Naples ranked 17 out of 20 in a reader poll conducted by Condé Nast Traveler magazine this week for U.S. cities with the best dining options — an impressive listing considering many competitors were larger cities throughout the country.
Of note is that the magazine’s paragraph on Naples included restaurants with at least one seafood option. The five favored restaurants are: Trucluck’s on Fourth Avenue South, Côte d’Azur on U.S. 41 North, IM Tapas in downtown Naples, Caffe dell’Amore on Gulf Shore Boulevard North, Inca’s Kitchen on Collier Boulevard and Mereday’s Fine Dining on Fifth Avenue South. All were examples of diverse ethnic offerings, many with the staple Gulf Coast seafood option and all restaurants commented that seafood is at the top of their customers’ lists.
Other standout cities on the list included Austin, Seattle and New York City, which ranked No. 1. It’s a distinction that restaurant owners and city officials said both draws newcomers to the area and proves a thriving foodie scene that has come to exist here in Southwest Florida over the years.
As dining options have changed, so have the people visiting the area, restaurant owners said. They’re more demanding, more willing to pay a higher price and better traveled than many of the retirees who used to seek out Naples simply for the sunshine. The change has resulted in a population of tourists and residents who know more about food and therefore expect more.