It’s not always easy to stay on track nutritionally when traveling or vacationing. So, it’s good to know that when you’re in Fort Myers, you can find unique café’s that pay close attention to offering selections that are healthful.
Ada’s Natural Market is a popular choice for locals hunting for everything from gluten free, to vegan, to fresh juices and more. Ada's Green Leaf Café is located inside of Fort Myers largest natural food store, offering both sit down service and take out. Among The Flowers is a small cafe on Sanibel where you'll find art, food and food art with a spirited vibe.
On the other side of the coin are burgers and pizza; you might not think they belong in the same sentence as the word healthy. But when the craving hits you or someone else in your party, you’ll be glad to know about Burger 21 and Pizza Fusion.
Burger 21 offers gluten free buns and more than just beef patties; Ahi tuna, turkey, black bean to name a few. Pizza Fusion has whole grain and gluten free crusts, organic veggies and vegetarian antipastos.
Even some of the larger, trendier restaurants in town make great efforts at purchasing grass fed beef, organic produce and other goods from sustainable producers, as well as highlight low calorie creations.
If you are looking for healthful and thoughtful dining options in the Fort Myers area, check out some of these 10Best.
There's something about the hand washing station at the front door that gives you an indication this place cares about quality and cleanliness. With 21 burgers on the list, plus salads and an impressive gluten free section, Burger 21 is sure to have something for you. The burgers come from fresh (not frozen) Black Angus, to Ahi tuna, turkey and even black bean. The hand-spun milk shakes come from a proprietary blend, a decadent treat for young and old. Burger 21 is very community minded, giving back in a number of ways, including spirit nights to help raise money for local charities. (239-437-8590)
You might not think about pizza being a healthful dining choice, but the pies found here are cuts above the rest. This pizza restaurant is committed to serving organic and sustainable vegetables and other products. The salads are satisfying and creative while the wraps are wholesome and the chicken wings free range. Pizza crusts come in regular, multi grain and a gluten free version that has good flavor and texture. Vegetarians will love the meatless antipasto, while meat lovers will enjoy the traditional version. The restaurant also has a nice wine selection if you're looking for 'those kind' of antioxidants. And whey you are done dining, the gluten free brownies are a delectable way to satisfy a sweet tooth. ((239) 337-7979)
Even though Cru is one of the places to see and be seen in Fort Myers, it does have a healthful side. The chef's here pride themselves in buying local, organic and high quality ingredients. You'll not only find grass fed beef but bison, venison and other exotic meats, as well as local sea fare. Start the evening with a cocktail at the bar, rubbing elbows with socialites, young professionals and professional baseball players in town for Spring Training. The dining room is well separated from the bar; the back wall with comfy booths. The service is first class and so is the food. ((239) 466-3663)
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. Not only to diners have fresh organic products on their plates, but also the satisfaction of supporting a sustainable local, agriculture program. Owners grow their own herbs in the neighboring courted and you'll find local fish as well as organic meat choices on this delectable menu. Enjoy live music on the weekends and a fantastic wine list to boot. (2392261687)
If you want healthful breakfast that is served all day, then First Watch is the place for you. This is one place where you can order cholesterol free eggs and egg whites as substitutes in any dish, and not face additional charges. You'll find lots of turkey on the menu as well as turkey bacon and sausage. Other healthful options include power bowls with quinoa, fresh granolas, yogurt and lots of fruit. In fact the fruit crepes are among the most popular. This Florida based restaurant also serves great lunch options such as large salads and a gluten free menu. There are three locations in the Fort Myers area. (239-274-5551)
Roy's Bonita Springs
Roy's prides itself in a menu full of exotic, pacific and local fish, all prepared with Hawaiian fusion flare. 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. Although not a sushi restaurant, Roy's does a great job with sushi and raw Ahi tuna dishes with tasty drizzles. Vegetarians will love the flavorful Kim Chee and artful stir-fry. The food looks as good as it tastes, with striking presentation and attention to detail. The service at Roy's is top notch, as is the entire dining experience. (239-498-7697)
Happiness Healthy Cafe
If you're not careful, you might just drive right by this small café in an aged strip mall off of the busy US41. The bright interior is a good representation of the lively flavors you'll find in the food, much of which has an Indian touch. The family owned restaurant serves carnivores, vegans, vegetarians and gluten free diners while providing a nutritional guide with information on the calories and fat of most items. Try the Tandori Chicken Naanwich; loaded with meat, cucumber and a delicious mint chutney. Be sure to add the homemade Rayta, a yogurt sauce with cucumber, tomato, onion, garlic and spice. You'll also find traditional wraps, curries, daily soup specials and 100% real juice smoothies, no added sugar. Open for lunch and dinner, this café also has a convenient online ordering system making pick up easy. (239-362-2075)
Chef Brooke's Natural Cafe
This funky café full of colorful art with Faerie Houses hanging from the ceiling has been serving healthful foodies for more than five years. Chef Brooke cooks for all causes, whether you consume a raw diet, paleo, vegan, vegetarian or just want a burrito with organic ingredients. The Buddha Bowls have become quite popular with combos like the Hippie: oatmeal, soymilk, banana, maple, fruit and nuts. The Acai has goji berries, coconut, bee pollen, macca, granola, fruit and nuts while the Caveman is simply loaded with protein, nuts and veggies. Chef Brooke makes eight soups a day, and has a delicious spread of sweet treats, many are grain and sugar free. And if you're looking for fresh juices including wheat grass, you wont be disappointed here. Open for breakfast and lunch, the café often hosts special events at night including healthful cooking classes. (239-332-2433)
Among The Flowers Sanibel
A well kept secret in the Sanibel food scene, Among The Flowers serves simple food with a spirited flare. Having a hippie/artsy vibe, the café also sells sage, wish boxes and other goodies. Dishes are designed to reflect the natural beauty of the food in them. Classics are made more healthful with the addition of things like brilliantly colored beet powder instead of artificial sweeteners. Many of the desserts are made with ingredients that have medicinal qualities and no gluten; you would never guess the delectable treats were actually healthful. Besides wraps, salads, pizza and miso bowls, Among The Flowers is well known for its fresh and tasty juices, elixirs and detox drinks, as well as authentic bubble tea. You'll feel good in more ways than one when you leave here. (239-312-4085)
Ada's Natural Market
Ada's is a family-run health food market that has been in the Fort Myers area since the late 70's. It has changed hands a number of times and briefly shut down before coming back bigger and better than ever. The new Green Leaf Cafe at the front of the store offers table service with selections that taste great, sans the guilt. Choose from black bean burgers to grass fed beef dishes including a beef roulade stuffed with spinach, artichoke and goat cheese. The sandwiches and organic salads here are fresh, flavorful and plentiful. This cafe; offers more than fresh veggie and fruit juices to drink, you can also find wine by the glass if you don't care to go back to work after lunch. ((239) 939-9600)
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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