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Fort Myers + Naples Restaurants

The Bubble Room
15001 Captiva Drive
Captiva Island , Florida
Tel: 239 472 5558

A swap meet's worth of Americana on the walls, overstuffed food portions, and affable, khaki-clad staff make the Bubble Room one of Captiva's longest-running hits. It's especially popular with multigenerational families: After ordering "Tarzan"-size prime rib or Guava Gabor (sautéed scallops, green peppers, and mushrooms with a guava barbecue dipping sauce), grandparents can explain wind-up toys and black-and-white movies—as well as the Gabor Sisters—to a generation raised on Wii, HDTV, and the Jonas Brothers. Even with 150 seats, there's usually a wait during the dinner hour: Folks who take in sunset at Turner Beach often drive a further three miles to the restaurant. At lunchtime, however, there's seating available and lighter fare, like pineapple-and-ginger-marinated tilapia, that leaves room for a ginormous slice of homemade red-velvet cake.

Open Sundays through Thursdays 11:30 am to 3 pm and 4:30 to 9 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 11:30 am to 3 pm and 4:30 to 9:30 pm.

Cabbage Key Inn
Cabbage Key , Florida
Tel: 239 283 2278

Rumor has it that the inn's big, fat, juicy cheeseburger inspired Jimmy Buffett to write his hit "Cheeseburger in Paradise," but make up your own mind. Either way, you won't forget your visit to this quirky 100-acre Pine Island home built in 1938, as the walls and ceiling of the dining room and bar are covered with more than 65,000 signed dollar bills. (Buffett himself signed a bill back when he was an unknown piano player). Order the cheeseburger, grouper, or stone crab (when it's in season). The affordable prices here should leave you a spare dollar to sign and tape to the money wall, and when it falls, know that it will be donated to a worthy charity. Cabbage Key is only accessible by boat (call for details about water taxi service). Come early for supper because the kitchen closes at 8:30 p.m.

Chops City Grill
837 Fifth Avenue South
Naples , Florida
Tel: 239 262 4677

At Chops, you can get an awesome New York strip or T-bone steak that's been dry-aged in the restaurant's aging room and other house specialties, such as hand-rolled sushi and seafood. Steaks and lamb chops are served with onion rings and a choice of baked potato, French fries, baked sweet potato, or smashed new potatoes; the grilled swordfish in a fresh peach-and-mango barbecue sauce is served with seared diver scallops. A 300-bottle wine list includes 32 vintages served by the glass.

Dinner only.

Dock at Crayton Cove
845 12th Avenue South
Naples , Florida
Tel: 239 263 9940

This casual open-air eatery in the center of Old Naples evokes the carefree lyrics of Otis Redding's "(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay." The restaurant dates from 1976 but the crowd-pleasing menu is very current, with items such as black peppercorn–seared yellow-fin tuna niçoise salad, Black Angus cheeseburger, Bahamian conch fritters, banana macadamia nut–crusted grouper, and a raw bar shellfish tower for two. A couple of surefire time-wasters: Order the Dock Walloper, a mix of light and dark Puerto Rican rums, Galliano, Triple Sec, banana liqueur, and Florida orange juice, or the Dock Slider, a concoction of Kahlua, vodka, and Bailey's Irish Cream.

Ellington's Jazz Bar & Restaurant
937 East Gulf Drive
Sanibel Island , Florida
Tel: 239 472 0494

Think New York supper club on a Gulf Coast barrier island. Ellington's is very sexy, with black tablecloths over white, a dance floor, and a white Yamaha grand piano that's been signed by jazz greats, including Dave Brubeck, Sweet Georgia Brown, Mindy Abair, and Johnnie Mae Dunson, one of the first female jazz percussionists. Heavy hitters perform here: Dan Miller, a trumpet player who toured for years with Harry Connick, Jr., plays on weekend nights, and the annual New Year's Eve Gala brings the Brubeck Brothers Quartet (sons of Dave Brubeck). The food's great, too—spiced-rubbed grouper, filet mignon, pistachio dusted duck, and other crowd-pleasers.

Lighthouse Café
362 Periwinkle Way
Sanibel Island , Florida
Tel: 239 472 0303

It's all about breakfast at this easygoing East End eatery, which has been slinging hash (as well as more upscale seafood frittatas) since 1969. Locals and longtime visitors crowd the cozy, 60-seat spot, which is festooned with pictures and posters of lighthouses from around the world. Most prominently featured is Sanibel's iconic 1884 beacon, which stands less than a half mile away—making it a perfect stroll after a platter of whole-wheat hotcakes smothered in homemade blueberry sauce or eggs Benedict topped with a Key lime hollandaise. At dinner, expect hearty fare like baby back ribs and mahi mahi, or you can bring in what you caught that day, and they'll be happy to prepare it.

Open daily 7 am to 3 pm and 5 to 9 pm, mid-December through April, 7 am to 3 pm only, May through mid-December.

Snook Inn
1215 Bald Eagle Drive
Marco Island , Florida
Tel: 239 394 3313

Watch dolphins play and pelicans dive while you dine on peel-and-eat shrimp, conch fritters, baby back ribs, local soft-shell blue crabs, crab-stuffed and beer-battered grouper, or your own catch-of-the-day if you bring the fish, cleaned and ready to cook. Eat outdoors at the thatch-roofed Chickee Bar, which has water views and hosts live music seven nights a week, weekend afternoons, and weekday afternoons in high season.

2122 Second Street
Fort Myers , Florida
Tel: 239 332 2065

A romantic downtown landmark with Continental and regional Southern dishes, the Veranda occupies two turn-of-the-century houses with pale yellow walls, antique paintings, sconces, a piano bar, and a garden courtyard. Regulars recommend the tableside-prepared Caesar salad, grit cakes with pepper Jack cheese and grilled andouille sausage, mixed grilled fish with saffron fettuccine, and herb-encrusted salmon.

Closed Sundays.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.