Beloved classics and dazzling upstarts share space on the list of best restaurants in Fort Myers. This being Southwest Florida, local seafood is the star across most menus, but you’ll find tremendous variety in preparations, influences, and ingredients.
10 Best Restaurants in Fort Myers
Whether stalwart or newcomer, however, any restaurant you choose from this list will offer you a stellar culinary experience:
At Azure Restaurant, the decor reflects the name—and beautifully. Cobalt blue paint, indigo textiles, and huge bouquets of flowers in steely cerulean vases elevate this intimate dining room, run by seasoned London restaurateurs Eddy Garces and Lee Riley. The French-with-a-Southern-twist fare has an elegance that keeps local foodies coming back for both classics and seasonal specials. Service is as superb as chef Joe Pittman’s technique. Azure is hugely popular during high season, so you should make reservations in advance of your stay.
Blue Pointe Oyster Bar & Seafood Grille
Seafood restaurants abound in Fort Myers, and most serve nothing but local fish. Blue Pointe, one of the best restaurants in Fort Myers for local fish, also looks slightly beyond Fort Myers’ waters to the Gulf of Mexico for its seafood. It also incorporates products and influences from the East Coast, the West Coast, and the Great Lakes. Embrace happy hour with a dozen oysters and a round of drinks. Or get more ambitious and order from the full raw bar menu; there’s a wealth of outdoor seating, which makes the modern and attractive Blue Pointe Oyster Bar a definitive destination for those who like to consume their seafood in full view of the source.
The bland strip mall exterior might throw you. But once you’re inside Cibo, which means “food” in Italian, the alluringly homey atmosphere will erase any doubts you have about eating here. So, too, will the Italian fare that has drawn in the likes of Tony Bennett.
Cleanly plated on vivid white geometric platters with sides of copper pots, the dishes—even classics like “Mama’s” meatballs—are simple yet heady and contemporary. Sauces like Marsala and lemon-thyme beurre blanc are exquisitely rendered; this is technique-heavy fare that is lovingly produced with fresh, quality ingredients. Daily specials include a rotating menu of risottos. Don’t neglect the robust wine list, which features a wide range of vintages from Italy and California.
Cru at the Bell Tower Shops
One of the best restaurants in Fort Myers, Cru is known for both its hand-crafted cocktails and its exceptional food-and-wine pairings. The staff is helpful with selections from the ever-changing menu, some of which can be rather avant-garde. The chefs draw influences from all over the world, leaving no country or trend untouched or untried. If you’re late to the reservation party, angle for a seat at the bar and sidle up to some tapas. Unlike some of the other restaurants in Fort Myers, Cru is also open for lunch, and reservations for the noontime meal are generally easier to come by than a table for dinner.
Harold’s consistently demonstrates its dedication to all things farmed, foraged, and fished as sustainably, naturally, and ethically as possible. Seasonality and serendipity reign here, so it’s impossible to predict what will be available at this fabulous place from week to week. It could be free-range antelope and line-caught Alaskan halibut, or free-range chicken and line-caught Atlantic swordfish. But you can expect whatever it is to be heavenly—and as good for your body and the environment as possible. There’s also always several vegetarian dishes.
Izzy’s Fish & Oyster
Named for chef-restaurateur Jamie DeRosa’s daughter, Izzy’s offers a glimpse into modern New England life by the water. If you’re craving oysters followed by a lobster roll—served warm with clarified butter or cold with mayonnaise—this is where you go. Fair warning, though: Plenty of delicious regional fish and seafood items from both Southwest Florida and the Northeast coast may distract you from fulfilling those original intentions. Modest digs house blue-and-white wicker seating, a lounge area with an octopus mural painted over a brick wall, and a glowing blue raw bar that’s clearly the showcase of the place.
The long-running McGregor Café, with its pretty patio and café tables where live musicians entertain, is a year-round favorite among the great selection of restaurants in Fort Myers. Open for three meals per day, the restaurant offers enough American, Italian, and regionally influenced favorites to please just about anybody, from picky kids to demanding foodies. Ingredients are high quality and the restaurant never skimps or resorts to old standards. For instance, scallops are always U12—meaty and tender—and fish like tripletail snapper satisfies those looking for local flavor beyond the typical, overserved species. Meats are hand-carved and even the potato salad and pickled onions are made in-house. A new chef was brought onboard in 2017 and is taking the restaurant in welcome new directions that longtime customers are raving about. During the high season, reservations are suggested, especially on weekend nights.
Roadhouse Café is the perfect place to wear the dressy clothes you brought on vacation; they did not go to waste. Once you glam up, it’s time to dine sumptuously at one of the best restaurants in Fort Myers. Pair Kobe beef, lobster, Parma prosciutto, veal, or artisanal cheeses with a glass of something from the far-reaching list of globally sourced wines and top-shelf liquors. And enjoy the music—the Roadhouse Café books some big names in the jazz world, and patrons have been known to pack the place for more well-known acts. Like many of the other best restaurants in Fort Myers, Roadhouse Café has an intimate, sophisticated vibe. Not only doesn’t it appeal to young children, it’s probably not appropriate for them.
The Standard Restaurant
Named in honor of that old song everybody knows and loves, The Standard is aiming to become a new classic. And this restaurant in Fort Myers is indeed known and loved. Run by brothers Chris and Doug Blauvelt, the restaurant debuted in 2015 and was quickly lauded for its hand-crafted everything: eclectic cocktails, funky pizzas, inventive salads, and quirky main courses. The menu always offers a local catch of the day, and vegetarians are welcomed with pastas, grain-veggie bowls, and other veg-friendly options. Not that hungry? Drop in for a Southwest Florida craft beer or a slice of a homemade dessert.
Dine inside the historic brick walls under old iron beams, or outside in the pleasant weather. Located downtown in the Post Office Arcade and Indigo Hotel, The Standard is also a terrific place for Saturday or Sunday brunch. Reservations are necessary during the busy season.
Twisted Vine Bistro
One of the best restaurants in Fort Myers, Twisted Vine Bistro in the historic River District is both embedded in and committed to the region. With a courtyard garden (and an alliance with Roots Heritage Urban Farm), live entertainment on the weekends, wine dinners throughout the year, and networking events designed to bring people together, the restaurant operates within the context of truly being a gathering place for Lee County locals.
That said, visitors are made to feel like community members, too. Servers take pains to explain the thirty-plus wines by the glass, which are sourced from boutique wineries; and take time to detail the menu of rich bistro delicacies—many made with Florida-sourced fish and meats. Pro tip: if you’re catching a show at the nearby Florida Repertory Theatre or Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, let the staff know so they can time your meal correctly.
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– Original reporting by Jen Karetnik
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