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Times of the Islands Magazine

From Fine Dining to Fresh Seafood: Try Out These Southwest Florida Restaurants

Dec 05, 2023 08:30AM ● By Francesca Block
Southwest Florida is known for its sandy beaches, sunny skies and beautiful ocean views — but the region also boasts a vibrant food scene. From classic fine dining options and steakhouses to freshly grilled seafood and sushi, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Check out some of our favorites below!

Bimini Bait Shack, LLC

Enjoy the tropical vibes of this tiki bar and grill down by the water. Their menu features everything from fresh oysters to restaurant classics like a Caribbean salmon bowl and their signature shrimp fettuccine. Plus, check out the freshly made tropical-themed cocktails at the Tiki Bar! 

Plan your visit: Open Sunday through Thursday 11a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., 17501 Harbour Pointe Dr, Fort Myers, (239) 360-2248


Inspired by French and Asian cuisine, Blanc provides a unique and elevated dining experience with a wide ranging menu, featuring fresh seafood, vegetables and meats. You can also reserve the restaurant for special occasions, from family events to bridal parties and more! 

Plan your visit: Open Tuesday through Saturday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., 13451 McGregor Blvd, Ste. #10, Fort Myers, (239) 887-3139

Blu Sushi

Enjoy creative specialty rolls — including a roll named after — and beloved sushi classics — such as fresh sashimi — at this upscale restaurant, which also features a full bar and handcrafted cocktails. 

Plan your visit: 
- McGregor: Open Sunday through Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m, Friday & Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., 13451 McGregor Blvd #23, Fort Myers, (239) 489-1500
- Downtown: Open Monday through Thursday 11:30 10:30 p.m., Friday & Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 11p.m., Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., 2262 First St, Fort Myers, (239) 362-2843

Chops City Grill 

This classic steakhouse features "in house" dry aged Prime, American, certified Japanese, and Australian wagyu steaks at an affordable price. The restaurant also features a full bar with over 100 whiskey selections and 350 different bottles of wine. 

Plan your visit: 
- Naples: Open daily from 12 a.m. to 8 p.m., 837 Fifth Avenue South, Naples, (239) 262-4677
- Bonita Springs: Open daily from 12 a.m. to 8 p.m., 8200 Health Center Blvd, Bonita Springs, (239) 992.4677

Cielo Restaurant

Cielo Restaurant features farm to table cuisine highlighting the best local produce from southwest Florida. Diners can pair fresh seafood and steaks with creative cocktails, handcrafted by the restaurant's very own mixologist. 

Plan your visit: Open for lunch Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and dinner Tuesday through Saturday 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. 1244 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, (239) 472-5555

Deep Lagoon Seafood and Oyster House 

Deep Lagoon's menu features coastal classic flavors like a seafood tower and fresh fish, in addition to a specialized small plates menu perfect for sharing with family and friends. The menu allows diners to mix and match to create their ideal meal with the freshest ingredients from southwest Florida. 

Plan your visit: Open daily from 11a.m. to 10 p.m., 14040 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers, 239-689-5474

Flippers on the Bay

This waterfront restaurants sits right on Estero Bay. Enjoy views of the water as you sip cold, hand-mixed cocktails and dine on breakfast, lunch and dinner. Diners can enjoy the Flippers on the Bay experience by land or sea — if you're on a boat, you can dock at  the Big Carlos Pass/ Channel Marker 4[Lat: 26.406.255 Long : 81.876.262] to enjoy this iconic southwest Florida spot. 

Plan your visit: Open Monday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., 8767 Estero Boulevard, Fort Myers Beach, (239) 765-1025

La Fontanella

This authentic Italian restaurant features classic Italian dishes all made from scratch. Enjoy family style dining or entrees just for yourself. Diners can also celebrate the holidays and ring in the new year at La Fontanella, which is open on both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. 

Plan your visit: Open Monday through Saturday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., 24600 S Tamiami Trl, Ste 204, Bonita Springs, (239) 498-6808

Holiday Hours: Open Christmas and New Year’s Eve from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Lighthouse Waterfront Restaurant 

This classic American restaurant features classic dishes with a tropical flair. Enjoy fresh fish and local ingredients for lunch and dinner, while admiring the view of the Gulf of Mexico. If you plan it right, you can even catch one of southwest Florida's gorgeous sunsets as you enjoy the restaurant's fine dining options. Diners can also enjoy live music from southwest Florida's most sought-after performers every afternoon and evening. 

Plan your visit: Open daily at 11 a.m. (happy hour until 5 p.m.). 14301 Port Comfort Road, Fort Myers, 239-489-0770

Old 41 Restaurant 

A southwest Florida staple for 16 years, Old 41 Restaurant offers a wide variety of breakfast and lunch options. This family-owned restaurant features anything from fluffy blueberry pancakes to a juicy cheeseburger, in an environment fit for the whole family. 

Plan your visit: Open daily from 7a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 25091 Bernwood Dr Ste 1, Bonita Springs, (239) 948-4190

Olde Florida Chop House

This petite steakhouse specializes in Floridian style dishes such as seafood and steaks. As diners take in the peaceful waterfront views, they can also complement their meals with specially recommended wines and cocktails. 

Plan your visit: Open Tuesday through Saturday, 3:30 p.m.-8 p.m., 3401 Bay Commons Drive
Bonita Springs, 239-948-4400

Prawnbroker Restaurant and Fish Market

Located in Fort Myers, Prawnbroker Restaurant and Fish Market has been serving up some of southwest Florida's best fish  for 41 years. Also make sure to checkout the seafood market located inside the restaurant for the day's freshest catches and some of the restaurant's signature dishes, such as their New England Clam Chowder or Florida Gulf Shrimp Bisque. 

Plan your visit: Open daily from 4 p.m., 13451-16 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers, (239) 489-2226

Rodizio Grill The Brazilian Steakhouse 

Experience authentic Brazilian, rotisserie-grilled steaks in the heart of Estero's Coconut Point mall at Rodizio Grill. In addition to gourmet steaks, the restaurant also features a salad bar, desserts, and an unforgettable dining experience fit for the whole family. 

Plan your visit: Open Monday through Friday 5p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 12p.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. to 10 p.m., 8017 Plaza del Lago Dr Suite 101, Estero, (239) 498-0018 

Ruth's Chris Steak House

Enjoy a delicious steak in an elegant environment at Ruth's Chris Steak House, located in the Village Shops in Bonita Springs. Enjoy specialty cut steaks and specialty seafood items, or try out the restaurant's hand-crafted cocktail menu. Open on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, Ruth's Chris is also the ideal place for celebration with the family. 

Plan your visit: Open Monday through Thursday 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday & Saturday 4p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Sunday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., 23151 Village Shops Way, Bonita Springs, (239) 948-8888

Holiday Hours: Open Christmas Eve from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., New Year's Eve from 3 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

The Timbers Restaurant & Fish Market 

Enjoy some of the best seafood in Sanibel at The Timbers Restaurant. The menu features everything from oysters and a raw bar to the day's freshest fish matched with southwest Florida's tropical flavors. Also make sure to check out the fresh fish market, which has been providing the freshest catches to Sanibel residents since 1980. 

Plan your visit: Open Wednesday through Sunday from 4:30pm, 703 Tarpon Bay Road, Sanibel Island, (239) 395-CRAB

Trader's Restaurant

This fine dining restaurant features coastal inspired meals, delicious cocktails, and live music. Enjoy menu favorites, such as the specialty white gazpacho, the seared scallops or the baby back ribs, while sipping on specialty cocktails with a tropical twist. Plus, checkout the store connected to the restaurant for a curated selection of jewelry, clothes, accessories and gifts. 

Plan your visit: Open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 1551 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, 239-472-7242

University Grill 

The University Grill prides itself on its seafood, steaks and handcrafted martinis. Open for more than 22 years, this southwest Florida staple is famous for its haddock dishes and its specialty nights, such as Italian Nights on Wednesdays and Fish Fry Nights on Fridays. 

Plan your visit: Open daily from 3p.m., 7790 Cypress Lake Drive, Fort Myers, (239) 437-4377