Hot Dish

Hot Dish: Aug. 26, 2009

BY August 26, 2009
Hot Dish
Inside the Gulfshore’s dining scene.
A Star is Born!
Inca’s Kitchen serves some of the best cuisine in Southwest Florida, and it’s on my—and quite a few others’—lists of “Top 10 restaurants.” The food is Peruvian and an exquisite mix of Asian, Italian, Spanish and French cooking. 

Inca’s Kitchen Chef Rafael Rottiers and wife Blanca.

Chef/Co-owner Rafael Rottiers serves some of the tastiest seafood and steaks in town. I flipped over Inca’s Wari fish ($16), an ambrosia-like grilled fish with mango salsa.

Inca’s Kitchen’s Wari fish.

The Peruvian ceviche ($12) is tops, a full-size portion of fish, calamari and shrimp. The lomo saltado and other steaks are a match for any steakhouse.

Inca’s Kitchen’s sampler featuring grilled tenderloin, seared diver scallops, two large grilled shrimp, quinoa and sauteed spinach

Desserts include enjoyable cherimoya and Lucama fruit ice creams, apple cobbler with a twist, and picarones ($6), a sweet potato and squash donut-like fried ring drizzled with chancaca syrup that’s a sweet delight. Inca’s Kitchen, 11985 Collier Blvd., Naples (three blocks north of Golden Gate Parkway on Collier Boulevard/C.R. 951), 352-3200.

Cin Cin’s Loss is Olio on Naples Bay’s Gain

Chef Scott Sopher, who earned a large following at Fort Myers’ Cin Cin Mediterranean restaurant, moved south after its recent closure to become executive chef at upscale Olio on Naples Bay.

Olio on Naples Bay Chef Matthew Vonderembse, Executive Chef Scott Sopher and Chef Ender Metin.

It’s a great fit for Sopher, and his deft culinary touches are already appreciated in Naples. I was there Sunday, and his passed hors d’oeuvres were a hit. 

Olio on Naples Bay’s sausage pizza.

Whether serving flatbread pizza slices, braised shortribs, carpaccio on a porcelain spoon, or incredibly tender sous vide pork on polenta, accented with warm apricots, golden raisins and spices, the difference in style and continued high quality is obvious. 

Olio on Naples Bay’s polenta.

Positive changes will continue with the upcoming fall menu. Olio on Naples Bay, 1500 Fifth Ave. S., Naples, in the Naples Bay Resort, 530-5110,

New Chef Is Making His Mark on Naples’ The Bay House
The Bay House’s Executive Chef Tom Donohoe has revamped most of the menu since arriving at the Naples restaurant in April. 

The Bay House’s grilled quail.

His new offerings are winners, and he even kept my favorite crispy fried oysters on the shell with remoulade on the menu! 

The Bay House’s grouper.

The Tempura cabbage-wrapped Ahi tuna with wasabi and edamame puree ($12) is a harmonious contrast in tastes and textures. Basil-seared gulf shrimp are masterfully grilled—and a must-have. 

The Bay House’s lobster salad.

I like to sit overlooking the river and mangroves, or visit the bar early evenings, as Stu Shelton on keyboard and Patricia Dean on drums offer light jazz Wednesday through Saturday evenings. The Bay House, 799 Walkerbilt Road, Naples, 591-3837,

Sample Great Wines for a Worthy Cause
Stonewood Tavern and Grill and Haskell’s Wine & Spirits join with Eden Autism Services Florida in presenting six evenings of wine tasting to benefit children and adults with autism. For $20 per person each night, starting at 6 p.m., sample Wines of Napa Valley on Sept. 14; Tour of Italian Wines on Sept. 21; Wines from “Down Under” on Sept. 28; Tour de France on 0ct. 5; Wines of Sonoma on Oct. 12; and Wines of the World on Oct. 19. Kevin Casey of Southern Wines & Spirits will present the wine selections atStonewood Tavern & Grill, 7935 Airport-Pulling Road, Naples. Make credit card reservations with Frank Gabardino at 440-3534.
Enjoy a Special Ramey Wine Dinner at M Waterfront Grille
Executive Chef Brian Roland of M Waterfront Grille in Naples will pair his mostly all-natural and organic cuisine with Ramey Wine Cellars’ Napa Valley and Sonoma County wines for a special dinner on Sept. 16. 

The elegant, four-course meal will feature passed hors d’oeuvres, followed by steamed and chilled seafood cocktail, duck confit and Asian pear salad, and the main course of spice rubbed Australian lamb loin with caramelized cippolini onions and a warm Ramey Cabernet syrup. The final course will be dark and white chocolate mousse, with brandied cherries and a black pepper-berry sauce. Call 263-4421 to make reservations for the $89 dinner (includes tax and tip).

Comings and Goings…
Naples’ Miss Saigon Gourmet has closed. The restaurant served tasty entrees, huge bowls of pho and wonderful sandwiches for its first year at three tiny tables. It expanded and opened a dining room two years ago as business peaked—but then dwindled in tandem with the economy. Miss Saigon’s closure leaves Eurasia on the East Trail and Noodle Saigon in North Naples to continue serving very good Vietnamese food in Collier County.
Let’s broaden our dining choices together. Post your hints and experiences of great Southwest Florida restaurants below, as a comment, or email

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