cape Coral location in the greater Fort Myers/Cape Coral area. I'm surprised because the 41 location was always busy, and that space had a lot of charm, even if the layout was odd.

                                                            -----
                                                            Tung Hing Restaurant
                                                            3605 Fowler St, Fort Myers, FL 33901

                                                        4. alkapal Sep 9, 2010 05:42 AM

                                                          pincher's in north fort myers has closed? l-(

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: alkapal
                                                            alkapal Sep 17, 2011 07:29 AM

                                                            yes…yes it has. ;-((

                                                            and the fisherman's place that "replaced it" in the location just can't "replace" pinchers. when i ate there in february 2011, the food quality was really not up to par -- and their food had weird flavors added. i won't go back.

                                                            wasn't pincher's supposed to be opening up another location in NFM or the Cape somewhere? Did that stall because of the economy?

                                                          2. c
                                                            cevichequeen Sep 26, 2010 09:58 PM

                                                            la trattoria cafe napole, the best restaurant in fort myers ,now expanding ,we need a tapas bar and they open nex door GREAT I CANT WAY! I m real from madrid and this restaurants flavors are like at home

                                                            1. c
                                                              cevichequeen Oct 14, 2010 06:39 PM

                                                              Little treasure ,Best neighborhood spot.Real food,inventive and delicious.You simply must stop by and soak up the very cool vibe of this cute little cafe and now expanding with tapas selection.The owner/host knows how to entertain as well as to inform ,but most of all ,she knows how to make the dinner feel at easy .Good selection of wine and great price.

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: cevichequeen
                                                                alkapal Oct 15, 2010 06:48 AM

                                                                are you posting again about the trattoria cafe napoli, cevichequeen? or a place called "little treasure"?

                                                                1. re: alkapal
                                                                  c
                                                                  cevichequeen Mar 12, 2011 07:46 AM

                                                                  la trattoria cafe napole,the best restaurant in town,see for your self,I suggest you have lunch or specially dinner, no doubt you will be back....great prices,friendly service and food is the best

                                                                  1. re: cevichequeen
                                                                    An Insatiable Appetite Mar 15, 2011 10:09 PM

                                                                    Gloria's La Trattoria cafe Napoli is one of my top 5 spots in Lee County. I could eat there several times a week and not get tired of its Italian, Cuban/Latin and Spanish styled foods.

                                                                    It rocks on food quality, service and comfortable ambiance. It excels on price and variety. "We" kept it a secret because it only had ten tables, and was filled every night. Why should satisfied regulars share it?
                                                                    Now, Gloria has doubled the size, and it's still filled! Go figure, especially at a time when most places are just eking out a living.

                                                                    Read my review and see photos at my independent site:

                                                                    http://aninsatiableappetite.blogspot....

                                                                    Buen Provecho! Buon appetito! b'tayavon! Bon appetite!

                                                                    -----
                                                                    La Trattoria Restaurant
                                                                    524 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040

                                                                    1. re: An Insatiable Appetite
                                                                      t
                                                                      TuteTibiImperes Mar 29, 2011 09:03 PM

                                                                      The food looks great in the photos. I'm kicking myself a bit because I lived within walking distance of La Trattoria for three years and never went, and just last year I bought a house on the complete other side of Ft Myers. I'll have to make a point to go check it out...

                                                                      1. re: An Insatiable Appetite
                                                                        LilMsFoodie Mar 30, 2011 09:00 AM

                                                                        We eat there frequently and just love it. It may have doubled in size but it is still tiny and intimate. My husband always gets the paella and I love the shrimp served over a garbanzo puree. Trattoria Caffe Napoli is one of my favorites.

                                                                2. alkapal Jul 13, 2011 04:14 AM

                                                                  a friend recommended this "saigon paris bistro" by the bell tower. http://www.saigonparisbistro.com/inde... the menu looks interesting.

                                                                  and tute, they have pho! and banh mi….and lots more.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: alkapal
                                                                    v
                                                                    Val Jul 15, 2011 09:33 AM

                                                                    I don't see Banh mi on menu...? Got all excited there for a moment....thanks!
                                                                    Edit: Doh...it's there under Vietnamese sandwich...argh...call it what it is!!! Banh mi!! LOL!

                                                                    1. re: alkapal
                                                                      An Insatiable Appetite Jul 15, 2011 11:48 AM

                                                                      Saigon Paris Bistro is just the renamed "French Roast Cafe". I've lunched there.
                                                                      Asian is better than French. Service is ok. If you want French, go to Blue Windows instead.
                                                                      Let me know what you think of Saigon and of Blue Windows.
                                                                      I'm not familar with Vietnamese in Fort Myers area, In Naples area, I go to Noodle Saigon and Eurasia for my Pho fix.

                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                        alkapal Oct 16, 2013 01:25 PM

                                                                        my cousin took me there for lunch in june. we really enjoyed it.

                                                                      2. d
                                                                        dwdunn Jul 17, 2011 04:01 PM

                                                                        Hop on the Vespa and check out the eats at the Waterfront, St. James City. Set out back on the deck (try to stay out of the sun) each day has an excellent special.
                                                                        Fresh fish from the local boats only.
                                                                        Even better take your boat instead of the scooter! Enjoy!

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: dwdunn
                                                                          alkapal Jul 18, 2011 05:03 AM

                                                                          it is a heckuva long way from old 41 to st. james city on a vespa. are you trying to get me killed?

                                                                          how much is grouper there?

                                                                          1. re: alkapal
                                                                            d
                                                                            dwdunn Aug 1, 2011 04:44 PM

                                                                            Belated: Killed? Ahhh, no. Grouper depends on the entree. Fresh and so good.

                                                                            1. re: dwdunn
                                                                              alkapal Aug 1, 2011 06:56 PM

                                                                              killed by driving a vespa all the way on that road. esp. if it were february. ;-).

                                                                        2. alkapal Sep 17, 2011 07:25 AM

                                                                          My FB foodie friend who lives in NFM shared this yesterday on FB re Ciao in Cape Coral:
                                                                          ~~~~~~
                                                                          >>"""YESTERDAY I went to CIAO on 47th Terrace in CC... oh my gawd... I think they have a facebook page... will check it out... I had their specialty pizza and son <…> had chicken Marsalla... they both were incredible... beyond words... crust was crisp... the mild aroma of wood was wafting about and at noon they were full!!!""<<<

                                                                          ~~~~~~~
                                                                          I know this friend has good taste in food, so I am anxious to try it.

                                                                          1. cachef1 Apr 11, 2013 04:06 PM

                                                                            For Mexican, you can't get much better than El Azteca Taqueria at 1918 Del Prado Blve S, Cape Coral 33990. It is about as "authentic" as you are going to get. They even have "sopas" which are little masa boats. Their tacos are street food as they are found in Mexico, and are fine in all their simplicity. If you want chips with salsa as we expect it, then order them with Pico de Gallo. Or get them with the 3 more authentic sauces (salsas). The tamales are excellent and you won't stop at one. For Chile Rellanos that nearly float off the plate and aren't coved in a heavy sauce or glued to the plate with cheese, have them here, they are delicious. All of their other entrees are great. Don't forget the soups. Before setting on one ask which are available. The Shrimp is delicious but you have to let them know a day ahead. Open on Sunday for lunch and closed on Monday I believe.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: cachef1
                                                                              alkapal Apr 11, 2013 08:30 PM

                                                                              sounds very promising. thank you!

                                                                            2. cachef1 Apr 11, 2013 04:09 PM

                                                                              As below, for Italian, Ciao on 47th Terrace in Cape Coral is great. As said below the pizza is terrific, but if you are in the mood for something more, try the Shrimp Scampi. Besides making it at home, it is as close to perfect and balanced as any I've found, and I've tried them every time I get the chance. Ciao is hands down the best.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: cachef1
                                                                                alkapal Apr 11, 2013 08:29 PM

                                                                                i've also heard good things about ciao!

                                                                              2. s
                                                                                SueFH Oct 17, 2013 09:59 PM

                                                                                Hi, just wondering if there are any updates to this thread. We are deciding between staying at Westin in Cape Coral or Marriott in Ft Myers, and --for me-- food options carry some significant weight, especially if all else is equal. Not sure they are, but anyway, I mostly want great, fresh fish. Will have a car and won't object to some traveling. Thanks!

                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                1. re: SueFH
                                                                                  j
                                                                                  jabes Oct 18, 2013 05:58 PM

                                                                                  Hi Sue, I live in the Cape, and have eaten a few times at both places. Both are nicely presented hotel food. I prefer the Weston because of location; from there you can easily get to several different, very different, but all good, places in Cape Coral. The best gourmet hamburgers and just a very very good bar type menu, cooked by an innovative chef is at Never Mind on Cape Coral Blvd. (just past the burger King, and tucked into a little strip mall). Pricy but worth it.
                                                                                  Red's Seafood just opened not far from NeverMind. We usually travel to Pine Island for their great fish and general, big, but also well cooked menu. It is 850 Lafayette Street just west of Cape Coral Blvd.
                                                                                  Then another good food place, pricy but worth it, is Brew Babies which is also on Lafayette, but much farther along the Blvd., towards the bridge.
                                                                                  And, finally, much more casual, and right on the grounds at Tarpon Point Marina, which is now the Westin, will be a new Pinchers Crab Shack; a good place for a casual meal and always fresh fish. Stone crabs will be coming in soon there. So there you go. All are good and fun places to go. The Westin has a great outdoor bar for drinks at sunset. Enjoy. I am sure other people will chime in with their recommends, you will have some good meals.

                                                                                  1. re: jabes
                                                                                    LilMsFoodie Oct 19, 2013 03:52 AM

                                                                                    I was going to recommend NeverMind on CC PKWY. This is a chef, Shannon, that has been around for years, starting a number of places and then blowing up and moving on. Cru was his baby in Fort Myers as was Bacchus. I had the best grilled cheese ever at Never Mind. The setting is a little down market...looks like a grunge bar but the wines are good and he has some of his loyal staff with him here.

                                                                                    I love the NautiMermaid at the Westin. Open air bar with a pleasant bartender that takes good care of his peeps. The food is pretty good which is enough in a setting like this.

                                                                                    If you want a dive bar, you could go to Bert's Bar. Right on the water in Matlacha. Matlacha is quaintly tacky and a fun place. Fishing boats come in right across the street. We have had a beer there meeting shrimpers (you can tell by their white boots) and other interesting characters. They make their own potato chips.

                                                                                    http://www.bertsbar.us/

                                                                                    1. re: LilMsFoodie
                                                                                      MartiniGenie Oct 27, 2013 12:57 PM

                                                                                      Thanks for the Shannon tip. Been wondering where he would emerge.

                                                                                      I agree with you on Bert's. Even the hamburgers are great.

                                                                                    2. re: jabes
                                                                                      alkapal Oct 21, 2013 03:08 AM

                                                                                      happy to hear that a pincher's will go there. their fried shrimp is the BEST. i get the by-the-pound version -- usually for two! ;).

                                                                                      -- signed, long-time fried shrimp fanatic born and raised in s.w. florida
                                                                                      ~~~~
                                                                                      is that spot there by the tarpon point restaurant patio still a mosquito magnet, though?

                                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                                        j
                                                                                        jabes Oct 21, 2013 09:48 AM

                                                                                        We have never felt mosquitoes at the NautiMermaid, and we go just around sunset a lot. We sit as close to the water as we can maybe that means more of a breeze. Yes, I thought twice about including Pincher's because it is a chain and I think lots of "gourmets" do not go to chain restaurants, but as you said, the best Fried Shrimp -- right up there with Red's I think.

                                                                                        1. re: jabes
                                                                                          LilMsFoodie Oct 21, 2013 02:44 PM

                                                                                          We have been to the NautiMermaid often, during rainy season, and haven't had a problem with the florida state bird/insect <G> Maybe they did something. Probably that this summer was a very light mosquito season.

                                                                                          Where will Pinchers be? They have had poor retail going in there. Pinchers could be a game changer for them. (I guess I will have to swallow my pride and try them again after a hiatus of maybe a decade...they must be doing something right)

                                                                                          1. re: LilMsFoodie
                                                                                            alkapal Oct 23, 2013 02:57 AM

                                                                                            pincher's! i'm a big fan. my mom used to love the crab & corn chowder (it is very good). we both loved the fried shrimp. one new year's eve day, maybe 2009, we had a feast with shrimp and beautiful stone crab claws. (when pincher's had the spot at north fort myers, just off business 41, on the caloosahatchee at what we used to call the "new bridge" back in the day. LOL).

                                                                                            i went to pincher's ft. myers beach in may 2013, and the fried shrimp was as good as ever. the fries have always been sub-par, though. at either location. who cares about fries, though? just eat more shrimp!

                                                                                            1. re: alkapal
                                                                                              Veggo Oct 23, 2013 03:01 AM

                                                                                              Thanks for the tip- I'll be there and Pine Island next week. I agree, skip the fries!
                                                                                              p.s. I know it is mangrove and 'skeeter territory, I'm bringing Deet for my visitors.

                                                                                              1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                alkapal Oct 23, 2013 04:33 AM

                                                                                                try fabio's, too. esp. the specials of the day. -- http://www.ristorantefabio.com/SitePages/Photo%20Gallery.aspx

                                                                                                and amen on the DEET.

                                                                                                on the way back to your neck of the woods, get a pizza and stromboli from old monty's in punta gorda. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/617667

                                                                                                i made a special trip to monty's when i was down in fort myers this last may.

                                                                                    3. re: SueFH
                                                                                      s
                                                                                      SueFH Oct 24, 2013 06:13 PM

                                                                                      Thanks for all the input...still debating about whether we will stay at the Marriott or Westin. Seems Westin allows pets and that could be an allergy issue. And NO positive comments on the Marriott, yikes.

                                                                                      Pinchers is a local or regional chain? I'm not a chain fan but I've never heard of them so I could pretend I don't know they're a chain! I'm psyched about some stone crabs too, wonder if they cost less in FL than they do in Chicago!

                                                                                      Overall best sunset view at dinner! Any great places that are much less expensive at lunch, for the possible 2-meal days? Killer brunch on Sunday?

                                                                                      1. re: SueFH
                                                                                        alkapal Oct 25, 2013 06:15 AM

                                                                                        pincher's is a local chain. a "chain" is started because it is a *successful* business. that should tell you something about pinchers.

                                                                                        pincher's offers great seafood, cooked in simple styles, at a very fair price. their fried shrimp beats any other fried shrimp at whatever price ever since dino's on fowler street. (and for you old-timers, you will remember dino's).

                                                                                    4. alkapal Oct 23, 2013 03:07 AM

                                                                                      my mom and i always enjoyed buon appetito cafe. http://www.buonappetitocafe.com/index...
                                                                                      i think it was the place i mentioned in the original post, but had not found up to that point.

                                                                                      the online menu does not show their daily specials -- on a chalkboard in the restaurant (like fabio's whiteboard). -- even at lunch, too they have (or did offer) pastas.

                                                                                      great antipasto platter, good entrees of all types, lovely limoncello cake on rasberry coulis! good coffee with sambuca, too.

                                                                                      i think for entrees, i give fabio's a nod over buon appetito. yes, i'm certain that i do. i always love fabio's specials!

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