Hot Dish: June 26, 2008
By Ivan Seligman
Inside the Gulfshore’s Dining Scene.
Quite a Package Deal
Dine in style, year-round, at Bleu Provence! For only $21.95, from 5 to 6 p.m. daily, choose one appetizer, one entrée and one glass of wine from a generous selected menu, and enjoy a delicious Provençal meal in a relaxed setting. The décor is washed blue and white, inside and out, on the Areca palm-enclosed side patio.
Perhaps practice your French with the wait staff and other patrons. This is casual elegance. Sample summer’s happy hour at the bar daily from 5 to 7:15 p.m., with $5 wine or highballs or $7 cocktails to accompany various tapas. Bleu Provence, 1234 8th St. S., Naples, (239) 261-8239.
New Era for Former RedFish BluFish
Sanibel’s Redfish Blufish has changed ownership after former co-owner Gaye Levine lost her battle with cancer. Owner/executive chef Melissa Talmadge has renamed the quaint spot Sweet Melissa’s Café.
The menu is less expensive than before and offers piscine delicacies such as pecan-crusted grouper and conch chowder. Try tasty land-based morsels like grilled hanger steak, and citrus-braised pork belly. Sample the creative daily specials. Enjoy the open kitchen and warm hospitality. Sweet Melissa’s Café, 751 Tarpon Bay Road, Sanibel, (239) 472-1956.
Amador’s Newest Venture
Chef Richie Amador of Amador's Italian Restaurant
Amador’s Italian Restaurant recently opened in a spacious setting at 3310 E. Tamiami Trail in Naples. Chef Richie Amador’s fans note he was previously at Amador’s Bistro Italiano on Bayshore Drive, after holding court for years at Amador’s Italian Restaurant on the North Trail. Die-hard fans also know he was recently helping a friend at Joe’s Diner while the new site was being renovated.
The current Amador’s location in Courthouse Shadows, across from Naples’ Government Center, is the former site of Donna’s Silver Dollar, Donna’s Sports Pub, Trattoria Dino and, for old-timers, Roberto’s Italian Grill. Richie Amador is pairing with national restaurant entrepreneur Dino Redzic, of Dino’s and Wahoo’s Bar and Grill, for his newest Amador’s venture.
At the request of his patrons, the menu continues to offer Amador’s popular dishes. Chef Amador says, “During the summer, we can even cook special requests for you.” Nightly specials include Chilean sea bass Romano, veal osso buco and veal cannelloni.
The new restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday from 4 to 9 p.m., with live jazz on Friday nights. Amador’s Italian Restaurant, 3310 E. Tamiami Trail, Naples, (239) 234-6810.
Saporito’s Offers Italian and Latin Fare
Saporito’s (“tasty” in Italian) moved into Amador’s former Bayshore Drive digs about 18 months ago. The restaurant has a frequently filled parking lot, as patrons enjoy chef German Hernandez’s Italian and Latin American foods. Chef Hernandez trained with Wolfgang Puck and spent several years in Italy, perfecting his technique.
Popular Latin items include seafood caldo, or soup, with fish, mussels, clams, chipotle peppers and zucchini for $14. Frequent choices are the chicken or beef fajitas, with onions, peppers, and sour cream for $14. Ready for Italian? The veal caprino with goat cheese and pasta is a favorite for $20.
Lunch and dinner are served Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Dinner is only served Saturday, with Sunday dinner starting in season. Saporito’s, 3367 Bayshore Drive, Naples. (239) 774-6462.
Chrissy’s Cafe has reopened at its original location, at Airport-Pulling and Radio roads in Naples, after a three-year absence. Chrissy Bianchi-Rabil recently repurchased it from Tastebuds of Naples, and it joins its two sister Naples restaurants—one at the Carillon Shopping Center and the other at Bayfront, by Roy’s.
Long a breakfast favorite for omelets, Bananas Foster, French toast, Southwest chicken and corn soup, Benedicts and pancakes, Chrissy’s also livens up lunch, with salads and daily fresh seafood dishes and eclectic offerings. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Chrissy’s Café, 3400 Radio Road, Naples, (239) 331-2955.
Bayview Restaurant Changes Hands
Curt and Jacquie Koon purchased Marco Island’s Bayview Restaurant at the Esplanade Shops in February from Vergina’s parent company. CIA-trained executive chef Laura Owen practiced her skills for six years at Marco Island’s Marek’s, then spent a year at Naples Café and Bar Lurcat.
She offers a refreshing Mediterranean and Caribbean twist at Bayfront. Try the vegetable-crusted ahi tuna, the scallop and shrimp Newburg with the seafood lightly poached in a sherry cream sauce for $22, or the porterhouse pork chop with melted provolone cheese for $23.
Come by boat, car or on foot, and try the new summer menus for lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Don’t miss the live music from Thursday to Saturday. It’s casual dress at this beautiful spot, overlooking the marina and public boat slips, Smokehouse Bay, and glorious sunsets. Bayview Restaurant, 740 N. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, (239) 389-4511.