When Chianti’s closed—the brief, genius experiment by chef Brian McCarley that burned bright with critics but fizzled fast (likely because it was on a grimy stretch of Cleveland Avenue)—everyone was wondering: Could The Other Side Bistro be next?
Thankfully, I’m glad to say no.
It’s business as usual at McCarley’s understated gem, where the status quo for years has meant the remarkable yet comforting cuisine of its owner. Most locals would fiercely debate which independent eatery in town would win the Best of Bonita, but The Other Side Bistro is always included in the conversation—precisely because McCarley makes virtually everything from scratch on a daily basis. And, it just feels good knowing that someone has poured his heart into every dish. He also hand-picks the not-so-average assortment of wines by the glass and bottle to round out the experience.
From the outside, the bistro could easily be mistaken for a coffee shop or café, as it is tucked away in a corner of a Publix plaza just south of Coconut Point and north of the Prado cinema. But once inside, you know where you are—motifs with corks and stemware dominate the décor; so, too, does a large wine bar in the center of the petite dining room.
If you haven’t been to try the insanely good baked artichokes with goat cheese and a sundried tomato coulis or the sweet-spicy shrimp with black rice and sautéed spinach (both pictured below), it’s definitely worth taking a trip to The Other Side.
To plan a visit:
The Other Side Bistro
24630 S. Tamiami Trail, Bonita Springs
Get the Hot Dish every Wednesday and Friday online and every month in Gulfshore Life.