Restaurant options on Sanibel

Durring off-season on Sanibel, restaurants keep shorter hours and in many cases close down altogether. Please use the links on the map to get phone numbers and call before you leave, especially during May through early October. 

There are NO national chain restaurants on Sanibel (with the exception of an A&W stand), so it helps to know the local scene.

These are restaurants we often visit on Sanibel during our vacations. Our choices are utterly non-methodological and unscientific, based on our random schedule and whims. We don't travel with young children, and tend to prefer restaurants that are not child-oriented, so this list definitely won't suit young families needs.

Over Easy Cafe. A very casual option. (So casual that it's normal for well-behaved dogs to keep company with their owners in the outdoor space of Over Easy.) It's the closest restaurant to Pointe Santo, it opens early, and it serves good food so it's a frequent choice if we're in the mood to go out for breakfast. However, it closes after lunch. Aside from Thistle Lodge (below), this is the most walkable breakfast option, about a 15-20 minute walk for us (or a quick bike ride, with a bike path). Open 7am - 2:30pm. 630 Tarpon Bay Road, (239) 472-2625.

Cip's Place. A lively place that we like to go for drinks, and the food is far above bar food (and above chain restaurants). Beyond good food and service, they have a cartoon-filled mural that depicts of lot of characters from the recent and no-so-recent history of Sanibel Island. If it's not too busy - or maybe even if it is - the staff can hold forth with anecdotes about all of the people depicted larger-than-life on the wall. Worth several visits. Open 11am - 9:30pm. 2055 Periwinkle Way, (239) 472-0223.

Trader's Store and Cafe. A casual but upscale option with a varied menu. When we've visited, the quality is there beyond expectations. I can turn to my wife and say "Remember when we had the short rib and the greens with a side of mushroom soup?" and we both collapse into puddles at the memory. Open 11am - 9pm. 1551 Periwinkle Way, (239) 472-7242.

Sweet Melissa's Cafe. A fine dining option, and adventurous menu choices alongside very good standards you would expect. Open 11:30am-2:30pm, 5 - 9pm (closed Sunday, dinner-only Saturday). 1625 Periwinkle Way, (239) 472-1956.

Lazy Flamingo. A hopping, sometimes bordering on rowdy, place. It's bar-food with a good selection of beers. The food can be heavy and the unhealthy options are the choices I make and rarely regret. It's one of the first places to eat that you'll pass on Periwinkle Way coming from the Causeway onto the island - a good stop if you have an hour or two before check-in, or if you arrive on the island after 9pm, when most other places have closed.  11am - midnight. 1036 Periwinkle Way, (239) 472-6939. 

Doc Ford's (Sanibel)Another fun place, a little off the beaten path on Rabbit Road. Very good food and atmosphere, Open 11am - 10pm, 975 Rabbit Road, (239) 472-8311.

Island Cow. This is actually a child-friendly place and in my two visits it has featured screaming and chasing by the younger generation, along with ice cream to quiet them down - but I know some people who love both the food and the prices, so I'm mentioning it.Open 7am - 9pm, 2163 Periwinkle Way, (239) 472-0606.

Thistle Lodge. We have not actually eaten at this restaurant, but we did stop by for drinks on a couple of occassions. The place has a good atmosphere, and a good-but-not-great reputation for food. It's a Hilton restaurant at the Casa Ybel condo, a few doors down from Point Santo. I include it in this list because it's a very easy walk from Pointe Santo on the beach -- turn left at the beach and keep asking people if you've found Casa Ybel! Open 11:30am – 2:30pm5pm – 9pm (10pm Fri & Sat)2255 W Gulf Dr, (239) 472-9200.

Bleu Rendez-Vous. A new fine-dining option on Sanibel (Nov 2014). We had a very good meal here, with excellent service. Side comment -- my wife ordered in her very good French, so the waitress smiled broadly and asked if she was French. My wife answered that she is German. The smile disappeared quickly, but we still had a good time! Open 5pm-9pm (closed Sunday & Monday), 2430 Periwinkle Way, (239) 565-1608.

Most of these restaurants require a car to reach, with the exception of Thistle Lodge which is easily walkable by beach or by sidewalk along West Gulf Drive. Over Easy and possibly the Island Cow are walkable if you really don't mind walking, but are easy by bike.

View Restaurants options on Sanibel in a larger map