Savor Fresh Local Flavors at Naples Area Restaurants

By Chelle Koster Walton

Area chefs are taking a local and sustainable approach to dining with farm-fresh ingredients.

For serious seafood lovers in Florida's Paradise Coast, fall means one thing: Stone crab claws!

Top restaurants across the country are beefing up their menus with wholesome locally sourced food, and Naples area restaurants are no exception. Foodies flock to nearby dining hot spots in Naples, Everglades City and Marco Island for dishes packed with all-natural, local ingredients and a flavorful punch.

While marrying natural flavors with rich signature sauces, area restaurateurs are also designing suave spaces with an effortlessly cool atmosphere to complement their progressive menus. Here are just a few of the health-conscious food havens on the Paradise Coast:

Local Fare with Farm-Fresh Ingredients

The Local

The Local’s owner and chef, Jeff Mitchell, has spent most of his culinary career crafting dishes that deliver decadent taste and pops of fresh color. His restaurant located in Naples serves an ever-changing menu with everything from locally sourced Snapper Ceviche Tacos with Citrus to a Butchers Cut of Southeast Family Farms Grass-Fed Beef. Claiming to be the first “farm-to-table, sea-to-table” restaurant in the area, chef Mitchell caters to every genre of foodie – from meat lovers to vegans and vegetarians – all with the use of local or hyper-local ingredients. The restaurant lives up to its slogan, "Eat. Drink. Be local." with a rustic, warm and friendly space, blackboard specials and a cozy wine bar for calm, casual dining.

Sea Salt

Chef Fabrizio Aielli helms the kitchen at Sea Salt, located on Third Street South in Naples.

Chef Fabrizio Aielli helms the kitchen at Sea Salt, one of Naples' premier restaurants for local and sustainable cuisine.

Chef Fabrizio Aielli of Sea Salt works consistently with local farmers and day boat fishermen to yield the freshest organic and sustainable ingredients for his dishes. His dedication to detail paired with a simple, contemporary menu emphasizes the natural flavors of Naples, making for an exquisite dining experience on Third Street South. Try the Swordfish “Puttanesca” or The “Fire & Ice” Platter for oysters on the half shell and crispy calamari.

Fresh Florida Seafood

City Seafood

At City Seafood you may catch a glimpse of fishermen hauling their latest catch from the dock to the kitchen – that’s what we they call dock-to-table in Everglades City. This rustic waterfront haven has served up giant stone crab claws and fried frog legs for as long as the locals can remember, and with a simple, laid-back menu, it’s a top spot for food-loving explorers and nature lovers alike. Choose from an outdoor picnic table overlooking the water for a potential manatee sighting, or head upstairs to the cool air for indoor seating. After your meal, visit the restaurant’s Seafood Market for take-home grouper, scallops, gator meat, oysters, Gulf shrimp and Florida Lobster tail.

Organic Restaurants & Markets

Food & Thought

Most commonly known as an organic general store, the restaurant at Food & Thought serves an array of fresh meals made from juicy, locally grown fruits, leafy greens and other sustainable ingredients. With a menu that changes daily and foods grown at their own nearby Collier County farm, Food & Thought, located in a small strip mall café, may be the pulse of organic eating on the Paradise Coast. Inside the store, you’ll find a juice bar serving up fresh organic juices, smoothies, coffee drinks and milkshakes along with a variety of vegan options.