Finding Fort Myers’ Hidden Restaurants

Photo by Chelle Koster Walton

5 top places locals eat in Fort Myers, Florida

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Some of the best restaurants in Fort Myers are local secrets that require a little help finding. Here are five best hidden restaurants. You’re welcome.


Gathering Place, an off-the-beaten-path favorite, dang near requires a compass. A GPS at the least. It serves an unusual combination of homemade American and Belizean comfort foods including changing cakes and turnovers made fresh daily. Off Cleveland Avenue (U.S. 41), then off of Beacon Boulevard in an unlikely office building complex behind a chain-link fence, down the hall from the not-main door (follow the signs), and TA-DA. You’ve found it.

You’ll find Mermaid Garden Cafe within the Atrium office building at the corner of College Parkway and Winkler Road, head to the lower level next to the post office for the best organic breakfast and original lunch you will find in Fort Myers. Amid a charmed atmosphere of mermaids, antique tea cups and pots, and an open kitchen, choose from Argentinian pastries, fresh and creative egg dishes, and salads and sandwiches with a Latin twist.


Hidden in a retirement community southwest of Fort Myers called Shell Point, Banyan Grille lives above the clubhouse of one of the golf courses. This means great views of greens and waters, of course, but also of a bird sanctuary. Sunday Brunch is an especially good deal, otherwise it’s most known for its lunches of great salads and well-constructed sandwiches. Take Summerlin Road toward Sanibel Island and make a couple of right turns on Shell Point Boulevard and On Par Boulevard.

Martha’s Cuban Cafe has moved out of the gas station where she originally did business, but she’s still squirreled away in a strip mall off of U.S. 41 south of Fort Myers.  Look for Harbour Plaza and drive to the south end, looking for signs that point you to a hidden corner. Bossy, funny Martha is worth the visit alone to the bright space, never mind that she cooks up the real thing in homestyle Cuban. Don’t be surprised if she tells you what to order. She’s the boss here and her pastries, Cuban sandwiches, empanadas, and dinners are the bomb!


Named for the dead-end side street where it resides, Kenwood Lane Grille is a little, homey surprise with specialty burgers and fun salads and sandwiches for lunch. The dinner menu seems typical enough with seafood and steak, which are probably excellent. I wouldn’t know because I always order off the specials menu. It goes a little Euro with wiener schnitzel, steak au poivre, traditional English carrot cake, and such. Be sure to make dinner reservations because otherwise the restaurant may close without warning.

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