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Oct 29, 2010 12:39 PM

looking for Naples recommendations

I'm heading to Naples on 11/18 for a few days with my girlfriend and best friend and his wife. We are all 30 and are looking for some ideas on where to get some great food. We're staying in Pelican Bay in North Naples. I figure we'll have lunch at the turtle club one day sicne its just a stroll up the beach and will probably have lunch at our beaches in pelican bay the other days.

We want to have a few very good dinners while we're there. Friday the 19th is my birthday and I think we're going to try Cafe Lurcat. I have no intention to go to any chain restaurants ie capital grille, roy's etc, although I haven't been to trulucks and would consider trying it out. we are primarily looking for seafood.

What are some places with great food, nice ambiance / setting (like on the water etc) and a younger vibe / crowd?

Also what are some places we should check out for night life?


Pelican Bay Cafe
, Boca Raton, FL 33433

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  1. Head to Mercato (retail center) for the younger night life scene. There are four bars there where most of the young people in town head after dark and they even maintain crowds after midnight. Blue Martini is a chain, but seems to be the focus of the action. There is an Irish pub around back that had a good mix of people when we were there a few weeks ago. Keep an open mind and understand that the town is not focused toward the party crowd. At most no chain restaurants, you will be the youngest in the room by at least 10 years.

    Blue Martini
    550 S Rosemary Ave Ste 244, West Palm Beach, FL 33401

    1. In addition to Mercato, in North Naples there is also nightlife at Absinthe (sleek, urban club/restaurant in the Vanderbilt Collection at the NW corner of Airport and Vanderbilt Beach Rds) and Fred's (down-home friendly place) in the SE corner of Immokalee and Airport Rds.

      For food, don't miss USS Nemo's for great seafood in an urban modern environment. And watch the sunset from the bar at the LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort.

      But, yea, this is not South Beach.

      1. Randy's Fish Market is a fun casual place for lunch or dinner serving outstanding seafood. The Bayhouse is fine dining with a waterfront view of the river. Baleen is your best bet for real fine dining at the Laplaya Resort. Bha Bha is fun if you like Persian food.

        Randy's Fishmarket Restaurant @ 10395 Tamiami Trail N, Naples, FL 239 - 593 - 5555.
        The Bayhouse Restaurant @ 799 Walkerbilt Road, Naples, FL 239 - 591 - 3837.
        Baleen Restaurant @ 9891 Gulfshore Drive, Naples, FL 239 - 598 - 5707.
        Bha Bha Persian Bistro @ 847 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, FL 239 - 594 - 5557.

        Randy's Fishmarket Restaurant
        10395 Tamiami Trl N, Naples, FL 34108

        5 Replies
        1. re: Littleman

          Littleman, have you been to Randy's lately? Seems like the quality has gone down quite a bit to me and a few others, just saying. Truluck's and Swan River seem to still have very good quality seafood and the stone crab season just started up again, good for everyone who loves them!

          1. re: Val

            Randy's is respectable in my opinion. Trulock's is a chain. The OP stated he was not going to a chain restaurant including Capital Grille. I have always found CG to be respectable also.

            1. re: Val

              We want Randy's the week before Thanksgiving - we were VERY disappointed. The service was fine, but the quality of the food was bad. In fact, some of the food seemed over-cooked and even tasted burnt (fried grouper). We will have to locate another source for stone crab fix this spring break.

              1. re: Val

                I agree 100% with you! We visited Randy's a year ago and were disappointed when in 2009 we had a wonderful meal there. We frequent that are (Naples) once a year and we ended up finding Nemo's and had a fantastic meal there. Every dish seemed to spark our taste buds into an amusing smile while eating but I'd pass on the drinks menu - everything is mixed with saki and we are not fans of saki (so if you want a mixed drink - be warned no top-shelf there) - stick with hot tea or a wine. Loved their shrimp appetizer as well as the salad, and signature fish dish.

              2. re: Littleman

                I second the rec for Bha Bha Persian Bistro. We ate dinner there on a Thursday night recently and it was as good as always. Everything there is delicious in a "different", not-your-same-old-same-old-way, with interesting flavor combinations of herbs, spices, nuts, yogurt, and fruits. And to top if off, on Thursday nights there is a belly dancer (and a beautiful young one, at that), which might be a good thing or a bad thing, depending. The vibe is casual chic.

                847 Vanderbilt Beach Rd, Naples, FL 34108

              3. tom, i know its not south beach, my family has had a house in pelican bay since the mid 80's. i really havent been there as an adult though and when i have its been with friends for fishing trips or just grilling and hanging out at the beach. i'm a bit older now and my ideas of vacation have changed, but as much as we'll enjoy eachother's company we kind of wanted to go out a night or two for drinks, we are on vacation...

                thanks for the baleen link Littleman, I think we'll head up there for dinner one night. Its close, and the reviews look good. At least maybe we'll do cocktails and apps then move elsewhere for a later dinner...

                what are the best places for stone crabs?

                how is the dock at creighton cove for drinks / casual dinner?


                1 Reply
                1. re: dannymeis

                  Dannymeis, our office group was discussing this very subject about stone crabs today...a number of us just go and buy some at Captain Kirk's and bring them home, heat up some butter or make some mustard sauce and eat the darned things. You *could* go to Truluck's for the all you can eat thing but heck, it's a MUCH better buy if you buy 'em and bring 'em home to eat. Usually, they'll crack them for you wherever you buy them, you just need to ask!

                2. The Dock is a nice place for a casual meal but I recommend it for lunch or an early dinner while it's still light out. It's on the water with a nice view. Campiello has great food and is a happening restaurant, although the happening is probably at least 30+ years older than you, except of course for some of the trophy wives and girlfriends.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: RevrendAndy


                    You've got some good suggestions from folks.

                    Best seafood is at USS Nemo, or the chain Trulucks. Nemo's has a younger crowd.
                    Baleen has a view that Lurcat doesn't have. I've enjoyed Lurcat's food, Baleen was good, not great a year ago-my friends say it's still best for drinks at sunset, then move on.

                    Revrend's right. Campiello's is surely the place for May-December lust, er, true love - seeing generous older guys and perky trophy women.. The girls' plastic surgeons sometimes dine across the street at Sea Salt and watch their craft work in motion, from a discrete 50 feet away!

                    Absinthe used to be livelier in its better days, then Blue Martini has become the hot spot magnet for all ages. Good loud live bands. You can dine like a bandit for 1/2 price from 5-8 pm at BM, and the lamb chops and steak are worth 2-3x the Happy Hour price-it's decent dinner portion size for ~$8-9, and a generous wine pour for $4 then!
                    Randy's is funky casual atmosphere and good if the others are filled-you'd fit in in shorts and shorts.

                    Do you just want to eat, or dine with live very good music, too?
                    If you're a touch romantic, go to Bites at the Ritz-great tapas type food that's not expensive, and the guitarist and vocalist are truly tops. They are professional musicians who do latin, talian, contemporary, flamenco, etc .On their day off, a pianist is there.

                    Patric's is another favorite for simple bites, tapas style and live jazz music.
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