Hot Dish

Hot Dish: Nov. 24, 2009

BY November 25, 2009
Inside the Gulfshore’s Dining Scene.
Downtown Naples Fall World Wine Tour
The Annual Naples Fall World Wine Tour sold out quickly as almost 20 restaurants on—or just off—Fifth Avenue South, participated last Thursday evening. A $40 ticket covered appetizers and a choice of red or white wine at each restaurant. 

Truluck’s fried chicken fingers

Truluck’s offered tasty fried chicken breast fingers and fried rice and crab balls; the Jolly Cricket rolled out tasty Scotch eggs, as “Doc” entertained at the piano. Ristorante D-Angeli had a generous spread of pastas gnocchi, bruschetta and canapés, with their violinist serenading eventgoers. 

“Doc” at the Jolly Cricket

Fifth Avenue Coffee’s rich paninis were a hit. Olio’s Executive Chef Scott Sopher had bountiful offerings that included savory flatbreads, bacon-wrapped scallops, mini-eggrolls and mini quiches. Roy’s baked mini-molten, chocolate-filled cakes, and Café and Bar Lurcat’s delicious donuts were hard to beat. Bella Maria’s chicken croquettes and Vergina’s meatballs were also popular. 

McCabe’s Irish Pub

Other restaurants included Café Luna, Pincher’s Crab, McCabe’s Irish Pub, Little Italy, Zizi and Bambu Tropical at Bayfront Inn.Most of the wine was supplied by an outside source.

Bohemian Schnitzelhouse Brings Czech Favorites to Pelican Bay Area
Bohemian Schnitzelhouse, big sister to Naples’ Little Prague Restaurant,opened Monday next to the Pavilion Cinemas 10 in the Pavilion Shopping Center in Naples. It is open everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is more “traditional” American. 

Bohemian Schnitzelhouse

Lunch offers soups, salads and choice of Bohemian, roast beef and smoked salmon sandwiches. Lunch and dinner both feature wonderful comfort food with mild to spicy Hungarian goulashes, several different schnitzels, and my favorite: baked duck with red cabbage.

Lunch costs less than $10, and dinner costs less than $20. The current special, two entrées with a bottle of wine for just $29.90, is a steal! With tasty food, inexpensive prices and patio dining in cool weather, snowbirds have a new place to flock to! Bohemian Schnitzelhouse, 835 Vanderbilt Beach Road, 287-8048.
More Comings and Goings…
Le Bistro Restaurant, 842 Neapolitan Way in Naples, closed after years of serving French cuisine in a romantic setting, with entrée prices mostly in the $30s, and desserts from $7-$12. That pricing has attracted fewer customers in the last two years. Executive Chef Illansy Ruiz left the restaurant in April 2008 to bring his culinary talents to Whole Foods Market. Le Bistro’s name has been removed, and the phone is out of service. It appears that someone will reopen it in time for Season. However, there is no new signage or contact information posted. In the past few years, Chardonnay Nouveau, Margaux, La Auberge on Fifth Avenue South, Café in the Park (later Mr. G’s) and Le Riviera all closed, leaving fewer French dining experiences in Naples. My guess is that Le Bistro’s successor will not be high-end French. Your thoughts?
Eric Truglas and Andre Gratesol, owners of French Bread Oven in Naples, have opened their second bakery in Fort Myers to cover the Lee County area. They feature all-natural, artisanal baked-from-scratch breads and pastries, and also serve breakfast and lunch seven days a week in Season. They also stock jams, preserves, cornichons, extra virgin olive oil, vinegars, spices, mustards, herbes de Provence and other, mostly organic, local products. French customers tell me that their quality would set the bar high in Paris. They are on the top of my list for special events, catering and holiday parties, whether it’s bread and dessert pastries for a dinner for eight, or ordering a Bûche de Noël (Yule Log) at Christmas. French Bread Oven, 13550 Reflection Lakes Parkway, Suite 4-401, Fort Myers, 454-9100.
DaRuMa, the Naples and Sarasota Japanese steak house and sushi lounge, will open in the Bell Tower Shops in south Fort Myers in 2010. The restaurant will take up residence in the 8,000-square-foot space previously occupied by The Mole Hole, next to Saks Fifth Avenue. DaRuMa’s menu features traditional Japanese cuisine or prepared tableside teppan-style. The sushi lounge will offer freshly made selections including sashimi, sushi and sushi rolls.
Let’s broaden our choices of great Southwest Florida restaurants together. Post your hints and experiences below or e-mail me at

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