Bubbles and Bacon, The Best Brunch in Fort Myers
By Gina Birch
Fort Myers Local Expert
If you like to sleep in on the weekends, chances are you also love a good brunch; a little bit of breakfast and a little bit of lunch.
Eggs are always a big hit on brunch menus, and almost all restaurants serve some kind of omelet, quiche or benedict. At Twisted Vine, a downtown Fort Myers food wine bar, the cured ham on the traditional eggs benedict is replaced with lox, then topped with a citrus hollandaise sauce.
Not all of these 10Best brunch spots serve chicken eggs. At Blu Sushi, it is fish roe and it is a fantastic bargain. The unlimited lunch special includes some of the most popular rolls. Add the Sunday Brunch bottomless mimosa’s for $9.95 and you’ve scored a great value at one of the most trendy spots in town.
A liquid highlight of brunch involves more than a hot cup of coffee, try a cold glass with champagne and mimosas, or vodka and Bloody Mary’s. At the newly opened Blue Coyote Sanibel, you’re Bloody Mary comes with a skewer of deviled eggs and two pieces of thick bacon.
If you’re looking for good food and tasty libations for a Sunday brunch, try one of these 10Best on for size, in addition all but one spot on the list has outdoor seating for you to enjoy the balmy Southwest Florida weather.
10 McGregor Cafe
What draws people most to this spot is the comfortable atmosphere and the homey ambiance. The original owners of the cafe converted an old home in a neighborhood full of beautiful oak trees, into a restaurant nearly 50 years ago. Sitting just a few yards off of the locally famous McGregor Boulevard, there is a protective shrubbery and other native vegetation, to shield you from the cars that whiz by. The outdoor seating is casual and highly coveted. The quiche is king here and the French Toast made with cinnamon and raisin bread is sinful. Of course you can enjoy fresh fruit, omelets and toast drenched in butter. Mimosa's are available but no Bloody Mary's as the establishment does not have a full liquor license The staff is always friendly at this neighborhood café. (239-936-1771)
9 Blu Sushi
This sleek sushi bar may seem like an unlikely spot for a best brunch but if you happen to crave fish eggs over chicken eggs, this is the place to be. Blu's brunch gives you unlimited sushi from 11am-2pm for $16.95. You might think unlimited sushi would be limited to the boring, everyday rolls but not at Blu where you get to choose from starters like Edamame and Miso Soup to delicious specialty rolls like Spicy Tuna, Mexican, Volcano and Sugar Mama to name a few. While Blu offers this special for lunch most days, on Sunday they kick it up a notch with bottomless Mimosa's for $9.95. It's true, you can get drinks and sushi at one of the area's most trendy restaurants for a tab that's under $30! There are two Blu Sushi locations, the 'Unlimited Blu' brunch special is offered at both. (239-489-1500)
8 CRaVE Restaurant
One of Fort Myers most popular breakfast spots, this small, strip mall eatery is even more popular for Sunday brunch. The gym, located a few doors down, does little to deter diners from indulging on specialties like shrimp and girts, salmon hash, French toast, pancakes, corned beef and biscuits and gravy. If you're an omelette lover, you'll be giddy at the chalkboard full of gourmet choices here. You can get almost any kind of combo of meat, cheese and veggies. And if you really want veggies, Crave has a nice selection of salads. You'll find both mimosas and bloody Mary's here even though there is only a beer and wine license in place. Bloody Mary's are made with a grape based vodka called Soboloff, that actually works. Crave's cuisine is creative and always pleasing. ((239) 466-4663)
7 Cristof's on McGregor
Cristof's is one of the few dining options on the palm tree lined, historic McGregor Blvd. and has become a popular local spot for Sunday Brunch. The Shrimp Benedict is a hot dish but Chef Cristof's homemade Corned Beef Hash is what earns him brunch bragging rights. The restaurant is housed in an old-Florida home, complete with a lovely wraparound porch. Not only are there tables on this porch but also on the large outdoor patio. Dining inside, you'll find several intimate rooms instead of a big open space. Chef and owner Cristof Danzi aims for a Southern-inspired menu with influences from French, Italian and Cajun cuisines. The result is a unique selection of dishes that delight the palate. (239-791-8473)
6 Flippers on the Bay
Part of Lovers Key Resort, Flippers On The Bay is a hidden gem between Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Springs. The dining is alfresco and more upscale than one might imagine after taking a gander at restaurant on stilts. Sitting on the Estero Bay, you still have a clear view of the Gulf of Mexico and it's one of the best spots to see a dolphin show, presented by Mother Nature. The breakfast tacos are a big favorite but it's the Lobster Eggs Benedict that has diners drooling. Add a Bloody Mary with pickled asparagus and blue cheese stuffed olives and you're good to go. The later you stay, the more chance you'll enjoy a good party as this is also a popular weekend spot for boaters. (239-765-1040)
5 Twisted Vine
Twisted Vine Bistro is a popular wine bar and restaurant that sits right across from the newly renovated riverfront in downtown Fort Myers. Owners have a partnership with a local urban farm to grow seasonal produce for the restaurant. Whatever is not used is donated back to the community. Sunday is laid back and fun, when the staff brings out their house made, bacon or pepper infused vodka's for spicy Bloody Mary's. The kitchen cranks out decadent dishes like Banana's Foster French Toast with breakfast meats on the side for a little protein. Putting a twist on the traditional Eggs Benedict, Twisted Vine adds Lox and a citrus hollandaise. Another favorite is the grilled ham and cheese sandwich topped with béchamel and a fried egg. You'll need a walk along the riverfront after dining here! (2392261687)
4 Lighthouse Restaurant
The Lighthouse is an impressive white structure with beautiful landscaping and a relaxing waterfront view. Tucked just off of the main road to Sanibel and Captiva Islands, it's at the entrance of the even more exclusive Connie Mack Island. The large, screened in lanai is comfortable even in the hot summer months, and a perfect spot for Sunday Brunch. But if air conditioning is your preference, the inside tables still provide a nice view of the water. Your first mimosa is on the house, the next round is on you. Here you'll find traditional breakfast offerings and a quiche of the day. Two things not to miss are the cheesy potatoes mixed with ham and sour cream and the rich lobster bisque. It' s a deliciously peaceful way to spend a Sunday morning. (239.489.0770)
3 Blue Coyote Supper Club Sanibel
Blue Coyote Sanibel is the sister restaurant to a private supper club in Fort Myers, however, the island location is open to the public. Overlooking a golf course, the restaurant is home to original coyote artwork by Markus Pierson and chandeliers that you would swear were designed by famous sculpture, Dale Chihuly. The chef enjoys 'playing' in the kitchen on Sundays, creating dishes like PB & J French toast and Coyote Eggs; made from weekend leftovers. One thing you don't want to pass up is the Bloody Mary, garnished with two strips of bacon and a skewer of deviled eggs, finished off with a splash of bacon infused vodka. It's a meal in itself! (239-472-9222)
Slate's is on a side street off of the busy Cape Coral Parkway and on Sunday, the live Jazz serves as a beacon. Serving authentic New Orleans cuisine and libations, you'll be delighted at the selection and quality. The kitchen is small and everything is made to order so relax, and as they say in the Big Easy, let the good times roll. Because everything is made fresh, there is a better than average chance that the later you arrive, Slate's will have run out of something. Thankfully there is much to choose from like gumbo, muffulettas and fried oysters on English muffins. The Champagne Benedict is a house favorite; poached eggs with spinach, tomato, red onion and goat cheese on a croissant, fantastic. The grits are good and cheesy and the beignets melt in your mouth. Put this place on your Sunday "it" list. ((239) 540-6800)
1 Bayfront Bistro
In the middle of Estero Island, Bayfront Bistro has great views of the mangroves in what locals call the 'back bay,' where it is quite common to see dolphins at play. Dine on the breezy, outdoor terrace for fresh air and a great view of the marina below. Even if you choose an indoor seat, every spot provides a view of the water. One of the more popular menu items for Sunday Brunch is the ham and eggs topped with a smoked tomato sauce. Also popular is the unlimited mimosas and bloody Mary's for $14. The bloody Mary mix is made in house and is being submitted into local drink competitions. If mimosa's are too acidic but you still want something festive with your omelete, be sure to check out the sparkling wine and champagne list as it is quite impressive. (239-463-3663)
About Gina Birch
Gina carries the rare title of "Native Floridian". Living in Southwest Florida for 22 years, she is a well known, award winning radio and TV personality. Besides brandishing a microphone, Gina is good with a camera and computer, publishing a restaurant guide for Lee County called FLAVOR. Gina is a self-proclaimed Oenophile, traveling to wine regions all over the world to sip what she calls "the nectar of the Gods." When not in the vineyards she loves to explore beautiful beaches and new restaurants. You can find more of her musings in her blog "The Birch Beat" (www.thebirchbeat.blogspot.com)
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