Whether your goal is Tiki bar, feet-in-the-sand casual, or a refined special occasion meal, you will find it in Naples. As Cathy Christopher, Director of Sales and Marketing at Inn on Fifth notes, “Naples is the only beach city with this range of cuisine and cultural opportunities. There are many beach cities in Florida (and the world) to choose from, but Naples enjoys a unique combination of amazing restaurants and the natural beauty of the Everglades.”
Chef Asif Syed – the former executive chef at Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa – was crowned "Curry King" in two international competitions and appeared on Food Network on Guy Fieri’s Grocery Games and Alton Brown’s Cutthroat Kitchen. That acclaim and a life-long dream inspired him to open 21 Spices by Chef Asif a traditional yet contemporary and modern Indian restaurant in Naples Florida.
Chef Asif's special is the best coconut curry I have ever tasted, chock full of seafood, including Gulf shrimp and a lobster tail. Recently, Chef Asif "Beat Bobby Flay" in a tandoori chicken challenge on the celebrity chef's Food Network show Beat Bobby Flay. Watch for Chef Asif’s cooking classes, special themed dinners and other events, most of which sell out quickly.
The local Brook’s Gourmet Burgers & Dogs chain has three locations (with a possible fourth in the works) turning out Naples’ most popular burgers. Great reviews recently landed Brooks the No. 2 spot on TripAdvisor’s list of the ten best restaurants for burgers in the country. Go with the traditional beef, or sample one of the unique meats like alligator or bison. Unusual options do not stop at the beef—glazed donuts are an alternate to traditional burger buns.
Capri Fish House in Isles of Capri is one of the best Naples restaurants on the water for a tasty lunch. This is why you come to Florida, people. Outside seating, tiki bar, and fish jumping in the water, seemingly begging to be chosen for your lunch. It’s a great stop after visiting the Museum of the Everglades in Everglades City, where you can also visit Chokoloskee for ecotour adventures and fascinating local history at the Smallwood Store.
The Claw Bar is known for its cold shellfish bar and refined atmosphere. Order a local stone crab claw (or a rock crab claw from Scotland in the offseason) while you peruse the menu. The seafood tower is a popular item, and the St. Augustine Stew is fantastic—chock full of seafood, with a delectable datil pepper and pureed tomato sauce. Pair your meal with a spicy margarita or one of Bar Manager Luke's other innovative creations. Beignets are the dessert to try. McCool Travel tip: The caramel was the best I ever tasted. Yes, really!
The Continental American Provisions and Craft Bar -Try the exceptional filet mignon sandwich for lunch. It is mouthwateringly delicious. The Continental has a lovely outdoor courtyard with table seating and one of Naples’ most popular bars. Inside seating is also available, and quirky artwork completes the decor.
Dorona serves exceptional steaks and Italian food, including a meatball appetizer that you must not miss. Food is carefully sourced from purveyors throughout the U.S. and you can learn about these providers in the menu. McCool Travel tip: Visit Dorona at lunch for an incredible steak at a wallet friendly price.
For classic, elegant French cuisine in a casual setting, head to The French on 5th Avenue South. Try the "best trout amandine in the U.S." (according to the assistant general manager) and save room for the rich Baba au Rhum dessert. During the off season you can score a three-course meal including both trout and dessert for under $35.
More of the best Naples restaurants recommended by local hospitality and tourism experts:
Naples has such a rich foodie scene that it would takes weeks to sample all the delicious dishes the city has to offer. These seven sensational restaurants are a fantastic starting point for exploring Naples diverse culinary delights.
Charles McCool works with destinations and brands to promote fun and unique travel experiences to highly engaged audiences. Follow him on McCoolTravel.com and Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Flipboard.