From heavenly white sand beaches to glittering skyscrapers, the commercial heart of Lee County looks good enough to eat – and whether you’re into fishing or fairground rides, paragliding or dolphin-spotting, you’ll have plenty on your plate for a long weekend. On which note, Fort Myers is a foodie’s paradise, where the southern comfort cooking is heaped high, and the Bloody Marys poured generously. Here are the best places to eat and drink in Fort Myers, Florida.
Bringing New England coastal cooking to the Florida gulf shores, Izzy’s Fish and Oyster will have you happy as a clam. Dine like you’re on the Cape with a bowl of Izzy’s famous New England chowder, oysters Rockefeller (on the half-shell with a green sauce), and fried scallops. Wash it all down with the Catamaran’s balanced blend of gin, club soda, and mint. Bring yourself back from the Cape to Fort Myers with a Florida favorite for dessert: key lime parfait.
No chat about Southwest Florida’s best restaurants is complete without mention of the Veranda. One bite of the classic veal piccata or crispy, honey-crusted Atlantic salmon is all you’ll need to understand why its been showered with acclaim since 1978. As the bearnaise and blue crab stuffed artichoke fritters melt in your mouth, let your gaze wander about the refined decor of this former turn-of-the-century home, taking in the dozens of global bottles on the wine wall.
You don’t need to have drunk a cannabidiol-infused beverage to have a relaxing experience at the Seed & Bean Market. That said, this cannabis-friendly cafe is certainly one of the most chilled spots in Fort Myers. Order yourself a portion of beef tips with hemp hearts, zesty lobster pasta, or the excellent grilled cheese with bacon cannabis beer jam, and feel your hunger ebb away, along with your cares. If your CBD interest is piqued, the marketplace has a premium selection of vapes, edibles, topicals and more.
With recipes handed down through the generations, long before its founding in 1952, the Farmers Market Restaurant is the oldest operating restaurant in the county. Old-fashioned breakfast favorites include farm-fresh omelettes alongside traditional southern dinner staples such as fried chicken gizzards, creamy shrimp and grits, and country fried steak. You’ll find the fried green tomato and bacon club sandwich for lunch just as warm and welcoming. See if you can leave without trying a slice of the delectable three-layer pea pickin cake (clue: you won’t be able to).
Open for breakfast and lunch, the Oasis is one hometown restaurant where you can bring the whole clan, dogs included. So tasty are the fish and chips, your pooch will love catching the crumbs. Ditto the Philly cheesesteak and chicken tenders as they fall onto the pet-friendly patio. A combination of homestyle cooking and Florida-friendly service has made the Oasis a favorite midday haunt for regulars who just need a glass of fresh brewed sweet tea (or a spicy Bloody Mary) to make it through the day.
The Southwest Florida sun may tempt you into First Street Restaurant & Bar for a beer, but it’s the elevated pub fare that’ll convince you to stay. Robust bangers and mash, salty fish and chips, or savory shepherd’s pie should deservedly find their way to your table as you down pint after pint of the black stuff. Not too hungry? Nibble on the special all-in-one hard-boiled egg; it’s wrapped in sausage, coated in breadcrumbs, and fried to perfection.
Here’s a retro roadside shake shack that will smother you with nostalgic flavors the way fries here are smothered with homemade chili. Slide into a booth and order a classic blue plate special – the beef stroganoff, say, or buttermilk-fried chicken. Cheeseburgers, liver and onions, and the usual diner suspects line the menu alongside classic Florida fare including Key West grilled shrimp, and Mel’s key lime haddock. Order light or order heavy – just make sure a root beer float comes with it.
Forget island time, at the Lodge you’ll be relaxing on mountain time – a barbecue blizzard of burnt ends, duck wings, fried green tomatoes, smoked brisket, and pulled pork. And for something sweet to finish with, you can’t beat the salted caramel crunch skillet cookie. Even though the mountain views in this faux cabin are two-dimensional, you won’t care when you’re cozied up with your hands around a 28-degree frostbite draft beer.
Hot boiled peanuts. Shrimp and grits. Black eyed peas, fried okra, and fried green tomatoes. If it’s a southern affair you’re craving, Fancy’s cafe will load you up with all the “fixins”. Bring a bib and explore the flavors of the gulf from the New Orleans pain perdu to Florida hot chicken. Heaping helpings of mac ‘n’ cheese, spicy coleslaw, and sweet potato souffle stretch the label of “sides” to their limits. If you really want to go out on a sugar-high, ask for Marilyn’s banana puddin’.
Why not make a weekend of it? Choose between a stay at one of the best hotels in Fort Myers or one at these perfectly-located beach hotels. To keep things easy, you can make your booking right here on Culture Trip. There’s plenty to keep you busy too, from exploring the best beaches around to trying out the top things to do and see in Fort Myers.