Tucked in the Shoppes at Pelican Landing in Bonita Springs, La Fontanella is a hidden treasure. For years, it’s been my go-to comfort spot for solid Italian cuisine. The warmly refined setting and service make it perfect for friendly dining or romance. I like to start off with charcoal-grilled calamari or beef carpaccio and move on to the veal scallopini with prosciutto, wild mushrooms and rosemary in a brandy demi-glace cream sauce. If the chef offers it, don’t pass up the osso buco. Seafood lovers should try the bold dentice alla puttanesca, red snapper with capers and black olives. 24600 S. Tamiami Trail, Suite 204, Bonita Springs, 498-6808, www.lafontanellarestaurant.net.
If you’ve grown tired of traditional steakhouses, seek out Martin Fierro Restaurant and Steak House. This Argentinean-Uruguayan spot is cozy, informal and quite family friendly with a welcoming smoky aroma. The parrillada platters are a carnivore’s delight, with an assortment of tasty, wood-fire-grilled meats served on a tabletop mini-grill. The generous platter serves four people for bargain price of $36. On the a la carte menu, savor the delicious ceviche, veal tongue, grilled shrimp and empanadas. Entertainment often features a solo guitarist, a trio or passionate Argentinean tango. Spanish and English are equally spoken. 6002 Radio Road, Naples, 659-5996, www.martinfierrorestaurant.com.
Summer is a great time for discount dining. With delicious Italian food and a waterfront Naples Bay view, MiraMare Ristorante can’t be beat! Dine al fresco from 4 to 5:30 p.m. with a $20 three- course meal and half-price wines. Relax and watch dolphins swim by. Stay and enjoy the sunset. Regulars love zuppa di pesce, veal Milanese and the seafood pizza. My favorite specials include whole grilled snapper on Fridays and Saturdays’ spicy lobster fra diavolo. Gluten-free pasta is available. Dessert? Owner Sal Sinzieri’s tiramisu or zabaglione with limoncello are divine. 4236 Gulf Shore Blvd. N., Naples, 430-6273, www.miramarenaples.com.