It’s spring break, Easter break, and once again time to revisit things to eat, see and do in Florida. Here are 5 restaurants to visit at Fort Myers Beach.
Families love Nervous Nellie’s for its playful atmosphere, big, sharable portions, convenient location, and views on the water. Just two short blocks from Times Square, Fort Myers white sand beach and the pier, Nervous Nellie’s gives restaurant patrons a quiet waterway view with dockside seating for perfect sunset meals.
Nervous Nellie’s is less about the food than the atmosphere. It’s the kind of place where families who visit Fort Myers annually love to return to fulfill that endless vacation nostalgia.
Bright and fun t-shirts are part of the experience and sold behind the host stand, pictures on the giant oversized beach chair are practically mandatory.
Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille
I have written of my love for Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille many times. It is a theme-restaurant but not really. For those who have never read the “Doc Ford” book series from local best-selling author Randy Wayne White, it’s just a quality, local micro-chain of four restaurants, three of which are in the Fort Myers area.
The location I visit most often is on San Carlos Island, just before heading over to Fort Myers Beach. The mid-market restaurant serves excellent seafood at fair prices. Their family-friendly environment is welcoming for those on vacation, while the sports bar upstairs or at the back dock offers something more casual for those looking to grab a drink.
There’s plenty of parking in the front for those arriving by land, and plenty of dock space at the back for those arriving by sea. The daily specials are usually the best, though, admittedly, I am a sucker for their fish sticks.
Also on San Carlos Island (adjacent to Fort Myers Beach) is the tiny but mighty Bonita Bill’s. Unlike the other spots on this list, Bonita Bill’s is a fisherman’s bar. Nearly every day live music is on offer. The easiest way to describe it is a spot Jimmy Buffett would have written a song about before all the Parrotheads and chain restaurants.
We like Bonita Bill’s for its simplicity. There are no waiters, order from the bar. Food is served on styrofoam plates a la carte. Exceedingly fresh seafood is the draw, simply prepared, in a dressed-down environment. The windows are open which ushers in and out the salt air and the cigarette smoke, and while this is a turn-off for some, others will appreciate the sailor-like atmosphere.
I visit for its fun-loving, simplistic approach, and the community of patrons which have made a great place to get a bite of incredibly fresh shrimp. I also love seeing the dolphin pods that frequent just off Bonita Bill’s dock.
Parrot Key Caribbean Grill
A local favorite near many of the marinas is the Parrot Key Caribbean Grill. After a long day on the water, the Parrot Key is a party waiting for weary boaters. Known for its Mai Tais and signature Lobster Forno, this Fort Myers favorite is an easy place for friends and family to relax, in a fun and lively environment.
The restaurant is accessible by boat or car and often hosts live music, especially during peak season which runs from December to April.
Flipper’s on The Bay
For an upscale night in Fort Myers Beach, Flipper’s is a quiet, romantic restaurant. Just across the bridge from Estero Island, Flipper’s is located at the all-suite beach resort, Lover’s Key Resort. Views of the Gulf of Mexico or the lush surroundings of Lover’s Key State Park are part but not all of the reason visitors return to Flipper’s.
The restaurant specializes in high-end seafood dishes locally-sourced. Execution is nothing short of flawless and diners can anticipate creative takes on classic and new creations on every visit.
What do you think? Do you have a favorite restaurant at Fort Myers Beach?