This sexy sushi bar sports sleek furniture, mod design and walls that recall the deep blue sea. But it's the outdoor area that beckons sushi lovers for spring. Tropical flowers and green shrubbery surround the patio's white tables and blue umbrella's. Blu's lunch is perhaps one of the deals in town with an endless special for only $16.95. The happy hour specials are pretty impressive as well, with pleasing pricing on both food and drink. The cocktails are creative and tropical, as well as classic. Casual, laid back and with a menu that is as light as the season, no wonder the garden is a such a hot spot.
Recommended for Best Restaurants for Spring because: The original Blu Sushi has a well-maintained garden dotted with white tables and blue umbrellas for light spring dining.
Gina's expert tip: A second Blu Sushi can be found downtown, Fort Myers.
Stillwater Grille is a large neighborhood establishment with multiple personalities under the same roof and a tapas menu that runs the gamut from jalape�o poppers to tuna tartar. But when Spring rolls around, it's outdoor deck is a highly sought after spot. Surrounded by huge, sprawling tropical trees and foliage, it is a picturesque spot with festive lights. Enjoy small plates, fresh for the season, such as the Seven Tuna; seven short-lived pieces in two different sauces that seem to disappear like candy. The bar is known for martini's and craft beer, there are nearly 100 total to choose from. It's a friendly, local spot with live music and entertainment almost every night of the week.
Recommended for Best Restaurants for Spring because: The tropical deck surrounded but huge trees and foliage is a magnet for diners wanting to enjoy the spring weather.
Gina's expert tip: Besides local fish, the owners fly in Walleye from Minnesota every week, an homage to their midwestern roots.
Situated almost at the end of Captiva Island, the Keylime Bistro has one of the best springtime vibes of any spot on the island. No one is in a hurry to get to work or anywhere else here; feel free to linger over a glass of wine from their award-winning list, or second or a cup of coffee and enjoy live music on the covered, outdoor patio, dripping with ferns and blooming vines. The menu has a lot of seafood options but also has quite a selection to satisfy almost any cravings. The Bloody Mary's are a meal on their own, with hearts of palm, shrimp and other goodies, good any time of the day
Recommended for Best Restaurants for Spring because: Dripping with blooming flowers and lots of ferns, this is perhaps one of the best springtime dining spots on Captiva.
Gina's expert tip: The bistro is located on a street lined with cottage homes and galleries, that ends at the beach; take a stroll after dinner.
This brightly painted teahouse can be found off of the beaten tracks of downtown proper. It's tea time all year round but it's especially fun in spring. Housed in a bungalow dating back to the early 1900s, the atmosphere is relaxed, with a feeling of nostalgia. Dine on seasonal salads, homemade soups, and freshly made bread. While most of the dishes are light, if you have more of an appetite, items such as a roast beef panini or meatloaf sandwich can be found on the lunch menu. But the stars of the show are the sweet treats and an extensive selection of teas from around the world. The traditional afternoon tea service is delightful, with tiered trays of expertly prepared small bites. Gluten-free items are also available.
Recommended for Best Restaurants for Spring because: Fresh and feminine with light salads and sandwiches, a delightful selection of teas and a lovely springtime atmosphere.
Gina's expert tip: Pay attention to GPS, this is on a one-way street.
What draws people most to this spot is the location. The McGregor Caf� is housed in an old home in the middle of an established neighborhood, full of old oak trees and other tropical vegetation. It sits right off of the locally famous McGregor Boulevard. Although there is protective shrubbery, you'll still hear the cars whiz by but that never seems to matter. The outdoor seating is casual, you won't feel uncomfortable sitting here in your gym clothes. The breakfast fare is what you might expect with fresh fruit, omelets and thick pieces of toast. Lunches are both light and substantial and dinner has something to satisfy almost anyone. It seems a little easier to please in this relaxing setting.
Recommended for Best Restaurants for Spring because: Nearly hidden from the road under an umbrella of lush trees and foliage, McGregor Cafe has been a favorite of locals for years.
Gina's expert tip: Keep your glass covered, there are lots of trees here.
Set in an old home along Fort Myers most famously picturesque street (McGregor Blvd), patrons love dining alfresco on the spacious wrap-around porch, or under the shade of umbrellas on the front lawn. It feels like you're attending a garden party at a swanky southern estate. The food ranges from juicy burgers and overflowing salad plates, to pasta and the popular fried green tomato stack. This large property is bustling for both lunch and dinner but servers keep their cool, and the kitchen keeps the food cranking so you can keep your spring luncheon on schedule or extend your dining experience to enjoy the fresh are and tropical setting.
Recommended for Best Restaurants for Spring because: The expansive, shaded dining area on the front lawn beckons all who drive along the historic McGregor Blvd.
Gina's expert tip: Don't leave your furry friend out on the fun! Dogs are welcomed on the front patio.
Capturing the charm and history of Old Bonita Springs, time seems to slow down at this quaint cafe. Most of the seating is outdoors, on the dog-friendly wooden deck, surrounded by vegetation, local art, and often times music. Step inside and order at the counter. Be sure to check the specials board, then find a table and when your food is ready, someone will find you. The menu has lots of classic French dishes, thanks to the heritage of owners. However, they also know how to put a southern spin on things. Sunday Brunch specials include the Not So French Toast--a bread pudding with berry sauce. Also on Sunday breakfast entrees come with signature cheddar biscuits, served for lunch during the week. The salmon is smoked in house and the crepes melt in your mouth.
Recommended for Best Restaurants for Spring because: This charming, mostly outdoor cafe is friendly, quirky and best of all, serves delicious food with a nice selection of beer and wine to match.
Gina's expert tip: Dinner is served seasonally on the weekends so check the website before making summer dining plans.
Flanked by two uniquely decorated indoor dining wings, the beautiful garden at the newly renamed Redfish Point has tropical foliage and fountains for a peaceful vibe, whether it is for lunch or dinner. The area also lends itself to live music for an added ambiance. The vibe is Florida casual and the cuisine has ample selections of types of meat and seafood, with some Florida signatures such as fish dip and local shrimp. Try the Point Redfish, a dish that includes blackened redfish, shrimp, and crawfish in a roasted red pepper cream sauce. This is one of the best-hidden gems in Cape Coral, just a few blocks over the Cape Coral Parkway Bridge from Fort Myers.
Recommended for Best Restaurants for Spring because: One of the most charming places in Cape Coral, with an outdoor dining area that is more like a zen garden than a restaurant.
Gina's expert tip: Check the website for an entertainment schedule.
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 a restaurant on stilts. Sitting on the Estero Bay, the breeze flows freely and you still have a clear view of the Gulf of Mexico. It's one of the best spots to see a dolphin show, presented by Mother Nature. Springtime is particularly nice as the water is clear and the green mangroves make a lovely contrast with the blue sky. Open for breakfast lunch and dinner the food is full of international flavors. However, the White Miso Chilean Sea Bass is a must try.
Recommended for Best Restaurants for Spring because: One of the best restaurants on the water on Fort Myers Beach, the breeze and scenery is extra special in the spring.
Gina's expert tip: Call ahead seating is a good idea for the weekend.
This downtown Fort Myers dining icon occupies two old homes dating back to 1902. For decades the Veranda has provided an atmosphere of southern sophistication, consistently good cuisine and impeccable service. Nestled outside between the two buildings is a charming courtyard, with white linens, twinkling lights and lush plants, a perfect setting to welcome spring. Specializing in regional flavors and seafood, a restaurant favorite is artichoke fritters stuffed with blue crab. The Veranda's lounge is a favorite with the downtown legal crowd. You'll often find live music here, the type one might expect from such a refined establishment. A favorite special occasion place, the Veranda is the perfect place for lunch, romance and quiet conversation or a special spring celebration.
Recommended for Best Restaurants for Spring because: The Veranda's garden is tasteful, charming and perfect for dining on a fresh spring day or evening.
Gina's expert tip: The bar is full of legal eagles after work.