Blue Water Bistro ensnares an entire underwater ecosystem in its sprawling menu of recently netted seafood and steak, doled out in a bustling eatery fit for couples or entire crews. Embark on a hunger-fueled treasure hunt for Mahi Mac ($22.70), a culinary crown jewel embedded with macadamia-nut and panko gems shimmering in grilled pineapple-togarashi sauce. Mango-infused california rolls ($9.50) put a tropical spin on a sushi staple, and chipotle-barbecue baby back ribs ($22.50) can be used to build a flaming xylophone. Guide conquering chompers through the Chicken Shanghai's ($16.90) open noodle gates, guarding thai basil and broccoli stir-fry infused with a peanut soy sauce fiery enough to melt chocolate-sculpted cabanas. The bar's cascade of fruity libations paints a breathtaking Caribbean Sunrise ($10.50) across palates amid the eatery's wooden floors and illustrious swordfish sculptures.
Cloyde's Steak and Lobster House's staff sets diners' appetites sailing with an upscale surf 'n' turf dinner menu. Crafted from Midwest corn-fed beef, the premium steaks at Cloyde's trample hunger pangs with a herd of tender, dry-aged cuts of certified Prime beef. The 12-ounce Angus roasted prime rib of beef ($25) provides plenty of marbling for teeth to sculpt into meaty masterpieces, and the 14-ounce Angus center-cut new york strip steak ($29) sends a beefy slice of the Big Apple to hungry mouths. A display of live Maine lobsters (market price, up to 5 lbs.) dance in a chorus line, and other sea-faring dishes include the Scottish salmon ($26), which arrives fashionably roasted via cedar plank. All seafood is ordered fresh in the morning for afternoon delivery, ensuring maximum taste and minimum jetlag. The menu also includes tempting desserts and wines to accompany lonely entrees. Cloyde's is open nightly from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Gordon's on the River's classic ambiance begins with its warm wood trim and oriental rugs, but it doesn't stop there. Chef Andrew McLaughlin procures local food and international spices to craft an inviting menu of traditional seafood and steak dishes, such as signature filet mignon and lobster thermidor. The house sommelier, Ian Ponsford, curates a wine list to match, earning the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator for 2012 and 2013. Live piano sets the soundtrack for every meal, even the plentiful Sunday brunch, which was voted Best Brunch 2013 by readers of Florida Weekly and Naples Daily News.
Tiki torches cast a flickering light across The Real Macaw's outdoor patio, where guests divide their attention between plates of Caribbean cuisine and picturesque views of the nearby waterfall. Named for the real macaw parrot whose occasional squawks add a colorful soundtrack to each meal, the restaurant has earned local renown for its fusion of Floridian ingredients and Caribbean flavors. This fusion is fully apparent in the macadamia-nut-encrusted goat-cheese salad, which culls its featured ingredient from the Turtle Creek dairy farm in Palm Beach county. Other exemplary dishes include Trinidadian-style crab cakes, wild salmon roasted over cedar wood, and salsas brimming with tropical fruits. On certain nights, the percussive sounds of alligators chomping on roasted duckling join with live music to drown out the parrot’s incessant requests to not allow alligators in the restaurant.
“Fisherman Charley,” a wooden fisherman statue in a yellow rain slicker and hat, stands guard in front of Charley’s Boathouse Grill, where chefs have prepared steaks and seafood for more than four decades. The kitchen wet-ages Angus beef for four to six weeks before hand-cutting each steak, which is measured by ounces and seared to taste. Seafood such as locally caught grouper also fills the menu alongside snow crabs, teriyaki chicken breasts, and house-baked breads.
For special events, patrons sup on some of the most popular menu items inside a converted boathouse. Up to 70 people can also gather at the “hideaway,” which has back-bay views of Estero Bay, making it perfect for actually seeing the harbor seals you dressed in tuxedos.