Best Places to Eat
Welcome to Sanibel Island! We hope you’ve had plenty of fun and adventures, but no vacation would be complete without trying some of these Sanibel places to eat! Here is our top list of restaurants that visitors and locals love. These restaurants offer features like waterfront views, great food, live music and games for the kids. Bring your appetite and dig into fresh seafood, cocktails, and dessert on Sanibel Island!
DOC FORD’S RUM BAR & GRILLE is a sports bar and restaurant sometimes called the local joint. It’s been serving good food along with premium rums and tropical drinks for over 15 years. It’s named after the author Randy Wayne White’s rough and tumble hero, Doc Ford. They serve both lunch and dinner daily from 11 AM to 10 PM daily with such local favorites as Yucatan Shrimp, fish tacos and fresh local seafood dishes. Service can be inside or outside. The atmosphere is casual and family friendly. And there is valet parking. There are two island locations.
The Sanibel Restaurant Location: 2500 Island Inn Road – across from Baileys Shopping Center.
Phone: 239 472 8311
The Captiva Location: 5400 South Seas Plantation Road
Phone: 239 312 4275
THE ISLAND COW is a family run, award winning restaurant conveniently located mid-island on Periwinkle Way. It’s a fun place with a “cow” décor that’s “udderly” charming and very family friendly. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with good local food – and an emphasis on seafood. They have been serving the island for 15 years. For 11 of those years they have received the award for family dining by Best of the Island. Their menu is humongous – probably the biggest on the island – so you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy. The attentive wait staff will serve you either inside or outside. Pets are welcome as long as you eat outside. There are games that you can play with the kids outside while waiting for your meal. The Island Cow is good time. It’s open every day from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM. There is live music every night – not Jimmy Buffet but nice listening.
Location: 2163 Periwinkle Way – just down the road from the Periwinkle Place shopping area.
Phone: 239 472 0606
THE LAZY FLAMINGO has been an island hang-out since the 1990’s. It’s super casual with décor like an old pirate ship – portholes and wood hewn surfaces. There is no wait staff so it’s all self-service. You put your order in at the bar, they’ll let you know when it’s ready and you pick it up. You can eat it at the bar or in one of the booths. The menu has chicken and steak entrée’s but mostly it’s delicious local seafood – shrimp, grouper, oysters and chowder. They say the only fresher seafood is still in the water. While you’re waiting for your food you can play the fun-filled hook and ring game out on the patio. Their hours are 11AM to 12 AM at their two Sanibel locations. Visit Website.
Location: 6520C Pine Avenue
Phone: 239 472 5353
Location: 1036 Periwinkle Way
Phone: 239 472 6939.
ROSIE’S CAFE AND GRILL is a cozy eatery with a nice homey feel to it. They serve American food for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 8 AM to 9 PM seven days a week. They also have carry-out. The menu is pretty broad and their famous cheesesteak is very popular. There are traditional breakfast and lunch dishes and dinner entrees that include pasta dishes, steak and seafood dishes and Southwestern favorites such as burrito’s and fajita’s. Their muffins and cinnamon rolls are homemade. The ice cream bar has over 20 flavors of locally made ice cream. Service can be either inside or outside, depending on the weather
Location: 2330 Palm Ridge Road
Phone: 239 579 0807
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Captiva Island Restaurants
THE BUBBLE ROOM is a one-of-a-kind themed restaurant that opened 40 years ago as a couple of tables and chairs on the front porch of an old house on Captiva. Over the years it has expanded into the iconic, world-famous restaurant that – once experienced – you’ll never forget. It is in a renovated three-story house decorated with old Hollywood memorabilia from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. It’s on the walls with pictures, posters, electric trains and Christmas lights. It’s in the tables – shadow box tables with period toys and dolls. And it’s with the wait staff who are in boy and girl scout uniforms. It sounds kooky but it’s fun. And the kids love it. But don’t let the Hollywood stuff overshadow the food. This is a serious family-style restaurant with a broad menu of American foods and a professional staff to serve you. The portions are large. But save yourself for the restaurant’s specialty – their desserts, particularly their cakes. Whether you eat inside or outside you will have a memorable time, a good meal and probably take left-overs home with you.
Location: 15001 Captiva Drive – the only major road on Captiva Island. You can’t miss it.
Hours: They’re open from 11 AM to 9 PM.
Phone: 239 472 5558
THE MUCKY DUCK
This world-famous restaurant has been a favorite of residents and visitors alike since 1975 with great food and drink creations. It has a relaxing salty, friendly pub atmosphere with darts and a big bar. The dress is casual. Not bathing suit and bare feet casual but neat shorts, a golf-shirt, and sandals are fine. It is conveniently located for those renting vacation property. It’s near downtown Captiva at 11546 Andy Rosse Lane – at the end of the lane. It is directly on the beach, only 60 feet from the water, so the view of the nightly sunset is right there, wonderfully beautiful and romantic. You will wait in this outside area while your table is prepped. There is plenty of seating and you can enjoy your libations, listen to live music and be mesmerized by the gorgeous sunset while anticipating a scrumptious meal. They are open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas and serve a wide range of delicious lunch or dinner fare. Lunch is served from 11:30 AM to 3 PM and dinner is served from 5 PM to 9:30 PM. Like most restaurants on the islands, they do not accept reservations. The menu is broad and includes fresh seafood and pub-style foods like chops and steaks. The lunch menu has over 20 items and includes such things as a seafood platter and many kinds of seafood chowders. Sandwiches range from Grouper to fried oyster, chicken or hamburger or grilled pastrami with pesto. The dinner menu includes the specialty, roasted Duck l’Orange, plus shrimp and bacon, Grouoer Cafe de Paris, scallops, lobster, steaks and chops and many other tasty temptations. There is also a kids menu which includes grilled cheese, fried shrimp, hot dog or chicken tenders – all served with french fries. This is a fun placed to be.
It not only captures that island feeling of casual pleasure but it also gives you that pub nonchalance with tacky slogans, t-shirts on the ceiling and saucy wait personnel. On the caution side, it is a popular destination with limited land – so plan your parking carefully – meaning get there early. You can reach them by phone at 239 472 3434 or go to www.muckyduck.com.
Location: The end of Ande Rosse Lane. The parking is limited and tight so it’s good to get there early.
Phone: 239 472 3434
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