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 restaurants 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 is a famous Captiva restaurant located right on the beach and has been serving lunch and dinner for over 40 years – since 1975. The décor is like a British pub with tacky slogans and t-shirts on the ceiling. In fact, they call themselves the neighborhood pub. The menu is broad and includes fresh seafood and pub-style food such as steaks and chops and a variety of tasty dishes. There is also a kids menu. The customers wait for their table outside on the beach where there are tables and benches. While enjoying their libations there is live music and fabulous sunsets. The Duck is open for lunch from 11:30 AM to 3 PM and for dinner from 5 to 9:30 PM.
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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