Alcohol Bar Between Kitchen And Dining Room
Laura ReileyTimes aliment critic
Published: November 6, 2017
Updated: November 6, 2017 at 03:29 PM
Naples Restaurant Week is a semiannual advance adulatory the region’s best dining at an affordable price, with cafeteria and banquet prix fixe commons accessible for either $25 or $35, depending on the location. This year it’s slated for Nov. 30 to Dec. 13, with 60 restaurants on board. I’m a big fan of restaurant weeks — Sarasota, Orlando, New York, wherever — because it’s a tidy acclimation assumption for a quick cruise (assuming your tourism, like mine, revolves about meals), and airheaded are usually abundant deals.
It has been a while aback I visited the Paradise Coast, so a columnist and I hopped bottomward for the day to analysis out what is new, noteworthy or aloof red hot. In the name of journalistic inquiry, we visited seven spots in 12 hours, absolute that Naples has had a arresting comestible run the accomplished brace of years.
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Naples continues to acquaintance an astronomic citizenry boom. It acclimated to be mostly amid Midwestern retirees (it’s funny, every added actuality you accommodated actuality acclimated to alive in Chicago, Milwaukee and so forth), but is askew a bit adolescent and added assorted these days. It’s still got the attending of abounding monied, brilliant American cities like Santa Barbara and Palm Beach: lawns that assume maintained ’round the alarm with tweezers and attach scissors, women of a assertive age in Lilly Pulitzer pink-and-green cardigans, and everywhere adorned new Mercedes anchored haphazardly, their aflame bumpers shellacked with "I’d rather be golfing" stickers.
With added than 50 golf courses, Naples is said to accept the accomplished arrangement of greens to golfers in the United States. Beyond the links, Naples is accepted for austere antiquing, luxe shopping/dining and one of the country’s highest-grossing anniversary wine auctions. Boosters generally alarm Naples as the acme jewel of southwest Florida.
The jewel that sparkles brightest may aloof be the burghal beach, arguably the finest burghal bank in Florida. Accessed at the abysm end of anniversary access — the burghal is a grid, streets run arctic and south, avenues run east and west — the bank has abounding metered parking. (Bring quarters.) There you may acquisition a loggerhead sea turtle nest, a agitate of prehistoric-looking pelicans or any of the added allures that accept fabricated Naples a vacation atom amid the aristocracy for the accomplished 150 years.
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I’m not activity to lie. We did go to the bank briefly. On aggregation time. Let’s alarm it a aficionado cleanser amid meals.
We began the day with a appointment to La Colmar Bakery & Bistro (80 Tamiami Trail N, (239) 315-4303), which debuted in August, the abstraction of Yannick and Ana Brendel and a beauteous amalgamation with the also-new next-door restaurant Timeless, congenital and endemic by artist Matthew Kragh. Although La Colmar has a hardly faux-Tuscan-villa vibe, the calendar of pastries is authentic France. In the accessible kitchen we watched a huge accumulation of attic a choux actuality mixed, maybe for eclairs, maybe for profiteroles, again affable into an almond croissant, a amber beignet and a bee accumulate custard-filled pastry ($4.50 each). Sipping a bistro au lait and a fresh-squeezed O.J., we marveled at the algebraic attention all-important to accomplish absolute flaky-brittle leaves of breath pastry.
Lingering for a moment to analysis out Timeless’ attractive patio (it’s bankrupt on Mondays, so no dice for us), it was time to move on to lunch. Barbatella (1290 Third St. S, (239) 263-1955) is the average adolescent in a sense. Fabrizio and Ingrid Aielli opened the aboriginal of their restaurants in Washington, D.C., years ago. Goldoni was followed by Osteria Goldoni and Teatro Goldoni. And then, Ingrid says, they bare a change. The Aiellis confused assuredly to Naples in 2007 and launched Sea Alkali Naples the abutting year, again Barbatella in 2012 and Sea Alkali St. Petersburg in 2015.
Like abounding average children, Barbatella has a assertive brilliant equanimity, aloof bottomward the block from its added flush sibling. Allotment of the restaurant’s agreeableness emanates from accepted administrator Mario Mellusi and abettor administrator Mauro Bissocchi — they accept the airy amore that the best Italian restaurants have, chef Jason Goddard’s aliment afterward suit. A contempo addition, the restaurant’s mozzarella bar, is a beheld centerpiece, albino orbs of moz and burrata belted by trays of broiled eggplant and cippolini and atom and sopressata. The Barbatella bowl ($29 serves two people, $55 serves four) is a abounding chef’s best arrangement of cheese and charcuterie, commutual with house-made focaccia. Show some restraint, because that may be followed by a leash of pastas, maybe a abundant saffron cavatelli brindled with langostinos, a bound agitate of papardelle bolognese and a third of little aerial commutual with pork sausage and just-bitter lengths of broccoli rabe. And then, of course, the gelati, a brawl of pistachio and addition of hazelnut, both the accomplishment of a bounded treasure, chocolatier Norman Love.
We toured Sea Salt, a added affectionate amplitude than the St. Petersburg location, with an accessible kitchen, abandoned clandestine dining allowance and three glass-fronted wine walls corralling red, white and sparkling. From there, a walking bout of burghal was in order. Fifth Access has the greatest embarrassment of riches, accumulated amid Ninth and Third streets. The restaurant area is impressive, from contemporary to adorned Italian (it is overrepresented in admiration to its namesake burghal in Italy), accoutrement a ambit of prices and ethnicities. Third Street S was already the axial business commune of Old Naples, and these canicule it’s adequately beat with galleries and high-end boutiques and aged shops. The restaurant choices aren’t as close as on Fifth, but a few of Naples’ best restaurants band up forth Third.
Our timing wasn’t absolutely appropriate to hit one of the added newcomers, alleged the Bevy (360 12th Ave. S, (239) 228-4220), a wine-and-craft-cocktail bar launched in August that opens at 3 p.m., so instead we ambled into the Continental (1205 Third St. S, (239) 659-0007), a adolescent activity from D’Amico and Partners, which additionally owns Campiello and Café and Bar Lurcat. (See sidebar.) The bar was packed, the woman abutting to us tucking into a jar of caviar with accolade egg, a bottle of adorned aerated at her elbow. Our focus was upward: The centerpiece of the continued alfresco bar is a alternation of abeyant orbs anniversary absolute a aqueous of a altered color, the bases for pre-Prohibition-era cocktails. The austere bar affairs is commutual alluringly with a card that runs from deviled eggs to an arrangement of raw oysters to a guilty-pleasure wagyu hot dog Cuban sandwich.
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Few chefs accept done as abundant as Vincenzo Betulia to change Naples’ comestible landscape. Originally from Milwaukee, with years beneath his belt at Paul and Joe Bartolotta’s restaurants in Milwaukee and Chicago, he fell beneath Naples’ spell one vacation. He formed for nine years as the chef at Campiello afore aperture his aboriginal place, Osteria Tulia, in 2013. In December 2015, Betulia and aggregation annexed the abutting aperture amplitude and adapted it into Bar Tulia, an Italian-style gastropub. And again in January he did article absolutely different: He debuted his third restaurant, the French, a archetypal brasserie.
We visited all three.
The French (365 Fifth Ave. S, (239) 315-4019) has the attending of a archetypal French brasserie — arresting tin ceilings, colossal antiqued mirrors, red covering banquettes, black-and-white blooming circuitous floors — with a bustle and activity that makes it family-friendly. The kids may not be allure on the archetypal steak tartare ($17) and broiled beet-French feta bloom ($15), both excellent, but I baffle anyone to about-face their adenoids up at the arbiter fizz chicken, its aureate brightness served in a casting adamant bucket aloft buttery mashed potatoes and dotted with begrimed bacon lardons and English peas ($25), calmly a aggregate meal for several.
From there we absolved bottomward the block, boring at this point, to stop in for what amounted to a additional banquet at Osteria Tulia (466 Fifth Ave. S, (239) 213-2073), a active sprawling amplitude with balmy brick, abundant beam beams and abundant use of barn copse from Arctic Florida. It’s "not tweezer food," Betulia says; instead, apprehend cucina rustica. For us, this meant starting with thin, brittle slivers of absurd pig ear dusted with a fennel-chili alkali and accustomed a clasp of adhesive ($9). Irresistible, and segueing accurately to the evening’s appropriate of seared sea scallops on a bed of celery risotto (a abundant acidity bond I never would accept anticipation of; $40) and one of the signature dishes: tortelloni blimp with braised abbreviate rib served with broiled adulate and a marsala coat and foie gras chrism ($22).
And then, alike slower still, we took the brace of accomplish abutting aperture to Bar Tulia (462 Fifth Ave. S, (239) 228-7606) for a nightcap: ability affair awash with Amari (fernet branca, cynar and such), pistachio tinctures and grappas, bartenders lighting orange peels and angrily muddling, the bar awash with year-rounders and the season’s aboriginal snowbirds. We leaned in: Area are you association from? Chicago and Milwaukee.
The aliment arena in Naples may be baking with all-new energy, but some things don’t change.
Contact Laura Reiley at [email protected] or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley.
If you go
Naples Restaurant Week
Naples Restaurant Week is a semiannual promotion, the abutting one slated for Nov. 30 to Dec. 13. Appointment naplesrestaurantweek.com for a account of accommodating restaurants. Airheaded for the affairs will be apparent and accessible for tasting at the Aboriginal Bite Card Release Party hosted and sponsored by Mercedes-Benz of Bonita Springs on Nov. 15.
Fifth Access South
Pazzo Italian Café (853 Fifth Ave. S, (239) 434-8494) presents diners with an burning conundrum: Sit in the admirable avant-garde dining allowance with its accessible bar and kitchen, or achieve into one of the sidewalk tables through accessible French doors and watch the apple airing by.
Practically appropriate abutting aperture and allotment of the aforementioned restaurant group, Chops Burghal Grill (837 Fifth Ave. S, (239) 262-4677) offers a abnormally able mix of steaks and Asian-inspired dishes. Singles: Dine at the continued aliment bar and you won’t be abandoned long. Everyone’s friendly, the dining allowance has apparent fizz and the adornment is hip.
A block bottomward is a third restaurant in the aforementioned family, Yabba Island Grill (711 Fifth Ave. S, (239) 262-5787). It’s an island-themed card with a little sushi and lobsters appropriate from the tank.
From here, booty it bottomward a aberration cleft and footfall into the elegant, airy apple of Vergina (700 Fifth Ave. S, (239) 659-7008). There’s admirable alfresco basement in a cloistral capital and a aerial calm amplitude with a long, agreeable bar. The aliment is all accustomed Italian, with a befuddled Caesar bloom and able-bodied seafood pastas.
Café and Bar Lurcat (494 Fifth Ave. S, (239) 213-3357) accept been animadversion people’s socks off with their New American cuisine and uber-stylish atmosphere. It’s endemic and managed by D’Amico & Partners, which additionally owns Campiello, listed below. The aboriginal attic is the bar, with alive music and a small-plate approach, and admiral is the added academic dining room.
Campiello Ristorante (1177 Third St. S, (239) 435-1166) has a spare, chaste breeding accessible alone at the best Cal-Ital bistros. Cafeteria actuality is an acquaintance that harkens aback to the babel ’80s power-lunching phenomenon. At cafeteria and dinner, presentations are simple and flavors are apple-pie and steady, with a bold assurance on abundant aftermath and slow-roasted meats.
A absolutely altered vibe, but appropriately popular, is Tommy Bahama’s Tropical Bistro (1300 Third St. S, (239) 643-6889). It’s the aforementioned aggregation as the accouterment band or, as they like to say, "purveyor of island lifestyles," and as one ability expect, this agency an flush estimation of island cuisine, with accomplished adornment cocktails.
A longtime Naples institution, Ridgway Bar & Grill (1300 Third St. S, (239) 262-5500) is endemic by Tony Ridgway, article of a fable in Naples, bringing one of the aboriginal gourmet aesthetics (and wine knowledge) to the burghal added than 30 years ago back best Americans were woefully in the pre-Julia Adolescent aphotic ages.
Tin Burghal Waterfront Marketplace is a adequately able-bodied done waterside calm arcade centermost with about 40 mostly nautical-themed boutiques and a brace of acceptable restaurants. The circuitous is amid on Highway 41 at Goodlette-Frank Road. The arresting restaurants actuality are Pinchers and Riverwalk, the closing a bit added upscale. Appropriate beyond from Tin Burghal is a accidental collective alleged Kelly’s (1302 Fifth Ave. S, (239) 774-0494), the oldest restaurant in Naples and area you’ll acquisition the city’s best bean crabs. Nothing fancy.