Hot Dish: Oct. 8, 2008
By Ivan Seligman
Inside the Gulfshore’s dining scene.
Naples Welcomes Fine Waterfront Dining
M Waterfront Grille will celebrate its grand opening in Naples on Tuesday, with Chef Brian Roland, formerly of Fort Myers’ Crü, focusing this month on dinners, with lunches soon to follow.
M Waterfront Grille Chef Brian Roland
One of the top three chefs in Lee County, he has wowed me over the years with the beauty and quality of his culinary creations. They don’t break the bank either. He gives great taste at a good price—new dishes include baked Alaskan salmon, crowned with a Meyer lemon meringue, Yukon fritters, six-herb salad and almond brittle for $24, and braised pork tenderloin and sautéed succulent shrimp with a roasted garlic marsala wine sauce for $28.
M Waterfront Grille's outdoor seating
The location also can’t be beat. Formerly Maxwell’s on the Bay, I’ve taken quite a few guests to this beautiful location at Village on Venetian Bay and enjoyed lunch or sunset dinners, overlooking the bay, watching small boats and dolphins go by. It will even offer live light jazz, vocal and instrumentals Thursday through Saturday. M Waterfront Grille, 4300 Gulf Shore Blvd. N., Naples; (239) 263-4421.
Eat Out for a Good Cause
Your choice of restaurant for lunch or dinner this week could also help those in need to eat well. Naples Originals, an association of more than 40 independent, locally owned restaurants, is having its second annual Restaurant Week through Sunday, donating $1 for each lunch or dinner served to benefit the Harry Chapin Food Bank.
I especially like this charity. Because they buy food in bulk, wholesale, each dollar buys $5 worth of food, helping people in tough spots. Get that return in the stock market!
Naples Originals member restaurants will offer lunch prix fixe meals for $10.08 and/or prix fixe dinners for $20.08. Beverages, tax and gratuity are not included. Participants include Alexander’s, Bamboo Café, Bleu Provence, Bha! Bha! Persian Bistro, Mangrove Café, Naples Tomato, Remy’s Bistro, The Real Macaw, Swan River Seafoods and The Tropical Reef. Check the Web site www.naplesoriginals.com for other helpful restaurants.
Hot off the Grill
Nektar Naples Restaurant has closed and the owner is reopening as Gina’s on 7Ave Rustic Italian Cuisine. A hidden jewel near Naples’ 5th Avenue, it has changed its look and offerings, as new chef Mark Pinto, formally of Fort Myers’ Dragonfly Bistro and Bacco Restaurant, works his magic. Try the linguine and shrimp fra diavolo ($22.95) or oven-roasted whole fish with olive oil, lemon and herbs ($29). Gina’s on 7Ave, 849 7th Ave. S., Naples; (239) 435-1882
Nektar isn’t the only restaurant giving way the Italian makeover trend. The Grill Club Churrascaria Brazilian steakhouse in Bayfront is closing on Monday, Oct. 20, to be replaced with Bianchi’s at Bayfront, a family-style Italian restaurant. And new Italian restaurants have recently popped up along the Gulfshore—Naples has added Olio to the mix, and Bonita Springs has Angelina’s and Cirella’s (the latter now serving Italian and sushi, like Noodles).
Italian restaurants comprise the majority of Southwest Florida’s “ethnic” restaurants and are likely to retain that stronghold, with Asian restaurants not far behind. Maybe Italian is a proven “safer bet” with the area’s demographics.
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