15 Best Restaurants in Sanibel Island, FL
Sanibel Island is located in Lee County, Florida.
It spans the state's west coast from Fort Myers to Boca Grande.
This island is also a city that has a population of 6,382, as per the 2020 census.
It comprises 17.21 square miles of land and 15.96 square miles of water.
Sanibel Island is home to several wildlife refuges.
Due to its proximity to water, this island and city is a popular destination for beachgoers and wildlife enthusiasts.
Its climate is typically tropical and humid, so hanging out at the beach and feeling the ocean breeze touch your skin will give you an authentic island and summer vibe.
Thanks to the influx of local and foreign tourists in this area, many fun and exciting restaurants have also popped up to cater to the needs of everybody.
Here are the best restaurants in Sanibel Island, Florida:
If you're looking for a restaurant that serves only the freshest and healthiest meals, Cielo on Periwinkle Way is the right spot for you.
This restaurant, which exudes a classic ambiance, serves farm-to-table cuisines and sources its ingredients from local farms and markets.
Try their meticulously crafted cocktails and mouthwatering dishes.
Cielo serves vegetarian mushroom bisque and gluten-free charred octopus, smoked bacon, mussels, salads, salmon, lobster with poached potatoes, and more.
Their grilled fillet of beef and grilled 12oz New York strip are also cooked to perfection, so make sure not to miss out on them on your visit.
After a satisfying meal, complete your Cielo dining experience with a glass of cocktail or beer, or choose from their wide selection of wines.
Shima Japanese Steakhouse
Shima Japanese Steakhouse in Middle Gulf Dr., Suite #1, offers you an authentic Japanese dining experience.
Just a few steps from the beach, you can taste authentic Japanese favorites like sushi, sashimi, tuna tataki, and more!
The classic Japanese interiors of Shima Japanese Steakhouse also significantly match its high-quality food.
You'll never run out of options from their savory tuna, salmon, yellowtail, octopus, shrimp, mackerel nigiri, and sashimi.
Classic sushi rolls are also a top favorite among their menu items.
You will also be surprised how tender and tasty their New York strip, fillet mignon, shrimp flambe, and tuna steak are.
Sunset Grill on Pine Ave. offers a waterfront view where you can enjoy delicious food and appreciate incredible scenery simultaneously.
Their friendly and accommodating staff welcome you as you enter this restaurant with a home-away-from-home feel.
You may also choose to dine at their outdoor seating areas.
While at Sunset Grill, try out their Mexican burrito, bagel and smoked salmon, crab and spinach, and mushroom with swiss cheese.
The items on their lunch menu, such as salads, pasta, steak, and shrimp, are made only from the freshest ingredients.
Sunset Grill is also home to mouthwatering baked lobster with gnocchi, Fra Diavolo sauce, and asparagus.
Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille
Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille is situated on Island Inn Rd.
A trip to Sanibel Island is not complete without a dining experience in this famous restaurant.
You can choose from the two dining rooms or the outdoor patios.
Aside from delicious food and refreshing drinks, Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille also hosts live bands to entertain you while eating.
The items on this restaurant's menu perfectly balance flavors from the Caribbean Rim.
Order Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille’s appetizers like seared tuna, margarita flatbread, chicken wings, and the famous Doc Ford’s fish fingers.
Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille also has a shellfish bar where you can try fresh Gulf oysters served with fresh lemon and cocktail sauce.
You can also try the signature Yucatan shrimp with butter, garlic, and mild Colombian chilies.
Then, order the shrimp ceviche cocktail with fresh lime juice, cucumber, cilantro, and many more!
The Clam Shack
The Clam Shack in Periwinkle Way #5 is a family-owned restaurant serving New England-style cuisine.
This is one of the best places that offer only the freshest seafood caught from the state waters.
The Clam Shack's most popular menu items are their broiled seafood combo which consists of shrimp scallops, haddock, and crabmeat stuffing, steamed mussels with garlic bread, and one-pound Alaskan king crab legs.
This is also home to fried Ipswich clams, crispy lobster rolls, and even the traditional fish and chips.
What makes this place unique is its seafood sandwiches.
Every seafood you're craving is available here at The Clam Shack.
You may also try their draft, domestic, and imported beers.
Blue Giraffe Restaurant
Blue Giraffe Restaurant's name was derived from the favorite color and animal of its owner's daughter.
Because of its blue-themed outdoor dining areas, you can quickly locate this place along Periwinkle Way #14.
Blue Giraffe Restaurant is kid-friendly and offers fresh seafood and other options.
Your children will love Blue Giraffe Restaurant's tasty dishes like scrambled eggs, mini pancakes, French toast sticks, popcorn shrimp, and more.
Aside from good food, you'll also love this restaurant's live band performances, courtesy of local musicians.
Whether you're inside the dining room or on the patio, you'll still surely get to enjoy music performances.
Large-format artworks of local visual artists are also featured inside Blue Giraffe Restaurant.
Tipsy Turtle Restaurant & Bar
Tipsy Turtle Restaurant & Bar is located on Periwinkle Way.
This cute and casual dining restaurant is known for its bar, fresh seafood, and tasty barbeques.
The interior of Tipsy Turtle Restaurant & Bar is decorated with beach and sea elements like nets, starfish, dolphin displays, and a ship wheel.
You may also dine at their outdoor patio for a breezier vibe.
Why not try their fruit, yogurt, avocado toast with fries and grits, smoked salmon, or crab cake benedict for breakfast?
Make sure not to miss out on their famous smoked barbeque sampler, comprising a half rack of ribs, pork belly, pulled pork, brisket, fries, and house slaw.
Tipsy Turtle Restaurant & Bar also serves a variety of cocktails, mimosas, and martinis.
This restaurant can host your next birthday party, wedding, and other occasions.
Over Easy Cafe
Over Easy Cafe is a go-to breakfast stop for locals at visitors located at Tarpon Bay Rd #1.
This restaurant's colorful walls and decorations create a lively atmosphere.
Home-made pancakes, omelets, stuffed French toasts, and skillets are some of the most famous items on their menu.
They also have gluten-free options.
Over Easy Cafe's sweet and healthy fruit bowls are great ways to start your day.
They also have homemade soups, sandwiches, egg benedict, and salads.
Gramma Dot's Seaside Saloon
Gramma Dot's Seaside Saloon is situated on North Yachtsman Dr.
This restaurant is famous for its vast selection of seafood, sandwiches, salads, and other mouthwatering dishes.
A visit to this restaurant is not complete without trying their homemade New England clam chowder.
If dining with friends or family, order their group dinner of 8-oz fresh local grouper, which is fried, mesquite grilled, broiled, or blackened.
Coconut shrimp, oyster, 9-oz lobster tail, Alaskan king crab, and 8-oz filet mignon are also available.
You can also dine dockside at the Sanibel Marina or rent a charter service here at Gramma Dot's Seaside Saloon.
Sweet Melissa's Cafe
Sweet Melissa's Cafe is an award-winning restaurant in Periwinkle Way.
Its award-winning Executive Chef, Melissa Donahue, was awarded first place in the 2010 Sanibel Island Taste of the Island Best Appetizer category.
She also won "Best Chef for a Chef" at the 2011 Vintner Dinner in the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest.
Finally, in 2017, her restaurant ranked in the top 10 of USA Today's list of best restaurants in South Florida.
With these numerous awards and recognitions, you're guaranteed only to taste the best dishes at Sweet Melissa's Cafe.
Try their grilled Romaine salad, seared scallops, fish stew, Korean barbeque marinated grilled octopus, and roasted heirloom carrots.
Sweet Melissa's Cafe promises to only source its ingredients from local farms and markets to ensure quality in every serving.
Cip's Place in Periwinkle Way is a restaurant modeled after the Islander ferry.
It is one of Sanibel’s original ferries.
As you walk inside Cip's Place, you'll feel like you're on an actual ferry sailing on the ocean due to its interior design and cooked-to-perfection cuisine.
The famous "wall of island faces" is also inside the restaurant.
It is a mural created by two local artists depicting the people of Sanibel who paved the way for what the island is today.
Cip's Place has a bread selection, salads, and sandwich choices.
Your kids will also enjoy the kid's menu, including chicken strips and fries, pasta with butter or marinara, mini burgers, shrimp, and mouth-watering cakes and pies.
Island Pizza Company
Island Pizza Company in Periwinkle Way has served delicious and savory pizzas for over 30 years.
From the name itself, this is the perfect place if you're craving pizzas of different flavors and variations.
From the Mediterranean, Margherita, spicy buffalo chicken, and islander pizza., you'll never run out of choices here at Island Pizza Company.
You can also build your pizza!
Aside from that, there are also chicken, pasta, and other menu items that you should try.
Island Pizza Company guarantees that the food they serve is made fresh daily using the freshest and healthiest ingredients.
Traditions on the Beach
Traditions on the Beach in West Gulf Dr. started business in 1895.
It features contemporary cuisine served Sanibel style, perfect for the restaurant's relaxing and peaceful beachfront location.
Traditions on the Beach only uses fresh ingredients to ensure each dish's top-notch quality.
You'll also enjoy the live music performances in this restaurant that will perfectly wrap up your unforgettable dining experience.
Traditions on the Beach is also a top choice venue for couples as this location boasts a spectacular and romantic sunset.
Make sure to try out their tapas and cocktails!
Turtle’s Tiki Bar
Turtle’s Tiki Bar is a chill and cozy spot in Middle Gulf Dr #4.
You'll feel the tropical vibes you've wanted in this place, and you can even come in your swimsuit and flip-flops!
Since it's just near the beach, you can stroll down and enjoy the ocean view right after dining and having a drink or two here at Turtle’s Tiki Bar.
This bar's wide variety of island concoctions will excite you.
You may try their rum runner, golden margarita, pina colada, frozen daiquiri, and others.
They also have nachos, chips, salsa, salads, roasted garlic hummus, and sandwiches perfect for a quick and fun afternoon snack.
Thistle Lodge Restaurant
Thistle Lodge Restaurant is within Ybel Resort in West Gulf Dr.
This is the best place to enjoy the picturesque view of the beach while hanging out with friends and enjoying delicious food and drinks.
Swaying palm trees and crashing waves create the restaurant's elegant and romantic atmosphere.
Its sophisticated atmosphere is also perfect for a special occasion celebration.
Thistle Lodge Restaurant offers Floridian and European dining experience.
Their lobster bisque is an all-time favorite and greatly suits their extensive selection of wines.
There is no other place to enjoy the best seafood besides the island.
Besides delicious food, you must also not miss the chance to taste beautifully concocted cocktails and wines from the restaurants on this island.
On your next travel adventure, spend time exploring this place’s food hubs.
Don't miss out on the best restaurants in Sanibel Island, Florida!