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looking for Naples recommendations

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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?

Thanks,
Danny

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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.

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    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.
        http://www.randysfishmarketrestaurant...
        The Bayhouse Restaurant @ 799 Walkerbilt Road, Naples, FL 239 - 591 - 3837.
        http://www.bayhousenaples.com/
        Baleen Restaurant @ 9891 Gulfshore Drive, Naples, FL 239 - 598 - 5707.
        http://www.laplayaresort.com/laplaya_...
        Bha Bha Persian Bistro @ 847 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, FL 239 - 594 - 5557.
        http://www.bhabhapersianbistro.com/

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        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.

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                Bha!
                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?

                Thanks

                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

                    DM

                    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.
                    Check out photos and ideas on the left sidebar at:

                    http://aninsatiableappetite.blogspot....

                  2. Two places well worth hitting are virtually next door to eachother on Bonita Springs Road in Bonita -- Wyld's and A Table Apart. I like them better than an of the hoity-toity places we've dined at in Naples proper. For inexpensive, excellent grouper, try Grouper & Chips.

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                    A Table Apart
                    4295 Bonita Beach Rd, Bonita Springs, FL 34134

                    Grouper & Chips
                    338 Tamiami Trl N, Naples, FL 34102

                    Wylds Cafe
                    4271 Bonita Beach Rd, Bonita Springs, FL 34134

                    1. what about Angelina's, the local italian (no chain) in Bonita. and Sophia's on Pine Ridge also not too far from Pelican Bay.

                      although CG is a chain, they do their best to make it very much not like a chain. the chef gets his seafood locally and the service is always the best.
                      for real local color and a great meal, the newly renovated The Bay House just north of Immokalee (make a left at that night club-Visions?).

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                      Bay House Restaurant
                      799 Walkerbilt Road, Naples, FL 34110

                      Pelican Bay Cafe
                      , Boca Raton, FL 33433

                      1. This restaurant is not cheap but very good. The wine list is good and fairly priced. The service is top notch. I had the risotto with black truffles, very good. The grouper special was perfectly cooked and the calamari appetizer was very special.

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                        Ristorante Ciao
                        835 4th Ave S, Naples, FL 34102

                        1. Try Bayside in Venetian Village. I had lunch. Very good. Great view of the Bay. Also Bellini on 5th avenue. Had a really spectacular lemon tart for dessert. Great outdoor seating.

                          1. I'm going to be back in Naples for a week starting on Saturday. Anything interesting going on? I hope to check out some lower key delicious spots, kinda want to shy away from dressed up dinners and the like...

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: dannymeis

                              Falafel Grill=very low key. Inca's Kitchen is also very casual and great quality last time I was there for lunch, okay--it was a while ago...9/2010. heh, but no pretensions or dress-up required, quite refreshing for Naples. Fernandez the Bull, same deal--ethnic and casual.

                              1. re: Val

                                Awesome, falafal grill has been on my radar since I started this thread...

                                Also, if there are any intersting food, wine, other events happening around town please post em. I'll be in the area for a week with my gf so we are going to want to get out and enjoy the area as much as possible. Thanks

                                1. re: dannymeis

                                  Darn...this PAST weekend they had the Asia Fest and the Greek Fest! But I don't know of any other food fests this coming weekend in Naples...well, it's the President's Day holiday on Monday...maybe take in one of our beautiful parks....Fakahatchee Strand or Corkscrew?

                                2. re: Val

                                  We've been back to Falafel Grill and Inca's Kitchen this season (twice to the latter) and they are both still the same and still excellent. Prices seemed higher than I remember at Falafel Grill, but Inca's Kitchen is still an excellent deal - $16 for a whole roast chicken with a huge platter of salad and the best and crunchiest "french" fries I've even eaten. Don't miss that. (Inca's Kitchen gets very busy on Weekends - call for a reservation).

                                  1. re: TomOHaver

                                    Thanks, Tom...I need my "falafel fix" and will abide tomorrow since it's a holiday for some of us...♥

                                    1. re: Val

                                      It's great to see these little restaurants busy. I expect to see long lines at locally popular places like Mel's, Michelbob's, and Carrabbas, but I was surprised when four of us tried to eat at Inka's Kitchen on a Saturday at 6:30 pm and were told there would be a 45 minutes wait! I had no idea it had become so popular. We called for a reservation the next time we ate there. 8-)

                                      Another nice place that has become very popular is Mimi's Cooking, on Pine Ridge at Yahl Street (near the Asian Pok Market). We had a great lunch there recently and every table in this tiny place was filled. (Try the onion soup.) At dinner, reservations are a must there. (Marie-Michelle greets every guest with a kiss-hello. I love it).

                                      1. re: TomOHaver

                                        finally, Inca's is busy. i think the remodeling helped too. hopefully he will open up another (or move?) to N. Naples--i thought the building on Pine Ridge where the Tre Fratellis was (now a vegan place) would be perfect.

                                        -----
                                        Fratellis Restaurant
                                        415 Anastasia Blvd, Saint Augustine, FL 32080

                                        1. re: Zeits

                                          Zeits,

                                          I suggested a better place- that is available...he's looking into it...

                                          Tom,

                                          Mimi's is a treat!

                                          1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                                            When we ate a Inka's Kitchen a couple of weeks ago, the owner said he was thinking about expanding into the empty storefront next door.

                                            Restaurant owners who are struggling should some and see how Inka's Kitchen does it.

                                            -----
                                            Inka's'
                                            250 E Palm Dr Ste F20, Homestead, FL 33034

                              2. Best Italian food so far is Naples Tomato in North Naples on US41 north of Wiggins Pass. Fresh made pasta, extensive wine list, reasonable prices, nice bar.

                                Blue Martini at Mercato is cool but after 10pm when crowd is younger.

                                Bistro 821 on 5th Ave is another favorite.

                                -----
                                Bistro 821
                                821 5th Avenue South, Naples, FL 34102

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

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: jnannic

                                  I enjoy Naples Tomato for the reasons jnannic mentioned.

                                  The clear choice of those who have dined in Italy is however Sophia's, on Pine Ridge.

                                  They do not advertise like NT, nor have the volume of customers.

                                  It's more of a Mom and Pop place, a hidden gem, only Mom and Pop are gourmet chefs who have a lovely daughter, Sophia.

                                  Give it a try, and let us know your thoughts!

                                  1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                                    stopped in on the way home for take-out from Sophia's. i thought i was getting some generic veal parm platter but it was a veal chop in sauce and cheese. little surprised by the price but it was absolutely delicious.