Located on Florida’s Paradise Coast, this city is well-known for its sophisticated dining, heavily influenced by fresh seafood pulled from the Gulf of Mexico. Fifth Avenue South is the neighbourhood for high-end restaurants, but, in typical Florida style, you are just as likely to find some of the best spots tucked away in strip malls or laid-back waterside locations.
Must-Try Dish: Stone crab claws
Photograph by Vanessa Rogers.
Southern Florida is the biggest producer of stone crabs in the world. This crab has a natural ability to regenerate its claws, so only that part is harvested and the rest of the crustacean is returned to the water. While you’ll find this treat on almost every menu when they are in season—from Oct. 15 to May 15— you won’t find them much fresher than at Captain & Krewe Seafood Market & Raw Bar. Wrap the claw in a towel, grab a hammer and crack it open. Dip the sweet meat in a creamy mustard sauce and enjoy.
Two Must-Try Restaurants
Photograph by Robert Leahy.
Set just off bustling 5th Avenue, swanky Truluck’s seasonal menus celebrate the freshest ocean fare, including the enormous Alaskan king crab and the beloved Florida stone crab. The warm ambiance of the dining room perfectly accents its high-end menu and service, which carries over to the adjoining lounge, where you’ll find nightly live music. Enjoy a glass of wine from the restaurant’s impressive selection and save room for desserts, such as the flaming meringue-encased baked Alaska.
Photograph by Robert Leahy.
The wooden deck perched above a picturesque inlet at Three60 Market provides the perfect setting for slow dining. Making an effort to use locally sourced ingredients, this easygoing establishment is open from breakfast through lunch serving mix-and-match pasta and sauces, gourmet salads, sandwiches and more. At night, the place transforms into Dilly’s Seafood Dinners, a chilled-out spot for fresh fish. Across the inlet is Celebration Park, a collection of food trucks and a lively outdoor bar.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Located in a strip mall, The Rooster serves up true southern cooking with an elevated flair. Enjoy pink shrimp and grits in a pepper pan sauce or chicken and waffles, all in a cosy, minimalist space.
With its beautiful waterfront location, EJ’s Bayfront Cafe is a relaxed Naples staple. Enjoy brunch items such as the popular bananafilled French toast and crab cake Benedict.
The small plates at HobNob Kitchen & Bar are a favourite with locals. Enjoy tuna nachos and scallop ceviche to start, and mains such as the Meyer lemon short ribs with risotto and a gremolata garnish.
3 Drink Stops
Whether you’re looking for interesting cocktails, an upbeat space with live music or a relaxed brewery, Naples has plenty of options where you can grab a drink.
The Don’t Call Me Piña from Bar Tulia. Photograph by Nixon Mae Photography.
Located next to Osteria Tulia restaurant on 5th Avenue, Bar Tulia is a trendy spot to enjoy a cocktail delicately made by knowledgable staff. A generous food menu, full of wood-fired pizzas, complements an amazing drink list that includes creations made from unique ingredients such as molé bitters and spicy ancho verde.
The vertical gardens of The Bevy surround an upbeat atmosphere. The indoor-outdoor restaurant boasts a diverse selection of mules and frequently hosts live music.
Ultra-chill Akrolab welcomes beer drinkers with board games and rotating food trucks. Brews range from hoppy to sour flavours—order a flight to sample them all.
Photograph by Norman Love Confections.
At Norman Love Confections, celebrated chocolatier Norman Love uses high-quality ingredients to create artistic sweets in unique flavours, including the must-try Key Lime Shells. Inspired by southern Mexican food, Garibaldi Restaurant and Bakery serves breads and pastries like tres leches cake, flan and conchas, while old-fashioned Regina’s Ice Cream Pavilion is the go-to spot on 5th Avenue for a cool-down cup or cone.
[This story appears in the April 2020 edition of WestJet Magazine.]