Food + Dining Main


Hot Dish: Margaritas, Moves & Makeovers

 

What We’re Drinking

O Mio, Mayo!

Viva México for giving us an excuse to raise a salt-rimmed glass on May 5. Here are our top picks for margaritas in Southwest Florida.

 

Tacos & Tequila Cantina

4834 Davis Blvd., Naples, 732-8226, tacosandtequilanaples.com 

Cucumberita: Muddled cukes, simple syrup and sour are the simple yet refreshing match for small-batch, triple-distilled Milagro Reposado (the 2011 best of the best tequila at the International Wine and Spirit Competition). Cayenne takes it up another notch.

 

Masa

9123 Strada Place, Naples, 598-0887, masa-restaurant.com

Diabolita and Pink Guava (tie): One is so spicy you’ll be bracing yourself yet embracing the peppery kick from liquefied habaneros. The other is delicate, sweet and beautifully pink, a fruity yet sophisticated cocktail grounded by Sauza Blanco. You could almost forget this is a restaurant with 107 top-shelf tequilas vying to warm your belly.

 

Los Cabos Cantina

2226 First St., Fort Myers, 332-2226, loscaboscantinafl.com

Candy Apple: Doesn’t quite sound bueno? You’ll appreciate the craftsmanship: House-infused cinnamon tequila pairs with agave nectar, freshly prepped limeade and a caramel-cinnamon sugar rim. (Still not convinced? You can’t go wrong with their classic recipe with El Jimador Silver.)

 

Senor Tequila’s

Various locations in Collier and Lee, senortequilasnaples.com

Traditional Lime: Although squarely standard when it comes to margaritas—regular or frozen lime, mango, strawberry, peach, banana and raspberry—they should consider renaming the drink Killing Me Softly, as the bite is way stronger than the bark. 

 

Reason to Revisit

Kitchen 41’s drastic makeover

If you haven’t checked out the tiny storefront since it opened just shy of two years ago, a gut-job renovation has transformed the restaurant into the kind of comfy bistro where you want to unwind with a glass of Barolo and a portion of sous vide-prepared rabbit alla cacciatora. The same seemingly decadent but mostly gluten-free and good-for-you gourmet dishes from the Italian chef-owners are on offer six nights a week (Kitchen 41 is closed Sundays). But gone are the neon plastic tables best reserved for ice cream shops; in are smooth white banquettes, soothing blue walls and rustic-chic wooden tables to match the new wood floors. 2500 Tamiami Trail N., Naples, 263-8009, kitchen41.com

 

You Ask, We Answer

What happened to Captain Kirk’s?

A Naples institution selling fresh-caught stone crabs, Captain Kirk’s on Eighth Street has been renamed, enlarged and remodeled to lure diners for lunch and dinner—as well as those looking to bring home the Gulf’s bounty. Captain & Krewe has double the seats, table service at night and a pretty handmade oyster-shell chandelier dangling over a spacious new raw bar adjacent to the market display cases. The menu is limited to what is hauled in from local waters, with quality not quantity being the name of the game. 629 Eighth St. S., Naples, 263-1976, cknaples.com

Plus: Speaking of shifting tides, Randy Essig (the Randy in Randy’s Fishmarket) swam out of retirement and is making a splash with his vibrant new Fish Crazy in the former Naples Tomato space. 14700 Tamiami Trail N., Naples, 260-1048

 

Nibbles

• Everyone’s favorite butcher for Kobe and other exotic meats, Jimmy P’s, has expanded into the space next door to open a stand-alone table-service restaurant, Charred.

• Chef Charles Mereday is launching both QFO: Quick Fresh Organic, a healthy counter-service café (kale chips, anyone?), and Livraison, a gourmet home delivery concept.

• HaVen, a mod millennial gastro- lounge with walls of projection TVs and gourmet eats, is breaking ground at the Bell Tower Shops.

• Fernandez the Bull is opening a second, larger location for its delicioso Cuban cuisine—and this one will have a full liquor bar, too.