Fine Dining, Casual Fare, and Everything in Between
If you're vacationing on Sanibel Island or Captiva, there are plenty of great places to grab a bite to eat or a cocktail. From upscale, fine dining to quick, casual fare, Sanibel and Captiva have something for every occasion and palate.
Here are a eight of the best restaurants on Sanibel and Captiva Islands.
A beautiful Victorian house with an even better view of the Gulf, the Thistle Lodge is a lovely setting for a special occasion or date night. The lodge’s menu is a blend of Floridian, European, and Asian flavors, with fresh seafood and dry aged steaks. They also feature a great selection of wines and cocktails, and have both indoor and outdoor dining options.
The Lazy Flamingo
With wonderful oysters, the opportunity to cook your own fresh catch, and family friendly, island ambiance, the Lazy Flamingo is a fun, casual beach bar with good food and a big selection of beer. It’s not fancy, the Lazy Flamingo is the kind of place where you order and pick up your food at the counter, but the restaurants are a longtime Sanibel tradition. The two restaurants on Sanibel are both frequented by locals and visitors alike, and worth a trip for their shrimp, oysters, or conch fritters.
Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille
Doc Ford’s is one of the most popular restaurants on the island, and with good reason. Recently having moved into a bigger space, the restaurant kept its delicious, varied menu and now offers a beautiful view of the harbor and fishing boats. Self-proclaimed as the home of the island mojito, Doc Ford’s also carries a wide array of rum and beer. They’ve also been voted the best fish sandwich - and we agree!
A casual fine dining restaurant with great food presentation, Jacaranda is a fun, lively place to enjoy a meal or a drink. They specialize in seafood, steaks, and spirits. Be sure to visit the Jac Bar for their great happy hour specials from 5-7pm, every day!
An upbeat, tropical-themed American bistro with a patio, the Keylime Bistro is an award-winning restaurant situated in the middle of the HIstoric Captiva Island Inn Village. Enjoy live music and signature Key Lime pie, as well as a wide array of dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
What’s not to love about an old-timey place that serves burgers, hot dogs, crispy fries, and milkshakes? There isn’t any inside seating, but there are plenty of outdoor tables and Schnapper’s was also voted best take out on the island. Pro tip: Grab your burger and milkshake and take it to the beach with you!
A must-stop for breakfast on Sanibel Island, the Lighthouse Cafe usually has a wait, but don’t be deterred. They serve lunch and dinner as well, but breakfast is served all day, and their omelets and pancakes are not to be missed. The cafe also has a delightful little patio, and by grabbing your bike instead of driving to breakfast, it can make for a fun family outing.
When the occasion calls for upscale plates and white-tablecloths, the Mad Hatter is the go-to choice for a fancy evening. One of Sanibel's best choices for a romantic dinner, the Mad Hatter has a perfect sunset view. The ever-changing menu features flavors from around the world in a beach cottage on the water.