Food + Dining Main

We Have That Here? Unique Cuisine Found in Southwest Florida

Delicacies from countries seldom represented here are the pride of these new eateries.

BY October 1, 2018


VENEZUELA: Fusion 212 The country has recently been in the news for all the wrong reasons, so we were palpably excited for this little bite—an authentic restaurant dedicated to its cuisine popped up in a surprising location. On an axis of the Miromar Outlets courtyards, the quiet café is run by Caracas natives and has a menu filled with bean-studded stews like pabellón criollo; braised meats; and savory pastries including arepas and empanadas. 10801 Corkscrew Road, Estero, 239-317-2174

UZBEKISTAN: Silk Road Critically acclaimed since it opened earlier this year, it touts “Central Asian cuisine,” which is not something you often hear (or think) about. So, what exactly is it? Heavily influenced by the Balkan countries and the Middle East, there are flavorful kebabs (pictured), phyllo-wrapped pockets of minced meat, salads with shredded carrots and cabbage, and wines from regions you probably didn’t know existed in the mountains of Georgia and Russia. 8646 Gladiolus Drive, Fort Myers, 239-689-4845

LAOS: Lan Xang Builder-grade tile floors and tables found in take-out joints extend from a pagoda that doubles as a bar, but what this eatery may lack in ambience it makes up for in deeply flavorful dishes from Laos and its Southeast Asian neighbors, Vietnam and Thailand. Crisp spring rolls, papaya salads shredded to matchstick thinness, noodle dishes, curries, bubble tea and more await. 1400 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers, 239-689-8603

PHILIPPINES: The Magayon Restaurant Despite being on Tamiami Trail, this stylishly black-and-white-appointed eatery using organic ingredients is about as off-radar as you can get. The owner, who is Filipino but spent some of her childhood in the Dominican Republic, has included Spanish favorites like tostones and yucca as well. But for something unique, try lechon kawali (deep-fried soy-sauced pork belly speckled with scallions). And don’t skip halo-halo, an unusually colorful end to any meal with a violet cloud of sweet potato ice cream and a mango-steeped base with shaved ice. 300 Ninth St. N., Naples, 239-529-6733


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