I love reporting on my favorite restaurants from the cities we visit, because I think it gives people a whole new experience when they travel for baseball. So many people flock down to Fort Myers, or across the country in the regular season, and their primary reason is for baseball games. For me (I watch a whole lot of baseball), one of the best perks of travelling with Ryan is to explore new places and to find great restaurants. I’ve found some of our favorite restaurants down here in Fort Myers by talking to my customers at Lush. People who come to a slightly expensive French bakery tend to like quality food, and we have eaten some great meals for research for this next post! I’m posting these in geographical order from north to south, focusing mostly on downtown Fort Myers because I think it’s often overlooked by tourists.
Ford’s Garage- We originally saw Ford’s while eating at another restaurant in downtown Fort Myers, and I knew we would be going asap. It was packed on a Wednesday night. We went about a month later with our good friends, and it was the perfect restaurant for a double date or night out with friends. Ford’s has a great beer list with a variety of seasonal and small brewery options. They also have plenty of appetizer options that are great for sharing to get your night going. They have the usuals, like fried pickles and onion rings, but they also have a small mac and cheese menu, which is a nice starter for the table as well. We ordered the lobster mac and the bbq pulled pork mac, and both were good. Ford’s is known most for their burgers. They have about 20 options already made for you, or you can choose to build you own with all your favorites. I picked the Model A burger, complete with pico de gallo, bacon, red onion, and a fried egg. It was pretty awesome. I’ll be honest in saying that Ford’s isn’t the best food you’ll ever eat, but I’ll guarantee that you’ll have a great night out. The atmosphere is young and fun, which isn’t something you always see in Fort Myers.
Yano’s First Street- Yano’s is right across the street from Ford’s, but I would recommend it for a completely different experience. I went to Yano’s with my parents last year during Spring Training, and it was my first experience with the downtown restaurants. We were drawn to it because there were quite a few people sitting at the outside tables, and on a beautiful day it’s hard to pass up. I honestly was not expecting much from Yano’s, which might be why I ended up enjoying it so much. The menu is sort of Mediterranean with a contemporary twist. For a starter, we had two cups of the Bloody Mary Gazpacho with Lump Crab. For only $5, you get a very large cup that has a decent amount of crab it in, not to mention that it was delicious on a hot day. Cool, refreshing, and just the right of savory with that splash of vodka taste. I think I’m going back again this year just to have it one more time. The salads were also very reasonable for their size, between $7 and $9. I would recommend Yano’s for anyone who wants to have a glass of wine outside on a nice day and an hour or two of people watching.
The Veranda- We were given a gift certificate to The Veranda by my grandparents for Valentine’s Day last year, and it is exactly the restaurant they would take us to in person. The Veranda is a southern, old fashioned steakhouse with a beautiful outdoor garden. If the weather is nice, be sure to request a table out there; it is a great restaurant for an intimate dinner for two or a quiet, but nice family dinner. The food is straight forward but cooked perfectly. We started with the crab-stuffed artichokes, which are deep fried and heavenly- a must order. Next was Caesar salad made table side, which was one of the best one’s I’ve had, and a nice accompaniment to their bread basket and pepper jelly. I ordered the house specialty veal chop, which is stuffed with prosciutto and mozzarella and served in a mushroom sauce. I was so full by this point that I ended up taking most of it home, but I’m glad I did because I got to experience how lovely it was twice! Next time I’ll split an entree so that I can venture around the dessert menu!
El Gaucho Inca Restaurant- This was one of those recommendations I was referring to from a Lush customer, and I can’t think of a better person to recommend a Peruvian/Argentinian restaurant than someone who was born in Peru! If I don’t literally give you the address to El Gaucho, I guarantee you’ll miss finding it hidden in it’s little strip center. It leaves a lot to the imagination in terms of the exterior, but all that is washed away when you walk inside. We went to El Gacho on a Wednesday night and I was very please to find that we had just gotten the last table available. I ordered for us, as Ryan was a little daunted by this menu, and was really happy with everything we ordered! I really want to go back and explore more of what they have to offer. The ceviche so incredibly plentiful that you need to share it, but it’s a wonderful, fresh appetizer. I ordered the mixed plate with fish and seafood, but I would probably order just seafood next time. We split the ribeye with chimichurri which had a completely different taste than my version, and was probably much more authentic. The woman at the table next to us ordred the perihuela (seafood stew), and that is next on my list when we return.
Blu Sushi- This is the that you’ve probably seen or at least heard of if you’ve come down to Fort Myers for baseball. Ryan describes Blu as “the hot girl in high school”- always busy, offering a unique cocktail menu and happy hour, and the trendy spot for looking out for ballplayers out for dinner. You’ll get all of that if you go to their Gulf Coast Town Center location, but you won’t find us there too often. We prefer the quieter, outdoor seating at the McGregor location, located west towards the beaches from the field. Every Valentine’s Day we sit outside for their lunch special. If you are big sushi eaters like us, going out for sushi can easily be a $150+ type of meal, particularly when rolls are $14 a piece. Blu lunch, however, offers an “all you can eat” option for $16.95. To me that is as good as it gets. Blu is most noted for it’s lava drop roll- a crab and cream cheese roll that is cut and individually deep fried. So crunchy, creamy and decadent. If you are looking for lighter rolls, I love the Mexican. You order two rolls at a time (with a limited selection) until you are ready to drop- a great deal for big eaters like us. If you go for dinner, please not that the menu is about 80% sushi. They don’t offer too many kitchen items for non-fish eaters. If you go for dinner order the California Dreaming roll and the Tuna Tower appetizers. Two favorites that aren’t available during lunchtime.
Blue Water Bistro- This restaurant is located in Coconut Point, about 20 minutes south of the Jet Blue Park. We were taken here by friends and I loved it from the moment we walked in. Blue Water Bistro serves “Florida cuisine” and offers many fresh, lighter dishes for hot nights. Part of their menu features the FreshCatch- offering about a dozen different fishes from mahi mahi to barramundi- that you can have blackened or grilled. This is the restaurant to take a big group or a smaller group with lots of different appetites. They have a plethora of fish and seafood options, but also have chicken, pasta, burgers, and anything else to feed a pickier palate. The shrimp nachos and calamari are great to share as starters for the table, and the veggie caesar is usual and really yummy. Please note: Blue Water Bistro is only open for dinner, and I’d recommend making reservations.
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