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BREAKFAST & BRUNCH: BEST WAYS TO WAKE UP IN NAPLES, FLORIDA



From home-cooking diners to beautiful resort buffets and breakfast on the beach, Naples restaurants make the morning meal a true occasion. Many of them continue to serve eggs, bacon, pancakes, waffle and various original creations into the afternoon hours, in fact.

One place in Marco Island shows its allegiance to indulgent first meal dining with its name - Breakfast Plus, where influences from New Orleans to Poland weigh in. Those who prefer the gourmet touch to their breakfast or brunch will find it at the other end of the scale at BALEEN, part of La Playa Beach & Golf Resort, where you can dine overlooking Vanderbilt Beach. 

This list has sifted out the ho-hum places to eat breakfast in an area where morning dine-outs are robust, thanks to a large retirement population. What makes it to the list are those restaurants showing a commitment to breakfast, rather than serving it as an afterthought to resort or other guests. These restaurants show creativity in designing their menus and use fine ingredients and unusual technique in executing their specialties. 

So don't look for the usual egg and bacon platters or chain pancake houses on this 10 best list. Be delighted instead by eye opening meals that will make your day. 


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Blueberry's
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


Country cheery in style, Blueberry's serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with an accent on breakfast. The extensive menu covers all the breakfast bases - bakery goods, pancakes and waffles, crepes, egg combos, omelets, French toast, healthy options, benedicts and skillets. Each category offers several styles; for instance there are 11 varieties of pancakes including, of course, blueberry, but also bacon or potato with applesauce. Lunch and dinner menus also give you a dizzying number of choices of comfort food. Chef's favorites range from chicken pot pie to liver and onions. Select breakfast items and sandwiches are available at both meals. In short, Blueberry's pleases every appetite.


Trackside Donuts & Cafe
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


Occupying a former life Dairy Queen A-frame building near the dog track in Bonita Springs, this casual, popular breakfast spot serves glazed and filled donuts in various flavors, as its name suggests. However it also gets applauds for its other homemade sweets - muffins, cinnamon rolls, Danish pastries and apple fritters. Everything is baked fresh daily and simply addictive. If you prefer to start your day on a savory note, save the sweets for breakfast dessert and order biscuits and gravy, an omelet or a Monte Cristo sandwich. Small and plain, the dining room fills up fast during peak season.


The Coffee Shoppe at Cove Inn
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


The Cove Inn Coffee Shoppe reverts to an era of breakfast counters, sassy servers, S.O.S. (described as Sailor on Shore here, but others will recognize the acronym's more familiar meaning), and pancakes that fill the plate. A solid fixture on the Naples' dining scene for countless years, it occupies a corner off the lobby of Cove Inn and also has an entryway from the parking lot. It feeds a devoted clientele that has voted it best breakfast in local competitions. Pancakes are a specialty, but you will also find a Rajun' Cajun omelet with Munster cheese and Creole sauce, a breakfast sandwich and a healthy choice or two. The cafe also serves lunch.


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Patric's
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


Patric's has a split personality. On one hand, the charming little retro cafe loads up diners on comfort food such as muffins, pot roast skillet and bacon benedict for breakfast; and deep fried hot dogs and bacon and pbj sandwiches for lunch. Then there's Patric's healthy side – its well designed salads such as grilled salmon with feta cheese and orange basil dressing and veggie Portobello wrap sandwich. But its ultimate tip of the toque to healthy eating is its Paleo breakfast and lunch menus. These follow guidelines for the mostly meat and leafy greens regime of the grain and gluten free Paleo diet. Breakfast and lunch sandwiches come on gluten free bread or sans bread at all. The burger, for instance, comes on a bed of lettuce and tomato and is available with bacon, a fried egg or avocado.The kitchen is so skilled you won't even miss the grains.


Breakfast Plus
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


Marco Island has a wealth of places devoted to breakfast; this one has the widest, most original and globally inspired selection of them all. Its two dining areas and counter are nothing fancy, occupying a corner of Marco Town Center. House specialties include the delicious New Orleans-inspired Egg Hussarde, kippers, scrambled eggs with chicken livers and grits, cheese blintzes, latkes, breakfast quesadillas, bread pudding with hot lemon sauce and Texas French toast stuffed with cream cheese and peach preserves. Breakfast is on until close at 2:30 p.m. (1:30 in summer). Lunch starts at 11 a.m. and includes a satisfying selection of salads and sandwiches such as an apple pecan wrap, reuben and turkey Philly.


Lemonia
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


The only town with two Ritz-Carltons, Naples benefits from the brand's fine, precise influence on its restaurant scene. At the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Lemonia has a slightly more relaxed feel than The Grill at the cross-town beach resort. But the level of kitchen excellence is "on par." Mediterranean is the over-arching influence on a tight menu that succinctly appeals to many appetites. Start with the amazing crispy jumbo crab cake and the Georgia peach and beet salad with fried goat cheese croutons. Decide between the sea and the land for entrees such as grilled Atlantic salmon with white asparagus nage and morels or pan-roasted lamb loin with mint pistou. Finish with a light seasonal fruit panna cotta and a sigh of utter satisfaction. The restaurant also opens for buffet and a la carte breakfast featuring healthy and traditional dishes.


Joe's Diner
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


Eat at Joe's! the sign outside commands, predictably. The popular North Naples diner is cliché in many ways – from its counter seating to its comfort food. Checkered tablecloths under glass top the usually packed tables. Photos of Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and retro baseball players hang on the walls – along with a flat screen TV. The extensive breakfast menu is available until close at 3 p.m. In addition to traditional breakfast dishes such as pancakes, chipped beef on toast, sausage gravy and biscuits, and eggs benedict, Joe's Diner goes off the diner grid with sweet or savory crepes, a killer pot roast benedict, blintzes, and healthy concoctions such as the Tahitian parfait, granola wheat germ pancakes and egg white or eggbeaters options. Breakfast stars here, but you can also order specialty burgers, grilled sandwiches, salads and platters of meatloaf, fried chicken and open faced roast beef.


Old 41 Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


Open for breakfast and lunch only (until 3 p.m.), it tastes like eating at home - especially if you are from Philly. Then you will likely order the Philly Breakfast with Taylor pork roll or scrapple or the Philly cheese steak served on genuine, Philly-imported Amoroso rolls. Even non-Philly guests will love Old 41's made-from-scratch offerings: fresh-ground Colombian coffee, corned beef hash homemade from Boar's Head meat, an incredible Texas French toast with homemade caramel and pecans, Carbon's malted Belgian waffles, Boar's Head hoagies, hot roasted turkey or beef sandwiches and homemade rice pudding. The setting is a simple strip mall storefront - bright, clean and friendly.


Jane's Garden Cafe
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


The setting feels like provincial France, but the menu tips its hat to British and American fare with healthy notes for breakfast and lunch. Everything is freshly prepared at Jane's - from the quiche du jour and roasted beets salad with feta cheese to its popular lobster crab cake sliders, yummy grilled chicken and avocado sandwich, fish tacos in five flavors (including vegetarian) seafood crepes, vegan medley and slow-roasted short ribs with mango BBQ sauce. Ask about gluten-free bread and other options. The staff happily accommodates special dietary needs, but service can be a little slow, especially in the winter-spring season.


BALEEN
Photo courtesy of LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort Naples


BALEEN gives a global twist to its breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. The setting couldn't scream Southwest Florida more succinctly with its Gulf of Mexico and white sand views. You can even dine with your toes planted in the sand should you desire. At breakfast, eggs with crispy tomato rice and crab Oscar benedict show off. Sunday brunch brings a three-course menu of creative seasonal dishes. The lobster Cobb salad dazzles on the lunch menu. For dinner, start with the beef carpaccio "ravioli," then the truffled lobster risotto or blackened grouper. Whatever you do, leave room for the key lime pie, it's buttery and delicious and in a class all its own.


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Meet Chelle Koster Walton

Chelle Koster Walton – the Local Expert for Naples, Florida and the Caribbean – has been covering the destination for 30 years. Her top-selling Sarasota, Sanibel Island, and...  More About Chelle

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