The 6 most anticipated restaurants in the SWFL for the 2023-2024 season

Restaurant “Mushroom’s Nest”

Twin Waters Island Resort & Spa on Captiva Island raises the bar on dining options with a new panoramic restaurant on the second floor overlooking the bay. Former Doc Ford chef Greg Nelson’s dishes are exquisite surf and turf dishes, like whiskey bacon belly, cold-water crab-stuffed lobster tail, and prime steak dried in house for 30 days. For drinks, the bar stocks nearly 50 mostly American whiskeys, which are stirred into classic and innovative cocktails. For example, an Old Fashioned made with smoked cinnamon bitters is finished theatrically with a flourish of smoke and flame.

Social front porch

Front Porch Social adds to Cape Coral’s growing list of places for drinks and shareable plates. Opened by Jeremy Vincent of Jungle Bird Authentic Tiki, the restaurant has one of the best new bar programs in the area (think sparkling, tea-infused rum cocktails and rose-dusted martinis). But don’t ignore the food, which puts a fun twist on familiar dishes, like street corn-covered eggs and beer-and-cheese-covered cannelloni filled with burnt brisket tips.

Le Colonial

BeanDue to long-standing locations in Chicago, Houston and Atlanta, French VietnamNamese Le Colonial opens on Fifth Avenue South this month after a two-year wait. The ambiance of old Naples meets 1920s Saigon with heavy, elegant mahogany millwork, louvered shutters and palm trees positioned around the dining room and sidewalk patio. The food and cocktails are modern, with upscale interpretations of Vietnamese flavours, such as a beef shake made with filet mignon and lemon pepper vinaigrette, steamed sea bass in a delicate ginger broth and an easy-drinking lychee martini.

Old Naples Vines in Mercato

At her small, tasting-menu-only restaurant in East Naples, Old Vines Supper Club, chef Brooke Kravetz has quickly earned a reputation for serving innovative dishes, like cocoa-infused pork ravioli.I’m all for nectarine and fennel. Now, she and Chef Dan are Michelin award-winning chefsiel Swofford is expanding Seasonal and spirit-forward with a 190-seat restaurant at Mercato. The sunny courtyard, leafy alley seating area and sexThe dining room provides a luxurious setting.

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And for wine lovers, there’s a 300-label wine cellar, including more than 30 by the glass, and a wine locker program that promises members first courses at events, monthly tastings and highly sought-after bottles.


Getting to chef Vincenzo Betulia’s new pub-style steakhouse requires some flexibility. A text to (239) 315-3368 unlocks the next availability of the restaurant’s 18 seats. As soon as you enter the red velvet-covered space, tucked into an alley behind The French Brasserie Rustique on Fifth Avenue South in Naples, lucky diners will be treated to a light meal of bacchanal, paired with delicious Prime and Wagyu steaks; Alaskan king crab legs, Nova Scotia lobster, and foie gras; and wines from cultural producers such as Opus One and Mouton Rothschild, curated by in-house sommelier Marcello Palazzi.

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Waxen Restaurant and Bar

Yes, there are Swedish meatballs in a delicious cream sauce with tart lingonberry jam, but that’s just the beginning of Waxin’s Scandi magic. The Gulf Coast location features a sleek design and a menu split between Swedish fare—such as a caviar service with dill and crème fraîche and buttered cod—and new American dishes that take a similar approach to fresh ingredients and elegant plating. Although the wine cellar has plenty of options, cocktail connoisseurs might want to try the Nordic Negroni, which replaces gin with fiery aquavit, a centuries-old Scandinavian spirit.

What else is new?

As seasonal residents flock to Southwest Florida, restaurant concepts from beyond the Gulf Coast are also flocking. Warren’s American Whiskey Kitchen, located in Delray Beach, will open this month in Naples’ Design District, with more than 600 whiskeys, a from-scratch menu and an exclusive cocktail club. Early next year, Palm Beach If it weren’t for 41— which draws its culinary inspiration from destinations along the 41st parallel — opens in Old Naples. And export philadelphia east Bringing the flavors and aesthetics of the Greek Islands to North Naples this spring.

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Local chefs and restaurateurs are launching new concepts, too. The owners opened two meatballs in the kitchen A stone’s throw away in Cape Coral in May, with seafood, steaks and more than 20 taps of big-name and local beers. Chef Kayla Pfeiffer, who has overseen the kitchens at Bar Tulia’s Mercato and PJK Neighborhood Chinese locations, is transforming Fit & Fuel Cafe in North Naples into a contemporary American café. Cookshop bike (Look for the Smash Burger with raclette and kimchi remoulade.) And the Bayfront is buzzing with a new opening: Chris Jones, owner of LowBrow Pizza & Beer, has turned Industry Beer & Barbeque into Pizza Jonesropes of sourdough pancakes.

Further east, John Colon, of Bodega Ole and the Basques, recently made his debut The new spirit of Peru in East Naples, and is the first of three upscale Latin restaurants coming to the area. After creating $1.2 million Casa Blanca is a modern Mexican tequila bar It opened in Fort Myers in August, with vibrant murals by Mexican artists and a seafood-heavy menu that reflects the owner’s native Jalisco. Still in the future Unidos Latin Cuisine In Naples, a branch of lonlinessa Modern latin restaurant in chicago.

In Lee County Bay Street Yard Its highlight is downtown Fort Myers’ new hotspot with food trucks, live music, and games like cornhole and table tennis. Elsewhere in Nakheel City, breakfast and lunch only Dutch Road Cafe It is a stronghold of Amish recipes, such as molasses-filled shuffle pie, and a chain of wine restaurants Cooper’s hawk Opened its second location in Southwest Florida. Bonita Springs should finally get its long-awaited second outpost Lake Park Diner Restaurant This season (and a third edition was recently launched in Founders’ Square in Naples).

While some restaurants were expanding, others were changing ownership. Naples restaurateur Skip Quillen has sold his Culinary Concepts restaurant group to Phelan Family Brands, which owns The Bay House, Pincher and Deep Lagoon. Chops City Grill and Paso! Cucina Italiana has remained largely unchanged, but Yabba Island Grill closed its doors over the summer with plans to reopen kiwidinIt serves casual Florida cuisine

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