A trip to Sanibel Island, Florida, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Not only does it have beautiful beaches, wildlife, and a laid-back vibe, but it also has a wide range of delicious food on Sanibel Island. This food tour will take you to some of the best restaurants on the island, as well as restaurants with must-try dishes and unique local flavours. So buckle up, and let’s dive into Sanibel Island cuisine.
Fresh Food on Sanibel Island
Fresh Seafood Delights
Unsurprisingly, seafood takes centre stage in Sanibel Island’s culinary scene. With the Gulf of Mexico as its backyard, this haven for foodies offers an abundance of fresh catches every day. One such popular dish is the Grouper Sandwich, which can be found at several restaurants, including Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille and The Lazy Flamingo. The sandwich, made with tender, flaky grouper fillets encased in a light, crispy breading, is an island staple.
Food on Sanibel Island- seafood sandwich
Another seafood classic is the Coconut Shrimp, with large, succulent shrimp coated in a sweet, crunchy coconut breading. Dive into this dish at Traders, where they serve it with a tangy orange marmalade dipping sauce that perfectly complements the shrimp’s sweetness. You may try this food on Sanibel Island.
Start your day with a hearty breakfast at the acclaimed Over Easy Café, where you’ll find many delicious options. Indulge in their famous Lobster and Asparagus Omelette, which features fresh lobster, asparagus, and melted Swiss cheese, topped with a generous dollop of Hollandaise sauce. For a sweet option, try their Banana Nut Pancakes, fluffy and loaded with bananas and walnuts, drizzled with warm maple syrup.
Comfort Food with a Twist
For a unique spin on comfort food, head to The Pecking Order Fried Chicken, which offers Southern-inspired dishes with a Sanibel twist. Their signature dish, the Island Gumbo, is a mouthwatering blend of chicken, shrimp, andouille sausage, and vegetables, all simmered in a rich, dark roux. The gumbo is served with rice and a side of their famous cornbread, which boasts a sweet, cake-like texture.
You can’t visit Sanibel Island without trying a slice of island-inspired pizza. Mezzaluna Italian Restaurant is the perfect spot for this, offering a range of creative pies. Their Sanibel Seafood pizza is a must-try, topped with shrimp, scallops, clams, mozzarella, and a white wine garlic sauce. Their Mediterranean pie is a delicious vegetarian option featuring Kalamata olives, feta cheese, artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes. Try this food on Sanibel Island if you like it.
When satisfying your sweet tooth, Sanibel Island doesn’t disappoint. Swing by Pinocchio’s Original Italian Ice Cream, an island favourite for over 30 years. With a rotating selection of flavours, you’re sure to find a favourite, whether their World Famous Sanibel Krunch featuring toasted coconut and almonds, or their Dirty Sand Dollar, a delightful mix of chocolate, caramel, and malt.
Mexican and Thai Fusion For a departure from traditional island fare, venture into Mexican and Thai fusion at Sanibel Fresh. This casual eatery offers a unique blend of flavours, such as Thai Shrimp Tacos packed with succulent shrimp, Thai slaw, and a zesty peanut sauce.
You can also try their Thai Chicken Burrito, which combines tender chicken, rice, beans, Thai slaw, and a spicy Thai peanut sauce, all wrapped in a warm flour tortilla. The fusion of flavours is truly an adventure for the taste buds.
Vegetarian and Vegan Delights
Sanibel Island is also home to vegetarian and vegan-friendly dining options. The Sanibel Sprout, an organic vegan café and juice bar, offers a menu that caters to plant-based diets. Don’t miss their signature Buddha Bowl, a delightful mix of quinoa, kale, roasted sweet potatoes, avocado, chickpeas, and a delectable tahini dressing.
For a light snack, try their Raw Zucchini Roll-Ups, filled with cashew cheese, avocado, and fresh vegetables, drizzled with a tangy balsamic reduction.
A trip to Sanibel Island would only be complete with experiencing beachside dining. The Island Cow is a beloved spot, offering a fun, family-friendly atmosphere and a diverse menu featuring everything from seafood to barbecue.
Enjoy their Shrimp and Grits, a Southern classic, with plump shrimp sautéed in a savoury garlic wine sauce, served over creamy cheese grits. Or opt for their Beach Bread, an island favourite featuring French bread topped with tomatoes, onions, blue cheese, and mozzarella, toasted to perfection.
Discover the art of appetizers at The Jacaranda, a fine dining establishment known for its elegant atmosphere and exquisite dishes. Begin your culinary journey with their Ahi Tuna Sashimi, served with ginger soy sauce, pickled ginger, and wasabi. Another standout appetizer is their Crab Cake, made with succulent lump crab meat, lightly pan-seared, and served with a zesty remoulade sauce. These appetizers will leave you eager to explore the rest of their menu.
Local Brews and Spirits
Finally, quench your thirst and experience Sanibel Island’s burgeoning craft beer scene at the Point Ybel Brewing Company. Sample their Sanibel Red Island Ale, a malty, amber-coloured brew with notes of caramel and toffee. Or, try their Black Mangrove, a dark, roasty American-style porter with a hint of chocolate.
For those who prefer spirits, don’t miss out on the craft cocktails at George and Wendy’s Seafood Grille, where you can sip on their signature Sanibel Sunset, a refreshing blend of rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and grenadine. I assure you that you like this type of food on Sanibel Island.
Sanibel Island’s culinary landscape is as diverse and captivating as its natural beauty. From fresh seafood and island-inspired pizzas to vegan delights and fusion cuisine, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
The local restaurants serve a wide range of dishes, from fresh seafood to comfort food, so everyone can find something they like. The island’s commitment to sustainability and supporting local businesses further enhances the dining experience. Visitors can indulge in fresh, locally-sourced ingredients while contributing to the community’s well-being.
Whether you’re seeking a romantic dinner by the beach, a casual family meal, or a taste of the island’s exotic flavours, Sanibel Island’s thriving food scene promises to leave a lasting impression on your taste buds and heart.
So, the next time you visit this paradise island, indulge in its flavours and remember these delectable dishes.