Soaking up the Sun and Surf in Naples, FL
Where to Dine
With friends living in Naples, we had lots of suggestions for dining out. We also wanted to experience a little bit of everything while we were there, so we did. Here were two of our restaurant favorites in the downtown area.
This lovely Zagat-rated French restaurant and a local favorite, is owned by a couple from Provence and has received many accolades, including the Wine Spectator’s Grand Award (2015) and Best of Award of Excellence (2005-2014). Located by the marina on 8th Street, their menu features a number of fresh fish and seafood dishes (like Loup de Mer) along with classic French dishes such as a Provencal Fish Soup, Burgundy Escargot, Steak Frites, and Crepes Suzette au Grand Marnier.
The owners, Jacques and Lysielle Cariot, retired to Naples from Provence in 1999 and opened Bleu Provence. With a focus on sourcing many local ingredients, Chef Lyseielle is also committed to using the best products available and will source beyond the region. The chef’s artistry in the kitchen and Jacques’ knowledge of great wines is a winning combination.
A new concept for the prominent space on Fifth Avenue, this restaurant was once home to the beloved McCabe’s Irish Pub. After a $3 million renovation, the upscale light and glass filled bar and restaurant is one of Naples’ best restaurants with the interior design referred to as “vintage glam ambiance.” The menu, a nice combination of fresh seafood, steaks, and meat dishes, also features Maine lobster in several different preparations.
The owner of The Inn on Fifth and Avenue 5, John McCabe, has ties to Kennebunkport, Maine (he’s from Boston), as does Executive Chef John Welsh who once worked in the quaint seaside town in New England, so Northern visitors and transplants craving lobster rolls, lobster bisque, or steamed lobster can get their fix in style at this posh eatery.
For those fans of McCabe’s Irish Pub (which was designed and built by a Dublin firm), stay tuned. It is rumored that the popular pub, each and every Irish piece of it, will be returning to town one day in a brand new location.
While the season is hopping all through the winter months in Naples and Southwest Florida (mid-November to May), the busiest months are January to March. If you’re traveling during that time of year, be prepared for higher airfares and hotels rates and be sure to make dinner reservations well in advance of your arrival. You’ll appreciate the downtown location to avoid the high season traffic on the major roads.
If your vacation or travel dates are flexible, think of visiting in the off-season, which runs all summer and into early fall. It’s a beautiful time to be in Naples with the warm temperatures and cool breezes coming in from the Gulf of Mexico. The beaches and golf courses are quiet and it’s easy to get around the town and the outlying areas for shopping or other activities. The hotels and resorts offer special rates during that time and most of the restaurants have extraordinary dinner deals with a bottle of wine and two entrees ranging between $30-$40.
Naples and the Paradise Coast is truly a year-round destination, so enjoy a little slice of your own paradise whenever you choose to visit.
Disclosure – The Inn on Fifth provided a media package for the accommodations for our stay. We have not been compensated for this article and the opinions expressed regarding our experience are our own.
* Note – These images are courtesy of The Inn on Fifth.
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