The places locals love to eat in Sanibel Island mostly serve seafood, it being the local specialty. However, that's not all that's on offer here, and you'll soon find that the dining options here embrace a lot of different cultures.

    On just this tiny island, you can expect to find dishes inspired by French, Caribbean, Asian, and Mediterranean cuisines, as well as classic American meals. Many of the places locals love to eat in Sanibel Island also serve up excellent cocktails.

    1

    Bleu Rendez-Vous Bistro

    Combining French culinary excellence with Southern hospitality

    • Food
    • Couples

    Bleu Rendez-Vous Bistro is one of the best spots in town if you're looking for a fancy and romantic night out. This fine-dining restaurant brings French culinary excellence to Florida with attention to detail and commitment to only using fresh ingredients.

    While the French authenticity is undeniable, the French chef works alongside a native Floridian front of house manager, offering all the southern hospitality you'd expect from a quality restaurant in this state. Despite its fancy scenery, you're welcome to bring your dog along in the patio area where they can even get home-baked dog biscuits.

    Location: 2430 Periwinkle Way Suite A, Sanibel, FL 33957, USA

    Open: Wednesday–Saturday from 5 pm to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 239-565-1608

    Map
    2

    Cip's Place

    Enjoy food and drinks at a boat-shaped bar

    • Food
    • Families

    At Cip's Place, you'll find a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, making it one of the best places for lunch and dinner on the island. If you're looking for delicious and fresh seafood, you'll do well here, but you'll find several beef and poultry options as well, including steaks, sandwiches, and pasta.

    Enjoy your satisfying cocktails and drinks seated at a bar built as a replica of the ferries that were once the only connection between the island and the mainland. Don't forget to check out the desserts, as well – especially the chocolate icebox cake.

    Location: 2055 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957, USA

    Open: Daily from 3 pm to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 239-472-0223

    Map
    3

    Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille

    Try innovative Caribbean flavors

    • Food
    • Families

    While Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille has expanded to 3 other locations around Florida, its Sanibel Island restaurant is the flagship location. The food here embodies the best flavors of the Caribbean with a focus on fresh seafood.

    It's important to recognize, however, that this restaurant isn't overly reliant on tradition. In fact, the chefs here often experiment and offer new items that you may have never even thought of before. Don't forget to check out the rum bar for the best taste of the Caribbean, with quite a few different options offered.

    Location: 2500 Island Inn Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957, USA

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 239-472-8311

    Map
    4

    Malia Island Fusion

    Fresh Asian and local cuisine

    • Food

    At Malia Island Fusion, you'll find an array of offerings with enticing aromas that will whet your appetite the second you walk through the door. You'll find Asian fare of various kinds alongside local favorites that take advantage of the extensive seafood resources available around the island.

    All the ingredients here are fresh, and every last dish on the menu is cooked to perfection as it is ordered. Within the restaurant, you'll find a welcoming and casual environment. The staff goes out of their way to be as accommodating as possible.

    Location: 1100 Par View Dr, Sanibel, FL 33957, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from 5 pm to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 239-472-9222

    Map
    5

    The Sandbar

    Upscale seafood and steaks with a great wine selection

    • Food
    • Couples

    At The Sandbar, you'll find a high-end restaurant that embodies the Florida atmosphere with friendly staff and fun island decor. The food is absolutely top quality, with beef and seafood dishes made with fresh ingredients and all cooked to perfection.

    If you have special requests, this restaurant is notably accommodating to dietary restrictions, with plenty of gluten-free or vegetarian offerings. Be sure to check out their wine list as well, as there's an extensive selection that you're sure to enjoy.

    Location: 2761 W Gulf Dr, Sanibel, FL 33957, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 5 pm to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 239-472-0305

    Map
    6

    Thistle Lodge

    A historic gem of a fine-dining restaurant

    • Food
    • Couples

    When you visit Thistle Lodge, you can enjoy a combination of European cuisine and Floridian classics. Quality is pushed to the limit here, as this fine-dining experience is built from the ground up to be upscale and offer gastronomic masterpieces you'll never forget. In fact, this restaurant has hosted historical titans like Thomas Edison and Henry Ford as it has been around for more than a century. Plus, it overlooks the shore, so you can enjoy scenic views as you dine.

    Location: Casa Ybel Beach Resort, 2255 W Gulf Dr, Sanibel, FL 33957, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 8 am to 10.30 am, 11 am to 2.30 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm (until 10 pm on Friday and Saturday), Sunday from 11 am to 2:30pm and 5 pm to 9 pm

    Map
    7

    Cielo Restaurant

    American cuisine with a European twist

    • Food
    • Couples

    At Cielo Restaurant, you'll find a unique dining experience as this restaurant twists American cuisine with Italian and Mediterranean influences. All the ingredients are locally sourced and fresh, so they tend to specialize in seafood, though you'll still find a few beef and lamb options.

    Their pasta is quite popular as well, along with their delicious desserts like tiramisu and mousse cake. Additionally, they have a professional mixologist on staff who can craft cocktails that you'll never forget.

    Location: 1244 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from 4.30 pm to 8 pm

    Phone: +1 239-472-5555

    Map
    8

    Over Easy Cafe

    Healthy and tasty in one place

    • Food
    • Families

    Over Easy Cafe is a place that's not only delicious but healthy, too. Here, you'll find some of the best breakfast and brunch in town with homemade pancakes, skillets, omelets, and so much more.

    The menu is notably accommodating to all guests with plenty of gluten-free menu items to order. You'll find much more than breakfast foods, though, including delicious drinks you can enjoy with your brunch, especially if you're a fan of mimosas.

    Location: 630 Tarpon Bay Rd #1, Sanibel, FL 33957, USA

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 3 pm

    Phone: +1 239-472-2625

    Map
    9

    The Mad Hatter

    Enjoy a Floridian dinner with a great sunset

    • Food

    At the Mad Hatter, you'll find eclectic American cuisine that's located right on the beach. It makes it a fantastic romantic destination for a cozy evening of eating and watching the sunset. Seafood is the specialty and you'll find some of the best that Florida has to offer, including Florida Gulf Shrimp and Dayboat Scallops.

    Of course, other fare is available as well, such as NY Strip and Filet Mignon. Don't forget to end your experience with something from the dessert selection with incredible items like Espresso Crème Brûlée and Drunken Ice Cream.

    Location: 6467 Sanibel Captiva Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957, USA

    Open: Wednesday–Sunday from 4.45 pm to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 239-472-0033

    Map

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