Best Restaurants on Sanibel

There’s a lot to appreciate within the few miles of Sanibel and Captiva islands. But we often find guests raving about one thing over any other- it’s the dining.

Below are five exceptional restaurants on Sanibel Island, all worthy of your attention.

romantic energy and 5-course meal tasting

Sweet Melissa’s Café

Sweet Melissa’s Café elegantly balances out fine dining with a casual demeanor. The restaurant sits in this delightful and cozy cottage. It looks like the finest little Florida house on the block.
But once you step inside, the place glows with a moody ambiance and romantic energy. It’s a dazzling place to see, and one with high-end American eating.

The restaurant is billed as deluxe dining, and we can’t get enough of it. Take the culinary journey with the five-course tasting menu. If you come on the right night, you may find live acoustic jazz, piano arrangements, and other music helping set a warm tone for the night.

Regardless if you are starving for a meal or just want a nice place to relax, Sweet Melissa’s is an entrancing experience.

Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille

Doc Ford’s is on the other side of the spectrum entirely. It’s a bar. It’s fun. It’s Florida at its most relaxed.

It’s all about the food at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille. Plates full of oysters, shrimp baskets, bbq-soaked ribs, thick-cut French fries, and so much more line up the tables at this bar and restaurant.

Order a drink in a very Florida mason jar. Mojitos and daiquiris are the two most popular, but there’s a full rum bar for you to let loose.

Doc Ford’s is the ideal stop for a bunch of adults looking for a cool and casual place to stock up on seafood for their Florida getaway. Getting a drink over at Doc Ford’s is one of the most fun things to do in Sanibel & Captiva Islands.

The Clam Shack

The Clam Shack is an uncompromising celebration of all things seafood. You get a lovely and quaint environment to dine on seafood of every shape and size. There’s a wide selection of seafood sandwiches, including lobster, clams, tuna, haddock, and more. There’s the classic New England clam chowder, a special treat for some northeastern visitors seeking a little piece of home. Order chicken wings, peel and eat shrimp, steamed middle neck clams, stuffed quahog, and top it all off with the real deal clam bake.

The exterior encapsulates Florida. Palm trees cover the front of the building while you pass through a nice little wooden structure with a large anchor. The Clam Shack is all Florida, all the time.

The Blue Giraffe

The Blue Giraffe welcomes you with an assortment of fascinating features. From the straw bar area to the cozy patio space, to the elongated giraffe statues, to the gorgeous view of the neighboring park, this local treat is one of our favorites. And we didn’t even touch on the food!
Salads soaked in walnuts and strawberries, crab cakes, about six different types of burgers, a pure-hearted breakfast menu, and seemingly everything in between, the Blue Giraffe is the all-around favorite for a family of many different types of eaters with picky palettes.

Mad Hatter Restaurant

The name is not entirely picked from a hat. The owners have crafted their lovely little restaurant with the colors of Alice in Wonderland, from the bright pinks of the exterior paint to the glass stain windows adorning the front entrance.

Escape down the rabbit hole. The interior walls are covered in delightful designs from the Lewis Carroll classic. The food is an ambitious blend of seafood, steakhouse, and the core American favorites.

There are splendid and warm family-friendly activities in Sanibel & Captiva Islands as well as many romantic sights to see. We have many vacation rentals on Sanibel & Captiva Islands to fit any type of vacation escape.