Hot Dish

Hot Dish: Oct. 28, 2009

BY October 28, 2009
Inside the Gulfshore’s Dining Scene.
Have a jolly good time on Naples’ Five Avenue South

Jane Wood’s The Jolly Cricket—Jane’s Gastropub has opened on Naples’ Fifth Avenue South, with an all-new warm, casually elegant setting at the former site of Trilogy and Zoe’s. It serves a higher quality of food at reasonable prices—not a single item is more than $30. 

The Jolly Cricket–Jane’s Gastropub in Naples.

Why start a restaurant in this economy? “I wanted a happy place, where people can come in the early evening with kids, and come later on as well, and it’s still fun,” Jane says. “I wanted to make it so people can afford to come here twice a week.” The fare includes several soups—five-onion, creamy baked potato and my favorite, “Yesterday’s Soup—made yesterday, so it would be better today!” 

George, Tony and Jane Wood at The Jolly Cricket.

Jane’s organic salad, tropical spinach salad and Asian salad are $10-$11, and most small plates are less than $12, with various flatbreads, filet mignon sliders, Bell & Evans wings, and a half rack of ribs. Pub grub features fish and chips, chicken cricket curry, bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie and mac ’n cheese, all $16 and less. Suppertime offers pretzel-encrusted pork chops, organic Scottish salmon, and lamb shank. The Jolly Cricket, 720 Fifth Ave. S., 304-9460,

M Waterfront Grille celebrates its first birthday on the bay
Few birthday parties have been as lovely as M Waterfront Grille’s, with Executive Chef Brian Roland serving escargot in mini-pastry shells, innovative bruschetta, crab rolls and elegant martinis. His refreshing meals include beautiful and tasty hydroponic produce, fresh from Fort Myers’ Rabbit Run Farm.

Escargot at M Waterfront Grille.

This is one of the prettiest spots for dining in Naples, and it gets even better with live jazz on some evenings. M Waterfront Grille, 4300 Gulf Shore Blvd. N., Naples, 263-4421,   

Dine with the dolphins, Italian-style
Enjoy the most beautiful breakfast overlooking Naples’ Venetian Bay at Miramare Ristorante. Hot crepes, three-egg omelettes, eggs Benedict, bagels and croissants range from $2.75 to $8.50. Lunch specials are $9.09. Happy hour’s half-priced drinks are from 4-6 p.m. The best-kept secret: From 5 to 6:30 p.m. is the “first seating” three-course dinner for $8.09! My top entrées are the savory grilled salmon filet and the light, bright veal scaloppine’s lemon and capers. 

Outdoor dining at Miramare Ristorante in Naples.

Live music is from 5-9 p.m. (The dolphin and kayakers’ schedule is pending!) Miramare Ristorante, 4236 Gulf Shore Blvd. in The Village on Venetian Bay, 430-6273,

Fort Myers’ Mason’s Bakery mixes old and new, borrowed and blue
Mason’s Bakery, a 58-year Fort Myers culinary magnet, moved to the Miracle Plaza, facing the Edison Mall, on U.S. 41. The modern look blends with antique accents, such as travertine marble floors, and a 57-year-old baker’s bench that’s now a coffee bar. Lisa and Chris Ketcham’s family bakery and deli bakes breads and pastries from scratch and offers cold cuts. Come for breakfast, lunch or a later light meal. Select from omelets, a sandwich or salad and finish with gelato or espresso. Their beautiful wedding cakes are famous. Chris even prints edible photos of the bride and groom on cookies. That’s thinking outside the cookie jar! Open Tuesday through Sunday. Mason’s Bakery, 4224 Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers, 334-4525,
Find a big selection at Old World Market
Old World Market is opened on Davis, offering more than 900 top-quality foods from Bulgaria, Serbia, Egypt, Greece and Turkey. There’s more than 15 feta cheeses, and the 40 cold cuts and dried or smoked meats are some of the best around. I like the tart natural Bulgarian yogurt, and I stock up on pierogies, pelmeni, cured pork, salami and baklava. 

Shoppers at Old World Market.

Wine and beer are soon to come. Owner “Moe” Momtchil Dimitrov is friendly and open to all requests. The market is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Old World Market, 2800 Davis Blvd., Suite 103, (west of Shadowlawn Drive), Naples, 692-3020
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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