When a restaurant's award tally ticks close to 100, there's no need to change the menu. That's the philosophy at work at Michelbob's Championship Ribs, where co-owners Lou Bavaro and Bob Mattson have been serving baby back ribs imported from Denmark and slathered in award-winning original-recipe barbecue sauce since 1979. All of their meats?which also include barbecue chicken, pork, and beef?are slow-smoked to a tender perfection each day and served alongside sides such as baked beans, cole slaw, and onion rings, which are all also made fresh daily. Most recently, their victuals won the Naples Daily News award for Best Food in Southwest Florida. They also ship their sauce and ribs anywhere in the United States via overnight air shipping, catering to the legions of fans and long-haul bike messengers who crave their delectable barbecue brand.
Crystalline waters lap at the powdery white sands of Tigertail Beach as guests lounge away, propped up on wooden foldout chairs acquired from Tigertail Beach Rentals. The business makes summertime fun its sole focus, renting watercraft as well as cabanas and other beach accessories. Aquatic explorers can jump into sea squirts and traipse through the gentle waves, spritzing family members or easily deterred merfolk with water cannons. Single or tandem kayaks leisurely glide through the lagoon, with riders enjoying close-up views of residents of the nearby wildlife habitat while maintaining a quiet atmosphere for those on the beach. Guests can recharge with breakfast or lunch offerings from the outdoor café, noshing on Angus burgers, grouper fingers, and kids' meals served in beach pails.
A lot of restaurants claim to have fresh seafood, but City Seafood backs up that claim with its own fishing and crabbing boats, which pluck marine cuisine from nearby waters and deposit it on diners’ plates. The restaurant’s location in the Everglades helps provide its menu of sea fare, which includes oysters, grouper, clams, Gulf shrimp, and Florida lobster tails specially shaped to resemble the Sunshine State’s panhandle. After dining inside or on the Barron River–adjacent patio, diners can pick up raw seafood to take home at the onsite seafood market.
Though San Marco is near the water, Captain Brien still insists on having fresh fish flown in every day. That’s because Captain Brien’s Seafood & Raw Bar is an homage to his Massachusetts origins and New England's culinary traditions. Each day, the captain and his crew survey the fresh catches arriving from New England fishing fleets, hand selecting the lobster, snow crab, and scallops used to make their signature dishes.
Outfitted with wireless speakers, the tables at Sand Bar prop up plates from the lunch and dinner menu, illuminated by the flickering glow of 40 TVs. Platefuls of fish and chips emerge from the kitchen either beer-battered or crunchy, with shallow depths of signature tartar sauce for dipping or rock skipping ($9.99). Additional seafood options include hand-breaded oysters ($9.99) or coconut shrimp served with house-made orange-honey sauce ($13.99), residing alongside a culinary crew of thin-crust pizzas, grilled burgers, and sandwiches. Diners can also haul in fresh fish that they have caught or lured out of the sea with trails of mini marshmallows for Sand Bar cooks to prepare with professional bravado ($7.99). Parched throats can sip the sauces off wings that come in increments of 10, 20, or 30 ($6.99–$19.99) or gurgle bottled or draft selections from the beer list. In addition to after-dark fare available until 2 a.m., Sand Bar keeps antemeridian hours, filled with the sounds of eggshells cracking open to help concoct selections from the breakfast menu, including omelets, egg sandwiches, and pancakes.
At Gino's Olde Marco Trattoria, classic Italian assemblies populate the folds of a multifarious menu, alluring diners to topple pangs with aromatic pastas, veal, and thin-crust pizza crafted upon homemade dough. Mushrooms stuffed with spinach and sausage ($9) or family secrets jumpstart digestive engines while coated in a creamy cheese sauce. Veal cacciatore ($18.50), sautéed among onions and peppers, touts a creamy cloak of marinara, and pasta alla puttanesca ($14.50) slides across tongues atop rafts of olives and capers. Pizzas arrive decorated in specialty toppings, such as the pescatore ($20+), which whirls hunks of clam, shrimp, and calamari beneath a scented undertow of fresh garlic and oregano. To chase sizzling bites, diners can browse Gino's wine list, where vino by the glass volunteers to irrigate pipes or contribute piquant additions to tie-dyed shirts.