The Best Waterfront Dining in Fort Myers and Sanibel
With ocean at every turn, Fort Myers and Sanibel offer plenty of options for waterfront dining. Your only problem will be deciding whether you want marina views, Gulf of Mexico vistas, or a little bit of both.
5848 Cape Harbour Dr, Cape Coral, FL 33914, USA
Diners come by both land and boat to this popular waterfront restaurant, set on a channel in Cape Coral. To be sure, the views are more of a draw than the food (basic pastas, salads, and mostly fried dishes) but, if you’re looking for a happening scene by the water, you’ll find it here. Come during happy hour for the best drink specials and people-watching.
714 Fishermans Wharf
For a Florida seafood experience that dates all the way back to 1937, you can’t beat a stop at this original fish market in Fort Myers. The Dixie Fish Co. was once the delivery site for all manner of scallops, clams, snapper and oysters. Today, however, it’s a bustling restaurant, where people pack in for waterfront views, salty air, and fruits of the sea. Most nights, live music accompanies menu favorites like smoked fish dip, whole fried fish, calamari, and snapper fresh from the Gulf.
6467 Sanibel Captiva Road
Cozy, romantic, and right on the beach, this Sanibel restaurant is perfect for a special-occasion dinner. Book a table for the hour leading up to sunset, then linger over New American cuisine like lobster tempura, blue crab cakes, and roasted oysters with chorizo. Also available are meat-centric dishes like short ribs, grilled filet mignon, and Hudson Valley foie gras.
1000 Estero Boulevard
Open every day for lunch and dinner, this casual spot next to the Fort Myers Beach pier has been around for more than two decades. Grab a spot on the outdoor terrace overlooking the sand for mango ceviche made with Gulf shrimp and bay scallops, or the more-adventurous gator tail platter. For an extra lively scene, go during happy hour at the grill or the twice-daily live music at Famous Blowfish Bar. With an always-on-vacation vibe, this spot keeps the party going from early until late.
11546 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva, FL 33924, USA
The quintessential Florida sunset moment plays out night after night at this waterfront pub and restaurant in Captiva. Open since the 1970s, the British-style spot draws tourists and locals alike with sweeping views of the Gulf of Mexico and more than 16 different beers. To eat, there are seafood classics like clam chowder, fried calamari, and oysters Rockefeller. Go right before sunset and gather with everyone on the sand to catch the elusive green flash before settling in for your meal.
According to local legend, this little hideaway off Pine Island inspired Jimmy Buffet to write his famous “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” To get to the 100-acre Cabbage Key, take a private boat or water taxi from Pineland Marina. Then, head straight to this charming restaurant, where you can sit by the marina for Gulf shrimp cocktail, Key lime pie, or, you guessed it, a cheeseburger. Paradise found, indeed.
15183 Captiva Drive
Many patrons arrive by boat to this popular waterfront restaurant, overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway in Captiva. As much for the pretty scenery, they come for the delicious Florida seafood, which ranges from stone crabs and oysters to shrimp and conch chowder. Owned by a Swiss man, the restaurant invites guests to soak up the Pine Island Sound views while enjoying an ambience that’s all Florida—with a special European touch.
1028 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931, USA
With an outdoor patio just steps from the water, this favorite restaurant on Fort Myers Beach pairs drinks and food with dolphin sightings. The menu caters to tourists from up north—abundant during snowbird season—with dishes like lobster rolls, but also includes Florida favorites like grouper and crab cakes. Of course, the cocktails have a universal appeal and are best enjoyed while watching the sun set over the beautiful beach.
3040 Estero Boulevard
One of the most elegant dining options on Fort Myers Beach, this waterfront raw bar and restaurant is a favorite for dinner overlooking the beach. For some serious indulgence, order the seafood tower for two, which comes loaded with oysters, sashimi, lobster tail, king crab, and Gulf shrimp. When in season, steamed snow and Alaskan king crab are also available. For the carnivores, there’s prime rib and filet mignon.