Naples, Florida is famous for its natural beauty, world-class culture, and prime real estate. It is also home to some of the best restaurants in the USA.
Located on the Gulf of Mexico in Southwest Florida, Naples is famous for its natural beauty, world-class culture, and prime real estate. It is also home to some of the best restaurants in the USA. On a recent trip to this seaside paradise, we had the opportunity to experience some of the exceptional cuisine that makes this a true foodie destination. With an abundance of fresh seafood and locally sourced produce and meats, the restaurateurs here are creating culinary delights that are guaranteed to satisfy the most discerning gourmands. Grab a fork and join us on this delectable tour of Naples, Florida.
BHA! BHA! Persian Bistro
One of the most delightful meals we had in Naples was the cuisine we feasted on at BHA! BHA! Located in the popular dining area of 5th Avenue South. This is the place to go to enjoy exceptional food with family and friends. The flavors of Persia permeate each dish and tantalize your taste buds with each delectable bite. We began our meal by ordering a bottle of Jeio Prosecco Rose from Italy, accompanied by a Cheese Plate featuring manchego, fontina, and feta with fresh herbs, apples, dates, olives, water-soaked walnuts, and quince marmalade. The food here will immediately transport you into a world of culinary wonders that are rarely found in the USA. If you love seafood, begin your meal with the Mango Garlic Shrimp sautéed with mango chutney and served with julienned lobonions and carrots. One of our favorite appetizers was the Pistachio Lamb Meatballs with Persian herbs and spices, sautéed butternut squash, and mint infused pomegranate pinot noir reduction. Our mouths water every time we think of this dish! Now that your palate is primed, dig into one of their signature entrées, like the Braised Lamb Shank with fresh herb sauce simmered with red kidney beans and sundried lime. Another great choice is the Persian Style Seafood Paella with shrimp, fish, mussels, chicken, and andouille sausage simmered in a tomato saffron sauce and served with basmati rice, fresh herbs, and green peas. 865 5th Avenue. Tel: 239-594-5557. bhabhabistro.com
Featuring locally sourced ingredients, Bistro 821 is the longest-running restaurant on Fifth Avenue South. Owner and Executive Chef, Jess S. Housman, curates an astounding menu of international comfort food that keeps his guests coming back for more. Whether you choose to dine al fresco, or in the convivial dining room, you are in for a culinary treat. Order one of their specialty cocktails, like the “Sky’s The Limit” with Ketel One Vodka, house-made pineapple ginger shrub, lime, and pineapple juice, and begin your meal with BISTRO 821 Featuring locally sourced ingredients, Bistro 821 is the longest-running restaurant on Fifth Avenue South. Owner and Executive Chef, Jess S. Housman, curates an astounding menu of international comfort food that keeps his guests coming back for more. Whether you choose to dine al fresco, or in the convivial dining room, you are in for a culinary treat. Order one of their specialty cocktails, like the “Sky’s The Limit” with Ketel One Vodka, house-made pineapple ginger shrub, lime, and pineapple juice, and begin your meal with a small plate selection. The Prawns, served with a crispy sushi rice cake, Thai chili, and crushed peanuts, was one of our favorites. We followed this with a heavenly Burrata with ugly ripe tomatoes, yellow cherry tomatoes, arugula, pine nuts, olive oil, and balsamic glaze. For the Pasta/Risotto course, fish lovers will swoon over the Seafood Risotto with gulf shrimp, bay scallops, littleneck clams, mussels, tomato concasse, basil chiffonade, and pecorino romano cheese. For our entrees we shared two exceptional dishes. The Australian Wagyu Filet, which was perfectly prepared medium rare and accompanied by a full lobster tail and a side of miso glazed Brussels sprouts. Our other main course was the Crispy Lemon & Parmesan Sole served with whipped carrot and mashed potatoes, broccolini, and lemon beurre blanc. Needless to say, you may not have room for dessert after your meal. If you do, you must try the Belgium Chocolate Mousse with whipped cream, fresh berries, and raspberry coulis. 821 Fifth Avenue South. Tel: 239-261-5821. bistro821.com
CATCH OF THE PELICAN
During our recent visit to Naples, we stayed at the Naples Grande Beach Resort. The hotel is located about a mile from the beach, but the seaside setting of their Rhode’s End restaurant is a great place to have a casual lunch with tropical drinks while enjoying the ocean view. For dinner, the onsite Catch of the Pelican serves your meal inside or on the back patio overlooking the Palm Terrace Pool. Start your evening off with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label, Brut, Champagne and a Shrimp Cocktail with mango salsa and horseradish sauce. If you like “surf and turf,” you’ll love their Filet Mignon served with garlic potato puree and roasted asparagus with bordelaise sauce; or the New York Strip Steak with pomme frites, roasted seasonal vegetable, and cognac peppercorn sauce. Add ons to these include: poached Maine lobster, sautéed shrimp, crab cakes, and seared scallops. Seafood lovers will go wild for the Big Kahuna Seafood Tower that includes 10 poached shrimp, 10 oysters 2 Maine lobster tails, and tuna poke, served with cocktail sauce and shallot mignonette. Weekend guests and their friends are in for a treat here at the Bloody Mary Bar where you can create brunch in a glass using thousands of ingredients and toppings. Bottoms up! 475 Seagate Drive. Tel: 239- 597-3232. naplesgrande.com/dining
Chef Everett Fromm has a passion for seafood, and it’s apparent in every dish he creates. Utilizing sustainable, fresh, one-of-akind ingredients and making everything from scratch, he works with fishermen, farmers. and artisans locally, nationally, and in Europe to source his menu items and provide guests with unique flavors and food combinations. White peaches, French melons, and other specialty items come from France, while certain organic vegetables are delivered from a farm in Ohio. Microgreens, tomatoes, and mushrooms are sourced from local farmers. In addition, many ingredients such as stocks, sauces, pastas, and desserts, are prepared in-house. Hidden on a tucked away man-made island in the heart of Naples (our Uber driver couldn’t find this place using his GPS), Hogfish Harry’s serves some of the best seafood in Naples. Start with their popular Coconut Shrimp served with honey lime slaw and mango horseradish chutney, or a bowl of Wicked Good New England Clam “Chowda.” I’m from Cape Cod, and this chowder was as delicious as anything I had growing up in Massachusetts. For entrees, one of our favorites was the Grilled Hogfish with coconut bamboo rice, pineapple ginger reduction, and honey roasted baby carrots. The other top of our list choice is the Roasted Gulf Grouper served with melted leeks, caramelized Brussels sprouts, blistered tomato, lump crab, and Meyer lemon beurre blanc. Open daily from 11 A.M. to 10 P.M. 600 Neapolitan Way. Tel: 239-776-7623. hogfishharrys.com
Celebrating its 25th year as one of Naples best Italian restaurants, Pazzo! charms you the moment you arrive. Hardwood floors, tufted velvet banquets, and Murano glass chandeliers over the bar immediately transport you to Italy. Request one of their signature Bellinis, like the Bella Donna (beluga vodka, St. Germain elderberry, grapefruit, prosecco), and pair it with tiny tomatoes, fresh buffalo mozzarella, and sweet basil, or an Antipasti of fresh lettuce, artisan meats and cheeses, vine-ripe heirloom tomatoes, served with a pepperoncino vinaigrette. For your next course order a bottle of the delightful Valpolicella, Masi, Boncosta, and one of the Pazzo! Classics dishes. Two of our favorites were the Handmade Rigatoni with spicy vodka braised beef, Calabrian chiles, fresh basil, and parmigiano; and the Linguini Alla Vongole with fresh clams, white wine, garlic, lemon oil, and parsley. We always look forward to the fish course, and their Branzino with sambuca scampi with fresh Maine lobster and shrimp is a must try. And what Italian meal would be complete without Tiramisu? Their twist on this classic dessert includes espresso soaked ladyfingers, and rum-laced mascarpone cream with rich dark chocolate. For another perfect after diner treat, try an original Pazzo! creation called the Sorbitini’s. Prepare yourself for a palate pleaser with the Hey Sally Boy! (Parrot Bay key lime rum, lemon sorbetto, citrus, ginger ale). Buon appetito! 853 Fifth Avenue South.Tel: 239-434- 8494. pazzoitaliancafe.com
Created by award-winning chef Vincenzo Betulia, The French pays homage to turn-ofthe- century Parisian brasseries with French classics and exceptional seafood dishes. Meals are served in the casual and lively dining room, or alfresco in a romantic streetside setting. The night we were there, Alain Rabault, the restaurant manager, guided us through the menu and selected the wines to go with each course. We started the evening with a glass of Laurent Perrier Champagne, accompanied by Fried Squash Blossoms with house made ricotta, tomato, and basil. This was followed by a tantalizing Gazpacho with cucumber, bell pepper, sherry vinegar, shrimp, and grilled rustic bread. Feeling like we had been transported to France, we couldn’t resist a serving of the Steamed Mussels a la Biere featuring garlic, shallots, Carlsberg beer, and garlic sausage. Alain poured a Chateau La Ne Gly La Brise Marine (2018), which was so smooth and invigorating it soon became my new favorite white wine. For our main courses, we chose the perfectly prepared Brasserie Steak Frites, with wood grilled New York strip steak, pomme frites, and sauce béarnaise; and the Roasted Faroe Island Salmon, served with lentils du puy, garlic crème, maître d’ butter, and watercress. This was paired with a remarkable red wine from the Chateau Lilian Ladouys in Bordeaux. One review of this wine said: “…the flavors and texture caress your palate like a playful lover.” Thanks to Alain and his team for creating a magical dinner for us. If we lived in Naples, my husband and I would dine at The French every week! 365 Fifth Avenue South. Tel: 239-315-4019. thefrenchnaples.com
THE TURTLE CLUB
If you’re looking for a wonderful place to dine on the beach, The Turtle Club is the place to go in Naples. The owners’ mission is “to combine high quality food and wine with service marked by courtesy, kindness, friendliness, and authenticity—all in a simple and beautiful beachside setting,” and this is apparent the moment you arrive. My husband and I felt totally at home here, and he remarked how it felt as relaxed and sophisticated as in The Hamptons where he grew up. Start with a Creamy Lobster bisque made with lemon creme fraiche and aged sherry, or the delicious Ceviche with marinated shrimp, bay scallops, citrus, and jalapeno. Accompany your food with their refreshing and potent Pina Colada with pineapple, coconut, and white rum. For the main courses I was delighted with the Mediterranean Grilled Chicken with mixed greens, grilled rosemary chicken breast, roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, feta cheese, red onion, and tomato, tossed in lemon-thyme vinaigrette. My partner, who is allergic to fish, always finds something great to eat at a seafood restaurant, and he totally enjoyed the Grilled Beef Tenderloin with caramelized onions and boursin cheese, served on a toasted brioche bun with dill pickle and crispy fries. As we were in no hurry to leave, we ordered two glasses of champagne and their Florida Orange Sunshine cake filled with orange mousse and covered in butter cream and white chocolate chips. Sweet dreams are made of this at The Turtle Club! 9225 Gulfshore Drive North. Tel: (239) 592- 6557. turtleclubnaples.com