It’s no surprise that people love Anthony’s on the Blvd, which received five awards from the Cape Coral Daily Breeze this year, including best restaurant. With its laid-back atmosphere, the casual eatery serves up feasts of American and Italian classics such as lasagna and barbecue-grilled ribs, inviting crowds to pile into the dining room or out onto the outdoor patio for drinks and live music. In addition to weekly specials—all-you-eat pasta on Wednesdays and fish-fry Fridays among them—there’s also nightly entertainment ranging from poker games to karaoke to stand-up-comedy shows. The family-friendly vibe is tuned up Sunday–Wednesday nights, when kids eat free after 4 p.m.
Tucked inside a fisherman's lodge built in 1926, Tarpon Lodge Restaurant's chefs craft upscale American dishes and a succulent selection of seafood, securing it Gulfshore Life magazine's 2011 Best Place to Eat and Never Leave award. Warm up appetites with a steamy serving of blue crab and roasted-corn chowder, one of the lodge's most popular items ($4.95/cup; $6.95/bowl). White-wine lemon sauce mediates a delectable truce between surf and turf with the dinner menu's chicken and crab—layers of chicken breast and crabmeat supplemented by sautéed spinach and garlic ($19.95). Chefs slow-roast pork marinated in a Cuban-style sauce before sending mojo pork forth to rumba with rice, black beans, and caramelized plantains ($15.95/dinner; $12.95 lunch). The lunch menu's noontime fare includes savory sandwiches, wraps, and a char-grilled bacon cheeseburger topped with applewood bacon, bookended by a brioche bun, and fired directly into the mouth by a cannon ($10.95).
The secret behind Carmine Street NY Pizza & Mussels’ New York–style slices is the restaurant’s stone-brick oven, which sears dough until it attains the style’s signature crispy, thin-crusted crunch. However, Chef Anthony knows that a great pizza relies on more than its base, so he tops dough with gourmet ingredients such as chicken marsala, meatballs, and fresh baby spinach.
Like a graphic novel about pearls, the restaurant also features a few oceanic alter egos. Mussels, shrimp, and calamari are delivered to the kitchen daily, allowing chefs to toss them with wine, herbs, and pasta, or quickly fry them for fresh appetizers. Calzones, paninis, and entrees of chicken piccata are among the menu's classic Italian meals. Diners may pair meals with wines and cocktails procured at the full liquor bar, or take in the soothing streams of live music while feasting indoors or on the patio.
When they moved from Michigan to Florida, the owners of Jim's Coney Island left behind the cold weather, but didn't forget a recipe for the Great Lake State's much-loved Coney Island hot dog. At their Cape Coral eatery, they recreate the tasty dog seven days a week using Michigan-made hot dogs—which are specially seasoned and made with their natural skin casing—piled high with mounds of chili, mustard, and onions. Chefs also pay tribute to other cities' signature dishes, such as a philly cheesesteak and a classic new york reuben, while also preparing gooey calzones, hot wings slathered in four types of sauces, and hand-tossed pizzas made with butter, butter cheese, garlic butter, or garlic-salt flavored crusts. The menu's all-day breakfast invites diners to enjoy fluffy three-egg omelets and sweet french toast platters at any hour of the day.
For a classic slice of Americana, customers need only to cross the threshold of Mel's Diner. Hungry diners can pull up to the counter or at a table to order from a menu of classic diner food. And this kitchen takes care in crafting every meal. The crew roast turkeys and smokes ribs in house and uses their very own hands to bread fish and patty burgers. A locally sourced menu of fresh grouper, salmon, New York strip steak, and natural chicken breast offers a variety of flavorful protein options. The eatery sates morning appetites as well, with fluffy just-baked biscuits covered in housemade gravy instead of yesterday's coffee.
Putting a more inviting twist on The Godfather's famous quote, Donanthony's offers diners a "meal they can't refuse" with their menu of Italian classics and artisan delights. Traditional pizzas layered in thick pepperoni, fried ravioli, and oven-roasted subs share the menu with white and gourmet pies, such as the cheesesteak and bacon double cheeseburger pizza, and cheesecakes, fried zeppoles, and tiramisu line the dessert menu. Now with two locations in Cape Coral, Donanthony's offers carryout and delivery on all of their items, or invites guests to dine in and savor their sauce amidst three TVs and walls lined with posters of Italian icons.