Bon Appetit! The Best of Naples Dining

Naples is well known for its wide variety of dining options. But new residents can find the vast number of options overwhelming! Where to begin?

You may want to start with some of my personal favorites and go from there. Here is a short list to get you started!

For pizza: Cosmos Italian Cafe and Pizzeria. Located on Tamiami Trail just north of 5th Avenue S., Cosmos has been voted Southwest Florida’s Choice and Best of Gulf Shore. Besides pizza, Cosmos offers calzones, salads, and a full lunch and dinner menu.

For classic American food and steaks: Chops City Grill on 5th Avenue South. Chops offers a great menu, high quality food and service, and prime location. Eat early, then take in a show at the Sugden Theater, or just enjoy a stroll down 5th.

For seafood: Don’t miss Swan River Seafood! Located in Parkshore Centre, an unobtrusive strip mall along Tamiami Trail, Swan River offers a fresh seafood market, raw bar, and restaurant. Enjoy fresh fish and many New England favorites, with a broad assortment of appetizers and sides.

For beachfront dining: The Turtle Club at the Vanderbilt Beach Resort offers indoor dining, patio dining, or beachfront “sand under the toes” tables. A great place to enjoy the sunset, the Turtle Club is located just north of Vanderbilt Beach.

For a romantic evening: Bleu Provence on 12th St. S. Enjoy fine French cuisine in an elegant, relaxing atmosphere. Bleu Provence offers an outstanding wine selection and servers are well-versed in all menu offerings.

For a weekday lunch: Stop in at Tommy Bahama on 3rd St. S. Recharge during your shopping excursion or meet friends for delicious food in an island-themed paradise. Parking is easy in the lot just behind the restaurant.

For a sports bar: Tavern on the Bay Sports Bar and Grill, located at Bayfront. Enjoy happy hour drinks and special menu offerings weekdays between 3-7 p.m. Stay to catch a game, have dinner, or stroll past the Bayfront marina.

For burgers: Brooks Burgers, located downtown just north of Fifth Avenue and in the Pavillion mall at Vanderbilt Beach. Build your own burger or order one of Brooks’ specialties...but don’t forget the onion rings!

Butcher Shop - Jimmy P’s Butcher Shop & Deli – Jimmy P’s offers all manner of meats you can cook at home plus café fare, including burgers, subs and meat-centric sandwiches. www.jimmypsbutchershop.com 

For the best ice cream and frozen custard: Abbott’s is a fixture on 5th Avenue South. 

Best New Restaurants: 2018

The Bevy – From deviled oysters to bouillabaisse to pan-seared kurobuta pork and grilled cauliflower steak, there’s something for everyone here, including a three-course meal for the family dog. 360 12th Ave. 228-4220, www.naplesbevy.com.

Bistro Bagatelle – Le Lafayette, a long-time bastion of fine French fare in downtown Naples, was a victim of Irma. The extensive damage will take time to repair so chef/owner Sebastien Maillard opened Bistro Bagatelle on U.S. 41 East, where Mr. Mom’s Diner, Cloyde’s, Scallywags Steak & Burger House and Sweet Mama’s Island Cuisine have all operated. The chef serves a traditional French menu with favorites such as French onion soup, escargot, chateaubriand, sweetbreads and roasted duck. 3560 US 41 E. 403-7861, and on Facebook.

Burntwood Tavern – This new chain now occupies the Mercato space where the Rusty Bucket previously operated. Think fried pickles, tavern tater tots, sliders, salads, fish and chips, smoked pork tenderloin, flatbreads and sandwiches. 9110 Strada Place. 631-8964, www.burntwoodtavern.com.

Casamigos – Tacos, fajitas, whole-fried fish and other Mexican fare is available at this new restaurant just south of Pine Ridge Road at 4947 Tamiami Trail N. in North Naples. 529-6472, and on Facebook.

The Cave – A long-awaited bistro at the Naples Wine Collection, the food is designed to go with the wine, rather than the other way around. Savor your favorite wine at one of the tables while nibbling on Korean bulgogi, tuna crudo, farro salad, freekah cake, duck confit and goat cheese flatbread or turtle cheesecake, among other options. 2343 Vanderbilt Road, North Naples. 513- 0095, www.napleswinecollection.com.

The French Brasserie Rustique –Chef/owner Vincenzo Betulia is known for his Italian fare at Osteria Tulia and Bar Tulia, but his first love was French food and it shows at his version of a turn-of-the century Parisian brasserie. 365 Fifth Ave. S. 315-4019, www.thefrenchnaples.com.

Meridian Café – Fans of Sakura Hawaiian Grill mourned its closing but chef/owner Raena Hobson, who has taken over the space, is keeping standards high with her breakfast-lunch café that serves homemade corned beef, Hollandaise, salad dressings and virtually everything else made from scratch. The Culinary Institute of America grad previously headed up the kitchen of Three 60 Market. 3375 Pine Ridge Road, Naples. 280-5536, www.meridiancafenaples.com.

Kitchen – Where Mangrove Café once stood, Kitchen now serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a cheery farmhouse setting. The menu is primarily American, with a few pasta dishes for good measure. 878 Fifth Ave. S. 315-4571, www.kitchennaples.com.

La Colmar – The passion of third-generation French pastry chef Yannick Brendel is evident here in the breads and pastries he and his team create in a charming bistro that adjoins Timeless. 80 Tamiami Trail N. 315-4303, www.lacolmar.com.

Ocean Prime – The Inn on Fifth’s upscale restaurant is now Ocean Prime, a tony chain specializing in fresh seafood and steaks, inventive cocktails, an extensive wine list and a sophisticated setting. 699 5th Ave. S. 430-0404, www.ocean-prime.com.

Namba Ramen & Sushi – If you like Zen Asian BBQ , chances are you will like Namba, too, which is owned and operated by Zen’s former chef, Koko Pitak, who will offer ramen bowls, dishes made on a Robata grill and wide-ranging sushi in his own restaurant, which is due to open soon. 8847 Tamiami Trail N. 592-4992, www.nambarestuarant.com.

NeNe’s Kitchen – In the former Loving Hut space is NeNe’s Kitchen’s second location, bringing its successful breakfast and lunch formula from Marco Island. Besides the usual fare, you’ll find items such as crunchy French toast, bacon waffles and eggs shrimp Florentine, sloppy Joe’s and Nana’s Sky High Chocolate Cake. 975 Pine Ridge Road. 260-1216, www.neneskitchen.com.

The Rooster Food + Drink – Oneyda’s Bakery & Deli has closed and The Rooster has strutted into its place in the Empire Plaza. Bryan Sutton, most recently chef of Veranda E at Hotel Escalante (and previously Tropical Reef), is the chef/owner along with Chef Lisa Resch (Bin 58) and Colleen Connolly. With Ms. Resch in the house, too, expect homemade pasta, chess pie and cornmeal-based johnnycakes, homemade biscuits and breads. 600 Goodlette-Frank Road N., Suite 101. 228- 5973, www.theroosternaples.com.

Timeless – An MHK Eatery – Chef David Nelson (formerly of Avenue 5) is in charge of the open kitchen, which serves small plates, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, short ribs, coal-fired steaks and other creative fare. 90 Tamiami Trail N. Call 331-4325, www.timelesseatery.com

True Food Kitchen – If you’re looking for healthy cuisine without sacrificing flavor, the newest hot spot at Waterside Shops is a treasure trove of food based on the anti-inflammatory diet touted by Dr. Andrew Weil. Healthy yes, but also delicious. A great spot for vegans and vegetarians but carnivores will find plenty to suit them as well. 5375 Tamiami Trail N. 431-4580, www.truefoodkitchen.com.

Vegan Kitchen – Loving Hut has closed but some of its principals have moved a few blocks south and opened this charming little vegan gem. 745 Neapolitan Way. 307-4813, www.vegan-kitchen.us.

The Warehouse – The name may describe the building in which it sits but this family-owned restaurant is lovely inside and the from-scratch food is imaginative and well-executed. 9010 Bay Drive. 231-4073, www.thewarehousenaples.com.

This list is only the beginning - you’re sure to discover your own favorites as you become better acquainted with all that Naples has to offer.

Bon appetit!