There is no shortage of Asian restaurants in Naples, unless you’re looking for one in the lobby of a hotel.
After Hurricane Irma blew through town last year, Naples Grande Beach Resort closed for renovation. Drawing on the background of executive chef Bader Ali, who had worked extensively in China, the management team reinvented the lobby lounge into a Japanese and pan-Asian restaurant and bar called Mantra.
“The entire concept was developed in 45 days, with some help from corporate,” Ali says. “We love this food, and we had a lot of fun creating the fusion dishes on the menu.”
The nerve center of Mantra is a large bar in the center of the room, equipped with a sushi station and a cooking area for ramen. You can use those noodles as a base for building a bowl, layering it with protein (shrimp tempura, soy ginger chicken, or kushiyaki beef), and extras, such as a sous-vide egg. For the perfect combination of yin and yang, try the hamachi crudo: pristine slices of Japanese yellowtail dressed with blood orange, jalapeño, scallion, and cilantro in a ponzu sauce. Local beers, craft cocktails, and a short but well-chosen wine list complement the menu.
Sleek and sophisticated, Mantra would not seem out of place in San Francisco or Lower Manhattan—except for the sweeping view of the Gulf from the restaurant’s outdoor terrace.