Food + Dining Main

You Saw Our 10 Best New Restaurants, but Don't Forget the Next-Best

Five honorable mentions this year are definitely worth visiting.

BY January 5, 2018


This year's crop of new restaurants was just too good. Make it a point to try these places as well as those named our 10 Best, and check out a slideshow of their highlights below.


Table & Tap

I wish this place were in Lee County—it’s about 10 minutes beyond North Fort Myers in what promises to be a unique solar-powered utopia called Babcock Ranch (but right now it is more like a sparsely populated pioneer settlement). This rustic retreat on a huge, peaceful lake was one of the first structures to go up, and the developers were smart in luring not one but two incredibly talented chefs: David Rashty, who put Jack’s Farm to Fork on the map, and Richard Howze, of the brilliant yet short-lived Summerlin Jake’s. The good news is they’ve struck a deal with the community to keep this place going even though at times you can be the only diner there. When I last checked in, it was just small plates and sandwiches (peak season should see more variety), but those have remained objects of my food fantasies—I’d give anything to instantly be able to chomp down into the fried green tomato pork belly “BLT,” brought to life with tomato chutney, stone-ground mustard and a tangy slaw. Punta Gorda; 

St. Germain Steakhouse

Located in the old Stoney’s space, this is a classic steakhouse experience all the way, resulting from a partnership between the granddaddy of the model in Naples, Cloyde Pate, and a restaurant neophyte with a taste for the finer things in life, Bob Germain Jr. (of the regional car dealership fame). Some of the presentations are not the prettiest, but one bite and you're hooked, from an escargot meunière, with each sitting in garlic-soaked nests of capellini, to an outrageously flavorful prime rib crusted with fresh rosemary. An unexpectedly nice touch is that any cut of beef comes with a choice of potato included in the price, and two of the more popular desserts, bananas foster and cherries jubilee, are prepared tableside. Naples;

Ocean Prime

Hardly anyone I meet doesn't like this glamorous, elegant, split-down-the-middle-between-seafood-and-steak opus on the first floor in the Inn on Fifth. It’s part of a national chain owned by Ohio-based restaurateur Cameron Mitchell, which means the menu is more or less the same as the dozen or so other outfits, but everything from the sauces to the desserts is made on-premise. Cocktails elicit gasps as well, like the champagne-based Berries & Bubbles that mists and spills a thick wave of fog over the glass. Naples;

The Warehouse

As Naples expands east, finer dining options are starting to spread that way, too. Along Immokalee Road near Collier Boulevard, this spot offers guests the whole package: contemporary-casual décor, warm service, a full bar, good value and, most importantly, a kitchen that puts an emphasis on carefully crafting its upscale comfort food down to the ketchup (but Heinz is available should you really need it). It might not have the panache to pull someone away from Third Street South for a Friday night out, but it’s a leader in its niche on the polar opposite end of town. Naples;

True Food Kitchen

Healthy food has never been more in our collective conscience—and it has arguably never tasted better as one cohesive everyday menu. The eatery, part of a growing chain run by Arizona-based restaurateur Sam Fox, sprouted up in the posh Waterside Shops, and it incorporates principles of the anti-inflammatory diet developed by Dr. Andrew Weil. It’s not for everyone, though, as burgers (beyond flavorful with an umami-mushroom sauce) don’t come with fries or chips, and some people just don’t want to experiment with quinoa bowls or tahini-slicked cauliflower (their loss). But for those who do, even sweet rewards await (a vegan Key lime pie with whipped cream is just as good as the real deal). Naples;


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