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.
A liquid highlight of brunch involves more than a hot cup of coffee. Take for instance a cold glass with Champagne mimosas (bottomless at The Standard) or vodka and Bloody Mary’s. At the Blue Coyote Sanibel, you’re Bloody Mary comes with a skewer of deviled eggs and two pieces of thick bacon, a meal in itself.
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.
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 takes the space of 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)
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 and puts on a mouthwatering brunch. 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! Keep in mind the Coyote suspends brunch during the hot summer months. (239-472-9222)
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)
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)
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. The bloody Mary mix is made in house and is often submitted into local drink competitions. The sparkling wine and Champagne selections here are also impressive for festive morning/afternoon dining on the water. (239-463-3663)
Twisted Vine Bistro is a popular wine bar and restaurant that sits right across from the 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)
One of the newest additions to the downtown Fort Myers dining scene, The Standard sets the bar high for Sunday Brunch with choices ranging from house made sausage and breakfast pizza, to omelets and oysters. The Southwest Benni is a house favorite: poached egg, grilled steak, avocado, chipotle hollandaise and salsa verde on a toasted roll. The Cajun tossed fried pickles are fun for sharing and the mimosas are bottomless so bottoms up. The Standard has a large selection of craft vodkas but don't leave without trying the house made pineapple infused tequila, up. The key lime pie is a towering dessert, in fact all of the portions here are big, and so is the welcome you'll receive. (239-219-6463)
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)
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. There is also 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)
Tarpon Bay, the fine dining restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Estero, puts on quite the spread for the Champagne and Jazz Brunch. Even though it's fine dining at night, the atmosphere here is casual with Old Key West style decor and architecture, overlooking an estuary lake. Every Sunday, enjoy unlimited Champagne, mimosa's and bellini's at this $48 all-inclusive brunch, while listening to delightful live jazz. The breakfast buffet has decadent cheese, fresh fruit, seafood and beautiful desserts, including a chocolate fountain. Not only can you eat to your hearts content from the buffet, you can also order an entree the likes of cornish hens, Waygu beef churrasco, omelets, crepes, Belgium waffles and more. You won't leave this brunch hungry. (239-390-4295)
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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