It’s easy to spot the familiar “chain” restaurants on a quick drive around Naples.
But tucked among those well known names are the locally owned spots known as Naples’ Originals. These are independent restaurants, offering great food and personal service. Each has it’s own unique ambience and culinary offerings…but together, they share a commitment to our community.
You’ll find a full listing of the Naples Originals at www.naplesoriginals.com. But here is a preview of a few that I enjoy. Check these out, then select a few of your own. Discover some new favorite spots!
Riverwalk: Located on the Gordon River in Tin City, Riverwalk features delicious daily “fish market” offerings and unique side pairings. Try red beans and rice or sweet mashed potatoes with mahi mahi or grouper. Watch for drink specials in the bar, and enjoy live music during happy hour.
The Dock at Crayton Cove: With the same longtime owners as Riverwalk, you’ll enjoy more waterfront dining at The Dock. Here you can enjoy delicious seafood classics, or try something with a distinctly Cuban or Latin flair. Start your dinner with shrimp cocktail in an icy canoe, and after dinner take a stroll out the City Dock for some boat watching.
Bistro 821 is easy to spot along Fifth Avenue South. Watch for the bright yellow awning, and select a table inside or dine al fresco where the people watching can’t be beat. Menu offerings include Asian style entrees, delicious seafood, and even comfort food with a twist (try Chef Jess’ meat loaf or “shake and bake” pork chop!) And don’t leave without sampling the flourless chocolate cake!
Chops City Grill is another great Fifth Avenue South option. Chops is a definite “cut above” the normal steak house. You’ll enjoy beautiful ambience, aged beef, hand-rolled sushi, and fresh seafood. Service is top flight and you’ll finish your evening knowing that you’ve been somewhere truly special!
On a more casual note, take a drive to North Naples and visit The Blue Monkey, at Vanderbilt Beach Rd. and Collier Blvd. The Blue Monkey is more than your typical sports bar (but yes, you can watch the games there too). Even a burger is a treat at the Blue Monkey, and the Greek salad with steak is a terrific lunch. Sample a few appetizers too - the offerings such as ahi tuna with wasabi, or a crab rangoon roll are among the surprises on the menu. In the same shopping center, the owners of the Blue Monkey have recently opened Cafe Blu, serving breakfast and lunch.
And speaking of burgers…my blog has talked about Brooks’ Burgers and Dogs before. A Naples classic, Brooks is a “must” for residents and visitors alike. Enjoy a side of onion rings with one of twenty burger selections. Many locals contend that Brooks is the BEST place for a burger in Naples. Try one….and you decide!
Over on Pine Ridge Rd. check out South Street City Grill. Specialties at South Street are brick oven pizza and Philly cheese steaks, topped off with a great selection of craft beers. South Street is well known for its live music offerings, featuring local Naples talent.
Put a few of the originals on your list of places to go…maybe it’s a date night, maybe a special occasion, or maybe “just because.” You’re sure to enjoy these local treasures and get a bit of the true flavor of paradise here in Naples.