Top 12 New Restaurants in Southwest Florida
There is a lot to catch up on in the Southwest Florida food scene. Over the past year, we’ve said goodbye to restaurants, including Sanibel’s Il Tesoro, and hello to a number of new restaurants, like the already popular Seventh South Craft Food + Drink; some of our favorite places have gained national attention (most notably, Barstool Sports, known for its viral ‘One Bite’ pizza reviews, has listed three local pizzerias, giving them high rankings on its famous 10 point scale; and Local restaurateurs have increased the ante on innovation and service, demonstrating the resilient spirit of our culinary community through the pandemic. As for what is to follow, we are very excited about all the new places to have fun. , we present our list of the 12 must-see, new restaurants in Southwest Florida.
Ziggy D’Amico’s Whiskey Bar & Diner in Naples
This laid-back-chic spot, by respected restaurateur Richard D’Amico, was once D’Amico & Sons, until he decided to reinvent the space last November with a name and design that honors his late border collie. , Ziggy. With bright interiors and a lush patio in the Napolitan Way Mall, the restaurant serves small plates, customizable pizzas, burgers, lobster rolls, hot Nashville chicken, and mac and cheese. In its Calacatta marble bar, you can order from a short list of stellar handcrafted cocktails and an impressive collection of 29 whiskey bottles. Considering its namesake, it’s no surprise that Ziggy’s Patio is pet-friendly. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Seventh South Craft Food + Drink in Naples
Two industry professionals, a chef and a bartender, have come together to create this elegant restaurant that gives pride of place to artisan cocktails and ready-made meals. In Seventh South, locals rave about the meatballs, which evolved from the recipe of chef-owner Adam Nardis’ grandmother. For the cocktail program, owner-bartender Barry Larkin turns premium spirits and homemade syrups into inventive libations. The kitchen stays open late (the last call is just before 1 a.m.) so you can grab a bite with your last drink. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Jungle Bird Authentic Tiki in Cape Coral
Jeremy Vincent opened this tropical oasis amid the pandemic as a pop-up in the former Redfish Point restaurant. Following the instant popularity of the place, Vincent decided to turn Jungle Bird into a permanent place, taking control of the Redfish space. There he honors the traditions of tiki culture with authentic flavors and quality rums from around the world. The cuisine is intensely focused on fresh ingredients (they don’t even have a cold room), which chef Nick Hartmann turns into multicultural dishes like steamed bao buns and yuzu tuna steak. Open for lunch and dinner from Monday to Friday, with brunch on Sunday.
400 rabbits on Sanibel Island
This laid-back concept from Jeramie and Debra Campana, who run Sanibel’s food and take-out company, Paper Fig Kitchen, and partners Don (who was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Rising Chef Award in the ’90s, losing opposite celebrity chef Bobby Flay) and Cleta Yamauchi, serves Mexican-inspired dishes in a fun, family-friendly setting. Discover the plates with the funny names of 400 rabbits like the Queso We Good? cheese dip starter; the I’m fine… Churro K? dessert cocktails; and the I’m Bored children’s quesadilla. This is a great stop for islanders riding the Rabbit Road cycle path, and definitely worth crossing the causeway if you’re on the mainland. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
The Indya in Naples
Restaurateur Suman “Sam” Chaniyil, who already manages two places dedicated to North Indian cuisine (Spice Club Indian Grill in San Carlos Park and India’s Grill in Fort Myers), launched in August this new restaurant serving authentic South Indian cuisine. At Indya, you’ll find classics like chicken tikka and tandoori shrimp, as well as a full vegan menu that includes gluten-free Buddha’s Delight with tofu, eggplant, and vegetables mixed in a coconut-almond sauce. Open every day for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and for dinner from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Hogfish Harry’s in Naples
Chef Everett Fromm is a huge fan of hogfish, so much so that when the restaurant reopened after renovations last fall, he and his partners changed the name from Island Gypsy at Naples’ Park Shore Resort to Hogfish Harry’s. In the kitchen, Fromm imagines countless ways to make the fish sweet, including crispy and fried in a sandwich for lunch and toasted with a pineapple and ginger reduction for dinner. Of course, it’s not just about pigs; you can also enjoy Caribbean spiced baby back ribs, Black Angus beef tenderloin, and other seafood dishes, as well as happy hour bites like pork sliders. Open every day for lunch and dinner, until 9 p.m.
Tulia Mercato Bar in Naples
The inhabitants are no strangers to the Neapolitan institutions of Vincenzo Betulia, notably Osteria Tulia and The French. This spring, he inaugurated a second location of his popular Bar Tulia in the Mercato. The Industrial Space Meets the Old World features a 75-seat patio shaded by a jasmine pergola, and the menu follows the same principles as other places in Betulia, with gourmet platters and handcrafted cocktails. Open for lunch and dinner until 11 p.m. from Saturday to Wednesday and at midnight on Thursday and Friday.
Twisted Sheep Pizza and Brew in Naples
This original new concept from chef Michael Voorhis, formerly of Lake Park Diner and The Bevy in Naples, and Calvin Joiner, owner of Red’s Pizzeria and Red’s Pizza on Wheels in East Naples, serves gourmet pies and craft beers. Popular Twisted Sheep dishes get creative, including the Adult Deli Platter with Prosciutto, Whipped Basil Brie, and Garlic Crostini, and pizzas like the Cuban-inspired Little Havana and the Vegan Pizzatarian. Pick a seat in the hipster interior or grab a table near the vintage food truck in the back (with an Instagram-worthy neon “Pizza” sign). Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Osteria Capri in Naples
After the COVID-19 shutdown, chef AJ Black closed his bistro Il Tesoro in Sanibel and devoted his energy to opening this new waterfront Italian restaurant. Located on the Islands of Capri, Osteria Capri focuses on high quality ingredients, including locally grown herbs and imported tomatoes from Italy, to create authentic dishes from scratch like Neapolitan-style pizzas and homemade pasta. The restaurant also serves great cocktails – love the bartender’s espresso martini. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Oxbow Bar & Grill in Fort Myers
One of five standout new restaurants at the new Luminary Hotel & Co., Oxbow’s two-story space offers picturesque views of the Caloosahatchee River. Set steps from the main hotel in a previously under-utilized municipal space, the restaurant is a shining example of Fort Myers recapturing its waterfront for public enjoyment Upstairs there is an event space that can accommodate up to 150 guests, plus patio and catering kitchen. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating, where patrons dine on oysters (available fried, baked, or raw), southern fare (like a perfect salad of fried green tomatoes with crab in pieces) and main courses that bring out the best of sea land. Inside the hotel you’ll find the upscale casual seafood restaurant Silver King Ocean Brasserie and the Beacon Social Drinkery rooftop bar. Oxbow is open daily for lunch and dinner, with brunch on the weekends.
Saigon at Cafe de Paris in Naples
Originally from Saigon, Danny Tham, who grew up in France, wanted to marry his two cultures with this café-restaurant-meeting in the center of Naples. Nestled in the industrial park off Airport-Pulling Road, the black and red facade of Saigon in Paris is accented by a human-sized Eiffel Tower that instantly sets the scene. Inside the small cafe you’ll find a service counter with crates of French pastries and baked goods – made by bakers who start before sunrise – and a menu with options for Vietnamese classics like the pho and roast duck, as well as French favorites like snails and chicken cordon bleu. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The Loft at OT in Cape Coral
Located right upstairs from Cape’s Overtime Pizzeria, this place for ages 21 and up is all about nightlife with dim lighting and comfortable seating. The Loft is known for its signature cocktails, like the Cranberry Moscow Mule and Lavender Martini, but you can also grab a quick bite from the tapas and dessert menus. In tune with its nightlife in town, there is also live music. Open late Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.