Naples, Florida and the surrounding area is known as the Paradise Coast for a reason: it’s a paradise for food enthusiasts and beach lovers alike. Nestled in the heart of Southwest Florida, this charming city is teeming with hidden gems and culinary delights that will leave you craving for more. Join me as I share the best kept secrets for dining out in Naples, FL. From hidden treasures, unique food and wine festival experiences, and the culinary extravaganza that is Sizzle Dining Restaurant Week, Naples has it all.
What is the Food Scene Like in Naples, FL?
The food scene has changed a lot in Naples over the last 10 years. What was once a sleepy town with a lot of tourist trap restaurants (mostly overpriced Italian) has turned into a hot spot for chefs and food enthusiasts. When we first started visiting Naples 15 years ago, we couldn’t even dine out in the summer. Most of the restaurants would close during that time! Things sure have changed.
The Naples food scene is now bustling during every month of the year. The city has everything from fine dining to food trucks to elaborate food and wine festivals. My personal favorite is the farm to table movement that we’ve seen here in Naples. I love checking out the restaurants that support our local food systems. You can check out a list of my favorites here.
Best Kept Secrets for Dining Out in Naples, FL
Do you love dining out but hate the prices? Me too, friend, me too. As a foodie who is also budget savvy, I have a hard time dining out when there isn’t a deal available or when the crowds are too much. If I’m going to spend a lot of money on food, it has to be worth it! That’s why I’m a huge fan of these best kept secrets for experiencing the best restaurants in Naples, FL.
These are the Best Kept Secrets for Dining Out in Naples, FL:
1. Venture past 5th Avenue South and 3rd Street South
Our most popular fine dining establishments are located on 5th Avenue South and 3rd Street South. However, we also have a ton of great restaurants outside of those busy streets. Don’t be afraid to get off the beaten track and find some hidden gems around Naples.
2. Eat Lunch or Weekday Dinner to Avoid the Seasonal Crowds
Naples is a popular resort destination and seasonal spot for snow birds. The population swells during the summer months by over 100,000 residents! As you can imagine, our little town gets a whole lot busier.
While I love all the swanky spots on 5th Avenue South and 3rd street, it especially gets crowded in “season”. I love stopping by for a midweek lunch to beat the crowds and to get a great deal on lunch specials! Still want to do dinner? Head to the popular restaurants for a weekday dinner and avoid the weekend crowds.
3. Dine out During Sizzle Dining Restaurant Week
I truly think that the Sizzle Dining event is the best time to dine out in Naples. The event always occurs just before our seasonal surge of residents allowing locals to enjoy amazing food at great prices without the seasonal crowds.
The 2023 Sizzle Dining event is going on from September 7th through 27th. You can get a full list of menus here.
4. Attend the Best Food Festivals in Naples, FL
If you really want to get a feel for the food culture here in Naples, then you have to attend a local festival. Here are some of the best ones throughout the year:
- Stone Crab Festival- October 27-29th, 2023
- Wine & Food Experience- September 30th, 2023
- Everglades Seafood Festival- February 2-4th, 2024
- Naples Craft Beer Festival- March 2nd, 2024
5. Follow Local Foodies on Social Media
As much as I love eating in Naples, I don’t know everything there is to know about the food scene. It’s constantly changing, and with three busy kids of my own, I don’t get out enough to know it all.
That’s why I follow local foodies on social media. I love getting the insider tips on where to eat and what to order.
My current favorite local foodies are Tatiana and Jorge from Naples Noms. You can follow them on Instagram at @NaplesNoms. Not only do they have the most up to date information, Jorge writes about local food in The Naples Press, and the duo has recently partnered with our local visitors bureau to share more insider tips about dining in and around The Paradise Coast!
Insider Tip: Discover more local foodies by using these hashtags: #naplesflfoodie #wheretoeat239 #swflfood #swflfoodie
Read More About my Adventures in Naples!
My lifestyle blog isn’t devoted to my adventures in Naples, FL, but I do have a good amount of content about life here on the Paradise Coast. Check out some of my favorites:
- How to be a Locavore in Naples, FL
- Where the Locals Eat in Naples, FL | Date Night Edition
- Where the Locals Eat Brunch in Naples, FL
- Free Things to do with Kids in Naples, FL
- Affordable Family Fun with The Mighty Mussels Baseball
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