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Best Places To Eat

CLOYDE'S STEAK AND LOBSTER HOUSE

At the VILLAGE on Ventian Bay Naples 239-261-0622 - Cloyde's is a winner of Gulf Coast Magazine's People's Choice Award for best steaks in Southwest Florida. These are aged, tender and delicious.

The Regulars - Full time and seasonal residents of Naples. Many frequent here every Friday or Saturday.

Why - A great menu, wonderful service, grand location.

Rating - Nine cloth napkins.

History - The family began restauranting 50 years ago on Cape Cod with a charcoal-pit steak house.

Chances of getting THE table -- "THE" would include any one of the tables on the windows that look on the bay. The restaurant actually is built on the water. If you miss out at a table, feel blessed to be seated at the bar where mixologist Robin Thomas will remember you from your last visit and serve you your favorite drink with pleasing elegance.

A suggestion - Kick your dinner entree up a notch by having it served Oscar Style topped with crab meat, fresh asparagus and béarnaise sauce.

LaPLAYA BEACH RESORT

LaPlaya Beach Resort 9891 Gulf Shore Drive Vanderbilt Beach 597-3132 LaPlaya's restaurant overlooks the Gulf of Mexico with both fine indoor and outdoor dining. Breakfast from 7:00 - 11:00, lunch from 11:30 - 2:30 and dinner is from 6:00 - 10:00. After dark the big beautiful white umbrellas come alive with white twinkle lights.

The Regulars - Tourists, people staying at the hotel and Naples residents alike.

Why - Location, location and fine food.

Rating - Seven cloth napkins.

History - Part of a fine hotel that is retaining some of its old Florida charm as it remodels and increases its services.

Chances of getting THE table -- "THE" would include any one of the tables on the tiered outside say thirty minutes before sunset for evening dining. As the sun sets waiters and patrons too break into applause. And you thought people only did that in Key west!

STONEWOOD Tavern-Grill

STONEWOOD Tavern-Grill 7935 Airport-Pulling Road (just before Vanderbilt) Opens for dinner at 5 PM 239-593-0001 STONEWOOD is new, popular, a great place for dinner, definitely one of NaplesBest!

The Regulars - People in the know who have heard by word of mouth or been asked, "Been to STONEWOOD yet?"

Why - Elegant ambiance of rich woods, padded bench seats, incadescant lighting, paintings, a very fine wine list of both California and European choices, intriguing appetizers, excellent grilled entrees, cheerful and responsive wait staff.

Rating - Nine cloth napkins

History - Opened September 2000

Chances of getting THE table - STONEWOOD's carpeted stone and wood layout is conducive to quiet conversation at any table, a plus. A bar is set off from the dining area for sports watching and lively chatter.

Suggestion - Try the oak grilled shrimp from the list of appetizers: six large Black Tiger shrimp, herb basted on the oak grill, served with an avocado basil dripping sauce on fresh garlic bread.

Tommy Bahama's

Tommy Bahama's Tropical Cafe 1120 3rd Street South Naples 239-643-6889 Tommy Bahama's is located in the heart of the popular 3rd Street shopping area of Old Naples.

The Regulars - Many repeat customers from Naples, tourists, shoppers passing by.

Why - The bountiful servings, fine service, the ambiance of dining under thatched umbrellas.

Rate - Eight cloth napkins.

Chances of getting THE table - Try for one near the sidewalk if you like to people watch.

Suggestion - Check out the clothing line in the store of the same name on the north side of the restaurant.

Cork's Steakhouse

Cork's Steakhouse 5th Avenue Naples 239-403-7770 Serving 5 PM - Midnight Mon-Sat Cork's, like a Chicago steakhouse, with its selection of beef, exposed wooden ceiling, white butcher paper over linen table coverings, specializes in steaks, seafood and prime rib.

The Regulars - Beef lovers.

Why - Location, location near the start of the famous 5th Street shopping area of Old Naples. A full length bar and cozy curbside table are options too for those seeking to imbibe or dine.

Rate - Seven cloth napkins.

Chances if getting THE table - Ask to be seated in what your guy in Naples calls the "wine room," in the rear, a room with wine cases for one wall, floor to ceiling glass for another. This room has limited seating and offers a quieter ambiance.

Suggestion - Reservations on Friday or Saturday in season.

Gordon's

Gordon's 489 Bayfront Place Naples 11:30 AM - 10:00 PM 239-434-8888 Gordon's is located on the Gordon River, at the south end of Goodlette-Frank Road, behind the Comfort Inn.

The Regulars - Locals and tourists alike

Why - The newness, beautiful setting (especially if dining outside in moonlight is a favorite of yours), wonderful American dishes with generous proportions, the beautiful bar, fine service and attractive pricing.

Rate - Seven cloth napkins.

Chances of getting THE table - Try for one outside on the stone deck overlooking the river and the palms.