Best of Banner: The top things we ate in May

Will Watts
Correspondent

May took us from Fort Myers, through Bonita Springs and all the way to Naples for several exciting food adventures. Here’s a recap.

Lapa’s Costa Rican Bistro, Bonita Springs

Lapa’s Costa Rican Bistro in Bonita Springs marked my first foray with Costa Rican food.

We started off sampling the empanadas ($2.95 each) and patacones (aka tostones, $5.95). For the empanadas, you can choose from shredded chicken, ground beef, potato or cheese. We picked the potato. Depending on the culture and region, empanadas can be made of corn meal or flour. These were flour, and the filling was a very yellow potato. And it was delicious.

More:‘Watts for Dinner’: Komoon has a vast menu from Thailand, Japan and Peru

The tostones are four fried green plantain patties served with refried black beans, which we spread on top – like jam on bread. This dish is the perfect blend of sweet and salty. I could have eaten my weight in ‘em.

Next, we opted for salads. My dining companion had the avocado salad ($10.95) while I had the shrimp and avocado salad ($14.95). Both feature mixed greens, tomatoes, shredded carrots, red onions, red cabbage and avocado. His salad had a bit more avocado but mine had a ton of tasty, citrus

shrimp. These salads are incredible and large enough to be a meal all their own.

For my main entrée, I had the restaurant’s namesake dish, lapa ($12.50) featuring Gallo pinto beans, scrambled eggs, sweet plantains, cheese and avocado.

What can I say about this dish: original, tasty and hearty are all terms that come to mind.

Full review:‘Watts for Dinner’: Lapa's Costa Rican delights

Stan’s Super Subs & Deli, Bonita Springs

Stan’s Super Subs & Deli is on Old 41 in Bonita Springs and we started things off with the grilled cheese ($6.49). Talk about comfort food. This tastes just like home, without the mess.

We also ordered a whole tuna sub ($13.49) on a white hoagie with lettuce, onion, tomatoes, green olives, green peppers and jalapenos with mayo and oil with Stan’s special seasoning. We also added extra meat for $3. This sandwich was huge and filled with nutrition. The taste was fresh and delicious, and you can really taste that special seasoning. A real pleaser.

We also ordered a veggie sub ($10.49) on wheat with white American cheese and all available vegetable toppings. Another great sandwich! You won’t miss the meat!

This deli has a real Old Florida feel without the formalities of these “chain” delis, which sets the expectations high (and they’re mostly met). If you’re craving deli food, you can’t go wrong with Stan’s.

Full review:‘Watts for Dinner’: Bring a big appetite to Stan’s Super Subs & Deli

Doug’s Seafood, Bonita Springs

Wow! What a feast we discovered Doug's Seafood in Bonita Springs.

Things got off to an appetizing start with the shrimp quesadilla ($12.95). You can have the shrimp your way and we picked blackened. This was a hot, cheesy, gooey masterpiece and a good indication about where things were going.

Before we get to the entrees, we partook of a salad course; actually, it was a double salad – shrimp salad ($13.95) atop a bed of beautiful greens; lettuce, cucumber, lemon and onions. Inspired. Perhaps not choices I would have gravitated toward in my kitchen, but no complaints about the results. Very satisfying.

We sampled three dishes for our main entrée, the “Crusty” lobster sandwich ($15.95), the haddock tacos ($18.95) and the fish and chips ($11.95). The sandwich was a buttery delight. So sinful. Lots of lobster. Grilled to perfection. I highly recommend this sandwich.

Doug's Seafood is a store and a restaurant on Bonita Beach Road. The staff is super friendly and efficient. Give ‘em a try today.

Full review:‘Watts for Dinner’ the Takeout Edition: Doug’s Seafood delights

Bahama Breeze, Fort Myers

Fort Myers has the only Bahama Breeze Island Grille in Southwest Florida. You’d have to travel to Tampa or the other coast to find the next closest one. The place is huge and features indoor and outdoor seating and an open kitchen; not to mention the amazing Caribbean-inspired food.

Things got off to an appetizing start with the skillet-simmered jerk shrimp ($12.29) featuring large shrimp in a garlic- thyme butter and served with warm Cuban bread. The shrimp are incredible,

and you’ll use every bit of the bread to soak up the sauce and leave that little cast-iron skillet it’s served in bone dry. I highly recommend this dish.

For my main entrée, I selected the shrimp and mahi with lemongrass sauce ($12.29). This Thai-inspired dish features sautéed mahi mahi, shrimp, mushrooms, bok choy, and bell peppers in a coconut lemongrass sauce served over white rice. So good and so good for you.

My dining companion had the salmon tostada salad ($14.99), featuring a beautifully grilled salmon on fresh greens with a tomato, corn and black bean salsa, served with avocado, chimichurri, an “Island” vinaigrette and crisp tortilla with melted cheese on it. Everything about this dish was beautiful. And it won rave reviews. Our compliments to the chef.

If you’re hankering for Island-inspired cuisine, make a date with Bahama Breeze. Also, make a reservation. This place gets packed.

Full review:‘Watts for Dinner’: Bahama Breeze offers a taste of the Caribbean

True Food Kitchen, North Naples

True Food Kitchen is described as a “relaxed, eco-chic chain serving health-conscious fare, including vegan options, plus cocktails.”

That pretty much sums it up. Here’s how our experience went at True Food Kitchen in North Naples.

Things got off to an appetizing start with the charred cauliflower ($9), featuring harissa tahini, medjool dates, dill, mint and pistachio. It was perhaps the best cauliflower dish I’ve ever eaten. 

We also sampled the edamame guacamole ($11), featuring avocado, cilantro pesto, pumpkin seeds, Aleppo chili and house-made pita chips. Amazing. Absolutely incredible. The pita chips had a very tortilla-like quality. The other ingredients were visible to the naked eye, not blended in.

For my main entrée, I selected the teriyaki quinoa bowl ($14). You can add a protein: tofu, chicken, shrimp or grilled sustainable salmon. I picked the latter. This dish had broccoli, rainbow carrots, bok choy, green beans, snap peas, mushrooms, brown rice, avocado and toasted sesame seeds. My mouth is watering just recalling it here.

My dining companion had the “Good Earth” kale cobb salad ($14), vegan and gluten free, and he added tofu. This salad features avocado, asparagus, snap peas, pickled jicama, coconut bacon, cherry tomatoes, garbanzo beans, gorgonzola cheese and an inspiring cashew poblano ranch dressing. This dish won rave reviews. I highly recommend it and everything else. Wow!

The atmosphere is open and comfortable. The wait staff is friendly and conversational. Tens across the board. True Food Kitchen, the name says it all.

Full review:‘Watts for Dinner’: True Food Kitchen, the name says it all

Happy eating!

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

More:Hey Banner readers! Are you looking for a place to eat?

More:Best of Banner: The top things we ate in April

If you go

Lapa’s Costa Rican Bistro

  • 26251 S. Tamiami Trail, Bonita Springs
  • 239-221-7016
  • lapascr.com

Stans Super Subs & Deli

  • 26880 Old 41 Rd., Bonita Springs
  • 239-992-9973
  • stanssupersubs.com

Doug's Seafood

  • Beach Road Plaza, 3411 Bonita Beach Rd SW, Bonita Springs
  • 239-319-5702
  • dougsseafood.com

Bahama Breeze Island Grille

  • 14701 S. Tamiami Trail, Fort Myers
  • bahamabreeze.com
  • 239-454-9234

True Food Kitchen

  • 5375 Tamiami Trail N., Ste. 15, Naples
  • 239-431-4580
  • truefoodkitchen.com