Want to take late morning meals to the next level? A visit to any one of these recently opened or revamped spots will yield mouthwatering options.
Artisan Eatery: In South Fort Myers, this café with retro touches relies on counter service to keep costs down for food that’s knock-your-socks-off good, like a pastrami hash with pepperoncini aioli and a truffled Benedict with prosciutto, all cleverly served on cutting boards, tin baskets and china. 239-887-4844, artisaneatery.com
McGregor Café: It had become a standard among the brunch set in Fort Myers, nestled amid the palms off of McGregor Boulevard. When its chef-owner passed and his son took over a year ago, a general freshening followed, including the recent hire of an experienced chef from New Orleans. 239-936-1771, mcgregorcafe.com
Gather: In Cape Coral’s picturesque Tarpon Point Marina, this hangout from the duo of well-respected French chefs behind Fathoms goes beyond expectations for a chic restaurant, as it’s open for breakfast daily. 239-215-4372, gathercape.com
The Rooster Food + Drink: When two of Naples’ most talented chefs team up, we’d better take notice. Lisa Resch of Carolina Catering Company and Bryan Sutton, who was at Veranda E for years, hatched this sliver of a dining room north of downtown. Its sole focus is daytime fare, which means plenty of Benedicts, salads, and shrimp and grits. 239-228-5973, theroosternaples.com
Kitchen: It just arrived on Fifth Avenue South in the old Mangrove Café spot, but don’t be fooled—it’s a departure from its diner-like predecessor (with an urban farmhouse vibe), and it’s from the same owners as the well-respected Caffé Milano. 239-315-4571, kitchennaples.com
The French Brasserie Rustique: We named it the year’s best new restaurant, but most people don’t realize this upscale boîte on Fifth Avenue South has egg scrambles and pain perdu available daily. 239-315-4019, thefrenchnaples.com
Timeless – an MHK Eatery/La Colmar Bakery & Bistro: Another of our picks for the year’s best, Timeless serves a limited but killer brunch both weekend days (and finally got its full liquor license; hello, bloody mary!). And, its neighbor on U.S. 41 is a French bakery with croissants and quiches galore. 239-331-4325, timelesseatery.com; 239-315-4303, lacolmar.com