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Any good restaurants between Sarasota and Ft. Myers ?

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need to meet friends for dinner someplace between Sarasota and Ft Myers. Any good restaurants available for fish, meat or italian ?

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  1. Try the Crow's Nest in Venice. Great view of the water, dolphins, and marina- but best of all the food is delicious. I'd recommend any of the seafood dishes, but my husband love the boullabaise (the dish is better than my spelling of it!) and I love the walnut salmon. Don't forget to try the seafood bisque w/the sherry!

    Oh, and the Gunther filet is out of this world!

    1. In Punta Gorda I've heard good things about The Perfect Caper. I haven't been there yet but the menu looks pretty good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: RevrendAndy

        I was at the Perfect Caper last year...it was really great! Not sure if it still IS great, though! I was most impressed. Here's the link for the restaurant in case you are interested:


      2. Try The Gulf View Grill out on Englewood Beach. They have the most incredible view and great eats. We love the Chilean sea bass and filet. I did have a Prime Rib there also. I also get the she crab soup... www.thegulfviewgrill.com

        1. Let me add my recommendation of the Perfect Caper. We are is Estero and always meet our friends from Sarasota-Bradenton at The Perfect Caper. It's equidistant for us. Great food. Very Good wine list. There always seems to be some kind of deal there either at the bar or for dinner. Check their website. Husband and wife team -she cooks, he manages the front. Well worth the trip.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rikerspharm

            Good to know...the one time I went about a year ago (could be more than that!) was to meet up with a former boss who now lives in the Tampa-St. Pete area...we were trying to find a somewhat equidistant point with me in Naples and I came up with Punta Gorda...and I do believe that I found the Perfect Caper from recs on this very board...could be wrong but I think that's at least how my research started. We both loved our meal!

          2. for fantastic pizza and stromboli (made with fresh, locally-made italian sausage), go to monty's in punta gorda. oh. so. delicious. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/617667

            1. We just had a very good Italian dinner at Fabios-this restaurant is tucked away in a strip mall-we would never have known about it if it wasn't recommended by a friend. Run by a three generation Italian family-it's good food with a warm, personal touch. Try the gnocchis with pesto or the Penne ala Fabio. The best Italian food in the area!

              Fabio Ristorante
              4150 Hancock Bridge Pkwy Ste 21, North Fort Myers, FL 33903

              3 Replies
              1. re: BLewin

                yes, fabio's is very good, especially those items from the specials board. it is in north fort myers, near hancock and orange grove blvd. (toward the cape, on hancock -- look left to that large strip mall; fabio's is about dead-center). it is a cash only place, so be prepared. the owners really spiffed it up after hurricane charley did a number on it. (my family has been going to fabio's since it opened many years ago. the owner used to have a restaurant in one of the NY boroughs).

                one of my favorite dishes is a rigatoni with fresh italian sausage and cherry peppers. yowza! my husband loves the chicken livers with fettucine. do go for the specials!

                when i was in the area recently, i noticed that it was offering a good percentage off of entrees (30%?) on tuesdays, wednesdays & thursdays. that's a great deal. the restaurant is closed on mondays.

                1. re: alkapal

                  They've recently started taking credit cards

              2. A great fish shack on south side of Fort Myers is Skip One seafoods. Its on Tamiami Trail.
                This reminds me of the days before the interstate came through. Great seafood, nice people, family place, extremely laid back. I get something fresh and grilled every time I come here. (I'm just visiting mom, I live in NYC). But to be clear, its not high on the decor or wine list. Everything else is great.

                1. To update this discussion: The Perfect Caper made the Florida Trend top 500 AND the Golden Spoon as well this December.


                  7 Replies
                  1. re: LilMsFoodie

                    My trusted friends ate there recently and concur, it's tops. I've yet to go there.

                    LMF, I have little faith in Florida Trend's to 500 list, after looking at it....

                    it's interesting that Florida Trend's Top 500, for SW Florida, also includes Il Bellagio, which closed over a year ago, and Ft Myers Prawnbroker, which is unremarkable, especially when compared to the recently departed Cin Cin almost next door.. It also lists Naples Shula's and St George and the Dragon, neither of which is much above average, when compared to Capital Grille, Escargot 41, Inca's Kitchen, and many others. Bayside is mediocre, and Blue Martini, also on the top 500, has decent bar food, not "real food". How do you spell "bogus list"? Makes one wonder if advertising dollars buy a spot in the 500?

                    I've written to Chris Sherman, the Florida Trend food writer offereing him a list of truly great spots, and he has not replied back to me. Not a good sign. I wonder if advertising helps to get a place on the list. The reviewer can not visit 500 spots in a year, sorry..

                    1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                      as usual Ivan gets to the meat of the matter or is it the cerviche of the matter)--in any case you wonder how these places make lists until you see the connection be it advertisements, or Chamber of Commerce pressure, etc...Naples is finally getting some authentic cuisine and the chains are closing or downsizing and not a peep about Falafel Grill, Inca's or even Abscinthe) which is inconsistent but on a good day is outstanding and of course Prestons.

                      1. re: Zeits

                        and to pick Brio over Bricktop's is beyond the pale. Bricktop's has better food, service--just doesn't have as nice a patio. the new Brio at Mercato (Brava???) is the same mediocrity.
                        how long does anyone give the pizza place at Mercato and anyone know about the pizza place at Vanderbilt collection--better or worse?

                        1. re: Zeits

                          I think Brio and Brava are the same chain, but I really didn't look it up. They are suspiciously similar anyway.

                          1. re: LilMsFoodie

                            Yep, Brio and Bravo are twins-same parent corporation. I like Bricktops and Brav'os food better than Brio's. Bricktops is somewhat more intimate than Bravo/Brio. I've nver been a fan of Brio's-too noisy.

                            Piola's is" the red haired stepchild" of Mercato. One can get good pizza or flatbreads at Silverspot, Blue Martooni, certainly at Bravo with their special pizza oven, and probably another spot, so Piola's primarly product,- pizza, despite 70 variations, is not unique to Piola's at all. They got the short end of the pizza stick on that deal. I could go on and on about the analysis, suffice it to say Piola will be the first to fold at Mercato.

                            I've not tried the pizza spot at Collection-saving my calories for 4 new Naples restaurants to open shortly....permitting permitting, of course.

                            sorry, LMf, nothing new of note in Ft Misery. Bachus is having problems since Shannon left. Cru is getting set for the season with Harold and Shannon to liven things up after Richie was let go.. Bistro 41 is the only consistent spot at moribund Bell Towers.

                            1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                              Bacchus will close soon...just my opinion. There is no reason to go there and it seems sad lately/ CRU is busier. I had a nice lunch there but felt uncomfortable as both Shannon and Cru were lurking about and never spoke to one another. I did talk with Harold and Shannon said hi. Food is better than it has been for a while but it is lacking in substance. Bistro 41 just sails along with its loyal clientele.

                              I like Brio, I like the noisy bar and the only times I've been I've sat there having prosecco and their carpacchio. It is pretty good for the price.

                              I only went to Bricktops once, a few years back and thought it was ok.

                              Maybe we can have lunch sometime when Stage 62 opens. LMF

                              1. re: LilMsFoodie

                                It';d be fun to do some good deli- email me if you'd like, from the blog.

                                Have you tried KC American Bistro? Chef Casey's food is a delight.

                                Tonight I cooked a nice soup--essentially a Thai Tom Kha Gai, with Salmon instead of gai, or chicken-nice variation.( I don't know the Thai word for salmon.) . This is the time of year when I put my Vitamix into gear, and let it simmer and even boil some vegetable soups in a pinch, after caramelizing squash baking root veggies, or other winter goodies. It never comes out the same, and sometimes it's not so good . I tried yuca in soup, but didn't like it that way-I love it boiled first, then deep fried-wonderful with garlic sauce!