Food, The Frugalista Life

#SoloTripPart2: Where to Eat in Naples

Like previously mentioned in a blog post from last month, I was invited down to Naples by the Naples/Marco Island/Everglades Convention and Visitor’s Bureau for a trip to ride airboats for the first time(that was an insane experience). Any time I’m going out of town, the main thing I look forward to is the food. How else are you supposed to learn about a location’s culture if not by what the locals eat? Naples is right on the water so it’s no surprise majority of the foods I ate were seafood.

It’s not hard at all to figure out where to eat in Naples. There’s a slew of places, each serving choices from

Cracklin Jack’s

After driving for almost 3 hours from Tampa to Naples, I was famished. I’d definitely built up an appetite but the time 8pm rolled around my first night in the city. The hotel front desk receptionist gave me a list of recommended places so I looked up the Yelp listings for them all and chose Cracklin Jack’s. On the outside it looks like your regular seafood joint but I could hear a rock band performing Al Green songs in the back. Once I realized what they were performing, it threw me for a loop because it was so unexpected. When I walked in, I could tell that the restaurant was super laid-back.

Gator tail combo with mashed potatoes, collards, and corn muffin

The most surprising thing about eating at Cracklin Jack’s is ordering off the menu. All the combos come with a muffin and “vittles”. Ordering my gator tail combo, I wasn’t expecting to be served with ALL OF THE VITTLES. My face was on the ground when all of it arrived. I relaxed once the waitress told me I didn’t have to eat everything and just choose which ones I want. To me, the best vittle options to go with the gator were the mashed potatoes and collard greens. The greens were kinda bland but it’s understandable; guests can just season it up to their own liking. After I added some salt and pepper, all was good in the world.

Crabby Lady

Grilled Martin snapper

By the time I left my airboat trip, it was lunch time. Crabby Lady was another recommendation and it wasn’t a far drive. The restaurant is located right on the water in Goodland, a super small town right outside Naples. Guests can literally pull their boats up and dine. The lunch menu even offers guests the option to bringing in their own seafood and having it cooked to their liking…what other restaurant does that??? The “Crabby Catch of the Day” when I was there was the Martin Snapper so I went with that option…grilled, of course, because “healthy”. SN…my new fave combo is ranch dressing with fries.

Key Lime Pie

Who goes to South Florida and not get a slice of key lime pie? This slice of pie is different than any other slice I’ve ever had. The pie filling is creamier than others and the slight toasting of the frothy topping adds another piece of texture. If they haven’t already, I need for them to start shipping this version at some point.


Blackened Mahi Mahi platter

After a full day of chilling with the gators and whatnot, I ended the day off with dinner at Pinchers. It wasn’t until I was in Naples did I realize there’s one 15 minutes from my house. I was completely unaware I pass it each time I go to the gym until I did my Googles. I ordered the blackened mahi mahi platter with baked beans and green beans to attempt to eat somewhat “healthy” on this trip. The fish was seasoned perfectly and it wasn’t too spicy; it was just right. I prefer my green beans on the firmer side with a slight crunch when cooked and these hit the spot. The sweetness from the baked beans rounded the meal off. Now that I know there’s one not far from my house, I want to go back.

Giardino Gourmet Salads

To end the trip off right after the zoo, I found Giardino after a 5 minute search on Yelp. Giadino Gourmet Salads started out in Miami and the Naples location had just recently opened when I went. Several teens worked here and were the cutest. I didn’t want to eat a large meal and the Parisian salad kept me full for the drive back home.

Naples and the surrounding areas offers a large variety of food for everyone. Whether it’s all seafood or on the healthier side, there’s no reason why anyone wouldn’t figure out where to eat. Where have you traveled with good food?