Sunday, March 25, 2007

Dining on Captiva Island, FL

I'd like to formally apologize for the delay since my last posting, but for the past week plus we've spent a lovely week on Captiva Island, Florida. For those who aren't familiar with the place, it's located on the southwestern (Gulf) side of Florida, about an hour or so away from the Ft. Myers airport, and after Hurricane Charley basically connected to the better known Sanibel Island. Some describe it as sleepy, but that all depends on your point of view. It doesn't have the hopping nightlife of Daytona or even Tampa, but here's a sampling of some of what you can enjoy: biking, shelling, walking, swimming, tennis, golf, boating, shopping, fishing, kayaking, gator watching, sand castle building and birding. And yes, the islands were hit hard by Charley 2 1/2 years ago, but they've made a striking recovery and with the exception of some mangroves and pine trees, everything is just as beautiful as it ever was. It's a piece of heaven, in my opinion, and just the respite from our busy work lives that we needed.

So while I can't report on any Chicago or Cincinnati restaurant news today, what I can share with you are some of the favorite dishes and restaurants we enjoyed this week, just in case you're ever lucky enough to find yourself on the islands.

The Mucky Duck
- the food is just okay, but this is known as THE place the place to catch a Corona and sunset - this is the kind of island where people actually clap for a great sunset.

The Bubble Room - known for 3-hour+ waits for dinner, we've found a way around this in recent years by getting take out of their two best dishes: the creamy, cheesy, garlicky warm Bubble Bread and a sampling of their enormous slices of cake (get them early in your trip so you can enjoy for many days). Though you'll be tempted by over a dozen cake varieties, don't go without trying the Orange Crunch Cake. The layers of yellow cake with cinnamon and almonds between are topped with orange cream cheese icing. The "Bubble Scout" who cut our cake deemed this dessert to be too sweet, but I disagree--it's perfect as it is and sells out every night, so you know it's great.

Keylime Bistro
- service isn't their strong point, but you're on island time, right? Who's in a hurry? I've only eaten here for breakfast and lunch, both of which offer a range of choices. I've heard dinner is great as well. You'll often be treated to live music, most frequently of the Jimmy Buffet/James Taylor sort.

Sunset Grill - for dinner, this is our favorite of favorites. The service is friendly and welcoming, yet a notch above food-wise the typical casual fare of most island restaurants. The presentation is outstanding and everything we've had was delicious. This trip we had exquisite escargot, seared scallops with lobster risotto, and tender osso buco.

The Lazy Flamingo - there are two of these on Sanibel, and we like the one closer to the causeway. Looks are deceiving here. Though it appears to be nothing more than a typical sports bar, the seafood couldn't be fresher and service is fast and friendly. We enjoyed the grouper sandwiches and the 4-hour old stone crab claws with mustard sauce. Oh, and we polished off a lovely slice of key lime pie.


Guy said...

Thanks for the Captiva review - be visiting in a few weeks!

Of the places you visited, which would you NOT bring a cool, calm, collected one-year old to dine?


Guy in Cleveland

Angie and Peter said...

Sanibel and Captiva are truly family-friendly all around, so you're going to be fine with a one-year-old almost anywhere you go. The only 2 places I might not recommend for kids are the Sunshine Cafe and Wine Bar and the Green Flash (neither reviewed in my post but both places we've eaten). Everything else is great for kids. Both Matzaluna on Sanibel and R.C. Otter's on Captiva have paper-covered tables and provide crayons for your drawing pleasure--fun for kids and adults alike!

ENJOY your time on the islands, and please let me know where you eat and how you like it!

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