Dining Outside the Home: First Watch in Estero, Florida! You can always tell breakfast is going to be good when you know the workers get up with the chickens, which means the crack of dawn. The oven heats up for freshly-baked pastries, the cage-free eggs get whipped for super-light lemon ricotta pancakes, and the smell of hardwood smoked bacon stimulates the appetite as succulent fruits and garden vegetables are chopped, sliced, or diced for the menu of the day. But that’s not all. Smell that coffee. Once you place the order, an aromatic pot of steaming coffee is set before you to drain at your leisure. This is how to enjoy the morning cuppa joe. As you can imagine, word has gotten out, so sometimes there’s a wait. No worries, it takes that long to decide what to choose. Besides, this is Florida and the weather brings a healthy disposition.
Vergina Restaurant in Naples, Florida
Dining Outside the Home: Vergina Restaurant in Naples, Florida! Italians are known for their food culture as well as their leisurely meals. Located on 5th Avenue, a few steps away from the Sugden Civic Theater, is a great place for meeting people. It’s known as Vergina’s. The neo-classic architecture provides lovely patio dining as well as intimate gatherings inside along the u-shaped bar or at tables located throughout. Vergina’s crafted martinis by personable bartenders, an euphoric wine list, memorable cocktails, and leisurely Italian courses are reasons enough to stop by for social interaction or that weekly “date night”. Unwind where the music is lively, without drowning out personal conversations, and the appetite is fully sated.
Nauti Parrot Oasis in Fort Myers, Florida
Dining Outside the Home: Nauti Parrot Oasis in Fort Myers, Florida! Have you ever been on your way to someplace else and noticed an open-air thatched roof tiki hut that just so happens to offer live music, serve bar bites, and keep the drinks cold? The Nauti Parrot Oasis is open every day for that getaway you’re seeking. They invite music lovers to drop by anytime. And, to be honest, you can get quite a variety of food from pizza and wings to lasagna and veal piccata. The entertainment changes often, yes even during the afternoon. There’s a nice little waterfall fountain for ambiance as well as tiki totem poles offering hospitality. Conversation is encouraged, but not required. For laidback island fun and a positive outlook on life, escape to this hideaway resting place in plain sight.
British Open Pub in Bonita Springs, Florida
Dining Outside the Home: British Open Pub in Bonita Springs, Florida! As you stroll past the life-size armored knight statue at the entrance to this British-themed restaurant, expect some hearty dishes paired with a cold pint or two. Inside the cozy little pub, choose a barstool, patio table, or comfy booth for semi-private conversations. The menu offers a nice selection of British favorites for a bit of the unusual including Fish & Chips, Pot Roast Pastie, Liver and Onions, or Banger & Mashed. Decisions, decisions. There’s quite a nice group of English Sandwedges for something a little different, especially if you add an order of Chips & Gravy. On second thought, better plan a return visit. Portions are generous, so chances are your eyes may be bigger than your stomach. Take a nontraditional trip “across the pond” without the expense of a plane ticket.
Steamers in Naples, Florida
Dining Outside the Home: Steamers in Naples, Florida! For New England-style seafood in an unpretentious setting, it always helps to get a tip about where the locals go for incredible clam chowder with a side of fried clam strips and hush puppies. The menu offers way more than steamed scallops, sautéed shrimp, fried clams, blackened fish, and lobster tails. Unfortunately, I can’t get past the taste of my favorite combination enough to find out how delicious everything else is. What I can confirm, is that people stand in line or meander around the busy strip mall to wait for a table inside or out. It feels like family the way the staff interacts with customers. When you get the craving, remember Steamers for outstanding seafood at a pretty decent price.
The Dock at Crayton Cove in Naples, Florida
Dining Outside the Home: The Dock at Crayton Cove in Naples, Florida! Open waterfront dining has been drawing people like a moth to flame since 1976. Could it be the tropical paradise setting? Or the splash of a wave against the floating dock stretching out into Naples Bay? What about the low hum of the motor on a distant yacht? It’s not hard to imagine when you are seated at the open-air restaurant sipping on a refreshing cocktail basking in the afternoon breeze. Order a Crayton Cove Cobb Salad. Enjoy it as served or add lump lobster meat for a taste extravaganza. Afterwards take a nice long walk around this “Back Bay” area. It’s seeped in history for the early pioneers as well as the fishing community.
Pier 22 in Bradenton, Florida
Dining Outside the Home: Pier 22 in Bradenton, Florida! Perched on the edge of the Manatee River since the 1920’s, with a panoramic view of the marina and beyond, Pier 22 is a road trip destination to Historic Bradenton that culminates in a fabulous meal on the riverside deck. From casual occasions on the patio to formal celebrations in the ballroom, time spent here becomes a memorable experience. The building itself resembles a charming Mediterranean villa with bobbing bateaux against the distant skyline. Meals are made from scratch, creating art-on-a-plate presentation worthy of the crown. Take your time by enjoying the seafood bounty, the gussied up entrées, the summery cocktails, and the fabulous desserts. No matter the hour or weather, Pier 22 transforms the entire scene into one of life’s perfect moments.
Doug’s Seafood in Bonita Springs, Florida
Dining Outside the Home: Doug’s Seafood in Bonita Springs, Florida! Drive a little off the beaten path for a quaint little fish house, part seafood market, that feels as though it has transported you off the coast of Maine. Perhaps that is due to the owner, Captain Doug, who made his living from lobster boats for over 20 years before gravitating to Florida. The extensive menu offers buttery lobster, fried clam strips, grilled shrimp, and outstanding chowders. But that’s not all. Try the fresh catch, blackened and seasoned to perfection. The authenticity of this eatery may seem humble and cozy, but rest assured, the staff is waiting with open arms to share the essence of Maine’s seafood culture.
Divieto Ristorante in Estero, Florida
Dining Outside the Home: Divieto Ristorante in Estero, Florida! Whenever a meal is prepared table-side, things are bound to feel a little bit different at this 1920’s version of a classic Italian restaurant. Their signature dish, Ruota di Parmigiano, is a creamy fettuccine Alfredo specialty tossed in a parmigiana-reggiano cheese wheel. The steamy homemade pasta is poured into the hollowed out cheese wheel over a layer of freshly scraped parmesan shavings. As the pasta is gently mixed in, the buttered noodles are coated in the creamy decadence causing the customers to practically drool uncontrollably. But mind your manners, take a sip of water, and wait patiently until the server ceremoniously transfers the traditional pasta dish before you as though you were royalty.