Naples' Most Scenic and Savory Lunchtime Restaurants

Naples is a lunching kind of town. Especially in season - Christmas through Easter - it is a recognized "ladies who lunch" destination. This is unusual for an area where sunny, warm days find most everyone at the beach, and restaurants often sit empty at lunchtime.

Perhaps it's because so many of Naples' restaurants offer outdoor seating so that patrons can enjoy the scene - whether it is streetside along bustling Third Street South or Fifth Avenue South in downtown Old Naples or on the waterfront.

This list will give you options in a variety of venues. For downtown sustenance during serious shopping sprees, you can find The Continental on Third Street South and Sails Restaurant on Fifth Avenue South. For waterfront views, hit the beach at The Turtle Club on Vanderbilt Beach or watch Intercoastal Waterway traffic at Snook Inn on Marco Island. 

You will find more than beach food and American cuisine for lunch. Naples restaurants break out of the ho-hum soup and sandwich mold with ethnic restaurants and healthy cuisine. This list includes an Italian-swayed restaurant - for which Naples, true to its name, is known - plus one with French influence, another with a British accent and still others where everything is healthy and homemade.


Snook Inn
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

Chickee bars are a signature form of the Naples area party scene, and at Snook Inn, the open-air thatched roof structure also draws a lunch crowd looking for eye candy with their meal. The chickee at Snook Inn overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway and hosts live island music daily. You can also dine indoors for lunch or dinner - a popular summer option - with a view of local boat traffic on the so-called Marco River. That's where the restaurant's salad bar resides - a throwback to old-school dining with a huge pickle barrel at one end. Sandwiches, salads, steak and seafood entrees dominate the lunch and dinner menus. Specialty items include shrimpburger, breaded pork tenderloin sandwich, stuffed grouper duo and blackened fish.

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.

Food & Thought
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

It's thoughtful that a restaurant would strive to serve the best possible food for our good health. But it's even better that Food & Thought's dishes reflect the kind of creative thinking that raises them above typical health food juice-bar fare. Like most of its kind, Food & Thought's service is order-at-the-counter. It serves all the typical veggie juices, including wheatgrass, and fruit smoothies, plus your standard hummus wrap and tabouli salad. It breaks the mold, however, with its daily hot entrées, soup and side dish menu. These are served cafeteria-style, but somehow manage to taste made-to-order. On the regular menu, you will find breakfast items such as quiche and sprouted pancakes, plus chickpea salad and chicken salad wrap or sandwich. Everything is certified organic and homemade, and the indoor-outdoor setting as fresh as the food.

Petit Soleil
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

Literally "little sun," it's the little sister to nearby Bistro Soleil, a dinner-only French restaurant. Petit Soleil serves "petit dejeuner" and "dejeuner" - breakfast and lunch. True to its name, it has a sunny, open-air courtyard in addition to a warm, brick-wall interior. To further the sun connection, it's menu promises "sunshine on every plate." It feels like dining in a Parisian sidewalk café (sans the uncurbed dogs and attitude) with brick pavers, metal tables, market umbrellas, pastel cottages and liberal vegetation. Petit Soleil serves breakfast until close and it varies from true French repasts such as espresso and whipped cream with a baguette and jam, or chocolate croissant to more American style such as omelets and eggs Benedict. The lunch menu lists traditional French quiches, croques, salads and cheese or charcuterie plates, all available after 11:30 p.m. and all made fresh and flavorful.

True Food Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

As fresh as its pea-green banquettes, True Food Kitchen opened in March 2017, fueled by the expertise and name-recognition of Dr. Andrew Weil, whose anti-inflammatory diet has made him a respected author. The spacious, open dining room presents a seamless experience of watching chefs and juice bartenders work magic with the freshest, healthiest ingredients possible. With more than 25 restaurants nationwide, True Food's menu localizes somewhat to its venue. Every location's menu indicates vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan selections, plus organic wines and fresh-made cocktails. Don't-miss items: Medicine Man iced tea with blueberry, pomegranate and sea buckthorn; Charred Cauliflower with harissa tahini and dates; Inside Out Quinoa burger with hummus and tzatziki; Dashi Ramen bowl with sweet potato glass noodles; and coconut and chia flan. Even the lasagna - made with gluten-free noodles, house-made chicken sausage and fresh carrot brunoise - tastes healthy.

The Continental
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

The Continental serves all-American cuisine. Its niche is two-fold: name-ranch steaks and craft cocktails. But yet it is multi-faceted, offering also such original concepts as it's daily changing fresh fish and dessert pie menus. The steak takes center stage, however. It occupies one page of the dinner food menu, divided among the restaurant's four beef providers. Each touts its own connoisseur-level characteristics. Yet The Continental is clearly no ordinary steakhouse. Owners break the mold with their menus, but also with the restaurant's design. The dining room, which shows the telltale opulence of a typical steakhouse, opens onto the courtyard, where a convivial bar, bougainvillea-framed setting, cabanas and live dinner entertainment make this something wholly other.

The Dock at Crayton Cove
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

The Dock at Crayton Cove has been around since the mid-70s - a slump of a seafood shack marina-side cooled by sea breezes. It is the epitome of Old Naples pre-gentrification. Not much has changed over the decades. There's still fried seafood specials, raw oysters and a lively bar scene. The menu has progressed through the years to inject exotic Caribbean flavor into the menu. Think banana macadamia nut snapper, key lime grouper with citrus butter sauce, Havana baby back ribs with guava BBQ sauce and jerk grilled chicken sandwich. Wash it all down with something cold, fruity and rummy.

The Turtle Club at Vanderbilt Beach
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

Cleverly disguised as a casual beach club at a small resort, the Turtle Club exceeds all expectations to dwell in that vaunted culinary territory known as a local secret. To start with, there's the location, which deserves to be described in triplicate: location, location, location. Not because it's all about the location, but because there are gorgeous gulf views from every table of the small, intimate dining room; and the sunny patio is right on the beach. You won't feel deprived ordering one of the entree salads such as honey and almond roasted salmon. Go tropical with coconut-fried shrimp or continental with grilled beef tenderloin on brioche with boursin. The key lime chiffon pie lightens up a Florida tradition.

Osteria Tulia
Photo courtesy of Osteria Tulia

The first dilemma: Sit al fresco and people watch along busy Fifth Avenue South or enter the embrace of "farmhouse chic" indoors, where repurposed barn wood creates warmth and character? Then the food ordering decision! The lunch menu may be small, but it is also packed with wow. Chef Betulia makes everything himself - from the crispy fried pig ears and house-made ricotta to the fennel sausage tossed with mascarpone cream and Torchio pasta. Pizza ranges from classic tomato with basil and mozzarella to the Mary Had a Little Lamb - lamb sausage, ricotta, spring onions and chiles.

Sails Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

"Excellence" describes the new Sails Restaurant from start to finish. From start: Owners meticulously sourced decor items such as a Greek marble bar in the shape of a sail, dishware, and the finest seafood and steaks to create a modern European coastal setting and cuisine. Guests select their own fresh seafood, its poundage and its preparation: wood grilled, salt baked or seared a la plancha. Artistically presented seafood towers, crudos and tartares launch a memorable experience. Courses of seafood salads, house-made pasta and global entrees ensue. Try the Peppered Tuna Rossini with seared foie gras, black truffle and charcoal-roasted onions; or prime tomahawk rib steak with garlic confit. An exacting wine list and decadent, modern dessert menu are the final excellence icing on this lovely cake.


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