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Best Places to Dine in the Springtime in Fort Myers



Spring is a busy time of year in the Fort Myers area. You have spring training, spring break and a rush of northern visitors who are overdue for a break from the cold. Locals joke there isn't much of a spring season as it often seems Mother Nature goes directly from winter to summer here.

But there is a sweet spot where everyone is clamoring to drink and dine outdoors. The greens are a little greener and the flowers are spectacular. The air is not as humid and the sky is a brilliant shade of blue. This is the time where the outdoor sections of restaurants are often on a waitlist.

While a majority of restaurants have some type of covered or outdoor areas to enjoy, 10Best has chosen those that tend to be more scenic, have more of that spring feel to them, and menus to match in many cases. Take for instance Keylime Bistro on Captiva Island, an oasis year round but the bougainvillea is extra vibrant in spring.

Stillwater Grill has a shaded deck surrounding a giant banyan tree where there is almost always a gentle breeze. Then there is the Veranda a downtown Fort Myers. It's an iconic, special occasion spot but the garden is beautiful, especially at night. 

Enjoy spring dining at these 10Best.


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10
South Fort Myers
Blu Sushi
Photo courtesy of Chris Whitaker, Blu Sushi


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.


Stillwater Grille
Photo courtesy of Gina Birch


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.


Keylime Bistro


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


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Wisteria Tea Room
Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Wisteria Tea Room


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.


McGregor Cafe
Photo courtesy of Gina Birch


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 toast drenched in butter. 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.


Christof's on McGregor


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.


4
Bonita Springs
Survey Cafe
Photo courtesy of Gina Birch


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.


Redfish Pont Garden Bar & Grill


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.


Flippers on the Bay
Photo courtesy of Lovers Key Resort


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.


1
Downtown
Veranda


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.


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Meet Gina Birch

Gina carries the rare title of "Native Floridian". Living in Southwest Florida for more than 20 years, she is a well known, award winning radio and TV personality. She also writes for a number...  More About Gina

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