Warning: Don’t read this post if you’re hungry!
Last year, I shared 8 Great Places to Eat in Naples Florida. As you may know if you’ve been keeping up with me in 2022, I spent my winter as a snowbird in Bonita Springs. Bonita is right next to Naples. Being the foodie that I am, I was on the hunt for good restaurants. And hunt I did during my three month stay — so much so that I’m back with eight new mouthwatering options.
An abundance of casual culinary offerings
Casual is the mode of choice in Naples and the surrounding cities. You don’t have to dress up at these establishments and all have outdoor seating. As for the culinary scene, it’s diverse from Italian to Mexican, Indian to Greek, plus multiple down home diners with American fare. There are also plenty of places to enjoy beverages – be it specialty coffees, craft beers, wine or trendy cocktails.
Let’s start with breakfast
My favorite meal of the day is breakfast or brunch as some call it on the weekend. Since meeting my new boyfriend E, who is a fan of chocolate chip pancakes, I’ve been craving pancakes whenever I go out for a morning meal. For yummy blueberry pancakes with blueberry compote and syrup on the side, I recommend Patio Cafe in North Naples. You can order a short stack but I prefer the regular size portion. Why eat two when you can have four?
“If you like pancakes you should try Blueberry’s,” said my pickleball pal M. According to Blueberry’s, they “cook over 7,500 pounds of pancake mix a year” – so we had to try out their cakes. I took my daughter A to Blueberry’s for breakfast when she visited. We shared blueberry pancakes and a yogurt parfait. Both were made-to-order and were as Blueberry’s slogan says, “Always Fresh! Always Delicious!”
Is it lunch time yet?
One of my favorite places to have lunch (and dinner too) is at the Shops at Venetian Bay. There are a wide selection of restaurants along the bay with outdoor waterside seating. It’s also a nice place to walk around during the day.
“I’m in the mood for a fish sandwich,” said my friend S during her visit. “I know the perfect spot,” I replied. “It’s The Village Pub.” The Pub is known for its free pickles, which are stored in pickle jars on each table. Pickle afficionados say it’s “the best place to get pickled.” Besides pickles, I highly recommend the catch of the day on a brioche bun with remoulade sauce. OMG, it’s so good, so good, so good.
Another neighborhood hangout in North Naples is Boston Beer Garden, named with a nod to the original BBG, established in South Boston in 1995. The BBG team invited me to stop by to sample hyper-local beers and enjoy a complimentary lunch in honor of BBG’s 15 year anniversary. BBG is a fun place to go with a group for drinks, munchies and burgers, especially when you want to watch sports — there are wide-screen tv monitors all around the restaurant — even outside.
At night the place was hopping with March Madness viewers. My BFF C and I went for a quiet lunch and enjoyed eating our fresh BBG salmon salads while sitting under an umbrella on the back patio.*
If you’re in East Naples (or want a have lunch after playing pickleball at East Naples Park), head over to Celebration Park on Bayshore Drive. There you’ll find about a dozen or so high-quality food trucks.
I liked the Park so much I went twice in two weeks. Both times I ordered Indian food from Deccani Bites, an outpost from Chef Asif, who was featured on The Food Network. Ooh, ooh, ooh, my Naan Malabar Shrimp Flat topped with crispy shrimp, Amul cheese blend and coconut curry sauce, was so good, so good, so good. Drinks are available at a full-service bar on the property and seating is open around the Park.
FYI: Next door to Celebration Park is Three60 Market, another restaurant that has a terrific wine shop. Three60 Market has a wide selection of wines at the cheapest prices as long as you pay in cash.
FYI, FYI: I heard from the Tourism Board in Naples that Chef Asif opened a contemporary Indian restaurant in downtown Naples called 21 Spices. I so wanted to go there before I left Florida this year. Adding it to my list for next year.
Where shall we go for dinner?
“Don’t drink too many Margaritas at Iguana Mia. They go down easy,” said my neighbor D. My BFF M and I opted for Sangria. It went down easy too. So did the guacamole and chips and the fish tacos with yellow rice and refried beans. Juan and his chefs have been serving up “mexcellent” food in Southwest Florida for 30 years. In addition to the Bonita Springs cafe, they have locations in Ft. Myers and Cape Coral.
“Do you like Italian food?” asked my neighbor P. “Trattoria Abruzzo has great Happy Hour deals at the bar.” The trattoria is located in the Shoppes at Vanderbilt on Vanderbilt Beach Road. My BFF M and I went early one evening to check it out.
By 5:30 p.m. the bar was full so we were seated at an outdoor table. We skipped the HH specials and instead I ordered one of my Italian favs – eggplant parm, which is on the appetizer menu. It was so good, so good, so good. I definitely want to return to Abruzzo to try a pizza from its authentic wood burning pizza oven and Nonna Vanna’s homemade pasta.
For Mediterranean cuisine, Zorbas Mediterranean Grille & Bar in Bonita Springs has flavorful Greek food. Owners Panagiotis and Sofia were born and raised in Greece before moving to the USA and opening Zorbas in the late 1990s. After 20+ years, daughter Polixeni has taken over general operations and continues to provide a menu filled with traditions from her heritage including Greek salad, Spanikopita, Gyro platters, and lamb dishes.
When dining at Zorbas be sure to leave room for dessert. OMG when E and I dined there with BFF C and her husband M they ordered the baklava. E and I said, “we’ll have baklava too.” They thought we said two and brought out a double portion. Think we finished both? Of course we did, or as they say in Greek: φυσικά (pronounced fysika)
Are you hungry yet?
There you have it, another “8 Great Places to Eat in Naples Florida” for 2022. Ready to book a flight to go eat in Naples Florida? I’ll be back in 2023 to sample more of the city’s culinary offerings and be ready to report all the new news next year. So many more restaurants to contemplate and reservations to await.
Judi the “Foodie”
P.S. Still to come from my snowbird stay in Flo-ree-da, I look forward to taking you on a tour of the Naples Botanical Gardens, and imparting with detail about my fab girls’ road trip home with my daughter A, including stops in St. Augustine, Charleston and Richmond.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: Boston Beer Garden provided me with a complimentary meal in Naples, Florida. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.