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Where The Locals Love to Eat on Sanibel Island

Dining at a Local Restaurant in SanibelThere are over 50 restaurants on Sanibel Island and Captiva Island, providing an eclectic mix of ideas and culinary treasures brought by chefs and restaurateurs from around the world. The most discerning palates will discover interesting and delicious entrées, while your entire family will delight in the heartwarming breakfast comfort foods we have grown up on and love. Here are a handful of spots where the locals love to eat on Sanibel Island. 

Lighthouse Café: This is the place for breakfast. The café proudly claims to serve the world’s best breakfast, and many locals would agree the place is busy! (you can do a little shopping next door when waiting for a table) The café opened its doors in 1987 and continues to delight locals with scratch-made menu items focused on quality, service, and ambiance. Start your day off in this cozy café with the perfect stack of Blueberry Whole Wheat Hot Cakes (with plump blueberries and warm blueberry sauce) highly rated by Country Living Magazine. Or enjoy a hearty breakfast of French Toast (three thick slices dipped in a rich custard batter, grilled golden brown topped with powdered sugar, and served with whipped butter and warm maple syrup) this is a favorite of Bon Appétit Magazine along with the fresh squeezed orange juice! The breakfast menu is extensive, including omelets, frittatas, and pan handled egg dishes. You’ll want to sample everything (and come back for lunch and dinner). Yum! 

Over Easy Café: Lunch and breakfast are served all day (7:00am-3:00pm) in this casual family-friendly local favorite. Breakfast items include a delicious Egg Reuben Sandwich (grilled corned beef, fried egg, thousand island dressing, and swiss cheese) and Stuffed French Toast (3 slices layered with sweet cream cheese and topped with your choice of Oreo, banana, chocolate chip, pecan, blueberry, strawberry or coconut). Lunch items include a wide selection of burgers, sandwiches, fresh salads, and wraps. The Blackened Chicken B.L.T. (blackened chicken with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayo your choice of bread) is a café favorite. Start your day here, and take it easy! 

Mudbugs Cajun Kitchen: You can catch a fish (and eat it too) at this local favorite kitchen, serving cajun cuisine and fresh seafood. You can support your local captain. Enjoy a perfect day of charter fishing and then bring in your catch! The restaurant offers the Your Catch “you hook it, we cook it” (grilled, blackened, or fried) with two sides for $12. Fresh oysters are served raw, char-grilled, bayou-style char-grilled, and char-grilled florentine. The Po’boy sandwiches (dressed with lettuce, tomato, pickle & remoulade sauce) are always satisfying: catfish, shrimp, oyster, grouper, fried green tomato BLT, or bbq roast beef. Ça c’est bon! 

The Mad Hatter: The eclectic American menu features items that change with the season. It is the perfect romantic getaway to enjoy upscale plates with spectacular views of the setting sun. Menu items include a Spiced Watermelon Salad (with pine nuts, cayenne pepper, mint, feta, and organic baby arugula), Duck Breast (in a wild berry demi-glace served with rosemary roasted fingerling potatoes), and Dayboat Scallops (pan-seared panko & black truffle crusted scallops in a caramelized shallot beurre blanc served with roasted garlic Yukon mashed potatoes). This is an upscale, white-tablecloth dining experience with a whimsical nod to Alice and Wonderland in décor. Don’t be late for that “very important date”.

Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille: Sanibel is the flagship restaurant for Doc Ford’s (locations include Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, Ft. Myers Beach, and St. Pete Pier) and “Home of the Island Mojito”. The flavors of the Caribbean and fresh seafood are celebrated in this family-friendly restaurant. The chefs are always working to provide new and exciting dishes to tickle your palate. Menu items include Macadamia Nut Crusted Grouper (served on quinoa, jasmine rice, arugula, red peppers, and yellow squash and dressed with a toasted rum coconut sauce) and an Achiote Redfish Bowl (hand cut redfish with achiote spice and fresh herbs served with black beans, yellow rice, plantains and pico de gallo). The restaurant is family-friendly and includes a kid’s menu for developing palates. Deh’ya! 

Thistle Lodge: A special occasion is well celebrated at this historic Casa Ybel Resort restaurant. The kitchen served upscale masterpieces to Thomas Edison and Henry Ford and continues to delight diners in an elegant setting every night of the week. Menu items include a Mediterranean Pompano (w/spinach, black olive, cherry tomato, shallots, garlic, and tomato puree over risotto) and a Pistachio Crusted Salmon (w/Vera Cruz sauce, coconut infused jasmine rice, and seasonal vegetables). Mother’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are recognized and celebrated with special brunch, lunch, and dinner menus. A delightful Floridian and European culinary adventure are waiting for you at the Thistle Lodge. Délicieuse! 

Kingfisher Real Estate agents are the most well respected group in today’s marketplace serving Captiva & Sanibel Island. We look forward to helping you find your perfect island home and enjoy the bounty of our culinary treasures all year long. Contact us today!

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