Hot Dish

Hot Dish: Nov. 11, 2009

BY November 11, 2009
Inside the Gulfshore’s Dining Scene.
Nirvana Fusion Brings Unique Indian Food to Fort Myers
Nirvana Indian Fusion Cuisine opened at the prior site of The New Metropolitan Restaurant on College Parkway in Fort Myers. In well-separated areas, it has an elegantly simple dining room, a beautiful wood bar and lounge, outdoor live entertainment and a banquet area. 

Nirvana Indian Fusian Cuisine.

The food is a welcome addition to Southwest Florida. The chef cooks with a slight Madras style, and spiciness is adjusted to your comfort level. I enjoyed the Butter Chicken ($12), with tender breast meat cooked in garam masala and a tomato sauce. The Thai-inspired Massaman Curry ($12) blends curry spices with peanut sauce. Our special crumbled sweet laddu over ice cream is the best way to end a good meal. Nirvana Indian Fusion Cuisine, 9101 College Parkway, Fort Myers, 277-9101,

Marie Michelle’s Fans Follow Her to Mimi’s
Marie Michelle Rey, who closed Marie Michelle’s on Venetian Bay, opened Mimi’s on Pine Ridge, near Saffron and Falafel Grill. Patrons of her eponymous restaurant are pleased that she offers the same chef’s cuisine at Mimi’s, and the bright, simple lovely setting is often filled at breakfast and lunch.


There’s a good assortment of salads, soups and sandwiches for less than $10. I recommend the large ($15) bouillabaisse, a generous portion with ample large scallops, shrimp and salmon in a rich broth. A sliced baguette with mild rouille completes the picture. The Niçoise Baguette ($9) raises tuna to a new level! French Chef Escoffier created Peach Melba in 1892, and Mimi’s $6 version’s fresh peaches and raspberry sauce over vanilla ice cream is just as refreshing today. Mimi’s, 2099 Pine Ridge Road, Naples, 566-2275.
Bravo! Opens at Mercato
Bravo! Cucina Italiana, sister restaurant to Waterside’s Brio, is the newest dining spot at Mercato. Dining on the front patio in the cooler season is the perfect spot for people watching. Indoors, Bravo! is casually elegant with a subtle décor accented by Corinthian columns and truncated beams, reminiscent of Italian ruins. 

Salmon at Bravo!

I like the Wood-Grilled Salmon Salad ($15), a healthy large plate brimming with asparagus, field greens and tomatoes, topped with feta cheese, shoestring potatoes and a light balsamic vinaigrette. The Rosemary Grilled Shrimp ($19) marinates large Gulf shrimp with garlic and rosemary. The shrimp are then grilled and presented on a bed of orzo and spinach—light and refreshing! Bravo! Cucina Italiana, Suite 88, 9110 Strada Place, Naples, 514-0042,

Barbecue 101
Authentic southern-style barbecue is an art, lovingly prepared over a slow, hardwood fire and quality charcoals. Todd Emmett’s highly regarded Backyard BBQ School meets monthly in Fort Myers. Learn the essence of proper barbecue and smoking for $65, with hands-on demonstration, refreshments, and buffet barbecue tasting.

Backyard BBQ School.

The next class runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Lodge Pavilion at Lakes Park in south Fort Myers. The Lodge is screened in, with ceiling fans and restrooms. Class size is limited to16 people to maintain intimacy and personal attention. Emmett’s thorough class covers smoking and grilling techniques, wood and charcoal fuels, temperature control, sauces and rubs. Spots fill up fast! Call 822-1088 or visit

A Veally Good Deal on Naples’ Fifth Avenue South

Cafe Luna.

Naples’ Café Luna fills the tables each night with a “veally good deal,” two dinners and a bottle of wine for $29! Select from six offerings—I hear the eggplant parmigiana and the chicken parmigiana are the best! For $5 more, the selection is widened to eight more. Café Luna, 467 Fifth Ave. S., Naples, 213-2212,


Grab a Bite at The Ritz
On Dec. 1, The Ritz-Carlton Naples will unveil Bites in the Lobby Lounge, featuring tapas-style small plates served from 5-10 p.m. Globally inspired dishes, priced under $14, will include mini-crab cakes, beef short-rib sliders and shrimp pot stickers. Enjoy a mojito or cocktails with Latin-accented, live contemporary music. Bites in The Ritz-Carlton, 280 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, 514-6001,
Let’s broaden our dining choices together. Post your hints and experiences of great Southwest Florida restaurants below, as a comment, or email

Related Images: