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Good Places Ft. Myers to Naples/Bonita We Might Not Know?

n
nosh Feb 4, 2013 04:25 PM

Been traveling to Ft. Myers each spring for two decades. Love the area and the golf and spring training. Will be back Wednesday for a week and again six weeks later.

Some of our favorites: Wyld's and A Table Apart on Bonita Springs Rd. Willing to drive for dinner at either. In Ft. Myers, we really like Sasse's -- yes, I know there are naysayers, but we know the menus and have grown to like the owners and chef and always enjoy our meals there. I like Bistro 41, which has admittedly had its ups and downs over the years, but in November they offered to offer their meatloaf as a special if I gave them notice. Cafe Lurcat in Naples has (had? -- hopefully not) an amazing early 3-course offer before 6:30 was it? Roy's is consistently good for food, service, and value, if you utilize their 3-course prix-fixe. Fortunately, my mom's clubhouse serves very good food, a Friday night seafood buffet, and a great crunchy grouper sandwich. I know it is a chain, but we don't have Bonefish Grille out here or where mom lives and they do a great job -- no wonder they're crowded.

I like hole-in-the-walls -- e.g. Grouper and Chips in Naples. Unfortunately, "An Insatiable Gourmet" isn't posting on his blog lately. I've always appreciated the consistent input here from LilMsFoodie and RevrendAndy and I apologize to others I'm not mentioning. My mom lives off of Daniels closer to the 75 than the 41, so anything along there would be especially helpful.

  1. Bumstead Feb 4, 2013 06:02 PM

    El Gaucho Inca is close to you and features Argentinian and Italian dishes. I had Achuras and the black sausage and sweet bread was fantastic.
    http://www.elgauchoinca.com/#!

    A recent article in the NewsPress talks about Sasse's and it's new owner: http://www.news-press.com/article/201...

    1. LilMsFoodie Feb 5, 2013 04:01 AM

      Sasse's has new ownership since last October. Recent review in Fort Myers news-press.

      Best place in Fort Myers right now is a little storefront: Mad Fresh Urban Cuisine. Tiny place with a french owner/chef with big city experience just cooking by himself for patrons sitting at the food bar and a few tables. Excellent wines. Amazing flat breads, top notch steak frites. Menu states chef refuses the right to serve ketchup to anyone over 10. Lots of young foodies and families going here. We love it. Next to Outback near Bell Tower.

      If we are in Naples, we love Barbatella. Third Street South area with a lovely outdoor seating area and a great bar area, looking all La Dolce Vita.

      Best Fort Myers restaurant to me is La Trattoria de Napoli. Smallish place with amazing food and wine. I had a lovely veal dish served over fried green beans with a delicious green olive and carrot sauce.

      I think Ivan must have an exclusive with Gulfshore Life. Also, in high season, he plans medical dinners, or at least he used to.

      1 Reply
      1. re: LilMsFoodie
        duckfat73 Feb 17, 2013 02:52 PM

        Just looked up Mad Fresh. Their menu sounds really, really good. Can't wait to try it out.

      2. n
        nosh Feb 15, 2013 05:57 PM

        Trip report:

        Wyld's Cafe in Bonita on Bonita Beach Road excellent as always. Their meatloaf back on the regular menu. A few in our party ordered a rich and delicious mushroom soup -- I had a taste and agree.

        Went to Sasse's under the new ownership. Our favorite server was still there, friendly and enthusiastic as always. I think I hit the jackpot with my 12-oz stuffed breaded pork chop -- delicious and enough for dinner and a pre-flight lunch a couple days later. Ordered a pizza as a starter, which was good but too much food. They no longer do the huge salads big enough for four, but adequate for splitting. The superlative eggplant parm no longer on the menu or available. My mom loved her osso buco with the marrow bone.

        Ate at a chainy sports bar-type place on the other side of Daniels from Fiddlesticks -- lots of flatscreens with sports on. Special was babyback ribs, which were way too fall-off-the-bone for us (we like some bite). Pizza was good, very thin crust, cut into squares rather than wedges.

        Before an event at the Phil in Naples had dinner at Bayside, upstairs with a window view. My lobster bisque came out lukewarm -- good after reheating. Good grilled salmon. Amateurish service ("And who gets this?") with one wrong dish delivered, a delay for him to get his correct mussels, and the wrong dish appearing on the bill. For that supposed level of price and service, not acceptable.

        Ate at a fairly large Italian place where Six Mile Cypress passes Winkler and the bridge and turns into Gladiolus, called Pomodoro or Il Pomodoro. Very good friendly service. Good hot crispy garlic rolls. Huge portions. Liked my mom's spaghetti and meat sauce. Shared a chicken marsala -- chicken very tough and served over fettucini noodles which made it hard to eat. Shared a ground beef/sausage/onion/cheese/tube pasta concoction that was ok. Place has potential if I find my favorite dishes -- next time I'll try the canneloni or lasagna.

        A kudo for the Olde Hickory clubhouse -- a burger cooked to the requested medium-rare. A crunchy grouper sandwich big enough to split. A really nice club sandwich. Much better food and service than the much more ritzy club I used to visit in San Diego.

        Back again for a week in late March. Will work on my golf and look for any other suggestions here. Thanks.

        1. t
          TuteTibiImperes Feb 18, 2013 08:47 PM

          The chain-y sportsbar place sounds like Stevie Tomato's. It's a local chain, I think they had up to six locations at once, but now they are down to three.

          I tend to avoid ribs anyplace other than dedicated BBQ joints. Unless they have a real smoker on premises, the ribs oftentimes just aren't worth it (and then sometimes even if they do...)

          Stevie's does have some of the best buffalo wings in SWFL, and their Mahi Mahi sandwich is top notch. It's a solid place for bar food done well, burgers, wings, pizza, etc.

          On the recommendation for El Gaucho Inca above, I do concur, but there's another Peruvian place in town that I prefer called El Patio (located on the southbound side of 41 in a strip mall just north of the Colonial overpass). The menu is a bit more expansive when it comes to Peruvian dishes, and they have a great one called Tacu Tacu - which is basically a fried rice and bean cake topped with a variety of optional toppings from seafood to steak, onion and peppers. It's a great dish for these cold winter days.

          1. n
            nosh Mar 27, 2013 01:12 AM

            Tried Mad Fresh Urban Bistro fairly early this past Saturday, and my party really liked it. WAAAY too much food, those flatbreads are huge and we ordered three for five people. Beet salad was a big success. Burger was gorgeous, thick covered with brie on a brioche bun -- I liked when they advised that they only cook it medium-rare. Great fries.

            They are doing a lot of things right. Enthusiastic service, owners in the trenches onsite.

            My "margherita" flatbread had a crisp crust with a nice chew. Tomato was chunked rather than sliced, and while the cheese was good quality to me a bit bland, and no parmesan or crushed red pepper to spice it up -- no tomato sauce, either. Don't expect a pizza. But the flatbread that incorporated figs was a big hit.

            Small seating area. No reservations policy understandable but will hurt when my mom and uncle and aunt are making plans in advance. A bit hard to find the first time on the outskirts of Bell Tower, but easy parking and access once we did.

            Definitely an addition to the list of Ft. Myers options.

            1. MartiniGenie Mar 30, 2013 09:46 AM

              Hey Nosh,
              Here's a hole-in-the-wall for you: La Trattoria de Napoli
              http://www.latrattoriacafenapoli.com/
              It's in a little strip mall on 41 near Chrystal. Great food. LiLMisF
              mentioned them and I did not see them on your trip report. Worth the drive up Daniels.

              1 Reply
              1. re: MartiniGenie
                p
                Pwmfan Mar 30, 2013 10:08 AM

                +1 for Trattoria de Napoli! Don't let the location/exterior deter you - the interior is nice and the food is great.

              2. b
                BlueHerons Apr 4, 2013 11:29 AM

                I know you've already been there and back but I am a really big fan of Tommy Bahama. Not only is the food fantastic but the outdoor restaurant is a really cool place to sit and eat and drink with friends and family. Fish, tacos, ahi tuna poki, tuna tacos, scallop sliders, pina colada cake, lobster bisque are just a few of my favorites.

                3 Replies
                1. re: BlueHerons
                  An Insatiable Appetite Apr 8, 2013 01:54 PM

                  Hi Nosh, LilMsFoodie, Tute, BlueHerons and all!

                  I've been super busy since last May with lots of things..still eating, still freelancing, but less time to write.

                  I have two fairly new Naples treats I highly recommend...
                  Maria D'annas is across from the NCH Hospital at 300 TamiamiTrail North-it's a cozy European setting with excellent food. Chef Ryan Flood rocks-you can find him Saturday am at the Farmers Market gathering up truly fresh supplies! BTW, his Walleye from Michigan and the forest mushroom soup are superb!

                  Veranda E is just West of Bice across 3rd and just off 5th Avenue South in the Escalante Hotel...Chef Michael Kang's artful creations have a French and Asian influence-it's great food served in a romantic secluded poolside ambiance. Scallops, short ribs, calamari, lemon-ginger ice cream...all tops!

                  In Fort Myers, Cru, with Chefs Harold Balink, Josh Zeman and Bob Boyd, offers beautifully prepared food. I love the sea bass, scallops, beet salad and Tuna crudo with figs. Harold took over Cru perhaps 3 years ago, and it's been better than ever in the 9 years existence.

                  1. re: An Insatiable Appetite
                    n
                    nosh Apr 8, 2013 02:43 PM

                    BlueHerons -- I remember eating on that very pleasant patio at Tommy Bahama's a few years ago. I had a lot of fun while we waited for our table watching the grill chef on the line while my mom and other guests shopped. I had a fantastic grilled pork chop, thick and juicy with cross-hatched grill marks -- a memorable dish. But our experience was marred by poor service -- once our mains were presented it was near impossible to get anyone's attention for follow-up.

                    An Insatiable Appetite -- Your website is bookmarked in my food section, so for a year I've brought it up only to find that same old review of Cloyde's. Great to hear from you. My mom tried Cru a couple times years ago when it was new and wasn't impressed enough to take me there during my visits. I'll pass on Maria D'Annas and Veranda E for her Naples excursions, but she just left for back home in St. Louis so it will have to be next year. In Bell Towers, I've always enjoyed Bistro 41 -- yes I know it has had ups and downs, but I like their meatloaf and last year they offered to make it as a special if I called in advance. Please find the time to start posting again -- you are missed.

                    1. re: nosh
                      An Insatiable Appetite Apr 8, 2013 07:45 PM

                      Cru has been through various owners and chefs in the past 9 years. Only the location is the same...
                      Everything else has changed, for the better compared to your mom's experience. . New owner/chef, menu, etc.
                      I was there last week for its "yearly check up!"

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