Naples Florida restaurants

Nov 17th, 2012, 03:55 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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I guess a lot of it is in the eye of the beholder. My great-grandparents bought property in Naples (9th Ave. S) back in the 1940's and that property stayed in my dad's family until 2001, so I grew up going to the beach in Naples, as we spent two weeks there every summer for over 20 years. It was the "beach town" of my childhood. I never thought of it as "pretentious" and didn't even realize it was upscale until I was older and people would say, "You vacation in Naples? That's a money town!" My dad used to bemoan the loss of some of the Old Florida charm as buildings on Fifth Ave were renovated and Starbucks and other chains moved in, but I loved the "progress"! At any rate, now that I am older and we vacation other places, I have realized that Naples is not pretentious, it's wealthy, and vacationing there for so many years has poisoned me for vacationing in other "touristy" beach spots. So, back to my original statement, I guess what is pretentious to one might be "real" to another and what is "real" to one might be a tacky tourist trap to another. Also, to connect to the food comments, we had many, many wonderful meals at Naples restaurants. We haven't been down there in 5 years, but knowing that Trulucks and Pazzo's are alive and well makes me happy!
BetsyinKY is offline  
Nov 17th, 2012, 04:10 PM
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Great to get some passion back in this forum.
Lateagain is offline  
Nov 17th, 2012, 04:13 PM
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BetsyinKY, how astute of you! I'm also amused when people bemoan how expensive and upscale EVERYTHING is in Naples. It is the home of the swamp buggy races, for God's sake! Talk about unpretentious. If people don't like expensive and trendy, there are always grouper Ruebens at Buzz's Lighthouse or old fashioned waterfront seafood at Kelly's Fishouse, or picking up stone crabs from a fisherman or even at Publix and digging in at a picnic table. Or a local's favorite -- cheap breakfast at the Cove Inn Coffee Shop. People who think it's all "pretentious" and expensive just didn't do their homework.

Betsy, you also make me smile with the comments about the transformation of Fifth Avenue. When it really got "redone" and took off in the late 90's, I had friends who actually said "I miss the way it was" to which I replied, "what do you miss? All the empty storefronts with the for rent signs?"

Hey, Honoria_Glossop, good to see you here. Did you like my comment about when we had lunch at Bice's?
NeoPatrick is online now  
Nov 17th, 2012, 05:32 PM
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Granted, some of the restaurants I went to were populated with alot of weathly looking people, but I spent alot of time on the beach during the day with alot of unpretentious people. I have never seen so many overweight middle aged to older women in 2 piece bathing suits! Have not seen that anywhere else. There were alot of people from Europe, maybe that is more accepted there than it is in the US. I saw all kinds of people in Naples.
KathyK is online now  
Nov 17th, 2012, 06:17 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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Neo, now you've done it! I was already feeling a little "homesick" for Naples due to this thread and you had to go and mention Kelly's. I swear, I don't think I've ever had better hushpuppies or key lime pie anywhere!

Your friends sound like my dad, in terms of the reaction to Fifth Avenue. Every summer when we would come down and see that something else on that street had changed, Dad would shake his head and start mumbling about how it looked when he first started going down there with his grandparents. Of course, my sister and I were the opposite...we couldn't wait to go try the new restaurant or check out the new shop that had appeared. I have so many good memories of riding bikes all over Olde Naples. We would ride all the way over to Tin City to go to some little candy store over there (talk about a tourist trap!) Sometimes we would ride all the way down Gulf Shore to Gordon Dr. and out past the Port Royal Club to Gordon Pass. We loved to look at all the huge houses.

Good times, good times! This makes me want to take a trip to Naples soon.
BetsyinKY is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2012, 02:45 AM
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Hi NeoPatrick....I remember our lunch at Bice! Just don't get to Fodor's much anymore. I really like Barbatella these days, when I actually get down to your area. Most of my time, I'm in Fort Myers and barrier islands. Have a great Thanksgiving. HG
Honoria_Glossop is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2012, 02:51 AM
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Posts: 155
Re: New York Bice, at least the one near the Peninsula off Fifth. A friend and I were shopping, went there for an early dinner before theatre and ordered a bottle of Champagne. The waiter came out, popped the cork, and sat it on a ledge, no ice and proceeded to chat up some of his regulars...people I recognized from movies and left us to fend with warm wine. I finally got up and took the bottle to the mgr. who got someone to fetch ice. They came and slammed it on our table, the nerve of two women!! Dinner was uninspired and I have never returned. Too many great places to waste my $ there.
Honoria_Glossop is offline  
Nov 25th, 2012, 12:36 PM
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Honoria_Glossop -- Barbatella? How good is it? I only spotted it on my last trip back which was in May. Is that a "must do" when we come down this next month?
NeoPatrick is online now  
Dec 15th, 2012, 11:48 AM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 155
Neo: I love Barbatella! Great wines. Where can you get a brunello by the glass in Florida?

Sit outside or in the bar area, not the Siberian dining area (where the cute flower shop used to be). (I imagine many won't know what it means to be seated in Siberia any more)

Photos in the bar definitely bring on a La Dolce Vita vibe.

I had orchiette with broccoli rabe and spicy sausage. Excellent bread. People were raving over their pizzas.
Honoria_Glossop is offline  
Dec 17th, 2012, 06:48 AM
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Well, I just returned from two weeks in Naples. You are so right. We had a great dinner outside at Barbatella -- Peter LOVED his linguini with clams -- the most authentic version outside of Italy -- despite the fact they were pretty short on clams. I had a fantastic rotisserie duck entree.

A few days later we joined friends there for lunch -- sadly it was raining so we had to sit inside -- in the cute bar area, not that long "Siberian" dining room you refer to. We had absolutely wonderful thin crust pizzas and super salads.

I'll also report on the new Chapel Grill, which is in a restored historic small church at the corner of 8th Street South and 7th Avenue South. I ate alone my first night there at the bar -- quite good. We had planned to return to the dining room which looks really quiet and refined (as opposed to the frenzied loud places which are all the rage now), but we just never found time.

Also had an amazingly good dinner at Bleu Provence -- sitting in the garden and being pampered and totally NOT rushed.

And of course we hit Bistro 821, although my friend Doug had been "banished" to serve a private party upstairs. Still our service was great and so was our food.

The new Alberto's on Fifth was also excellent -- although I'm frankly wondering why 90% of all the restaurants that open these days are basically Italian.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Apr 4th, 2013, 05:00 PM
Join Date: Sep 2012
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Swamp Buggy races? WHAT?!? NeoPatrick I cannot believe you didn't tell me about this!!

I have to throw Tommy Bahama out there. The hubs and I had a fantastic lunch there back in the fall.
JoJoSiestaKey is offline  
Apr 4th, 2013, 05:25 PM
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Shhhh. You think I'm going to tell about the Swamp Buggy Races? No way.

Tommy Bahamas's may still be the most popular and successful restaurant in town.
NeoPatrick is online now  
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