By Heather Turk
The beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel are sure to have something for every palate, the area’s location along Florida’s Gulf Coast makes it one of the best places in Southwest Florida to dive into some fresh seafood. These three restaurants always make a splash with even the most discerning diner when it comes to their sumptuous seafood selections.
This lushly landscaped restaurant on Captiva Island may be famous for its award-winning Key lime pie, but it also cooks up an array of seafood items sure to impress even the biggest seafood aficionado. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, guests can enjoy live music daily during lunch and dinner hours while sipping a tropical drink and relishing one of the restaurant’s savory seafood dishes. Lunchtime fare features a variety of sandwiches, including the Which Fish Sandwich Do You Wish? which allows guests choose from mahi, salmon, snapper or tuna. Dinner entrées include such flavorful options as the Sesame Seared Tuna served with lime cilantro soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi. Check out the menu here.
MATANZAS ON THE BAY
A staple of the Fort Myers Beach community for more than 30 years, this relaxed waterfront restaurant lets guests soak up stunning views while feasting upon fresh seafood for lunch or dinner. Diners can custom-make their seafood selection by choosing the type of fish they want (for instance, mahi-mahi or local grouper) and the preparation style (oven-broiled, blackened, fried or shrimp and basil crusted), or choose from one of the restaurant’s specialty or signature stuffed seafood dishes. The 9-ounce Lobster Tail, stuffed with shrimp, crab, scallops and seasoning and baked with provolone cheese, is a must for dinner. Check out the menu here.
SWEET MELISSA’S CAFE
One of Lee County’s most delightful restaurants, this Sanibel Island favorite is known for its creative American cuisine with Southern influences. Serving lunch and dinner, the menu features several dishes with an emphasis on local seafood, like the Fresh Gulf Blue Lump Crab Cake Sandwich available for lunch and the Whole Crispy Fish offered at dinner. No trip to the restaurant is complete, however, without trying its most popular dish, the Fish Stew. Made from shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, fish (mahi-mahi or redfish) and chorizo sausage in a tomato saffron broth with Pernod aioli, this one-time specialty dish is now a regular dinner menu item in response to diner demand. Check out the menu here.