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Culinary Tour

When you think of dining on the Florida Gulf Coast, you’re bound to think of just-caught seafood, freshly squeezed orange juice and Key lime pies. And while those are in abundance as delicious dining options, you can go beyond that with twists on old classics and surprising new cuisines to try out. And if you want your meal served with a gorgeous beachfront view, that’s on the menu, too. From elegant Persian meals to the freshest fish you can eat, here’s how to dine your way through Naples in style.

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Day

1

MORNING
  • Get Caffeinated.

    A good cup of coffee is a great way to start a day of culinary exploration, and Kunjani Craft Coffee & Gallery brews one of the best in town. The coffee shop uses beans from Florida roasters, including Naples’ own Black Tulip Coffee and Miami’s Per’La Specialty Roasters, for all their coffee drinks. Try a drip coffee or explore one of their specialty brewing methods like Chemex or a four-cup French press.

  • Juice Up.

    If you like a lighter touch for breakfast, start with a healthy acai bowl at the appropriately named The Bowl. Sit down and enjoy your breakfast in the airy space, or pick a smoothie like the filling Blueberry Brekkie to go.

MIDDAY
  • Eat Local.

    A good rule of thumb is, when in Florida eat all the local seafood and citrus you can. At The Local, they’ve taken that ethos to heart, creating a farm-to-table and a
    sea-to-table restaurant that changes the menu daily according to what produce is available. A great spot for vegans and carnivores alike, stop in at lunch for one of their large salads and a flatbread with Key West pink shrimp and local vegetables. 

  • Treat Yourself.

    Now that you’ve had a healthy lunch, you can splurge a little for dessert. Sweet Melissa’s in Bonita Springs serves up homemade ice cream in a cheerful spot, loved by locals. Try their multiple takes on Key lime pie ice cream (either in a scoop or as an ice cream pie!) or go for something funkier like Red Velvet or Snickers. 

AFTERNOON
  • Monkey Around.

    Monkey bread is a classic Southern treat, and the MonKey Bread Factory is working to put all the fun and flavor that they can into it. Their signature version is a cross between a cinnamon roll and a sticky bun, filled with a variety of unique fillings from coconut and Florida orange to maple syrup and bacon. Take your “bunz” to go with a cup of their house-brewed Lavazza coffee. 

  • Tin City.

    Take a leisurely stroll through the Tin City complex, a series of renovated and restored former fishing industry buildings that now house boutiques and restaurants. It’s a perfect spot to pick up souvenirs and gifts to take home, along with antiques and handmade novelties.

EVENING
  • Cocktails at Sunset.

    The sunsets over the Gulf are fiery and long-lingering. Start your evening with a cocktail at the outdoor bar at Gumbo Limbo located at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. Nibble on a shrimp cocktail while you toast a day well spent with the Gumbo Punch (spiced rum, banana liqueur, orange juice, grenadine, pineapple juice, topped with dark rum) or a traditional margarita on the rocks. 

  • Persian Feast.

    Traditional Persian food may not be the first thing you think of eating in Naples, but Bha! Bha! Persian Bistro has been a longtime fine-dining favorite on the chic Fifth Avenue South corridor. Choose between innovative takes on traditional favorites and classic kebabs off the grill. It is known for their lamb and eggplant specialties, but don’t miss their unique take on the cheese platter, as well.

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Day

2

MORNING
  • Breakfast Alfresco.

    Eating breakfast outside is one of the best parts of visiting Florida. Jane’s Garden Café is as known for their charming patio, tucked off the popular Third Street South, as for their Big Girl Mimosa. Treat yourself with pancakes, waffles or French toast — or dig into one of the options for breakfast sandwiches. Finish off with an almond milk iced vanilla macchiato for a jump on a balmy day.

MIDDAY
  • Be Neapolitan.

    What happens when Naples, Italy, meets Naples, Florida? Dishes like the Sautéed Florida Snapper Piccata at Campiello Ristorante & Bar. Choose from traditional Italian dishes prepared with local ingredients, including wood-fired pizzas and house-made pasta.

  • The Key to Happiness.

    You can’t go to Florida and not eat Key lime pie as often as possible. Tony’s Off Third refers to their crustless version as a tarte, but the taste is all there, traditional crust or not. Wander around the gourmet shop for a choice of wines, scratch-made baked goods and more before taking your tarte out to the patio. 

AFTERNOON
  • Island Time.

    It’s an hour drive to Sanibel Island but a world away. Take in the white-sand beaches and slowed-down pace before heading over to The Claw Bar at Bay House to enjoy their famous snow crab claw and, oysters and an icy cocktail with spectacular water views. 

  • Kayaking Outing.

    Take a guided kayak tour through the mangroves. Paddle while you hear about the native flora and fauna off Sanibel Island. If you’re looking for an even easier route, try the serene bay.

EVENING
  • Market Fare.

    There’s something to be said for knowing exactly where and when your fish is caught, and nothing gets you closer to the action than The Timbers, which is part fish market, part restaurant. Take your pick of the day’s catch, the largest oyster bar in southwestern Florida or even a sushi platter.

  • Frozen Treats.

    What’s better than finishing a gorgeous beach day with a towering scoop of gelato? Pinocchio’s Italian Ice Cream has been a Sanibel Island tradition since 1980, with all the gelato, ice cream, sherbets and custards made on-site. Choose between the number of flavors you want, and you’ll get back a heaping portion topped with a standing animal cracker — the Pinocchio signature.