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Boston hound in Estero/Bonita Springs/Ft. Myers for a long weekend

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Coming down for 5 days w/family and looking for recs in this area. We are in to hidden gems and local places, craft beer and good cocktails, nothing too fancy. Need dinner and bar suggestions. Have done some searches but appreciate all suggestions. Thanks

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  1. I've been visiting Ft. Myers for a week to visit family that winters there for a couple of decades. Some of our favorites are:

    Sasse's (on Evans in Ft. Myers) for Italian. One large salad ($12) can easily feed a family. Three entrees can satisfy five people: We always order the eggplant parm, which is about the best I've had. I love the chicken marsala. My mom enjoys the lamb or pork shank. Great woodburning oven. I like the chocolate mousse; they prefer the apple dessert which comes blazing hot from the oven with a scoop of ice cream. Entrees hover slightly below (pastas) or above $20 (meat dishes) with desserts $6. In a strip mall but nice inside, great service, we really enjoy it. If you don't share dishes you'll definitely be taking leftovers with you.

    Wyld's, on Bonita Springs road (or is it Bonita Beach?) west of both Hwy 75 and 41, in a strip mall with an entrance and parking behind. Topnotch restaurant. My favorite dish is the meatloaf, made from filet trimmings, wonderfully flavorful and tender. But everything good there, from the shortribs (in a sweetish sauce with cranberry) to the kurobuta pork chop to the fish selections. Entrees from the low to high $20s. Next to A Table Apart, also very good but can get loud.

    We enjoy a lot of other places (Cafe Lurcat in Naples for their 3-course early special ($28.95, if I recall) before 6:30; Bonefilsh Grill, a chain with locations in Ft. Myers and Naples that really executes consistently; Roy's in Bonita) but Sasse's and Wyld's are my can't-miss favorites each visit the last few years. Oh, and don't miss Grouper and Chips in Naples for a lunch of fantastic crunchy fried grouper. Enjoy and report back.

    1 Reply
    1. re: nosh

      +1 on Wylde's. We had dinner there not long ago-rack of lamb-that was some of the best I've ever had. Crisp outside, so tender inside. My father wanted to go somewhere else (he can squeeze a bellow out of a buffalo nickel). He took one bite of the lamb, turned to me and said "Coming here was a good idea." the service is wonderful.
      We went to A Table Apart last night. The special was a petite fillet/lobster cake combo that was delicious. The lobster cake was laced with tarragon, which I don't usually like, but was spot on in this. Ma had the scallops, on a bed of roasted corn with curry, also delicious.
      The ambiance at A Table Apart isn't as good as Wylde's, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend either place.

    2. Hi Tboom29! Welcome to SW Florida! I can help with the Ft Myers area.
      The Blue Pointe at the Bell Tower Mall has consistently great food. Besides fresh oysters and other seafood, they also have a variety of chops, sandwiches and salads. They are an individual owner.
      Another hole in the wall beauty is Crave on McGregor across the street from the Landings. The homemade corned beef hash is my fav, right behind the eggs ben. They specialize in comfort food; expect to see meatloaf and chicken pot pie on the menu, but keep an eye out for the chef's board for a more adventurous entree.
      For great Italian with a Spanish flavor, La Trattolia Cafe Napoli sits in an unassuming strip mall on US 41 and Chrystal Dr. The place only sits 55 at a time and is always packed, so you may consider reservations.
      At Ft Myers Beach, sit at the top of the Beached Wale to people watch and eat some of the best Buffalo Shrimp appetizer I've ever had. Along with a salad, makes a great lunch.
      I cannot recall any more microbrews here. Had one, (Hops) went under. There is an Irish pub, Ballyorneys, on 41 just south of Daniels, that has a wide variety of beer, though. Unique building and story. Worth a trip there...Irish Eggrolls...
      Let us know where you end up going...

      2 Replies
      1. re: MartiniGenie

        Balleyorney is closed, without notice and not paying employees. It had miserable food and third rate entertainment.

        Crave is good but I wouldn't drive up from Bonita for it.

        Sasse's isn't worth my mentioning as a relative always talks it up and they are good, but nothing special.

        If you like Greek, Zorbas on Bonita Beach Road near 41 is very very good. Excellent fresh, fresh, fresh salads, great fish, nice hot pita brought to your table with greek olive oil for nibbling while you decide.

        A Table Apart on Bonita Beach Rd. is excellent as is Wyld's with A Table Apart slightly ahead.

        Blue Pointe is a favorite but it is part of a restaurant group, no individually owned. The group is based in Ohio but have given each place it's own name. When buying non-local seafood (they specialize in NE and Great Lakes fish) having large buying power helps in getting the best. I highly recommend as well.

        Local divey type bar might be Doc's Beach House at the curve of Bonita Beach RD. right on the Gulf. This is a place for beer. I think their pizza is mediocre at best.

        Another fun bar is on Bonita Beach Rd. right before the Gulf turn. Coconut Jack's has an open air bar on the water. Owned by the people that run Salty Sam's and Parrot Key up on Fort Myers Beach.

        1. re: LilMsFoodie

          LilMsFoodie -- As a frequent visitor to Ft. Myers, I rely on you and RevrendAndy for good advice on places from Ft. Myers down to Naples. I respect your opinion, but I have some minor quibbles:

          Sasse's is a favorite of mine and our family. Yes, I've heard the weirdities of the former owner, but the present husband and wife owners and solid young chef have been there for years now. The portions aren't as immense for most entrees as they used to be, but we still find that ordering two entrees for every three diners is enough, especially if some are pasta dishes and you share one of their huge salads (a large easily serves four) and dessert. Their eggplant parm is among the best I've ever had. Service is ultra-friendly. They will cook former dishes that might currently be off the menu, if they can. It is no longer the bargain that it was a few years ago, when we would leave with leftover box lunches or snacks for days, but we still consider it a value and place it near the top of our rotation, especially if we don't want to drive all the way to Bonita or Naples.

          Agree that Wyld's and A Table Apart are both excellent, and almost next to eachother. I'd place Wyld's a shade above A Table Apart -- mostly because of the atmosphere. Once you enter from the back and are seated, it is on the darker lighting side, much more quiet, divided dining areas rather than one big room, and in our experience more civilized and celebratory. Their meatloaf (sometimes off the menu or devoured) really elevates that dish. The shredded duck and mushroom napoleon is a great starter with varied textures and a tasty sauce -- easily big enough to share. A Table Apart is brighter, louder, a little more informal, but the food is great. Their rack of lamb gives you about eight bones, and their pork chop is thick and delicious. But at the price point -- both average high $twenties for entrees -- I give the edge to Wyld's but never object to dining at either.

          I miss An Insatiable Appetite, Ivan's blog. I hope he starts posting again and continues contributing here as well.