Naples, Florida is known for beautiful beaches, sensational sunsets and relaxing resorts. And while the coastal community is surrounded by blue waters and fish, it hasn’t always been hailed as a top foodie destination, like Miami or cities along the East Coast. But that reputation is about to change.
The sleepy resort town has been making waves with new restaurants and a greater focus on food quality and culture. From hotel restaurants with upgraded menus to hole-in-the-wall bars with top-quality seafood, Naples just might surprise the seasoned seafood savant.
HB’s on the Gulf
There are several hotels and resort accommodations in and around the Naples region, but tucked away along Gulf Blvd N is the beautiful Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club and their award-winning beachfront restaurant, HB’s on the Gulf, our Fishmonger Approved pick for best resort restaurant.
HB’s serves breathtaking views, fresh regional seafood and mouth-watering specials for lunch and dinner daily – indoors and al fresco. It is truly one of the finest of all Naples restaurants.
Sourced locally or from reputable and sustainable suppliers, the seafood selections at HB’s rival the Best in Class seafood restaurants in the state of Florida. What are you waiting for? Make your reservation today!
Bambusa’s Bar & Grill
Bambusa’s Bar & Grill is the designated LGBTQ hot spot in Naples. It’s the obvious choice in town to see drag shows, connect with LGBTQ locals and enjoy a mix of entertainment and events, but it isn’t the most obvious choice in town for top-quality seafood. If you’re avoiding hole-in-the-wall bars for fine dining, you might be missing some of the best seafood in the region, because Bambusa’s menu alone is worth the visit!
Owners Mel and Steve aren’t new in the restaurant business. With three family restaurants in Colorado, the couples’ first in San Diego and two in Denver, opened in 2006, Bambusa was designed as a fun escape with a focus on flavor. The restaurant takes pride in their non-GMO veggies and wild caught seafood.
CAVO Lounge is another newer hot spot in Naples. According to their website, “CAVO Lounge is the finest upscale restaurant and lounge in all of Naples. With an elegant lounge environment and a unique culinary experience.” We couldn’t agree more. This is the hottest nightclub in all of southwest Florida with a 5-Star rated menu.
Although not a seafood restaurant, CAVO’s New York -influenced management team brings fresh ideas, the result of which are an array of freshly and locally sourced made-to-order seafood dishes. The miso-glazed cobia satay, spicy tuna tartare, ceviche, Caesar salad with fresh anchovies and shrimp skewers are all seaworthy. In fact, we’ve been craving that cobia dish since the day we left Naples.
The Hampton Social in Naples is one of eight locations.With five restaurants in Illinois, one in Nashville, one in Naples and another coming soon to Orlando, this chain may be small, but it’s one to watch. While we are usually bigger fans of small, locally owned establishments, there’s no denying that the seafood experience at the Hampton Social is one worth writing about.
According to their website, “The Hampton Social Naples opened in the popular Mercato Shopping Center in North Naples in December 2018. The brand’s first location to open outside of the Chicagoland area, the lifestyle concept (owned, operated and designed by restaurateur Brad Parker) is a dining hotspot that evokes East Coast living in every aspect – from the white-washed, nautical walls to the signature seafood fare.”
To begin, one must acknowledge the beauty of the restaurant’s decor. With its modern lines, natural lighting, coastal touches, ceiling and wall greenery and eye-catching light fixtures, it would be easy to get swept away in decor observation while forgetting to order food. Don’t make that mistake, because you’d be missing out.
The 8,445-square-foot restaurant also boasts a wrap-around outdoor patio, private dining and semi-private spaces for gatherings and events.
While visiting the region, we were given the opportunity to attend the Naples Wine & Food Experience with Martha Stewart. Four hours of non-stop eating and drinking made us realize two things:
- The seafood in this town is delicious, although there were definitely one or two “could have been better” dishes.
- Smoked Rum-based Old Fashioned Cocktails make food tastings so much more fun, but talking to the camera much more difficult.
Our favorite dish of the day was the tuna and watermelon satay from LaPlaya Beach Resort. Check our or Wine & Food experience below:
Although our time in Naples was limited and our bellies too full to try anything more, we did get word that there are several other seafood restaurants worth trying, including Grouper and Chips, USS Nemo, Citrus, and Kelly’s Fishhouse Dining Room.
If you have a chance to venture out with Pure Florida for an offshore fishing charter experience, do! Located in Tin City and Fort Myers, Pure Florida offers a variety of water adventures, including fishing charters, sightseeing and sunset cruises, boat rentals, jet boat thrill rides, shelling and dolphin tours, and jet ski adventures.
While in town, we were invited to join Pure Florida for a fishing adventure. Unfortunately, due to rough waters and forecasted storms, we got two miles out and then had to return to shore. After all, safety first!
The thing to note with Pure Florida is that fish caught during boat charters can be brought back to shore and cooked up at the Tin City Riverwalk Restaurant. Now that’s as fresh as you’re going to get in Naples.
Plan Your Trip
For more info on seafood and cooking adventures, make sure to visit the Paradise Coast Visitor’s Bureau to learn all you need to know to plan your next vacation or staycation on Florida’s Paradise Coast.
We’ll “sea” you on the docks during our next Florida Seafood adventure!