Breaking bread with a large group of family and friends can be challenging when not in your own home. Not all restaurants have the space to accommodate big parties and even some that do, don’t have the staff on the floor or in the kitchen to pull it off.
Fortunately these Fort Myers area restaurants fit the bill.
Blue Pointe Oyster Bar and Seafood Grill is a popular spot in The Bell Tower Shops that has a row of chic high-tops in the center of the dining room. They can easily be pushed together, creating a large community table, YOUR community of family and friends. Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille on Captiva is a fun island spot with a tremendous amount of space both indoors and outside.
The Veranda has a long history of being a special occasion kind of place in downtown Fort Myers. But what many guests don’t realize is that this cozy, historic house has a private upstairs dining room. In addition, the patio is perfect for hosting large parties under the stars.
Although many of these restaurants have large dining rooms and/or private dining spaces, it is always wise to call ahead and reserve your space, especially in the busy spring and winter seasons.
Pinchers; The Marina at Edison Ford
Pinchers is one of the few waterside restaurants in downtown Fort Myers. The views of the sunset from its dining deck and bar are highly sought after. Serving fresh seafood, this local restaurant has several locations but the downtown location is the one has the space. Not only a large dining room and lots of seating on the deck, this Pinchers has a large space downstairs if you're big group is a loud one or just wants a little privacy. The space still has a sunset view and offers a great vantage point to see the boats that dock for their passengers to dine here. (239-245-7049)
Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille Captiva
Doc Ford's on Captiva is a big, beautiful space at the entrance to South Seas Resort. The front patio is quite spacious and perfect for arranging tables to accommodate large parties. Indoors, there is a main dining room, a space for entertainment that can hold large groups and a private room, if that is your preference. Specializing in dishes with an island or Caribbean flare, the food portions are generous and always delicious. If you like rum, you'll love the selections here; they come from all over the world. You'll often find entertainment here as well as surprise appearances from Randy Wayne Wright, the author of about two-dozen novels featuring Doc Ford as the main character. They are for sale in the lobby. (239-312-4275)
Blue Pointe Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill - Ft. Myers
Blue Pointe specializes in seafood and has discounted prices on their fresh oysters each day for happy hour, order a combo of different species. The chic décor has recently been upgraded and menus come in high-tech tablets. Perfect for large parties are the high-top tables that stretch in a neat row, down the center of the restaurant. Put them together and fit as many as twenty people. Another good option can be found on the outdoor patio, surprisingly tranquil in spite of the parking lot it backs up to. With a raw bar, sushi and fresh catch options, the menu leans heavily on surf, although you can find some savory turf options too. (888-456-3463)
The Fort Myers restaurant home to Stillwater Grille is a neighborhood establishment with multiple personalities under the same roof. The outdoor deck is one of the most picturesque inland spots, with sprawling tropical trees and festive lights, a great location for a large group to commandeer. But if outdoor seating is not in order, Stillwater has a large dining area where you can share space with other patrons and a second space that is almost as big, for private gatherings. The bar is a popular place to gather, with its extensive martini list, more than sixty beers and live entertainment. The menu has something for everyone, from chicken wings and pasta to numerous, juicy chop house selections. (239-791-8554)
University Grill is standard for locals who like a good cocktail, a quality meal and great service. It's a quite popular pre-show stop for theater and concertgoers who have tickets to events at the nearby Barbara B Mann Performing Arts Hall. The back room at the Grill can easily accommodate parties of forty or more. The back patio overlooks a pond and is another good spot for larger dining groups; however, it is true al fresco, with only overhead fans for cooling. Be sure to try the famous crab bisque, black and white sesame tuna or the University Grill salad, all favorites. (239-437-4377)
Roy's Bonita Springs
Roy's prides itself in a menu full of exotic and local fish, all prepared with Hawaiian fusion flare. Managers also pride themselves in great service and striking food presentations. Not only can the main dining room accommodate big families there is a secondary room providing even more space. The butterfish lettuce wraps are a favorite appetizer with cool cucumber and a "sizzling vinaigrette." The sea bass comes in a fresh cilantro citrus sauce and served with black rice, quinoa and cucumber. Vegetarians will love the flavorful Kim Chee and artful stir-fry. Enjoy seasonal menu items and an exceptional evening out, no matter how big your party, at Roy's (239-498-7697)
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. The main dinning room has ample space to host large families but if more privacy is in order, a lovely private room is also available. 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 Coyote's twist on escargot is legendary and so 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)
Cru is one of the places to see and be seen in Fort Myers and it's a popular spot to have events and dinners for large parties. Not only is there a private room in the back, but also tables in the main dining room can easily be arranged so your party can be in the middle of the action. If the weather is nice, larger groups can be accommodated on the patio as well. The staff is adept at turning out some of the most consistently good cuisine in town, with great attention to detail, no matter many people they are serving at once. Chefs serve local produce and mouthwatering selections such as truffled short ribs, grilled venison, seared black bass and their famous spicy crab rolls. ((239) 466-3663)
Occupying two old homes dating back to 1902, for years the Veranda has provided a charming atmosphere as well as good service and traditional cuisine. For large parties wanting a little something special, there is a private dining area upstairs. The outdoor patio is also an enticing space for large groups who want fresh air. Specializing in regional flavors and seafood, a restaurant favorite is artichoke fritters stuffed with blue crab. The personal yet professional service will enhance your dining experience whether for a special night out or a casual meal with friends. You'll often find live music in the lounge before or after dinner, the type one might expect from a sophisticated establishment. (239-332-2065)
At DaRuMa, diners indulge on an array of Japanese delights that are as fascinating and fun as they are delicious. Though the main emphasis would seem to be the classic hibachi dishes, unlike other such restaurants, DaRuMa gets sushi right; the rolls are creative and they look spectacular. But it's the Teppan-style cooking that diners love for simultaneous entertainment and eating. Large parties can easily fit around one of many metal grills that quickly become covered in meats and vegetables, while chefs skillfully flip, chop, dice and serve. If Teppan is not your style, the main menu is full of Asian specialties that can be served at the grill or in the dining room. Enjoy a fun, interactive and healthful meal at this lovely restaurant. (239-344-0037)
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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