If they haven’t already, foodies are taking notice of Southwest Florida. For each beach-casual seafood joint overlooking the water (and there are many), alternative choices have popped up representing all types of cuisines and price points.
One of the most bucket-listed dining experiences on our shores takes place just off the coast. Dinner cruises like those offered by the Sanibel Harbour Princess carry you onto the glimmering Gulf waters aboard a sleek, modern yacht for a decadent meal and a top-notch view of the sunset.
Fall in love during a sumptuous candlelit dinner at Thistle Lodge on Sanibel, or at Tarpon Lodge in Pine Island. Slip into something more casual for an evening sipping tropical drinks and tapping your toes to live music at local seaside restaurants like Flippers on Lovers Key, RumRunners in Cape Coral or Gramma Dot's on Sanibel.
Our area’s coastal location skews our local palate toward seafood, but that only scratches the surface of our unique selection. Restaurants like Ichiban, Blu Sushi and Thai Gardens bring delectable flavors from the Far East to Fort Myers. And the fiesta never stops at Mexican restaurant favorites like Jalapeños Restaurant and La Casita.
For every taste on the menu, there’s a flavor of fun that heats up after dark. Start in downtown Fort Myers in the River District at local mainstays like The Firestone, The Veranda and the Barrel Room for talented blues bands. Once a month, don’t let the live music at the Patio de Leon pass you by during Music Walk, or the vibrant sights and sounds of Art Walk. For an encore, head to Fort Myers Beach where the Lani Kai Island Resort and The Cottage Bar are known for live bands and welcoming dance floors.
In Greater Fort Myers, a round of cold, local beers is always nearby at microbreweries like Point Ybel, Fort Myers Brewing Company, and Old Soul Brewing. Each hosts a variety of live entertainment that almost rivals their mouth-watering ales, lagers and more. Then, belly up to the bar at The Ranch Saloon and Society Restaurant & Lounge for live music that’ll make you shake your tail feather. Or soak up the telltale chords and poignant lyrics at the Buckingham Blues Bar.
Whether it’s to cool down the evening, dig into a new dish, or make a splash, you’ll find the perfect place in Cape Coral. Stop into Lehne Burger, Cork Soakers or the Fish Tale Grill for upscale service and excellent fare in a bright and upbeat atmosphere. If you’re really looking to live up the night, head to the Dixie Roadhouse or Backstreets, where fun-filled days continue into the evening.
Renowned as one of the top culinary consultants in Southwest Florida, Karen Feldman has been a food devotee her entire life. With over two decades of experience writing about the food scene and reviewing restaurants in the region, Feldman publishes articles on the latest tastes, trends and culinary happenings. In addition, her expertise on all things edible has been published in The News-Press and more recently in Florida Weekly.
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