On the Road Review: Naples, Florida

I have something to share with you.

A family vacation!   I have been waiting months for this – a bit of driving(take a look at the St. Petersburg post) will bring me to the pool, the beach and a great place to relax and enjoy some quality family time.  Add of course, when we are on vacation, we eat A LOT!

BITES at the Ritz Carlton Naples
It was a good thing I used my OpenTable app to make a bunch of reservations for our vacation, BITES being the first. I wanted to make sure that after a long day of travel, we could have a quick meal at the hotel that was very kid friendly.  This spot did not disappoint.  It was in the lobby of the hotel and we had a great server.

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While my daughter ordered off of the kids menu, my husband and I shared a few different dishes.  The menu is split between hot and cold and different types of food.  We started with the Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes with Buratta and Pesto, nice and light followed by a trio of ceviche tacos.  Then on to the hot items:  wonderful mini chicken pot pies and a flavorful sauteed garlic shrimp.  We ended the meal with cinnamon swirl bread pudding.

 Terrazza at the Ritz Carlton Naples

IMG_9489This was our spot for breakfast at the hotel.  They offered a breakfast buffet with made-to-order omelettes, bacon, potatoes, sticky buns, pancakes, bagels, lox, oatmeal, pastries(YUM) and fruit.  You get the idea…..the omelettes – amazing, the blueberry muffins and peanut butter banana bread – to die for, the fresh sliced tomatoes – fantastic.

Gumbo Limbo at the Ritz Carlton Naples

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Overlooking the water, Gumbo Limbo is a great option if you don’t want to eat at the pool or on the beach.  Lobster Quesadilla(good, not great), kids cheeseburger and the fresh grouper sandwich(perfect).

The Poolside Cafe at the Ritz Carlton Naples
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While relaxing by the pool, the cafe will bring lunch to you or you can sit poolside.  I absolutely loved the ceviche!  My daughter had the mac & cheese twice!
Tommy Bahama’s
A “tropical cafe”.  We came here during our last trip and it’s located on the charming, historic Third Street South.  We ordered a few items and yes, they have a kids menu.  My daughter fell asleep during dinner but her mac & cheese looked really good.  For the adults – Crab bisque, Ahi Tuna Tacos,Char-Grilled Artichoke(sorry TB – Houston’s is better) and Blackened Fish Tacos.

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Barbatella

IMG_9446I love downtown Naples.  You can walk, explore the shops and you are immediately away from big city life.  I didn’t want to only eat at the hotel so we made a few reservations at the local spots.  Barbatella was one of the spots I read about that people loved.  It’s right down the street from Tommy Bahama.  The menu was a bit limited but pizza is kid friendly so we thought this was a good choice for us.  Unfortunately it was a “colder” evening and we were sat at a table outside.  The manager would not accommodate moving us(something about an investor coming in to eat so we could not move near a heat lamp –REALLY??) so we wrapped my daughter’s legs in the cloth napkins till she got some warm food in her.  IMG_9449She loved her pasta(nope- didn’t even order the pizza) but how bad can pasta, cheese and butter be?  We shared the eggplant appetizer- pretty good- and each got a pizza.  After the music started we enjoyed dinner a bit more but a return visit is not in the cards for us.  If you do end up visiting, we had a great server from New York.  Ask for him.

The Bay House Restaurant
The best meal of the week and it was our last night in Naples.  The Bay House is north of town and offers two dining options – an upscale dining experience and more casual tavern experience.  I would have been happy at either if we had another night to return.  They even offer a kids menu and know to bring the food out as soon as it is ready.  This allowed my husband and I to really enjoy our meal.

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The meal began with a wonderful bread, my husband started with the crab bisque, I started with the lobster and lump crab potholes.  Then we both ordered the lobster and king crab pot pie.  Definitely delicious, and very rich.  They ended the meal with a plate of assorted homemade cookies.  Next time we are in Naples, we will return.IMG_9475 IMG_9476

Toast (soon to be called Poached)
One must explore the breakfast spots when on vacation.  Although the breakfast buffet at the Ritz Carlton was good, I always enjoy going out.  We asked a few people we met who lived in Naples for a recommendation and Toast was the first on their list each time.  I ordered the benedict, my daughter chocolate chip pancakes and my husband french toast.  As soon as we both had our coffee, the meal was perfect!

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Skillets
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A second breakfast spot, the one I went to the last time we were in town.  My husband order a skillet, one with bacon and veggies, I just wanted blueberry pancakes. Last time I loved my breakfast.  This time, It was good, but we enjoyed Toast better.

The Ritz Carlton Naples
We love Naples and the Ritz Carlton Naples is a wonderful hotel. It has direct beach access, two pools and the service is, well, what you expect from the Ritz.  It’s an easy flight to Southwest Florida International Airport from Dallas or you can drive from Miami or Tampa.  If you are an avid golfer, there is a second Ritz in Naples right on the golf course. Maybe this is your next vacation spot too!

 

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