Best of Banner: The top things we ate in March

Will Watts
Correspondent

We kicked off the Banner edition of “Watts for Dinner” in March with three amazing restaurants, a Greek treasure, an Italian masterpiece and a bar that takes its food to new heights.

Thank you, Banner readers and business owners, for trusting us with one of the most important and fun things in life, food.    

Mykonos Kuzina, Naples

Mykonos Kuzina has some of the best Greek food you will find without purchasing an airline ticket!

We started our meal with the “Cold Spread Sampler” which features a combination plate of tzatziki, hummus, olive spread and tirokafteri. This dish is colorful and amazing.

Tirokafteri (also known as ktipiti in some regions) is a cheese-based spread. The most commonly used ingredients include feta cheese, sometimes combined with other soft cheeses, hot peppers, roasted peppers, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, yogurt and oregano. This was my favorite spread on the platter.

A close second is the tzatziki, which is made with yogurt, cucumbers, olive oil, herbs such as dill, mint, parsley and thyme. So good!

Most of you are familiar with hummus and olive spread. But Mykonos Kuzina has some of the best around. If you want to discover the quality of this restaurant in just one dish, this sampler is a great place to start.

I also ate a large Greek salad, featuring iceberg and Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, peppers, olives and feta with (surprise! not oil, but) the restaurant’s creamy house dressing, very similar to their tzatziki. Amazing! Incredible! Fantastic! Don’t skip the salad course.

We also sampled three entrees, the shrimp saganaki, vegetarian dolmades and Makaronatha.

If we’d eaten there, the shrimp saganaki would have been flambéed table side, but even without the show, the dinner was a hit. The dolmades, vegetarian, so minus the hamburger meat, were topped with a lemonato sauce and served with roasted potatoes, which were the star of this dish (they absorb the sauce so well).

Makaronatha is a traditional Greek-style spaghetti with melted browned butter and grated kefalograviera cheese. OMG! This was my favorite entrée of the night. Naughty and nice!

Full review:‘Watts for Dinner’ the Takeout Edition: Make Mykonos Kuzina your Greek tradition

Bonita Beach Balloon Bar & Grill, Bonita Springs

Bonita Beach Balloon Bar & Grill is a place I picked just for its fun name. The first thing you’ll notice is a friendly staff and a down home atmosphere with a celebratory spirit in the air. 

Things got off to an appetizing start with Flo’s fish bites. You can get the bites grilled, blackened or fried. We picked the latter and they were a beautiful golden brown, nice and crispy with an amazing tartar sauce.

We also had the “Ollie’s Balloonin’ Onion” featuring a sweet Vidalia onion dipped in “Balloon’s” own batter and fried until crispy and golden brown. It’s served with a honey chipotle mayo. Think Outback with a much better sauce. Yum!

For my main meal, I picked the grouper sandwich. You can select grilled, blackened or fried. And you can also choose sandwich or wrap and decide if you want fries or cole slaw. I picked blackened, wrap and cole slaw. Loved it! Great taste. Seasoned to perfection! And the slaw was the perfect side. Nice work!

My partner in dine selected the shrimp salad sandwich on rye with sweet potato fries. He had never had (or heard of) shrimp salad before and gave it high marks; also remarking on the quality of the bread. And if you’re wondering, sweet potato fries are always worth the extra money and this time was no exception.

For dessert, we had a choice of key lime pie (tempting), chocolate thunder cake (also tempting) or cinnamon sugar cider donuts with a Nutella dipping sauce (say what!?!).

We tried the latter. These tiny donuts, served warm, are so good; and the sauce just puts them over the top. You can’t eat just one!

Full review:‘Watts for Dinner’ the Takeout Edition: Bonita Beach Balloon a fun ride

Enzo's Italian Restaurant & Bar, Bonita Springs

It’s no secret that Southwest Florida has a plethora of Italian restaurants, but Enzo’s Italian Restaurant & Bar in Bonita Springs stands out as one of the very best.

My first clue came while trying to find a parking spot. It was early on a Tuesday evening (not peak dining by any means). I just barely got a recently vacated spot – the very last one, from what I could tell. I was dreading making my way in to get my takeout order. Yet, fortune struck. The restaurant has a handy takeout window just inside the door, I was never more than five feet inside the entire time.

Things got off to an appetizing start with the “Arancini Toscana,” panko- breaded risotto balls containing peas and Romano cheese. This is one of my favorite Italian finger foods, and Enzo’s does it justice. So yummy!

We also ordered some stuffed mushrooms. These caps are stuffed with mouth-watering lump crab and seasoned with panko crumbs, charbroiled to a crisp. Another triumph! You’ve gotta try ‘em!

Enzo’s also gave us some fresh and tasty house-made focaccia bread. Thank you! A very nice surprise.

For my entrée, I sampled the “Shrimp Scampi Spaghettini.” It features huge shrimp sautéed in garlic, lemon, white wine and herbs plated over spaghettini. What is spaghettini, you ask? Well, it’s a pasta “thinner than spaghetti but thicker than vermicelli,” according to Merriam-Webster. Proving once again there’s a pasta for everything!

My dining companion had the “Cheese Ravioli Al Forno” featuring ricotta cheese and durum wheat ravioli with stewed tomato sauce and topped with mozzarella. This dish is amazing. The true test, the sauce, is a must try!

Enzo’s pizza selections include something for everyone, from the traditional to the unexpected. You can get a 14- or 16-inch thin crust, a Sicilian (deep dish) or a gluten-free10-inch cauliflower crust. Wow!

We picked the 16-inch thin crust “Navona White Pizza” featuring mozzarella, garlic, thinly sliced zucchini (ala pepperoni) and artichoke hearts. Everything about this pie worked. And the crust? Baked to perfection. Perhaps the best crust I’ve had since my last visit to New York City. I wonder, do they import NYC water to Bonita Springs?

This food is so good, they could be total jerks to me, and I’d probably still come back (they weren’t, btw). If you haven’t been to Enzo’s yet, put down the iPad, iPhone or newspaper, walk away from the computer, and run, don’t walk to Bonita Beach Road. You won’t regret it!

Happy eating!

Full review:‘Watts for Dinner’ the Takeout Edition: In a crowd of Italian eateries, Enzo’s stands out

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

If you go

Mykonos Kuzina

  • 13510 Tamiami Trail N. #1, Naples (Behind Walgreens at Wiggins Pass Rd.)
  • 239-325-8502
  • mykonoskuzina.com

Bonita Beach Balloon Bar & Grill

  • 9070 Bonita Beach Rd. SE, Bonita Springs
  • 239-676-8178
  • bonitabeachballoon.com

Enzo's Italian Restaurant & Bar

  • 4351 Bonita Beach Rd. SW, Bonita Springs
  • 239-992-5555
  • enzosofbonita.com