It is not fairly peak season on Sanibel, however it’s shut.
Periwinkle is getting busier. The bike lanes are filling with sun-burnt vacationers in flip-flops and shorts (In 65-degree climate?! Burrr).
Reading: Best food on sanibel island
The eating places are filling, too.
One of many many beauties of Sanibel is the wealth of nice locations to eat on this slim strip of an island. From traditional lobster rolls to sushi, vegan and even scratch-made doughnuts, when you’re on Sanibel there isn’t any motive to depart.
These 11 eating places, nevertheless, aren’t the on a regular basis sorts (a minimum of not for many). These are the Sanibel elite, the eating places that nail each facet of the eating expertise with stellar service, gorgeous ambiance and, most significantly, wonderful meals.
These are the locations that get all of it proper. They’re those that preserve me coming again over the causeway, and preserve me recommending them to everybody else who spends time on this idyllic island.
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I’ve listed the primary seven eating places alphabetically, with my 4 favorites famous so as on the backside.
Sanibel, in fact, is simply the tip of the native eating scene. Keep tuned within the weeks to return for my best-of lists from Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples and all through Southwest Florida.
Bleu Rendez-Vous Bistro
House owners Mari and Christian Vivet have hit their stride with this place. Previously tucked right into a south Fort Myers strip-mall, Bleu moved to Sanibel in 2015. Out right here the Vivets have room to work, to appeal, and to serve the traditional French delicacies Chef Christian grew up consuming in his native Paris. Pate de campagne, boudin noir, coq-au-vin, vol-au-vent — Christian has mastered all of it. And one way or the other, right here on Sanibel, it tastes even higher.
(2430 Periwinkle Manner, Sanibel; 239-565-1608; familycuisine.internet)
ARCHIVE:Bleu Rendez-Vous celebrates Paris, the Sanibel manner
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It is the little issues at Cip’s. The wings marinated in buttermilk in order that they keep juicy. The pear-vinaigrette atop the beet salad. The hunks of sausage and bacon in a slow-simmered Bolognese blushed by a contact of cream. Cip’s fries its personal chips, blends its personal farro-based veggie burgers, and bakes its personal pies (The whiskey-pecan is life!). It does all this with truthful costs in a cushty, family-friendly ambiance. Cip’s is a Sanibel rarity, one I like somewhat extra every go to.
(2055 Periwinkle Manner, Sanibel; 239-472-0223; familycuisine.internet)
It has been two and a half years since this iconic island restaurant moved to its new location off Tarpon Bay Street. The transition felt seamless. And 29-some months later the 15-year-old Doc’s is nearly as good as ever. It is the mojitos, the snapper steamed in banana leaves, the roasted half hen drizzled in Cuban-inspired chimichurri. And naturally it is the Yucatan shrimp, huge curls of Gulf shrimp soused in butter, garlic and chilies with a vivid kick of Key lime juice. They’re finest eaten with a neighborhood beer and a heap of napkins. They make anybody’s journey to Sanibel really feel like a trip.
(2500 Island Inn Street, Sanibel; 239-472-8311; familycuisine.internet/sanibel-island)
When chef-owner AJ Black is within the kitchen, this cozy-yet-high-end Italian restaurant is tough to beat. Black, who’s cooked on the James Beard Home in Manhattan, is the actual deal. At Il Tesoro he is crafted a menu that may be as traditional (spaghetti Carbonara, hen saltimbocca) or fashionable (scallops with a balsamic and blood-orange discount) as you want. The wines are distinctive, the setting is heat and Chef Black is improbable. What extra may one want?
(751 Tarpon Bay Street, Sanibel; 239-395-4022; familycuisine.internet)
Malia Island Fusion
At simply 2 months outdated, this newcomer exhibits a scrumptious quantity of promise. Malia might need probably the most attention-grabbing menu on the island: Morrocan-spiced fried hen thighs over clove-cardamom couscous; black-garlic shrimp with charred candy corn, cumin-butter polenta and cilantro crema. Yasssss. One of the best half: These dishes style even higher than they sound. The kitchen’s flawless execution had me in awe one evening. A lunch go to did not fairly measure up. However Malia is younger, and I stay up for watching it develop.
(1100 Par View Drive, Sanibel; 239-472-9222; familycuisine.internet)
FULL REVIEW:Malia Island Fusion on Sanibel has JLB cautiously giddy
Rumors swirled in late fall that this native favourite could not reopen. It was a tough summer season on the island, as pink tide and blue-green algae ravaged it from all sides. However I am glad to say The Sandbar stays. I solely not too long ago turned acquainted with this 6-year-old restaurant, however it’s made a tasty and lasting impression. From USDA Prime steaks seared to perfection to uber-fresh Gulf seafood, The Sandbar is a neighborhood favourite for therefore many nice causes.
(2761 W. Gulf Drive, Sanibel; 239-472-0305; familycuisine.internet)
The gorgeous Gulf-front views earn this charming restaurant some big bonus factors. Tucked into an historic cottage with Previous Florida grace to spare, Thistle Lodge at Casa Ybel Resort incorporates a traditional menu that leans closely towards seafood, steaks and traditional French methods (together with distinctive beurre-blancs). The meals is stable — and expensive. However with crashing waves serving because the night’s background music, worth turns into relative.
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(2255 W. Gulf Drive, Sanibel; 239-472-9200; familycuisine.internet)
4. Il Cielo
Each dish this kitchen seems is superb. Hand-made ravioli full of candy lobster or native greens; Gulf grouper seared until the pores and skin crisps after which set atop a polenta cake that is comforting and faintly candy. The servers are equally wonderful, well-versed on wine pairings and the ins and outs of this stellar, ever-changing menu. The eating room is darkish, quiet and stylish, with all of the trimmings (white desk cloths, linen napkins, a reside pianist) you’d anticipate in advantageous eating. This all provides up, however man is it value it.
(1244 Periwinkle Manner, Sanibel; 239-472-5555; familycuisine.internet)
3. The Jac
New house owners took over this Sanibel traditional final summer season. They brightened and modernized the eating areas and introduced craft cocktails to the bar. However they’re largest accomplishment: hiring Chef Phillipe Schroeder. Schroeder bakes his personal breads and creates scrumptious desserts. He nails the whole lot in between, too. A classy however good cauliflower steak brightened by golden raisins and a soy-mustard French dressing. Tender puffs of gnocchi made with rice flour and potato that conceal underneath a dish of pan-seared mahi and shaved Brussels sprouts like little treasures. Once I was at The Jac over the summer season, the place was quiet. I think about that is completely different now, and that is good. This chef’s work deserves a large viewers.
(1223 Periwinkle Manner, Sanibel; 239-472-1771; familycuisine.internet)
FULL REVIEW:The Jac is again and infinitely higher
2. Candy Melissa’s Cafe
If I have been to solely take meals into consideration, Candy Melissa’s could be my No. 1. Chef Melissa Talmage is a taste genius. Whereas everybody else has shrimp and grits, Talmage pairs her grits (her splendidly buttery, coarsely floor grits) with a correctly blackened redfish fillet, sauerkraut-style collard greens and a brown-butter sauce teeming with tender pecans. And that is only the start. Talmage rubs ahi with espresso and chilies that carry a dank, funky spice to every chew. She pairs seared scallops with chewy pork stomach in a fig-bourbon jus. This place loves meals. It cares about meals. It thrives due to its meals. And, for me, all these emotions are so very mutual.
(1625 Periwinkle Manner, Sanibel; 239-472-1956; familycuisine.internet)
1. Mad Hatter
A reasonably latest journey by means of this glorious rabbit gap jogged my memory simply how magical the Mad Hatter may be. It begins with the waves rolling hypnotically out again, simply past rows of sea grass that sway with the Gulf breezes. A server brings a menu printed with the phrases “Drink Me” adopted by one other full of merely seared fish, steaks and fats shrimp wrapped in frilly, fanciful phyllo dough. Remember to save room for the gorgeous desserts. And make word of the “We’re all mad here. You’ll fit right in.” signal dangling from the host’s stand. This place is mad in all one of the best methods. And I’ve as soon as once more fallen head over heels in love.
(6467 Sanibel Captiva Street, Sanibel; 239-472-0033; familycuisine.internet)
Jean Le Boeuf is the pseudonym utilized by a neighborhood meals lover who dines at eating places anonymously and with out warning, with meals paid for by The Information-Press. Comply with the critic at familycuisine.internet/jeanleboeufswfl or @JeanLeBoeuf on Twitter and Instagram.
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