From fancy establishments with tables on the sand to seafood shacks in the Everglades, these restaurants in Naples, Marco Island and Everglades City overdeliver on water views.Less
If you haven’t discovered this somewhat hidden back-bay stunner, you are missing out on vibrant, sophisticated, Southern-inspired cuisine. Enveloped by mangroves, the deck overlooks the winding water—ideal for kicking back with barbecue shrimp and grits, house-made pimento cheese, and a “sea BLT” salad with fried green tomatoes and chilled lobster, crab and shrimp. The adjacent tavern-restaurant, doesn’t have quite the impressive views as the main room, but it has live music and a raw bar.
Since the 1980s, this divey seafood shack has stayed true to its Old Florida roots, doling out a steady supply of coconut shrimp, fish & chips, grouper sandwiches and seafood platters. The location in the backwaters of Vanderbilt Beach is hard to beat, as are the generous portions and superb service. There’s a reason legions of locals and out-of-towners proudly proclaim they’ve been going back for decades.
You can often see the stone crab boat docked out back and workers in the garden picking herbs that end up on your plates. Place your order at the counter and claim a picnic table inside the screened-in dining room or the gnome-filled courtyard and patio. The menu ranges from the expected Everglades cuisine—fried seafood baskets, frog legs, oyster po’boy and seasonal stone crab—to downhome pleasers, like lima bean soup with pork hocks and the oh-so refreshing semiffredo-style key lime pie.
This food truck park keeps the action going from lunch through dinner every night. Snag a picnic table or a seat around the rectangular bar, overlooking Naples Bay, and indulge in a progressive day of dining, from lobster fries at Island Seafood to vegan al pastor tacos at Mega Sabor to spicy chicken roti at Deccani Bites to braised lamb shank at the Great Foodini (yea, it’s all gourmet, fresh-sourcing, chef-led grub around here).
The nearly 50-year-old The Dock at Crayton Cove, in the heart of downtown Naples, remains a reliable standby for brewskis and burgers (the double patty option with caramelized onions and house sauce is worth the calories). The wooden structure sits over the water’s edge at the City Dock, providing the ideal backdrop for lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch (the build-your-own bloody mary bar on Sundays is legendary).
Oceanfront dining and sunset views embody opulence at this restaurant from The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. Beachy favorites include handhelds and seafood—and, of course, tropical cocktails.
With prime real estate on the water within the Naples Bay Resort & Marina and a globally inspired, small plates menu, Nosh stands as a living representation of what the chef-owner Todd Johnson and his wife, Dana, most appreciate about dining out: originality, refined technique, honest ingredients, welcoming hospitality, delightful presentations and great wines (Todd is a certified sommelier). While the menus are top-shelf, the salty, alfresco harbor seating creates a chill, tucked-away vibe.
Opened in 2020, Osteria Capri, in Isles of Capri, overlooks bobbing boats on serene backwaters from its intimate windowed dining room, alfresco patio and full bar. Here, chef AJ Black, of Sanibel’s former Il Tesoro fame, celebrates Italian heritage along with the local bounty through dishes like the seafood pizza (done in a wood-fired oven and with imported flour, of course), zuppa di pesce and fish of the day. For dessert, the coconut tiramisu is not to be missed.
The Marco Beach Ocean Resort takes its flagship restaurant, Sale e Pepe, so seriously, it has a separate driveway and valet—and a more than 500-bottle wine list. The Italian chef’s reinventions of classic dishes from his homeland sing, like a fish and seafood stew or sea bass. And, the view of soothing waves is simply dreamy. Sit al fresco on the spacious fan-covered Terrace for the best seats and soundtrack. Then dive into perfectly al dente rigatoni and a glass of Pinot Grigio.
At JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort’s adults-only Tesoro, the modernist interiors exalt the beauty of the Gulf, with its wall of windows and fifth-floor perch. The dinner-only menu stands as an ode to Mediterranean cuisine, blending Greek, French, Spanish and Italian specialties with contemporary flare and local catches. Don’t sleep on the housemade pappardelle with spice-poached lobster and charred tomato and littleneck clams.