Spring Vacation in Naples, FL - Part 2
Welcome to Part 2 of my Naples, Florida travel guide!
Today I’ll share breakfast and lunch recommendations. Something interesting that we found in Florida is that the level of food seasoning is much higher than what we were used to. So, to me, a lot of food tasted very salty or lemony or whatever the primary seasoning was. Despite that fact, we had the chance to try some great places in Naples and really enjoyed interesting lunches and dinners. (Check back tomorrow for more about the dinners!)
Breakfast Reviews and Recommendations
As I mentioned yesterday, the main street of Naples – Fifth Avenue – is lined with a lot of restaurants. Almost all have outdoor dining available and are nicely decorated. No sketchy NYC bodegas here! Most of the “fine dining” establishments only serve lunch and dinner, so we alternated between two coffee/breakfast type of places for our morning meal.
5th Avenue Coffee Company & 6th Street Diner
This place is just a block from the Inn on Fifth, where we were staying. It has both indoor and outdoor seating. We sat outside one of the mornings we ate there. It was very relaxing to have breakfast in the cool morning air. The other morning we went it was pouring rain so we sat inside, where patrons can sit at a table or at a bar along the windows. The first day I ate there I got the quiche of the day, which came with mango chutney and fruit on the site. The second time I ate there I got the breakfast burrito, which came with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole. I highly recommend the burrito. It was stuffed with scrambled eggs, peppers, onions, tomatoes, cheddar, and sausage.
The days that we didn’t go to the 5th Avenue Coffee Company for breakfast we went to the Delicious Raw Juice Bar/The Café. On our first trip to Naples we exclusively went to the Delicious Raw Juice Bar, so this year we decided to switch it up a bit. The Juice Bar and The Café share a building and it’s a little bit complicated how they work together. From what I could see, The Café is a sit down and be served type of place. The Juice Bar has seating but you go up to the counter and order. However, both days we went here we were able to walk up to the counter at The Café and order our food to go and then sit down and it eat in the Juice Bar’s seating. So, they seem to be connected but different in their service styles.
The Delicious Raw Juice bar is obviously a healthy eating option. They offer a whole range of great tasting smoothies which are made right there at the counter. My husband ordered the Dr. Rawz smoothie which was made with spinach, cucumber, pineapple, mint, lemon and lime. It sounds like a lot of ingredients, but it was a really great tasting blend. From The Café, I ordered the café crepes. I’m hugely partial to crepes of any kind and these were filled with berries, mascarpone and ricotta. They also came with strawberry syrup on the side. It was a delicious breakfast and if you are feeling something light and sweet, I highly recommend it. The other morning we ate here, I got the special of the day which was two poached eggs with a mashed half avocado covered in diced tomatoes and feta cheese, and toast on the side. It was also extremely delicious and felt very healthy.
Lunch Reviews and Recommendations
Living in Manhattan, I have pretty high expectations for my dining out experiences. There are so many restaurants in every area of the city that I consider it a waste of time and money to go anywhere but places that offer interesting menus with great ingredients. (One of the many reasons that I love NYC!) It’s impressive that Naples has a good selection of restaurants that stand up to the standards set by the Manhattan restaurant landscape.
The French is a new restaurant which opened in January of this year. Its name gives away that it is a French restaurant in the classic brasserie tradition. My husband, my sister, and I went here for lunch and really enjoyed the experience. There were ample indoor and outdoor dining options. It was a hot day so we chose to eat inside. The restaurant has a very nice cocktail list which shows innovation and careful curation. I ordered a Le Vie en Rose cocktail, which was made with Epic French Vodka, Byrrh Quinquina (a red wine based aperitif), Rose Petal Syrup, Peychaud, and was garnished with a dried pink rosebud. If you Google the name of the cocktail all sorts of recipes come up, but this blend was very delicate and balanced.
For entrées, both my husband and I ordered the Parsley Risotto - and my sister, who was with us for the day, ordered the Moules Aux Curry Vadouvan. The risotto was excellent. The escargot (snails) were braised perfectly. The parsley sauce, garlic crème, and parmigiano blended very well together and small shavings of crispy garlic added flavor and texture. My sister enjoyed the mussels dish very much as well. The steamed Dutch mussels came in a bowl with surrounded by a French Vadouvan Curry sauce. Vadouvan is a French version of an Indian Masala style curry, with the addition of shallots and garlic. Fresh cooked vegetables were chopped and sprinkled on top. This is a place where the cuisine is taken very seriously and definitely a place to check out if you are visiting Naples.
This restaurant is located across the street from the Inn on Fifth, so we naturally decided to drop in for lunch. Vergina has a huge outdoor seating area both in front of the restaurant and on the side. It also has a cool looking bar, which unfortunately we didn’t have time to check out. The menu is Mediterranean inspired with a strong Italian influence. The temperatures were somewhat mild the day we went so we chose to eat outside. I loved the cheerful, colorful table tops on the outdoor tables.
Both my husband and I ordered glasses of wine to pair with our entrées. My husband chose a Norton Sauvignon Blanc from Mendoza, Argentina and feeling in the mood for something light and sweeter, I chose a Beringer White Zinfandel.
For an appetizer, we chose the Brushettone Puttanesca. It was a bruschetta topped with diced tomatoes, Kalamata olives, capers, minced garlic, and olive oil. It was a great light, tasty dish. My husband ordered the Blackened Florida Grouper for his entrée. The fish was served on a bed of mesclun greens, romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, and sliced cucumbers with a citrus vinaigrette. It was topped with a tropical fruit salsa. I ordered the Spaghetti Carbonara. It was made with spaghetti pasta, bacon, pancetta, and green peas in a parmesan cream sauce and included slices of chicken breast. The pasta was cooked to al dente perfection, but I personally would have skipped the chicken breast or included a lot less of it – there was about an equal amount of chicken to pasta. It was a very enjoyable lunch and if we get back to Naples soon I’d like to check out the bar at the restaurant in the evening.
Enjoying this travel series so far? Leave a comment and share if you have any great restaurant recommendations in your area.
Click here if you missed Part 1 of the Naples, FL travel guide!
Check back tomorrow for dinner reviews and recommendations!