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Need a recommendation for special dinner - Sanibel???

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I have been a lurker on here for some time & always enjoy & respect the lively debate on the Naples/Ft Myers/Cape Coral dining scene. I have a special birthday coming up & want to go somewhere with a nice view and good food. I was thinking Sanibel as maybe the way to go but don't know the dining scene there that well. Been to Traders a couple of times (last visit was quite dreadful & not a patch on what I'd previously enjoyed). Enjoyed a couple of visits to the Twilight Cafe at their newer location. But I am wondering is there anything better?

I have eaten at the Bayfront Bistro on Ft Myers Beach which you would think may tick the box but for me it didn't. Lovely view but I felt the food was over-rated & expensive for for what you got. I don't have a problem for paying for high quality food but particularly the Truffle Manchego Fries were a huge disappointment and really let the kitchen down.

Any pointers from fellow Chowhounds would be most appreciated!

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

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  1. Patsysmom: Try the Thistle Lodge which is in the Casa Yble resort. Excellent food . They also have a piano player on certain nights.

    Psychman

    1. The best meal I've ever had on Sanibel was at the Mad Hatter. It's upscale (with prices to match), and is one of few restaurants on the island that provides a gulfside sunset view.

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      Mad Hatter Restaurant
      6460 Sanibel Captiva Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957

      4 Replies
      1. re: sweet_polly

        Yes, quite a few people have been disappointed in Bayfront Bistro. Locals say the quality and service have definitely dropped since they opened.
        Hey, if you had a captive audience on the island during the season, and could cut staffing and food quality and still make a big profit, why not?- That's the perception of locals about the restaurant, and they go a little further to Sandy Butler for a better quality dinner. Bayfornt is still good for drinks and the view before dinner.

        On Sanibel, Thistle Lodge is the tops in view, ambience and food service and quality. I've been there several times, and have always been happy.

        Ellingtons has very good jazz, but overpriced food, so go there for drinks, not dinner. Sweet Melissa's is good, I've not been there in over a year.

        1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

          Thank you everyone for your recommendations. I appreciate you all taking the time to consider & reply! Seems the Thistle Lodge may be the way to go unless anyone else would like to add to the discussion?

          1. re: Patsysmom

            Thistle Lodge on Sanibel or Old Captiva House at the Tween Waters Resort. Thistle Lodge ambiance is charming and food is consistently good.

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            Old Captiva House
            15951 Captiva Dr SW, Captiva, FL 33924

            1. re: LilMsFoodie

              I just wanted to say thank you for everyone who took time to recommend a restaurant for a special birthday. Last night we dined at the Thistle Lodge and had a very nice evening. Nice view, nice ambiance, friendly service. Food was nice enough although maybe lacked a certain sophistication I kind of expected at the plate prices being charged. Overall we had a very nice evening & I thank you all for your comments.