Florida Food: Spring Break Edition

One of the things I struggle with the most– no matter where I am– is picking a good place to eat. I ALWAYS love trying new spots, but I think it’s so frustrating when I don’t know which new places to try. You find some of the best places when you’re willing to try something new, but sometimes it’s just hard to know where to start. One of my main goals for this blog, especially as it starts to grow and come together a bit more, is for it to be a starting point for anyone looking for a good place to eat. So, just know, when I post random restaurants from random locations that I tried years ago, I do have a purpose. 🙂

With that being said, with spring break season coming up, I would love to touch on a place that I have spent countless spring breaks in the past– Florida! Specifically looking at the Bonita Springs, Naples, Fort Myers area.

My lovely Grandma and her husband have had a house in this area for the past few years, and I have SO enjoyed visiting them with my Mom or my friends! In this post I hope to include some of my favorite places– most of which I make a point to visit each and every time I go to see my Grandma and her husband.

Royal Scoop

Okay dead serious this is one of the best ice cream places of all time. Every time we visit, we make a point to stop here at least two or three times throughout the week. Every single flavor combination that I’ve had here becomes my new favorite. Another awesome thing about the Royal Scoop is that every single time I have ever been here, it has been jam packed. Not kidding, there is a line out the door EVERY time we stop in. Which makes it even more fun– be prepared to eat your treat outside. 🙂 Plus obviously it results in a dorky photo op, too.

Bravo! Cucina Italia

This is a place we have been going for as long as I can remember. Located in Mercato, which is a little cluster of restaurants and shops in the Bonita Springs area, Bravo! has a super cute outdoor patio where you can enjoy their happy hour list of cheap but gourmet appetizers. This is one of my favorite spots. I’ve never had anything here that wasn’t absolutely amazing and when you go at happy hour, it’s at a great price, too. Plus, you can eat and then walk around and look at all of the cute shops. Definitely one of my favorite places to eat when we go to Bonita Springs.

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Le Macaron

I wasn’t convinced on macarons UNTIL this spot! This was huge for me. Le Macaron is amazing– they offer so many flavors and have the most beautiful and delicate desserts! I want to say this is the chocolate and the mint white chocolate, but this photo is a little older so I can’t exactly remember. Either way, these were so delicious. Super light– a spongey cookie filled with soft icing (and they are soooo photogenic). I loved this spot and even though it’s a chain (I linked their official website above) they offer beautiful macarons in tons of different flavors! This is a spot to check out.

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The Promenade at Bonita Bay– Farmer’s Market

If you know me at all, you know I am a complete spaz about farmer’s markets. They are my favorite thing of all time– so fun to see all of the small vendors, fresh veggies, food stands, desserts, art booths, etc. This one is specifically awesome because it shares the same area as the Promenade at Bonita Bay. So fun! This specific farmer’s market is so close to De Romo’s, a market and restaurant in the Promenade that offers super super authentic Italian food. I don’t have a ton of pictures from the market, but some of my favorite things from Florida have come from here. We have purchased homemade meatballs and spaghetti sauce from one booth, a cannoli (as pictured) from another, and homemade bagels from yet another stand. SO much fun to show up on an empty stomach and eat your way around first thing in the morning.

Note: After doing a little bit of research it looks like it’s called the Local Roots Farmers’ Market– linked here. Bummer though, I can’t seem to find a list of the frequent booths so I’m not sure of the names of my specific favorites.

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The Promenade at Bonita Bay– DeRomo’s Gourmet Market and Restaurant

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This photo gives me soooooo many good feels! Love love love these girls and LOVE this place. DeRomo’s Gourmet Market and Restaurant is absolutely fantastic. This restaurant/market combo is also located in the Promenade at Bonita Bay. I cannot talk about it enough– incredible. DeRomo’s doubles as an authentic Italian market and restaurant. The market has so many delicious and fresh ingredients to offer, a full case of beautiful desserts, a coffee bar, a full deli with countless cheeses and meats that allows them to make delicious soups, sandwiches, and pizza to take out. I’m attaching their menu here— it’s incredibly impressive. One of the best and easiest spots in the area. This has been a great place to stop in for a quick lunch, an easy spot to grab a sandwich for the beach, or a perfect spot for dessert after a long day of shopping and exploring. They make their own cheese, their own bread, etc. One of my favorite places of all time and I wish it was closer so I could experiment with EVERYTHING on the menu.

On the other hand, there is the DeRomo’s restaurant. Most of the time we stick to the market because it’s reasonably priced and the highest of quality, but heading to the restaurant was an insanely good choice. I cannot tell you how insane the pasta I had here was. IMG_6520

Two of my favorite things are pesto and gnocci– and what do you get when you put them together? The most insane pasta dish of all time. I honestly could eat this every single day, and I really wish I could afford to. If you’re ever in the Bonita Springs area, I would HIGHLY recommend this spot. One of the best plates of pasta I have ever had, with incredible service and views to match.

The Promenade at Bonita Bay boasts expensive shops and restaurants, but overall the vibe there is so much fun. There are tons of fountains, pretty lights, and bridges over little ponds– all of which make the Promenade a beautiful BEAUTIFUL spot in Bonita Springs. The look is so unique, it almost feels like a mini vacation inside a vacation. I would highly encourage all who have the chance to at least explore this lovely little spot.

Key West Eaton Street Seafood Market

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Last year, one of my friends and I went to visit my Grandma and her husband and they surprised us with a couple of days in Key West! It was such a crazy experience with so many beautiful things to do, restaurants to try, and things to see. The vibe was so different than anywhere I had ever been before, and the scenery was so beautiful. I will attach additional pictures below, but it was so beautiful and offered so many cool things for us to try.

One of the favorite spots, one that we actually stumbled upon accidentally, was Eaton Street Seafood Market. It was a super small building with only a few picnic tables outside but on the inside was full cases of fresh fish. They made the most amazing and FRESH fish sandwiches. We actually ended up coming to this spot multiple times because it was so good and inexpensive, but the fish was AMAZING. I think this was the fresh grouper sandwich. So delicious and a super low key spot. I would encourage anyone who stops on the island to try this spot!

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Key West– Key Lime Pie Republic

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One of the best parts about Key West was the numerous key lime pie spots! I honestly have never tried so many variations of key lime everything– from jelly beans, to chocolate, to pie, to salsa, to pancake mix.. EVERYTHING. But I wasn’t complaining. It was so much fun going around and checking out all of the different stores around the island. One of the cooler things we found was the “Birthplace of Key Lime Pie” which was located at the Key Lime Republic.

I hate to be negative at all in regards to key lime pie, because obviously every single treat we had was fantastic. However, I will be completely honest and say that I didn’t prefer the chocolate dipped version, mostly because it was frozen and I’m not a huge fan of the chocolate and fruit combination.

However, it was yummy, and it was fun to try something on a stick (being from Minnesota and being frequents of the MN State Fair, we are completely comfortable eating various things off of a stick)– LOL. This store, and all of the others exactly like it, were a ton of fun to explore and sample all of the different things. I definitely know we weren’t the only tourists that bounced from key lime store to key lime store, but it was certainly one of our favorite things to do on the trip.

Key West– Hog’s Breath Saloon

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Hog’s Breath Saloon was one of my favorite places that we stopped on this trip! The atmosphere was so much fun with all of the license plates and bumper stickers plastered everywhere. There was music, a bar scene, and the most delicious food. SO much fun and a great place. Honestly, Key West was such a fantastic place to visit but I think it would have been ever more fun if we would have been of age. There were a few crazy sections of Key West where everything seemed to be located, and then there was a ton of outside space where homes were located that seemed to be a lot less touristy. Anyway, like I was saying there were a ton of bars and places to stop with super fun and fruity drinks that would have been a ton of fun to try. I believe this was just the chicken sandwich with a couple of add ons, and the Key West Grilled Platter. So yummy and super fun!

Key West– Blue Heaven

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Blue Heaven was for sure a unique experience. I wasn’t expecting what I saw when we walked in, but it was something cool nonetheless. We didn’t eat dinner here, but the vibe seemed almost natural and earthy– it seemed to be very open with chickens wandering around and a very relaxed atmosphere. To me, this was a total “island vibe” type of place.

We sat at the bar to order our dessert, because they made it clear that it was extremely busy and there was a crazy wait for a table, especially if we were only ordering dessert. This was probably my favorite piece of key lime pie that I consumed in Key West. The meringue on the top of this one was insane but it made for the most beautiful piece of pie on the island. The flavor was amazing, the look was fantastic– and this wasn’t the only dessert that was absolutely stunning.

I felt it necessary to do some research of all of the places to eat on the island so that we could be sure to hit all of the best spots, and this was one that was mentioned over and over. Their Instagram page boasted a million beautiful pictures and everyone from the area suggested this as one of the best stops. So good and so much fun to experience this decadency. Especially after researching this spot, I was especially disappointed that we didn’t get to try any of their other beautiful creations.

Key West– Better Than Sex Desserts

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Oh my God. I don’t even know where to start.

This place Blew. My. Mind. I cannot even begin to explain how much fun this place was. SO MUCH FUN!

When I mention how much I love sweets (over and over) I am not kidding. I’m a foodie, but I could never turn down dessert. Ever. So this spot, Better Than Sex, was one of my favorite spots that we got to check out. The red velvet cheesecake and banana and caramel crepes were decadent– absolutely incredible. I can’t even begin to explain. Each of the plates just melted in your mouth.

On top of the incredible desserts, the restaurant is an experience in itself. You walk in and they keep with the theme the entire time. It’s clever and witty, and throughout the experience they stick with their “sexual vibe” that is made to be goofy and fun. The lights were dimmed, the service was funny– all making for an awesome spot. This place was so fun and definitely something different that we got to enjoy. Probably not a spot to go with a young family, but if you’re on the island with anyone else, definitely a spot to check out.

Key West– Fisherman’s Cafe

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I’m crying looking at this pic. Oh my goodness– I know in every single post I say that each thing is my favorite, but this time it might be true. I’m fairly certain that these were just plain fish tacos, but they were actually SO amazing. This little spot was called the Fisherman’s Cafe and was located right off of a dock in between a couple of small shops. I don’t know why I was skeptical about fish on an ISLAND, but that’s how I was feeling originally so I was pretty excited about how much I really enjoyed these.

The other thing that I loved about this teeny tiny little shop was the owner! I remember her specifically– she was the kindest and sweetest person that we met during our time in Key West, and since this is such a teeny tiny shop in the historic Key West area I hope that this post brings at least one customer there.

Key West– Glazed Donuts and Red Buoy Coffee

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As I said before, I did some research before coming here trying to find the best spots. One of my favorites was the Glazed Donuts and Red Buoy Coffee spot. The first time we came here, it was actually closed because they had sold out of donuts for the day. This tells me that they make everything fresh 🙂 so I was very pleased. The second day, when we came back in the morning, they had a full selection, including all of the donuts above (some of the basics like Chocolate or Glazed, combined with crazy flavors like Key Lime Pie, Blood Orange Jelly, and the Lemon Poppy Pinwheel).

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I tried the Key Lime Pie donut (duh) which was so delicious. The custard on the inside of the donut was incredible, the donut was just crusty enough, and the meringue and graham cracker on top completed the donut. Honestly, it was delicious and such a fun thing. I love little donut/coffee shops like this, and this was my favorite one that we found in Key West. I also loved that it was totally fresh and obviously homemade. On top of the donut I got an iced coffee that was equally as tasty. Such an awesome spot that I would recommend to anyone who gets to take a trip to the beautiful Key West!

Key West as a whole was so extremely beautiful. I loved the time that we spent there, and all of the beautiful things that we saw an did. The only complaint that I had was that it was a little bit more touristy than I was expecting, but overall I absolutely loved it. Such a great place that we were so lucky to get to visit.

As for my trips to Florida as a whole, there are so many fantastic places that my Grandma has introduced me to that I have absolutely loved. I wish that I could share all of them, and if I could remember every single place, I would gladly share them with you. Either way, all of the amazing places that I listed here are fantastic places to start.

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