For a real dining treat, we have chosen a few of our favorite restaurants on Sanibel Island for you to try the next time you are in the area.
Il Cielo has garnered acclaim by Gulf Shore Life, Florida Weekly Cuisine, as an Open Table Diner’s Choice Winner, and a TripAdvisor winner. Chef Neil partners with local farms to bring the freshest locally grown and organic foods and vegetables to his seasonal dinner menu, including daily specials, sustainably caught local fish, grass-finished beef, lamb and free-range chicken. Il Cielo serves a Prix Fixe dinner on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 to 6:30 PM, and hosts a daily Happy Hour in the lounge with signature small plates, appetizers and two-for-one drinks. Il Cielo is open for dinner only Tuesdays-Saturdays from 4:30-9:30 PM. To reach Il Cielo, enter the island on Causeway Boulevard and turn right on Periwinkle Way to 1244 Periwinkle Way.
Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille
Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille on Sanibel Island serves up award-winning flavors from the Caribbean Rim. For more than 13 years back in the 1970s, Randy Wayne White was a light-tackle fishing guide down the road at Tarpon Bay Marina, racking up more than 3,000 charters for 300 days a year boating these waters. When his clients didn’t want to keep the fish they caught, White loaded the fish in his pickup truck and asked the chef at this location if he wanted to buy them. Now, he’s part of the restaurant team serving fresh fish. He also writes novels, and the restaurant is named after a character Doc Ford, a marine biologist and tropical adventurer. White’s travels serve as inspiration for the food at Doc Ford’s—superb cuisine, tropical spices, and sauce at this rum bar (sports bar really but with great food) located at 475 Rabbit Road in Sanibel and with three other Fort Myers area locations.
Sweet Melissa’s Cafe
The award-winning Sweet Melissa’s Café on Sanibel Island, our third pick, serves lunch and dinner, featuring Executive Chef Melissa Talmage who puts together a creative menu with different tastes, textures and eclectic ingredients. The cafe was chosen by Gulf Shore Life as a winner for “Best Dining in Lee County.” It offers full-size entrees or small plates, and trend-setting fare with fresh seafood, meats and seasonal produce. Live acoustic jazz sets the mood along with fine linens and a cozy bar. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday, Sweet Melissa’s Café is located at 1625 Periwinkle Way.