I realize that I focus a great deal on food with this blog, but it really cannot be helped with all of the restaurants we have in our little (but expanding) piece of paradise. And this column is no exception, because I have been getting so many questions from folks wherever I go about food and restaurants—where to get the best fish, where is the best restaurant for a view and good food, what is my favorite place …
First of all, we have so many great restaurants in the Naples area that it is hard to find an undesirable one. Many diners end up at chain restaurants because they are familiar with the name and unfortunately for them, look no further. Naples has a huge variety of indpenendent restaurants—places that started here and are staying here.
One way to find some of these are through Open Table, which also provides the ability to make reservations via computer; whoever thought of the idea was brilliant … Bob and I use it all the time. There is another resource that highlights most of the independently run restaurants that are local only, the Naples Originals. The group is comprised of about 40 restaurant owners who have banded and branded together to get the word out about who they are, where they are and what type of food they serve. The website is very robust and informative, featuring not only individual restaurants like Alexander’s, M Waterfront Grille, Evoo Bistro and Bleu Provence, but also includes special events at some restaurants and access to special deals at others. The website is well worth a look.
By the way, one of the Naples Originals is poised to make big news. The owner of The Bay House and the Turtle Club in North Naples, Peter Tierney, has some amazing plans for the property close to The Bay House. The project is to include a boutique hotel, a brewery, a bakery, an Italian bistro (interesting combinations, don’t you think?) and an outdoor performance facility. The permitting process is already taking place. I will be keeping my eyes and ears open as to the progress on that front.
You will not be surprised, though, when I tell you that there are even more independent Naples’ restaurants not listed with the Originals 40. Some of them include Cibao Grille, Sea Salt, Barbatella, Agave Southwest Grill, FISH, MiraMare, Angelina’s Ristorante, The Chapel Grill, Le Lafayette, Bha! Bha! Persian Bistro…just to name a few right off the top of my head (pretty good memory, right?). All delightful destinations … and all with their own websites so you can check out their menus and specials.
Knives and forks ready? Happy dining.