Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Florida >
Jan 15, 2010 03:45 PM

Short business trip to Naples, FL. Where to eat?

Next month I am going on a quick trip to Naples Florida. We'll be arriving around dinner time on Thursday and are staying at the Ritz Carlton. If there is a great restaurant there, we would be happy to eat there, but also could go somewhere else as long as it's not too far. For that evening, we'll be looking for something casual where we don't need a reservation in case our flight gets delayed. Any ethnicity is fine except Italian. Love Latin/Mexican/Asian.
The next day, I am free, so will be looking for a fun lunch place an a nicer place for dinner. I think we would prefer sea food for dinner. Looking at past posts it looks like the decision for dinner may be Trulucks vs. USS Nemo. Thoughts? Also, I can't tell from the hotel maps how far any of these places are from the Ritz.
So, in summary I need ideas for:
quick, casual Thursday night dinner
Nice seafood for Friday night
lunch ideas for Friday and Saturday
any thoughts or info on the restaurants at the Ritz in case we wind up eating there.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. More questions:
    Some of the other places mentioned on these boards that look interesting to me are IM Tapas, Cilantro tamales (is this actually good authentic Mexican or more run of the mill Tex Mex?) Fernandez the Bull, Randy's. How would these fit into the above schedule based on who serves lunch, need for reservations, proximity to hotel, etc. We will probably be renting a car.

    12 Replies
    1. re: mountaincachers

      There are two Ritz-Carlton's in Naples; are you staying at the beach one or the Tiburon golf resort one? They are about 3 miles apart. Both have very fine restaurants.

      For Mexican, Cilantro Tamales is good, informal, and inexpensive, but the most authentic places are the little mom-and-pop shops in nearby Bonita Springs - you can just drive down Old US 41 and look for the busiest place.

      Trulucks and USS Nemo are both excellent; we especially like Nemo's, which is nearer to the Ritz anyway (about 5 miles down US 41). Randy's is good, too, more laid-back and informal, and only 2 miles from the hotel.

      If you can, your should really try IM Tapas (965 4th Avenue North), about 8 miles from your hotel. Incredible tapas. Call (239) 403-8272‎.

      There are several good Cuban places, including Fernandez the Bull (which is opening a new place on Immokalee Rd and Airport R), and if authentic taste and price is more important than atmosphere, World Bakery and Cafeteria at the corner of Pine Ridge and 951 (Collier Blvd).

      For Asian, there is Sushi-Thai, with 3 locations in Naples, and there are several other good sushi places (our favorite is Club Sushi at Fujiyama). There is also Roy's (upscale Hawaiian Fusion).

      For a really fine special-occasion dinner, consider Escargot 41, reviewed elsewhere on the board, about 5 miles from your hotel; call (239) 793-5000 for reservations.

      1. re: TomOHaver

        Thanks for the great information. I believe we are staying at the beach Ritz. Are there any specific restaurants there that you would recommend? Unless there is something specific there that is great, I will probably try to minimize our meals there (particularly since there are some conference related dinners there that I will be attending) IM Tapas sounds very interesting to me, and we can't get tapas where we live. If we wanted to go on Thursday night would we have trouble getting in without a reservation?
        On Saturday, I will be in a meeting in the morning, but may head to wherever the shopping is in the afternoon. (My husband wants to go to the Apple store, wherever that is). Are any of the restaurants above convenient to that area for lunch on Saturday? I probably am leaning toward the Cuban, again because that's something we can't get where we live. Authentic taste always trumps atmosphere for us. Thanks so much for your help.

        1. re: mountaincachers

          Apple store is in Waterside Shops a big open air shopping center that I like to call the "purse": mall. Gucci, Vuitton, Spade, Hermes, yada yada yada all there with Saks and Nordstrom anchors. Not much unique nowever as rents are sky-high. Brick-tops is a restaurant in the mall that is popular. Brio is great looking and usually appealing to people for their outdoor dining. I like it but some here do not and get bent out of shape as it is a chain. Quite frankly any restaurant affording the Waterside rent, pretty much by definition will be a chain.

          You could just walk up the beach in your flip flops and have dinner at the Turtle Club. Great sunset place. LMF

          1. re: LilMsFoodie

            How is the food at the Turtle club? It sounds like a beautiful location, but food seems to get mixed reviews. On some of the other threads, it is compared to Gumbo Limbo at the Ritz (I guess because they're both on the water?) Which has better food? I care more about the food quality than price difference.

            1. re: mountaincachers

              I'm not your girl for your requests. Atmosphere and place are very important to me as well as food.

              Naples is not a foodie destination, just so you know. Restaurants must appeal to a broad tourist spectrum and so we have good places but not much that I consider great like in the major cities. Some have been raving over Sea Salt.

              1. re: LilMsFoodie

                I'm not's just that if it comes down to one or the other, I always go with food. It is a plus if you get both. We had originally been thinking about Sea Salt after reading about it in Esquire, but sounds like Chow reviews are mixed, both about food and service. I guessed by the number of chains that it's not a foodie destination, but I still want to make the most of the trip. It sounds like there will be plenty of good choices for the short time we will be there.

              2. re: mountaincachers

                I think you'll find that Gumbo Limbo is more expensive that Turtle Club (because of the Ritz connection). The menu at the Gumbo Limbo is limited (compared to the restaurant in the hotel); we normally go there to watch the sunset with drinks and appetizers. It's true that the reviews of Turtle Club (right up the beach from the Ritz) have been mixed. There are other on-the-beach choices a short drive away - HB's on the Gulf at the Naples Beach Club, and Baleen at the LaPlaya Resort (expensive).

                1. re: TomOHaver

                  When you mentioned that IM Tapas is about 8 miles from the hotel, what does that mean in terms of travel time? Where we live, that would mean a 10-15 minute drive, but there are plenty of places that 8 miles can mean 45-60 minutes. Also, how difficult would it be to get in on Thursday night without a reservation? How about Nemo? We'll be there at the end of February.

                  1. re: mountaincachers

                    You will want a reservation for Nemo assuming you are going at peak dinner hour. Not only is it very popular, the bar area is small, so there is no good place to wait.

                    1. re: mountaincachers

                      Both of those places are a straight shot down US 41 (Tamiami Trail). You can get from the Ritz to IM Tapas in 15-20 minutes, less to Nemo's. I would suggest that you call both of those places to make reservations; they can be booked up at this time of year.

                      At IM Tapas, I hope chef/owner Isabel is there when you eat there; she's a hoot and often comes out to greet guests if they're not too busy in the kitchen.

                      At Nemo's, you can't go very wrong; everything is good, but their most popular dish is Miso/ginger-glazed Chilean Sea Bass. You should try it.

                      1. re: TomOHaver

                        Thanks for the great information. Is IM Tapas open at lunchtime? It's hard to tell on their website. Just trying to figure out my plan.

                        1. re: mountaincachers

                          No lunch at IM Tapas, but Nemo's is open for lunch (and is cheaper and just as good).

        2. I can't add too much to the food choices. The people helping you on this thread all are respected hounds. We just had lunch at Baleen and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's expensive, but no more so than Gumbo Limbo. It's on the beach with a great setting and the food is much better than Turtle Club. They have some wonderful salads. I had an excellent lobster salad with jalapeno ranch dressing chock full of lobster meat. Baleen is about 5 minutes from the Ritz. I enjoy Nemo but for lunch you should have the water views. I've always liked the food at Gumbo Limbo but better to leave the hotel when you can.

          1. Thanks to all for their input. We had a fantastic dinner at USS Nemos. The food and drinks were both fantastic. My only criticism is that the service felt a little rushed. Despite it being a Thursday night, it was packed. Our entrees were served just as we finished our appetizers. Nevertheless, I would go back again in an instant. We also had dinner at IM Tapas. The service there was great, and 4 out of the 5 tapas that we got were excellent. The fifth, mussels, tasted a bit off to me and I wouldn't order again. We also had lunch at the docks at City Dock. The food was good, though not exceptional, and we enjoyed sitting out in the sun looking at the boats. The rest of our dining was at the Ritz, and was better than average banquet/conference food. All in all, a very satisfying food weekend. Thanks to everyone who gave suggestions.

            1. Cannot think of a better place for your Thursday night than Rosso Pomodoro, a new, authentic Italian restaurant on Fifth Avenue. I has only been open a few weeks, but I was lucky enough to be there for the opening. Very attractive, with a bar and good wine list, the food, especially their Napolitan dishes (including the truly authentic Margherita pizza), is fantastic. I can hardly wait to return.