Best of February: The top things we ate in SWFL

Will Watts
Sunset from the marina at Pelican Bend, Isles of Capri.

It’s time to look at some of the best things we ate in February!

Pelican Bend on Isles of Capri

A great place to watch the sunset while you wait on your table. And you will wait … this place is popular. It’s also a great place to partake in the Gulf’s bounty.

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The lightly fried combinations feature shrimp, fish fingers, scallops, oysters, frog legs and clams. Here’s how it works: You get a choice of two for $18.99, three for $19.99, four for $23.99 or five for $27.99. We did the pick five, choosing all but the frog legs. When asked which five of the six items we wanted, I said to the waitress, “guess which one we don’t want?” She got it right.

A lightly fried combination platter – featuring shrimp, fish fingers, scallops, oysters and clams from Pelican Bend, Isles of Capri.

This platter also comes with your choice of two sides — we picked fries and mixed veggies; and your choice of coleslaw or salad wedge, with your choice of dressing — creamy garlic, blue cheese, Thousand Island, French or Italian. We picked the wedge with the house creamy garlic.

More:‘Watts for Dinner:’ Pelican Bend for a wedge and a platter

La Tavola, Marco Island

If you’re looking for a theme, Italian, Asian, American, etc., you might find La Tavola hard to pin down. It has some Latin-inspired dishes, some pasta dishes, but mostly runs the gamut.

Wild mushroom chicken linguini from La Tavola, Marco Island.

I had the wild mushroom linguini, featuring cremini and portabella mushrooms, fresh pappardelle pasta, sweet peas, heirloom baby tomatoes, fresh herbs and a garlic cream sauce. You could add chicken ($6), shrimp ($7) or scallops ($15). I picked chicken.

The sauce was even creamier than I expected, and it turns out the portion size was large enough for two meals; so, I had more than half to take home. It was an amazing dish.

More:‘Watts for Dinner': Variety is the spice of La Tavola

Yard House, Naples

Yard House sesame chicken and noodles is a wow-moment in food. Here’s why. On my way in, I spied the sesame chicken at another table. Just how you expect it to be, deep fried, sauce and seeds attached. Now anybody who knows me is aware that I don’t eat fried meets. Ok, I rarely eat fried meats. But today was going to be the exception.

The sesame chicken and noodles from Yard House, Naples.

Here’s the thing, when my plate arrived, it was chucks of grilled chicken over lo mein. What?! Did I get the wrong order? No, my dining companion said. See! There’re sesame seeds. It was all there, the spinach, asparagus, edamame, shiitake mushrooms and green onions.

At this point, the waiter has noticed my puzzlement. I explained that this is a happy accident, as I was unaware you could order it this way. Folks, this is brilliant! I have rarely enjoyed sesame chicken more. And perhaps all the guilt wasn’t MIA – the noodles were still there. But the shame was lessened, and there were no after dinner fried meat sweats to contend with.

More:‘Watts for Dinner’: Yard House – The future of the sports bar

Angelic Desserts, Naples

First came Angelic Desserts’ Chocolate Chewee, a large soft-baked cookie that has all the taste of a brownie. Then came the Chocolate Chip Chewee. And finally, the Chewee sandwich, filled with vanilla or raspberry cream. Talk about evolution. Mother nature has nothing on this dessert (kidding).

Chewee sandwiches from Angelic Desserts.

Angelic Desserts Bakery crafts all their baked treats from scratch with fresh organic ingredients, according to their website. “Our passion is to produce breathtaking and delicious

handmade custom cakes, cupcakes, pastries and desserts,” it reads.

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They describe themselves as a “true artisan bakery with a European touch.”

The yummy treats are organic, non-GMO with no preservatives and are baked with locally sourced ingredients.

Bella Maria, Marco Island Farmer’s Market

If you’re looking for sweet or salty, Bella Maria at the Marco Island Farmer’s Market, has a variety of quiche to choose from, from mozzarella and tomato basil to cheddar cheese and bacon. We picked the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes, and the mushroom and tomato. These quiches are fluffy, eggy, fantastic goodness that’s a great addition to any meal at any time of the day.

Bella Maria has a variety of quiche to choose from, from mozzarella and tomato basil to cheddar cheese and bacon.

On the sweet side, from Napoleons of varying sizes to cookies and tartlets, Bella has something for your sweet tooth. Tartlets come in blueberry, cherry, apricot, key lime and fresh fruit, to name a few.

More:Food Finds: Bella Maria has sweet and salty

Dolce Mare, Marco Island

Whether you’re looking for chocolates, an assortment of truffles, barks, wines, gift baskets, macaroons or gelato, Dolce Mare has something for everyone.

We tried the sampler that included coconut and chocolate (moist and heavenly), red velvet (sticks to your mouth, but you won’t mind), cookies and cream (who knew it could be this decadent), and sea salt caramel in the shape of a shell.

An assortment of decadent desserts at Dolce Mare, Marco Island.

Matter of fact, we had candy in the shape of lips, hearts, shells and just about anything else you can imagine. And you can pick from several size sampler- box sizes to fit your needs, budget. Whether you’re treating yourself or buying a gift, you’ll find something to please at Dolce Mare.

More:Food Finds: Dolce Mare when you’re craving decadent desserts

This newspaper pays for all meals related to dining reviews. We do not solicit or accept free food.

If you go

Pelican Bend

  • 219 Capri Blvd., Isles of Capri
  • 239-394-3452

La Tavola

  • 961 Winterberry Drive
  • Marco Island, FL 34145
  • 239-393-4960

Angelic Desserts

  • 2355 Vanderbilt Beach Rd, Naples
  • 239-219-5118

Dolce Mare

  • 599 South Collier Blvd., Suite 302, Marco Island
  • 239-389-9000

The Marco Island Farmer’s Market

  • 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesdays, at Veterans Community Park, Marco Island
  • Information: