It's time to take a stand. The next time you're thinking about going to an old, reliable, big chain like Olive Garden or Chili's, give one of these local places a try. Your taste buds --and the local economy -- just might be better off for it.
Escape the chain gangMetromix
October 30, 2008
Matanzas Inn Restaurant is tucked on the waterfront just under the highest part of the Sky Bridge on Fort Myers Beach. Known for its seafood dishes like stuffed grouper and conch chowder, this area classic also offers steaks and traditional landlubber fare. Chances are good that you will see dolphin roaming around the Bay and adjacent canal if you wisely choose to sit at an outdoor table. Upper Deck Lounge offers live music, local performances, and a loftier view.
Charley's Boathouse Grill has been a local favorite on Fort Myers Beach for more than 30 years. The indoor family-oriented restaurant offers steaks, ribs and a variety of fresh seafood. Chefs also spice up entrees with the finest seasoning and herbs. Early bird specials run until 6 p.m.
Snug Harbor, on Fort Myers Beach just under the Matanzas Bridge, offers a classy, cozy place to enjoy a meal with a view. Down the street from busier Times Square, the multi-level restaurant features delicious seafood, steaks, pasta, and jumbo salads; with a constant views of the Bay. Children and adults will appreciate the three-story underwater mural just inside the door by the elevator.
The Lighthouse Waterfront Restaurant provides a panoramic view of Saint John's Harbor in a relaxed wildlife setting. Enjoy seafood dishes, fine steaks, pasta and steaks. Come on the weekend for live entertainment, or stop in the lounge from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday - Friday for happy hour.
This Japanese cafe has been serving Southwest Florida for about 15 years, and boasts an extensive menu. It's located near Ozeki Japanese restaurant, but focuses on sushi instead of steak, and also offers Korean barbecue and sake.
Seafood & Steaks our specialty. Prix Fixe menu 4-6 daily. Happy Hour 4-7. Private function room available for business meetings and family gatherings.
Crave is a modern-styled American cuisine restaurant located in the Bridge Plaza strip off McGregor Boulevard. This charming location offers a full board of handwritten specials, and a cozy dining room with many comfy booths. Another noteworthy feature of this Mom and Pop is its catering menu.
Crust Bistro in Bonita Springs offers four soups a day, inventive salads, crispy flatbreads and sandwiches plus dinner entrees in a softly lit European decor. The casual contemporary cuisine offers many culinary surprises for you to savor, an indication that its chefs are at play. The bistro has a good selection of American and international wines by the bottle or glass plus micro draughts — many available at happy hour prices. Early bird menu from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily.
Bistro 41is casually elegant, and more than a great restaurant, it's a great experience.
Offering an array of American and seafood dishes, Clancey's Restaurant, the oldest in Lee County, is best known for its fried zucchini. Dollar bills from customers line the walls of the fun establishment. Live entertainment takes place on St. Patrick's Day. A discount for Lee County fire departments and other service industries is offered.
Za Za Pizza is serious about food. Located in Estero, the menu reflects traditional authentic peasant Italian cuisine. Set in a bohemian atmosphere, the energy from the open kitchen overflows into the dining area. Owned and operated by chefs, their mission is to make every meal a memorable one. Take the eggs in purgatory - fresh organic eggs poached in marinara with extra virgin olive oil, chilies, reggiano cheese, fresh herbs and served with Za Za garlic styx for dipping. The selection of pizza toppings ranges from Italian to Greek and the entrees, sandwiches and salads are just as serious.
North Fort Myers' Englund's Deli has been family owned and operated since 1981. They serve quality subs and sandwiches with quality service. Englund's Deli also sells cold cuts by the pound.
Rene's Restaurant on McGregor Boulevard is right off of College Parkway is a great place to meet for lunch. Its convenient location and down home charm make it an area classic. Its entire menu is available not only for take out but for delivery as well.
Take the family, a date, your out-of-town guests, or a group of your pals to The Beach Pierside Grill. Offering a full bar, live entertainment, indoor or open-air seating and a wide selection of fresh seafood and American fare, Pierside has something for everyone. Adjacent to the public pier at Times Square, Pierside provides a direct view of the Gulf of Mexico and unbeatable sunsets.
Waterfront dining overlooking Matlacha pass. Menu includes Florida lobster, fresh seafood and prime rib.
Located in the Bridge Plaza, Cibo Cafe is a romantic, upscale restaurant featuring its famous Mama's Meatballs. However, Mama isn't the only one in the kitchen. Pepe's Martinis are asked for frequently by regulars. It recently moved to a new, bigger location from a different suite at Bridge Plaza.
For classic burgers and fries or that special sandwich at lunchtime.
Features a wide-ranging sushi menu along with other treats from the sea - cooked and raw. Definitely a place to check out late at night for drink specials, DJ music and special events