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Where to eat and other things on Sanibel Island?

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charlotte, nc
posts: 5
Where to eat and other things on Sanibel Island?

Where is best places for Seafood on Sanibel Island? I have read a lot about McT's, Timbers, Gramma Dots, and RC Otters. For lunch I have read a lot about the Island Cow, American Legion Post 123, Hungry Herons, Sanibel Grill, and Lighthouse. Any suggestions? Aslo, are there chairs and umbrellas to rent on the beach or do you need to bring your own?


posts: 860
reviews: 10
1. Re: Where to eat and other things on Sanibel Island?

Let's take the last question first. There ae only a few hotels with chairs and umbrellas for rent on the beach - to guests olny unless the person runing the consession is eeling good that day. Some condo/housess supply them, most don't. I often end up buying my own. This happened so often I bought 2 What-a-chairs and bring them with me as checked bags. There are NO consession on public beaches, like Lighthouse, Bowmans and Blid Pass. Most have restrooms, but they can be a hike from the beach. Check going in to see if everything is operational as some were badly damaged by Charley. (the Chamber of Commerce info center - second building on right as you exit the causeay - has all the latest info). You will also have to bring you own drinks and snacks. Freeze bottles of Sunny D or any non-carbonated drink and take it with you. (empty out a bit of liquid before frezing so the bottles don't reak and leak.) They'll defrost during the day and be kept cold by the frozen remains.

Now resturants are more difficult as taste is a personal thing.

1. Grandma Dot's has excellent grilled fish. Located on the marina, their selecions are limited and the grilled fresh catch is always excellent - possibly the best on the island. Simply prepared and very casual. Good Key Lime Pie. If you have a condo or house, buy a whole one and take it home to nosh on during your stay.

2. Sanibel Grill - is the sports bar run by Timbers. Good burgers and other 'bar' food. Pretty lively during big games.

3. Timbers - Very fresh fish, and if you're there during stone crab season, their cold stone crab claws are tastey - and lots of work. Again, the best thing here is simply prepared fresh fish of the day. Other than stone crab, appetisers are ordinary, and stay with the fish for a mian course, though steaks are OK, as are desserts. Very popular wth older folks and mid-westerns who like good, simple food.

4. Light House Cafe - is justifiably famous for it's wonderful breakfasts. Their lunches are also good. This place is popular with visitors and locals alike and usually has long lines on weekends for breakfast, so try to go any time except Sunday and saturday mornings. Usually closed for dinner off season, so check their hours.

5. McT's - good seafood with a huge selection of preps. Very popular, it's about the same class as Timbers, but with a MUCH bigger selection and is a more fun place.

6. Island Cow - They have reopened and are again doing a great business. Possibly the most popular resturant on the island. Sample menu at CofC. A very good range of entrees and the food is soildly good. Big parking lot that gets very full for all meals. Very popular with families and is boisterous, fun place.

7. Hungery Heron - A small place with a big menu. I'm not sure. but i think it was up for sale, so i'm not sure what's happening here. Another middle of the road good place, if uninspired food.

8. RC Otters - this is areal fun place up on Captiva that had live entertainment at night. Lately, is has been full of contractors from South Seas at lunch and I've heard serice is uneven and the menu limited. They're open, but haven't been up to snuff, which is a shame.

9. American Legion - never been, so I have no comment.

Others - on captiva

Mucky Duck - good for lunch or sunset meal. You can buy at the bar and sit at a picnic table and watch the sunset. Beautiful. I did notice the dinner food has been slipping in quality. The fried grouper sandwich is good for lunch and the brownie ice cream sundae is big enough for two. Skip the Key lime pie here as it's some fluffy thing, not real Key Lime Pie.

Bubble Room - a famous place who's food quality is over-rated, but is such an experience that it's worth a visit for lunch. Portions are large and desserts and the bread basket are possibly the best things here. The coconut shrip can be excellent if the cook doesn't overcook them. The MoonsOver Miami hot homemade potato chips served with katsup are always good and you can get them with cheese and bacon, etc. Once again, I have found the main courses slipping, but stick with their sandwich's at lunch and it will be good. Worth a visit.

Sanibel cafe - An often overlooked little place that serves my favorite raspberry pancakes for breakfast. A good breakfast choice and good burgers at lunch. Popular with locals and long time visitors.

Schapper's for hot dogs and greasy Coney Island style fries.

Most over-rated resturant - the ones at the Sundial resort. Noopies is Ok and Windows on the Water more pretentous than good. And yes, i can be a food snob when a resturant aspires to gourmet and tastes like heated, frozen entrees with poor service. I know lots of folks who think Noopies is great, and i cannot figure out why. For japanese food, they are not that good - and I've been to Japan and know what good really is and they miss by a mile. there is nowhere to hide when serving simple food. they're both over-priced as well.

Resturant to avoid - Morgan's Forest. the food is so-so and the place smells like an airplane bathroom. ICK! maybe the refurbisment has improved things, but I wouldn't bet my credit card on it.

None of these resturants is likely to serve you an unforgettable meal, but the food is good if you don't try for gourmet preperations at these modest places, and the service is typically friendly and fun. If you do want gourmet - try Mad Hatter, a tiny and excellent resturant near Blind Pass. It closes for a month in the summer and serves dinner only. Even off season, reservations are a good idea as there are only a few tables. Seasonal menu that changes regularly.

don't worry. i've been to sanibel many times and had only a few bad meals in the hundreds of tries in even the very modest places.

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 1,962
reviews: 12
2. Re: Where to eat and other things on Sanibel Island?

I have been to Sanibel many times also, but never thought to eat at the restaurant at the Beachview Golf Club. Someone gave them an excellent review recently on this board so I have definitely put the place on my list of restaurants to try when I am next on the island.

Summerland Key...
posts: 2,204
3. Re: Where to eat and other things on Sanibel Island?

I'll add to the excellent suggestions: Key Lime Bistro and Sunshine Cafe (assuming it reopened) on Captiva. Key Lime serves a yummy seafood risotto.

Make sure you go to Mucky Duck before sunset, so you can enjoy a drink and the sunset while you wait for your table.

For lunch, try Rosie's Cafe on the east end. They make excellent sandwiches. (The deli may be closed in summer, though.) The ice cream place next door is wonderful at any time of year.

Lazy Flamingo is a very casual, inexpensive local chain that serves a yummy grouper Caesar salad. Order whatever they list as their catch of the day blackened and you can't go wrong.

Sanibel Island
posts: 3
4. Re: Where to eat and other things on Sanibel Island?

Don't forget to try Ellington's! They won Best Seafood at the Taste of the Islands in 2004 and this year they won Best Chef of the Islands and the Taste of the Taste award.

posts: 15
5. Re: Where to eat and other things on Sanibel Island?

Definately try Rosie's Cafe...My family and I went jet skiing at Ft. Myers Beach and couldn't wait to get to the calm of Sanibel and grab a sandwich at Rosie's...Ate it on the front porch...Kids loved it..Sanibel cafe had a great grouper sandwich...All the food was good...Lazy Flamingo...Island Cow...Like Mucky Duck for the drinks and Sunset, but not really the meal...Was not the best meal for kids...Always loved R.C. Otters...Good atmosphere good food...Kids always had a good meal at these places too....Most condos do not furnish chairs and umbrellas, but if you look around in your room or porch, most likely you will find chairs, umbrellas, floats, beach toys that renters before you bought and left for the next renters to come through...have fun....

Glasgow, United...
posts: 833
reviews: 339
6. Re: Where to eat and other things on Sanibel Island?

couple of other suggestions - for breakfast - Amy's Easy Over Cafe - excellent food and friendly service. Gullies cafe (also for breakfast), it's in one of the shopping areas, could be called Periwinkle Place, same one as Beach House swimwear on Periwinkle Way - they do wonderful muffins, ask for the lemon and poppy seed to be warmed, it's great!

Most restaurants on the island are great we have only had one poor experience and it wasn't that the food was bad, just way overpriced for what it was. The fact that we were the only diners should have served as a warning! (Was called Mermaid's Kitchen)

New York
posts: 340
reviews: 8
7. Re: Where to eat and other things on Sanibel Island?

nk13559, A lot of good places to eat have already been mentioned here by others. I would like to add one more though - Doc Ford's. They're nightly dinner specials are great!