Friday night early dinner in Naples, FL

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Jan 11th, 2004, 10:49 AM
  #1
jmv
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Friday night early dinner in Naples, FL

My husband and I will be at the Fodor get together in Naples on Saturday (if you haven't already heard about this, do a quick search on Naples and the invitation should come up--everyone welcome)January 30 in Naples. Now it turns out that my daughter and son-in-law are visiting his parents in Englewood and the whole lot of us will get together the Friday night before for an early dinner in Naples--starting around 5 p.m. or so, so that they can return to Englewood that everning. We need a place to hold this family gathering. Prefer mid-range prices (mains $15 to 25), casual (no jackets) attire place, outdoor seating if possible--waterfront even better but not essential. Some of the places I'm considering based on posts here and websites are: Maxwell's on the Bay, Bistro 451, Boat House on NaplesBay, Marie Michelle's, Trio's, Campiello, 821. Would anyone with knowledge of all/any of these spots please advise me about how closely any of them meets my stated needs--and of course, how good the food/experience is at the places. Thanks so much for your help. Patrick, if you're out that, I'd really like to hear from you. Sounds like you did a great job setting us up for the get together. Maybe you can help me out with this little side issue. Thanks.
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Jan 11th, 2004, 10:51 AM
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jmv
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That should be--Patrick, if you're out there (not that) Why don't I learn to use this preview thing they installed?
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Jan 11th, 2004, 11:10 AM
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Well, first choice would definitely be Campiello. Second choice maybe Marie Michelle's -- I haven't been there for a while and it seems considerably more expensive than most of the other options. I'm not very fond of Maxwell's -- always reminds me of eating dinner with my mother at her retirement home, although the setting is infinitely better. I don't have a clue what Bistro 451 is -- Just Bistro 821 on Fifth which is nice enough. Had a really horrible meal and worse service at the Boat House. The last time we stopped in we couldn't get anyone to seat us even though it wasn't busy, and we saw several people get up to go ask where their food was -- nobody seemed to have food in front of them. If you wanted to stay on Fifth and outside, I realy like the very Italian Buon Gustaio. Unlike some of the other places where you really eat right out on the sidewalk with the crowds passing you, they have a nice set back courtyard. Everybody who works there just "got off the boat from Italy" recently. Also Italian is Il Bellagio which does have a sort of terrace looking out to the bay -- not quite as wonderful a waterfront setting as it may sound. But it is one of the most reasonably priced good Italian places in town. I was hoping to get them to do our Fodors gathering, but they are closed for lunch on Saturday.
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Jan 11th, 2004, 01:56 PM
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jmv
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Patrick, Thanks so much. I sort of figured Campiello might be best. My only reason for shying away from it is that it's an import from MSP and it seems kind of funny for people who live there (daughter and the in-laws) and used to live there (us until a few months ago) to meet for a meal in Florida that they could have had back home. I have to say the setting in Naples is prettier than in MSP and at this time of year even more so. I guess I'll poll the group and see whether they want transplanted Minnesotan or one of your two Italian recs. They both sound good. Thanks again for taking time from your busy rehearsal schedule to respond.
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Jan 11th, 2004, 02:23 PM
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I'd suggest Tommy Bahama's across from the street from Campiello. A great tropical feeling and very festive. Very good food but a more limited menu which will fit in your price range. Live music and outdoor seating. I've taken very discerning people there and they are taken with the ambiance. It really is not that different from other places but somehow people are enchanted. Third Street South is very mesmerizing to a cold northerner. This TB is better than any of the others. It is the first of the chain and still sets the standard.
Look forward to meeting you at our offline.

LilMsFoodie
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Jan 11th, 2004, 03:36 PM
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cd
 
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Patrick
Looking for someplace to stay 2-3 days in the Ft Myers, Naples area. Would like the beach. Looking at the first of March. It is peak season and everything is expensive. Found the Tween Waters Inn for 140.00 per night,three night min, special. What do you think? Anyplace else you would recommend? We are working our way to the Keys.
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Jan 11th, 2004, 04:05 PM
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jmv
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LMF, thanks. I remember see the Tommy Bahamas place while we were at Campiello and thinking "Chain!" I have to remember that some chains have good restaurants. Apparently this is one. Thanks for broadening the options.
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Jan 11th, 2004, 04:49 PM
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Tommy is not much of a chain...no more so than Campiello and the DiAmico group. They have 7 or 8 restaurants...3 in Florida. Sarasota, east coast and Naples.

It is interesting to me about the attitude about restaurants that are successful enough to duplicate themselves. I admire a small restaurant going against the tide but in the end, most of these die for lack of clientele, proper staff, and often unimaginative cuisine. Survival rate for a new restaurant is very very low. Better luck with an internet startup.

Great drinks, good service, entertainment, a limited menu: well prepared. This spells success whether one,7, or 5000 restaurants.
LMF
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Jan 11th, 2004, 05:20 PM
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Tommy Bahamas, Campenello - both good. Don't rule out either Mangrove Cafe or Pazzo! - Both great places on 5th Avenue.

DO rule out Maxwell's on The Bay. Yuck - been there once and once was enough. Yes Patrick, it is like an old nursing home.
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