Dockside Dining: The Dock at Crayton Cove
Old Florida charm is not limited to flat roofed homes and plastic pink flamingo lawn ornaments. Along the quaint and tranquil Naples Bay, Crayton Cove offers a glimpse back in time when the Paradise Coast was known for its fishing rather than leisure. The gateway to the sea, a safe harbor for boats and old salts as well as dolphin and manatee, this lazy, sea-centric corner of Old Naples is home the Naples Yacht Club, Naples City Docks, Naples Ships Store (a cool bastion of old-time seafaring accouterment), old-timey The Cove Inn and an array of restaurants, shops and art galleries that add a charm that is truly original—often imitated, never duplicated.
Where land gives way to the Naples City Docks sits a dockside dining renegade, The Dock at Crayton Cove. Affectionately referred to as The Dock, this waterfront restaurant is a Naples original, serving natives and visiting sun seekers for more than three decades. The decidedly seafood-centric restaurant imbues the flavors of the Caribbean in just about every bite, relying heavily on fresh catches and a hearty dose of lemon, lime and cilantro. The close proximity to the city docks makes The Dock a haven for paradise pirates returning from chartered day cruises, sailing trips and fishing excursions, all looking to quench a salty thirst and satiate the appetite.
The Dock’s menu is a seasonal affair, aimed to match the clime of seasonless South Florida (no one wants a gravy-heavy meatloaf when its 110 degree heat index). The seafood offerings here are top notch, with a few standout starters: Blue Crab Rolls and Rock Shrimp Nachos are worth a visit alone. Some rather interesting tropical flavors permeate the main menu with the Sugar Cane Grilled Scallops and Shrimp, and the Caribbean Caramelized Mahi Mahi topping the list, while the La Florida Paella is favorite among regulars and newbies. Fresh, locally caught seafood is always on the menu, though changes with availability. One of the most noteworthy fresh catch mentions is the whole pompano offering. A Florida delicacy, The Dock’s Florida pompano is served the way it should be, skin-on and broiled with some citrus, giving the meat a sweet, mild flavor—if its on the specials or fresh catch menu, give it a try.
Though the bites are top notch, the ambiance—and the bar—is a huge draw on their own. The open-air patio style setup is as casual as casual gets in Naples (don’t be shocked to see a half soaked fishermen chowing down on a fresh catch, while just a table away a tony yachtsman does the same). The jovial and sociable happy hour crowd (3-6 p.m. daily) gives The Dock a fishermen’s wharf Cheers spirit, while the Raw Bar will keep the belly full. Known for its rum selection, The Dock’s bar menu reads more like a map of the Caribbean, with samplings from all the ron-centric islands. Flush with boater and tropical drinks, the signature cocktails will keep the party going—the Monkey Business can be a real thief in the night, robbing you of any memory you have after imbibing, while the Goombay Smash comes with a cabby’s phone number written on the cocktail napkin (seriously folks, party responsibly). If you’re down with tequila and imbibe on a margarita from time to time, get to The Dock; the margarita selection is vast and encompassing. For a DIY Sunday Funday treat, Sunday brunch features a make your own Bloody Mary bar from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., how cool is that?
- 26N 8’ 1.7586” | 081W 47’ 33.9066”
- Dock space for four boats
- Low-tide can be tricky for deep-drafting vessels
- Located in Naples Bay, no impediment
845 12th Ave. S.
Naples, FL 34102