Cheap Eats: Another trip to the islands, followed by a Taco Tuesday

Will Watts
Correspondent
The “Tropical Chicken Salad” from Bahama Breeze, Fort Myers.

It was announced in April that Bahama Breeze Island Grille would be coming to Coastland Center in Naples.

Bahama Breeze is a casual dining chain with a Caribbean-inspired atmosphere and menu from Orlando-based Darden Restaurants Inc. – other eateries in their portfolio include Capital Grille, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Seasons 52, Yard House and Cheddar’s.

I’ve been making the trek three to four times a year to their Fort Myers location. And while I’m super excited about this closer one, which is expected to open before season in late 2023, I’m guessing it will be a while before the crowds dies down (once they discover the excellent menu). I expect I might get to eat there by summer 2024. LOL!

The grilled cheeseburger from Bahama Breeze, Fort Myers.

My favorite dish, which I have written about before, is the skillet-simmered jerk shrimp. It’s large shrimp in a garlic-thyme butter, served with a loaf of warm Cuban bread – so that you can take every drop of juice. Yum!

One of their newer entrees, is the “Tropical Chicken Salad” ($13.49). But it’s not chicken salad, like tuna salad. It’s chicken, plus salad, and it features sliced grilled chicken, fresh pineapple, red grapes, strawberries, mandarin oranges, goat cheese, candied almonds and is drizzled with Island vinaigrette. It earns high marks with us!

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They have a lot of other great entrees too! Like the jerk chicken pasta ($15.49) and the seafood paella ($19.99). But it might surprise you to learn they also offer ribs and steak, an assortment of tacos, an amazing honey-butter crispy chicken sandwich ($11.99) and an incredible bacon cheddar burger ($13.49).

Skillet-simmered jerk shrimp from Bahama Breeze, Fort Myers.

Closer to home and speaking of tacos, I recently returned to Taqueria San Julian on Bayshore Drive, just a short drive from Marco Island. It’s a super cozy location, but there are outdoor tables.  

In addition to offering some of my favorite tacos in Southwest Florida, I’m a big fan of the chicken and steak quesadillas and the chorizo queso dip and chips.

As tacos go, I’m a big fan of the al pastor, the Mexican version of shawarma spit-grilled meat.   

Assorted tacos and quesadillas from Taqueria San Julian, Naples.

If you’ve never had the quesadilla, it’s not served in the same fashion as many restaurants, like a pizza cut into slices. No each quesadilla is taco sized; looks very much like a taco; except for the melted cheese inside and the flour tortillas.

So that’s my recommendations for this week’s Cheap Eats. You’ll be impressed with Bahama Breeze and the wide assortment of food. Worth the drive! And you can make any day Taco Tuesday with the generously-filled double-layered tacos just of Bayshore Drive. Happy eating!

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More:Hey Marco Island, looking for a place to eat?

This newspaper pays for all meals related to dining reviews. We do not solicit or accept free food. Not all dishes are featured in print, but you can find a gallery of all reviewed dishes online at marconews.com. 

If you go

Taqueria San Julian

  • 3575 Bayshore Dr., Naples
  • 239-775-6480

Bahama Breeze

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