Doc Ford’s at Fort Myers Beach – Huge menu, Huge restaurant

We actually wanted to eat at Rib City – relatively small, not super well located, but reputed to have great ribs. Unfortunately, we had issues finding them. They recently moved – and the GPS found their original location. It would have been really nice if they had a sign on their old place – but no. There was absolutely no way to know where they had gone. Too bad – you just lost 5 customers.

Later that night – we did actually spot Rib City – in its new location in the Target parking lot. Oh well – we’ll get to try them on another trip to Fort Myers.

Since we couldn’t find Rib City – we ended up going to Doc Ford’s – a huge restaurant strategically located at the harbor. The reviews had been pretty good – and I had hope they’d be impressive. Or at least – not disappointing.

After a challenging drive around and around the parking lot – we finally found a place to leave the car, walked back to the restaurant, and got told by the very pleasant hostess that it was a 45 minute wait for a table. I hate waiting for a table – but the thought of trying to get back to the car was so discouraging, we opted to stay and just enjoy the view.

When it was our turn to eat – we were starving – which I’m sure explains why we ended up ordering way too much food.

For appetizers – we tried the Chicken Wings – both Medium and Hot. The Medium ones were outstanding. Probably some of the best I’ve ever had. On the other hand – the Hot version was mostly vinegar – not hot spice. Nope – didn’t care for those. We also tried the Seared Tuna Appetizer. Like the Medium Wings – another winner – delicious tuna, but my favorite part of the dish were the crispy Asian Vegetables. Unfortunately – the Cerviche cocktail was a loser. Just terrible, particularly compared to the fish we enjoyed at El Gaucho Inca.

For main courses – we chowed down on a variety of quite yummy entries – Texas Baby back ribs, the dry rubbed rib eye steak, the Achiote grilled Grouper and my personal selection – the Grouper Sandwich. No complaints from anyone – except that we clearly ordered too much food. Oh well – sometimes doggy bags are an unfortunate necessity.

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The Bridge Waterfront Restaurant on Foodio54

Fried Oysters at the Oyster Shell – Oh My!

Confession – up until last night, the best fried oysters I’d ever had were in New Orleans – and I’ve spent years trying to find fried oysters like those – plump, juicy, slightly salty, and totally no fishy flavor.

My husband, knowing my desire to try some fried oysters here in Florida, carefully picked out the Oyster Shell because other reviewers really liked it – not because it won awards, not because it was well located, not because it was large, not because of the classy view – but because it had some of the most consistent good reviews of all the seafood restaurants in Fort Myers. And he picked a winner.

Don’t be surprised by the location. The Oyster Shell is a truly for locals only – there are probably no more than 6 tables – and only one chef and one waitress. But between them – they got the job done.

And the oysters at The Oyster Shell truly impressed me. Really some of the best I’ve ever ever had. So good I ate way too many of them – so reader alert – portions are huge – go small and consider sharing. Which explains why I not only had my oysters – I got a whole soft shell crab to myself. Yummy, yummy, yummy.

Quick note about freshness – they were out of Grouper the night we ate there – why – because the chef wasn’t pleased with the quality the fisherman had brought him that day. So rather than serve fish below his standard – the waitress had to carefully explain to all the dinners that there was no Grouper. Impressive.

Also impressive – the pecan pie. It was delicious – a fabulous combination of light crust, sweet filling, and tons of pecans. Oh – I do so love a good pecan pie and this one didn’t disappoint.

Definitely a winner among so many losers here in Florida. Check it out.

Oyster Shell on Urbanspoon

Oyster Shell the on Foodio54

If this is the best – I’m really sorry for Fort Myers Beach

I love a great breakfast – and I’ve had many. Unfortunately – that’s what I didn’t have this morning at Reece’s. Nope – this one was pretty crummy. Which happens – but what bugs me is that all over the restaurant were signs saying – “Voted best breakfast in Fort Myers Beach – 10 years in a row”.

So – what should I read into that. That folks in Fort Myers Beach have no taste? That Chez Cora needs to come down here and blow them away? That John G’s in Palm Beach doesn’t have to worry?

The location of the restaurant – which isn’t even on the beach – is in a strip mall – but then almost everything in Fort Myers is either in a strip mall or a hotel. The good news – the ‘balcony’ part overlooked a cute pond with turtles (over 25 according to the chatty waitress), a white ibis eating a delicious breakfast of freshly hatched tadpoles, and a rather odd spraying elephant fountain. And the waitress was super nice – too bad the food didn’t match her clever repartee.

My biscuit was doughy and tasteless, the grits needed butter (not supplied), the eggs weren’t cooked properly, and there wasn’t a piece of fruit anywhere on the menu. This is florida people – fruit should be a given. The best tasting thing was my foot long sausage – a tad greasy – but yummy none-the-less.

My husband’s breakfast was a country fried steak – his first – so while he couldn’t compare it – he did like it. And his poached eggs were fine – if lacking in salt. The gravy was a congealed glop that he didn’t taste, the fried potatoes were frozen and re-heated. The coffee was fine – a bottomless cup of Hazelnut. But you don’t go to breakfast to pick and choose between the good and the really not good.

Sorry people – maybe everyone else loved this place – but I thought it worse than forgettable.

Reese's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

El Gaucho Inca – Awesomely good – and they know it! (Fort Myers, Florida)

We ‘googled’ Best Seafood in Fort Myers – and the top restaurant according to Urbanspoon, Yelp – and Tripadvisor was a place called ‘El Gaucho Inca’. Interesting – the best restaurant isn’t a chain, it isn’t fancy, it isn’t expensive, it isn’t even well located. Sounds like my kind of place.

So we called to make reservations – and got told – we don’t take reservations after asking our name and phone number. Is that odd or what? But at least that meant we didn’t have to rush off the beach to get there. And given the distance from the beach (an over 35 minute drive) – that totally worked.

Location – it’s in a strip mall (no surprise there) – in what can be kindly called a residential area. Personally – I think it’s in the sticks – but you can call it what you want – this is not downtown. The current space is tiny – seating for just over 100 people – max. But the super friendly Peruvian waitress told us that they are moving in just 2 weeks to a larger location in the same strip mall – doubling their seating capacity to over 200.

Just a thought on this plan – can the chef keep up with twice as many diners? I’m thinking not without help from at least a couple of sous-chefs. Which will make for a different dining experience. Just a mutter there.

Our dinner was very very good. As other reviewers have said – the dipping sauce for the bread – a startling green – was positively yummy. We cleaned the bowl – and would have licked it if we’d been at home.

For appetizers we ordered the Conchitas a la Parmesan – it was amazingly good. Perfectly cooked Scallops served on the half shell with a three cheese melt on top. I ate every bite. I never eat every bit – just saying. My husband’s appetizer, while way too large – was equally delicious. It was the Ceviche del Inca – a trio of Ceviche – fish, shrimp and squid. He was offered a choice of spice level – and opted for medium. Plenty spicy for me I’ll tell you. I loved the fish ceviche – liked the shrimp version, and thought the squid was a tad on the chewy side. But the amount of flavor packed into each bowl was memorable. I really loved the two types of corn used as ‘decoration’. Surrounding the bowls were crispy corn nuts, and stuck on toothpicks were Latino corn nibblets that had been steamed. Definitely a winner – but reminder to self – next time just stick to the Fish Ceviche – less money and the better bet,

For main courses – I thought mine was far better than my husbands – and his was very good. When I was in Argentina several years ago – a butcher explained how they cut their meat – starting with a side of beef. I mention this because they use a completely different system, and the cutting changes the way the meat tastes. I ordered the ‘beef ribs’ after the waitress explained that the chef gets his meat flown in from Argentina. That meant that the cut would be the traditional one – and it was. And it was delicious. So unique.

My husband had the Pescado a lo Macho. At $16.99 – his one complaint was that the portion was too large. The poached fish was in a sauce very similar to that of butter chicken with lots of tomato and cream. There were mounds of shrimp and squid on top of the fish along with 3 delicious black mussels. For a starch, they added plain white rice. He ordered a side of pan-fried sweet plantains that were the best I’ve tasted in a long time.

For dessert we got the Peruvian Fruit cake – which other reviewers have loved, but I thought was overly sweet. I also ordered one of their Peruvian style cookies – which i adored. It was very similar to the Christmas Crescent Cookies our German friend used to make, a soft dough with a filling of dulce de leche and covered with powdered white sugar. A completely delicious way to end a very yummy meal.

El Gaucho Inca on Urbanspoon


Denny’s – the America’s Classic Dinner Edition – Fort Myers, Florida

It’s been ages since I’ve walked into a Dennys – but it was late, we’d just flown in from Dallas – and it was open – and my husband was hungry. So Denny’s it was.

Driving up – I read with surprise their slogan – America’s Classic Dinner. Cool. The menu even featured a gal looking very 1950’s And walking in – with signs announcing free WIFI – it really carried the theme. Music from the 60’s – tin ceilings, glass bricks, booths with leather (well – I think it was just fancy plastic) covers – checkered floor, semi open kitchen.

Turns out that there are only a few of these ‘Classic’ Denny’s – and this one was the first – in 1998. They have been here for 16 years – which says – Ok – it’s been a really really long time since I’ve visited a Denny’s!

We were greeted warmly by Jayson – another surprise from previous experiences and shown a booth. Jayson – dressed Diner appropriate in a black t-shirt and pants – presented 3 – coun’t m – 3 menus. The main menu, the 3 month rotating special menu – featuring bacon, and the Dessert and Appetizers menu.

I actually was intrigued by the senior menu – 55+ and ranging from just $5.29 to $7.99. Most interesting – there were even light options – under 550 calories. At a Dennys. What has the world come to when even Denny’s thinks diet!

Can’t argue with the prices – $2 for a Cheese Quesadilla – up to about $9.99 for a steak or as a splurge $10.99 for a Pork Chop dinner. My husband opted for the Prime Rib Philly Melt for $8.99 with a side of Bacon Cheddar Red Skin Potatoes. He thought it was delicious. His only complaint – the Chiabatti bun wasn’t really crisp – but the meat was quite good, nice thick chunks of steak, generously topped with melted cheese.

The desert menu hadn’t changed – unless the addition of a Maple Bacon Milkshake can be considered a change. It’s still your basic food groups – chocolate and creme.

But even so – This Denny’s – like all Denny’s – isn’t trying to be anything but simple food, cooked fast, filling, inexpensive, decent quality for the price. And while I’d be unwilling to go out on the limb for all Denny’s – I willing to say that this Denny’s was a very very pleasant surprise.

We are planning to go back for breakfast – I want to try the waffles!

Address: 8031 Summerlin Center Drive, Fort Myers, Fl 33907

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