2013 Spring Training Guide to Fort Myers Part III: The Food
by, 02-08-2013 at 07:59 PM (1005 Views)
Originally published at The Tenth Inning Stretch
This is my second annual food guide to Fort Myers and the third and last in the series of the 2013 Guides to Fort Myers that include the logistics guide and the baseball guide. The first was more of a culinary guide, pointing out what are the local foods, and pointing out places you can sample them. That guide is still very relevant and you can find it here. This one is a little different than last year's. It is a more traditional restaurant guide. La Velle Neal has been publishing restaurant guides to Fort Myers on pretty much annual basis now (you can find his 2012 guide here)
This guide by no means try to compete with La Velle's. And LEN3 and I come from different food perspectives and biases: I do not eat red meat or fowl, so you shall not see any barbeque places, steakhouses or smokehouses here because I do not go to those places usually. I do eat seafood, so there is a lot of this listed here. The other thing I am doing, is trying to keep the list to places that are close to Hammond Stadium and the Twins' training complex. Usually, when I am there, I have breakfast at my hotel, then at the ballparks until after the game is done and then out for dinner. I usually have "lunch" at the ballpark. And at the end, if you care to read that long, I will list the Twins' players 2 favorite hangouts. This guide is broken down by restaurant type.
Clancy's 11481 McGregor Blvd - Ft. Myers, FL (http://www.clanceysrestaurant.com/) Typical american fair. Solid food and good prices. Lots of sandwiches as well. One of the few places you can actually have Triggerfish (by name). Try it, you'd like it. Lots of big burgers as well.
Fancy's Southern Cafe 8890 Salrose Lane, Fort Myers, FL (http://fancyssoutherncafe.com/) True southern comfort food. Excellent shrimp and grits, fried okra, fried green tomatoes and deep fried cheese grits. And a slew of other Southern comfort food specials. This place has something for everyone and really worth a visit. Good prices too.
The Veranda. 2122 2nd St, Fort Myers, FL (http://www.verandarestaurant.com/). Exactly what you will expect from an American/Continental dinning place with southern influences in Florida. Great cuisine, huge entrees, semi-formal atmosphere and prices in the $30s unless you go the tapas way, chosing from a variety of their apperizers. Blue Crab Cake, Southern Grit Cakes, Pan seared Scallops and Artichoke Fritters (all around $10) highly recommended from the appetizer menu. You cannot go wrong with any entree item, but it is a lot of food.
El Patio Restaurant 4444 Cleveland Ave Fort Myers, FL Peruvian. And if you have never had Peruvian food, this restaurant will be a good exuse to try. Awesome variety and prices (most entrees are under $10) and great flavor. This is the real deal. Try the seafood ceviche or one of the surf and turf mixes.
El Gaucho Inca 4391 Colonial Blvd, Fort Myers, FL (http://www.elgauchoinca.com/) "Peruvian, Argentinan and Italian" food. Fancy Tango and dancing shows during dinner, the food is pretty interesting, if you like meat. If you don't there are better choices. The "Italian" part is because they serve pasta dishes. Nothing Italian to them. Stay away from those. The Argentinean dishes are pretty authentic, but the Peruvian derived...
Super Tacos 535 Pine Island Road, (North) Fort Myers, FL (http://supertacos.net/) This is kind of far from the ballpark, but it is the best Mexican food place in Fort Myers, and this is why it is here. Fresh fresh ingredients, large portions and great prices. Their fish tacos are some of the best and at $2.99 per, an incredible value. A variety of fairly authentic Mexican fare.
Daruma Japanese Steak House (http://www.darumarestaurant.com/) 13499 S Cleveland Ave Fort Myers, FL . Pretty solid but expensive Japanese fare. On the Teppanyaki side of the house there is a great variety and great flavor. Sushi is good, if overimaginative. Kind of americanized flavors, but this is true of most asian places these days. A ton of Teppan combinations, something for everyone. Large wine and cocktail list. Try the Oysters Tempura appetizer. Total Japanese/Southern fusion.
Mr. Mees 5100 S. Cleveland Ave. Ft. Myers, FL (http://www.mrmees.com/index.htm). Pan-Asian food (Japanese, Korean, Thai) and sushi. By far my favorite Asian food place in Fort Myers. Authentic Thai and Korean dishes and excellent sushi. Try the Bi Bim Bop (they make it vegetarian or with a fried egg, if you ask) or any of the Yum dishes. Both of the Bin Daduk dishes (pork & kimchee or seafood) are excellent appetizers.
Osaka 16078 San Carlos Blvd. For Myers, FL (http://osakafortmyers.com/index.html) The name is kind of misleading. It in a Thai place that also offers Japanese and Sushi (because Japanese and sushi are popular these days.) Their Thai food is excellent. Try any of the Yum or the noodle dishes. Sushi and soups are good also. A vast list of appetizers, can make this a good tapas/dim sum dinner place.
Blue Windows French Bistro. 15250 S. Tamiami Trail, Fort Myers, FL (http://www.mybluewindows.com/) Fine French Bistro Food. Four course Prix Fixe menu that changes nightly based on best available local foods for about $50 a person. Also offers a variety of tasting menus and wine pairings. Traditional a la carte continental French courses as well. Extensive wine list. Best place to burn $200 for a dinner for 2 in Fort Myers. On the other hand, that $200 is about 8 Twins' tickets. Priorities.
Cibo 12901 Mcgregor Blvd, Ste 17, Fort Myers, FL (http://cibofortmyers.com/) Upscale Italian. Extensive Wine list. Extensive Antipasto list. You can potentially have a great traditional Italian meal or an excellent Tapas dinner.
Sasse's 3651 Evans Avenue Fort Myers, FL (http://www.sassesfortmyers.com/) Italian with continental flair. Menu changes based on seasonal availability. Mid-priced, even offers things like Pizza. Gluten-free menu on request. Their fish/seafood soup is awesome, if you like fish of course.
Pawnbroker 13451 - 16 McGregor Blvd, Fort Myers, FL (http://www.prawnbroker.com/) Same Strip Mall as Blu Sushi (which will be listed later). Fresh seafood and a seafood counter selling fresh seafood next to it. Bit old fashion but good traditional seafood. This is the kind of place that your grandma will take you and your significant other out. And that happens a lot in that place. Food is really really fresh, so enjoy. You might have to overlook the fact that you are the youngest person in the place. Even if you are in your 40s.
Maria's Old Florida Restaurant; 17979 San Carlos Boulevard, Fort Myers, FL Listed as seafood here, but it really is a Creole (and some Cajun) fusion restaurant that incorporates a lot of seafood in their dishes. Interesting dishes like Cajun Shepard's Pie and Crawfish Enchiladas.
Clam Bake 16520 S Tamiami Trl Ste 10, Fort Myers, FL (http://clambakefortmyers.com/) "Authentic New England Seafood". Hole in the wall place, family operated by former Rhode Islanders. They feature a variety of New England seafood like Stuffed Quahog, Clam Bakes, fried Oysters, Clams, Scallops and Shrimp, Clam Chowder, Steamed Lobster and a whole bunch of seafood sandwiches including Lobster Roll. Informal, inexpensive and great food.
Blue Pointe Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill, 13499 SE Cleveland Ave Suite 141, Fort Myers, FL (http://www.bluepointerestaurant.com/). Traditional upscale great seafood place. Fresh seafood, great preparations. Grab one of the fish in the fish of the day list and get it prepared your way and you will do no wrong. Extensive wine and raw bar list. You know those seafood places that have that "steakhouse feel"? This is one of them. If this is your style, this one is a winner. My only complaint (and this is nitpicking) is that they do not use lots of local fish, but prefer northern fish.
3 Fishermen Seafood 5100 S. Cleveland Ave. Ft. Myers, FL (same strip mall as Mr. Mees - actually a couple doors down.) (http://www.threefishermenseafood.com/) casual, inexpensive and great food. A Tip: Even if there is not in the menu (they have it as one of their rotating specials), ask for grilled grouper tacos. You will not regret it. Big enough to fit two or a hungry teenager. Great shimp dishes and their signature is the Captain Paulís Grouper. Great smoked fish dip as well. I really like this place.
CRaVE: 12901 McGregor Boulevard, Fort Myers, FL (http://cravemenu.com/) not to be confused with the American Bistro chain with the same name. Fresh, local and organic food. Bistro feel. Great appetizers and well known for their sandwiches and salads. Lots of interesting takes on confort food like Meatloaf, Shepherd's Pie, Pot Roast and Pot Pie. Great Omelets for breakfast.
Two Meatballs in the Kitchen. 8890 Salrose Ln Fort Myers, FL (http://www.2meatballs.com/) Typical Northeast Italian Food and Pizza. Plentiful sizes, huge variety, usually packed. Part of a local trifecto of restaurants that includes Taste of New York and Bella Rosa, the Two Meatballs is the most casual and busy of the 3. If you crave Northeast italian-american food, this is your place.
Pincher's Crab Shack 15271 McGregor Boulevard Fort Myers, FL (http://www.pincherscrabshack.com/) Seafood but I am listing it here because this place rocks on happy hour. Indoor-outdoor seating, great fresh food, very good beer list and lots of mixed drinks. Grouper tacos are really awesome here. Very close to the ballpark as well.
Chains of note:
Bahama Breeze: 14701 S Tamiami Trl, Fort Myers, FL (http://www.bahamabreeze.com/)
Caribbean-inspired food. Large variety of appetizers and small plates. Go for the fresh fish and make sure that it is something that exists in FL, like Grouper or Snapper, otherwise pass on the Mahi and farmed Salmon. Bunch of cocktails too. It's ok, nothing spectacular, but interesting variety of food. Lots of rum-based drinks, if you are into that kind of thing.
Cantina Laredo 5200 Big Pine Way, Fort Myers, FL (http://www.cantinalaredo.com/) Their Motto is "Modern Mexican" and that it is. And it has solid food. But expensive food. Tex Mex and flavorful. Lots of people love it. For me it is to Mexican what PF Chang's (which is also in Fort Myers, I think) is to Chinese.
Grimaldi's Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria. 13499 S Cleveland Ave Fort Myers, FL (http://www.grimaldispizzeria.com/) As close to authentic New York style pizza as you can get in Florida because it started in Brooklyn. Small chain. Definitely worth a look if you are into pizza. Simple, traditional, nothing fusion here.
Sweet Tomatoes: 14080 South Tamiami Trail, Fort Myers, FL (http://www.souplantation.com/)
Soup, Pasta and Salad bar. Fresh budget food with a lot of choices.
Pizza Fusion 12901 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers, FL (http://pizzafusion.com/) This is the exact opposite of Grimaldi's. Organic crusts, organic toppings, interesting varieties and pizzas that look like flat breads (long and skinny.) Great flavors. Try the pear and gorgonzola, if you look for something different.
The best places to rub shoulders with Twins' major and minor leaguers:
As far as young single major leaguers and AAA players (like Luke Hughes, Danny Valencia, Drew Butera etc last season) and bonus-babies go, it is Blu Sushi 13451 McGregor Blvd Fort Myers, FL (http://www.blusushi.com/). Overimaginitive Sushi and Martini menu, really caters to the 20-something crowd. Fresh and flavorful. And Hip Crowd.
As far as older players with families and younger minor leaguers go, it is Patinella's Chicken Grill 6810 Shoppes At Plantation Dr Fort Myers, FL (http://www.patinellaschickengrill.com/) or "The Chicken Grill" on Plantation Shoppes Drive. They offer grilled cut chicken on rice bowls with a bunch of veggies in different flavors or flatbread sandwiches. Pretty healthy fare for ballplayers.
A note about beer and wine:
In Florida beer and wine can be sold in places like gas stations and grocery stores. Most drug stores have adjunct liquer stores that sell the aforementioned plus liquor. The best beer variety is in grocery stores, and from those Publix tends to have more microbrews than the others. Because of the competition, the prices are fairly good, on the $7-10 range for a microbrew six pack.