Best Eats in Sanibel - Captiva? Things to do?

Old Oct 4th, 2003, 04:21 AM
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Best Eats in Sanibel - Captiva? Things to do?

Heading to Sanibel - Captiva in a week. I got a few good suggestions piggybacked onto a "seaweed" thread, but looking for current tips on restaurants because I understand there has been some turnover of restaurants there lately. We will have a car, so location is not that important. Also would appreciate other tips of "must see" and "must do" activites. We are two 40 year old moms and 2 very well traveled 11 year old girls (so they won't NEED to eat at McDonalds, thank goodness!). We like the unusual find, off the beaten path. Hoping for interesting and/or unusual food and experiences mixed in with our R&R vacation. Thanks!
loangalsal is offline  
Old Oct 4th, 2003, 04:40 AM
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Well, there are no fast food restaurants on the Island so good thing you don't need to be looking for that. Actually, I think there may be a Subway. I really like going to the Mucky Duck on Captiva. It is right on the water and it is very casual. Another fun place is RC Otters which is on Sanibel.
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Old Oct 4th, 2003, 05:20 AM
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Can't be reached by car, only boat. Just north of Captiva, there's a restaurant/bar on Cabbage Key (the name of the rest.,too). Popular and fun for either lunch or afternoon drinks and early dinner. There is probably a couple of water tour/taxi outfits on Sanibel or Captiva that have trips there (there are several from other areas north of Captiva.) You and the girls would enjoy the boat ride there and back, seeing Mangrove areas, wildlife, etc. It is enjoyed by local boaters, as well as tourists. Kind of a touch of old Florida.
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Old Oct 4th, 2003, 10:31 AM
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We were only there two nights, but just loved the food and staff at The Seafood Factory on Periwinkle Way. The food was delicious!

There's a restaurant at the Holiday Inn that's cute. It has a jungle atmosphere and the food was good but overpriced.

Have fun!
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Old Oct 4th, 2003, 12:51 PM
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I would second the Mucky Duck. Food is adequate and location is great. Be sure and go early, and be there at sunset. Beautiful sunsets. Have fun.
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Old Oct 4th, 2003, 02:50 PM
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One of my favorites, nearby but not there, and one that kids should like, is the Rib City restaurant on the outskirts of Fort Myers, on the way (depending on the route you take) to Sanibel.

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Old Oct 4th, 2003, 03:25 PM
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The Bubble Room's atmosphere is lots of fun, the food average, desserts huge and excellent (save room for the Red Velvet Cake). A perfect lunch stop.

Have fun!
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Old Oct 5th, 2003, 03:24 AM
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RC Otters was one of my favorite Captiva restaurants but it sold a while back and while still nice, it has lost its spark. The man who owned it now owns the Island Cow which I have recommended here before.

RC Otters is on Andy Rosse Lane on Captiva. This short street is currently undergoing transformation from beach shack funky to Disney World "over the top": overscaled houses tarted up in ostentation not seen before on the island until the last 3 or 4 years.

The street is a must see however. The Mucky Duck is on the end at the beach. Order simply and you should be ok. Victor's wife (he's the owner) makes the Key Lime pie still (I think) and it is quite good. Key Lime Bistro is also a good bet on Andy Rosse Lane as is Traders which is housed in a rather strange building that used to be a modern art gallery (oddly placed and quickly closed). Traders does sort of a floribbean cuisine thing.

Key Lime and RC Otters have guitarists playing during most meals. Mucky Duck often has an extremely strange guitarist at sunset celebration outside singing romantic songs like Donald Duck. There is still a comedy castle compenent to the Mucky Duck.

I think the suggestion of the boat trip to Cabbage Key for your "Cheeseburger in Paradise" is perfect. There are enough of you to make chartering a fishing boat and captain worthwhile. No need to fish but it is fun and the water is so clear you can see the fish in the seagrass (it is very shallow also). Thousands of birds, a floating island of pelicans, old ice houses on stilts, dolphins following your wake and an great hamburger at this tiny island would be a day they will remember, you too.


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Old Oct 5th, 2003, 03:52 AM
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You can take a boat ride out of Sanibel marina (located on the mainland about one mile before the bridge to Sanibel). We took a six hour ride, which included dolphin watching, a stop at a secluded beach on North Captiva Island (which is only accessible by boat) a lunch stop, etc. We did this with two 12 year old's and they both really enjoyed it. They also offer shorter trips and fishing trips. I think the fishing trip was a three hour ride.

You can also take a bike ride, car ride, or trolley through the Ding Darling Nature Preserve. Or better yet, about an hour's drive away is Everglades City where you can take an airboat ride. We saw lots of gators!

There are tons of seashells to collect at San-Cap beach (where the bridge connects Sanibel and Captiva)

A tour of Thomas Edison's and Henry Ford's summer estates is very enjoyable.

There's a miniature golf course just before the bridge to Ft. Myers Beach that has a moat with small gators in it. You can buy gator food cubes and put it on fishing poles to feed them through the fence. It's a lot of fun for kids - and adults too.

You can rent bikes and ride around the island. There are nice shops in the Periwinkle shopping center and a really fun store in the Jerry's supermarket complex that the girls (and moms) should enjoy.

I agree with LilMisFoodie about Trader's for dinner. We had a great meal there. Another place is the Lazy Flamingo. There are 2 locations, but I suggest the older one near the bridge to Captiva. It's looks like a dive, but a fun dive with good food. It seems to be pretty popular with locals and vacationers.

Hope this helps. Have fun.

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Old Oct 6th, 2003, 12:19 PM
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We just got back from a quick weekend at South Seas resort on Captiva. We ate at Cap'n Al's by the marina and had the breakfast buffet - very reasonable at $13 per person on a Sunday. My omelet was loaded with lots of veggies as I requested and was very good. The buffet was out and available well past 11:30 (Breakfast is 7 am - 11 am). Other options were a table full of fresh fruits, yogurt, ham, sausage, bacon, biscuits, cereals, potatoes and scrambled eggs. My husband recommends avoiding the French toast - it was dry and tasteless. Milk and juice appeared to be included, as we were not charged for them.

We went back to Cap'n Al's in the afternoon to watch the Red Sox play the A's, and sat at the bar. We enjoyed Sam Adams on tap (again, a reasonable $2.75) and the chicken quesadillas - very delicious with fresh guacamole, sour cream and salsa. Yum. The bartender Jack, follows the Bo Sox, so it was very enjoyable conversation as well.

We didn't eat at the fancier places - Chadwick's or King's Crown. We wouldn't recommed any other casual places we ate.

Boy, what a beautiful place. It was so clean. Like a tropical island "Disney World".

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Old Oct 7th, 2003, 06:03 PM
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I also heavily recommend the Mucky Duck, but only for lunch. The dinners there get overly pricey and can be very crowded as well.

Antoher good restaurant, which is on Sanibel, is the Lazy Flammingo, which is on Perriwinkle Way next to Dairy Queen.

A pretty good restaurant for casual dining would be The Sanibel Grill, which is combined with The Timbers, and can be found on Tarpon Bay Road between Periwinkle Way and Sanibel - Captiva Road.

If you want good Italian food, you can head to Mazzaluna, which can be found on Perriwinkle Way. However, it can become fairly pricey.

For breakfast, definately head to The Lighthouse Cafe, which is in the Olde Town Sanibel Shopping Center, which is on the corner of East Gulf Drive and Perriwinkle Way. The Lighthouse Cafe was voted in 1999 to have "The Best Breakfast in the Country". Yes, as in the U.S. of A. Awesome Restaurant, get there when it opens at 6 AM, or you'll wait at least 40 minutes.

You can also find many other restaurants on the islands by purchasing the "Island Dining Guide" for $3 when you get onto the island at the Sanibel Chamber of Commerce, which is on the right side just after getting off the causeway.
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Old Oct 8th, 2003, 01:13 PM
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The worst place to go is the Bubble Room. Avoid it. There are no places that will knock your socks off. They all are about the same so pick places that serve the kind of food you like. There is a family friendly larger Italian rest. in sanibel but I can't remember its name. It has a red checkered table cloth motiff and the food was pretty good (not fancy or gourmet The Mucky Duck is average but it is near the beach so you can see the water before you enter the rest. to eat.
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