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Any new restaurants on Sanibel or Captiva?

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Heading to Sanibel in a few weeks. We enjoyed Sweet Melissa's and The Island Cow last year. Looking for somewhere new to try on this trip. All food types and prices welcome!

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Sweet Melissa's Cafe
1625 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33597

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  1. bringing this back up for this year - wondering, after reading many old posts, if anyone can suggest one or two places on Sanibel or Captiva - we are staying two nights on Sanibel - our first time to this area - and then heading over to Ft. Lauderdale area.

    1 Reply
    1. re: smilingal

      It was a couple of years ago, but we had a fantastic meal at The Mad Hatter. Excellent food and excellent service. Very nice couple owned the place.The husband was the Head Chef. We would definitely go back when we're in the area again.

    2. We're going in April! My aunt recommended the Bubble Room Restaurant but I can't voich for it...

      3 Replies
      1. re: truman

        We're going in April as well - and I have read not such great things about the Bubble Room - unless you'd like to have cake - I think their orange crunch cake.

        1. re: smilingal

          Avoid Bubble Room is my advice. Same with Island Cow. Tourist meccas, the food is mediocre or worse at both. Their popularity defies reason except that families that vacation here year after year usually have to take their children as they grow up and remember the child hood antics that both places encourage. Both have Disneyesque atmosphere.

          Skip the "COW" and go to Over Easy Cafe. Excellent food and bustling atmosphere but everything is well done and the staff is competent. Great coffee, excellent eggs benedict, awesome cottage fries. http://www.overeasycafesanibel.com/

          Sweet Melissa's is the best quality restaurant on the island IMO. Close second is Sunset Grill at the Captiva end of Sanibel. Simple, contemporary dining room that has front row view of the gulf sunset (albeit, across the road). http://www.sunsetgrillsanibel.com/din... Do fish, they do have a good offering of gulf fish and shell fish. Nice wine selection.
          http://www.sunsetgrillsanibel.com/din...

          Romantic selection is Thistle Lodge. Beautiful place in a historic home. http://thistlelodge.com/
          Yellowtail is one of their best dishes, IMO. They do a lovely seated brunch.

          Kids place for lunch: Schnapper's hots. Buffalo hot dogs and great fries. They do burgers as well.

          Places come and go with the seasons. The one's above have staying power without being tourist traps.

          1. re: LilMsFoodie

            We actually had a good meal at the Island Cow. I wasn't thrilled with the wait (45 min at 5:30pm??) but my fried artichoke and goat cheese po' boy was really good, as was the cherry coke float DH ordered. The Bubble Room kind of creeped me out - we only went because it was close to the marina when our boating trip ended and DS needed to eat right!away!. The food was decent, but pricey ($100 for 2 adults + 1 kid, no alcohol). DH was unimpressed with the coconut cake. By far, our best meal was at Doc Ford's on Sanibel. My grouper sandwich was perfect.

      2. The Mad Hatter is the best restaurant on Sanibel.Il Tesoro has great Italian food. Sanibel Steakhouse was very good.(although service was lacking last year).We are going to try Traders (as it is getting great reviews on Trip advisor).We always love the Mahi-Mahi at Doc Fords, & the grouper sandwich at Grandma Dots, Thistle Lodge has good food, but it is very pricey!Bubble Room was very dingey & dusty. Not impressed with the mediocre food. Cip's is a beautiful place, average food & lacked service last year. Maybe it's improved?It also is getting better reviews.We go in 2 weeks, so we will keep you posted:)

        1 Reply
        1. re: linleedo1

          Just got back. Trader's meal was fanatastic. My wiofe and her mom both raved about the lobster-blue crab dish that apparently is always on the menu. Don't miss Traders.

          Went to Cips for lunch and it's a very nice spot, had a deliciouls Groiuper BLT for lunch (just the sound of it makes your mouth water, huh?), but the service was kinda off. Still, I'd recommend.

          Grandma Dot's is consistant,and Doc Ford's is very solid choice too. After trying about 10 at various places on the island, we decided they clearly make the best and most potent Mojito's.

          Plenty of good happy hour opportunities all across the island if you are so interested.

        2. May I have your attention, please? IL Cielo on Periwinkle is the best restaurant on island. Think crab cakes and lamb. Heavenly desserts. Entrees are in the 18 to 42 dollar range. Highly recommend.