White Sands #13

Provided by:
White Sands#13
2311 West Gulf Drive,
Sanibel Island, Florida

* Sanibel and Captiva Islands Restaurant Guide *

This Sanibel restaurant guide is based on our experiences with restaurants we've eaten at while vacationing at our beachfront condo in the White Sands building on Sanibel Island, Florida, near Ft. Myers. Our condo is available for rent by the week, so please click on this link to get to that page for more information.

There are many tempting dining options on Sanibel and Captiva, and it is most unique that there are almost no chain restaurants, so have fun picking out your dining experiences without going to the same old chain restaurants you go to back home!

About this guide:
- These comments are based on the dining experiences of my family, and our tastes tend towards casual dining with kids, and our opinions are often based on only one visit.
- Mileage given is from the White Sands condo to the restaurant. White Sands is in the middle of the island, very close to Tarpon Bay Road (where Bailey's shopping center is), so it is no more than 6 miles driving to the lighthouse end of the Island and 8 miles driving to Blind Pass bridge onto Captiva. On the beach near our condo is milepost 4.25, which is the distance to the lighthouse via the beach.

Notes about Restaurants on Sanibel and Captiva:
- Casual clothes are the rule for most of the Island's restaurants. Shorts, tee shirts and sandals are usually fine. Only a couple require more than that, and are noted as such.
- Being a Gulf Coast Island, most restaurants offer a reasonable seafood menu even if they're not truly a seafood restauarant, and most of the seafood restaurants offer a reasonable menu for the landlubbers.
- Many restaurants offer an "Early Bird" special, which is a menu of smaller lower priced meals offered for diners seated by an early time, usually 6pm.
- Call the restaurant before going to make sure they are open. Some close on a particular day of the week, or in their off season, or have gone out of business.
- Florida law prohibits smoking in restaurants. Some of the following establishments may be considered bars and fall outside that regulation. Also, smoking is allowed outside, so if you choose to dine on a restaurant's outside patio or deck you may have a smoker nearby.

Sanibel Island Restaurants
(Click on restaurant name for their website link)

Very Casual & Carryout on Sanibel

  • Island Pizza & Pasta - Good pizza, not much atmosphere, great option for carryout back to the condo.
    1619 Periwinkle Way, 2 miles from White Sands. (239) 472-1581

  • Island BBQ - Carry out or delivery only.
    2496 Palm Ridge Road, 1.5 miles from White Sands. (239) 472-3010 or 472-1023

  • Schnapper's Hots - Good char grilled dogs, burgers and pizza, wings, ice cream. Counter service, then stand up inside or sit outside.
    1528 Periwinkle Way, 2.1 miles from White Sands. (239) 472-8686

  • Jerry's Foods - Very casual as this is a dining room in a grocery store. Good for light casual meals, and you can fit it in with your grocery shopping. Don't miss the tropical birds in the cages in the couryard infront of the store. There is covered parking under the grocery store/restaurant. Out of the condo turn right, and follow it until it dead ends at Perwinkle, and Jerry's is directly across Periwinkle, 1.9 miles from White Sands. (239) 472-9300

  • Subway - Chain sandwich shop at the center of the island.
    2496 Palm Ridge Road, at the intersection of Tarpon Bay Rd, 1.5 miles from White Sands. (239) 472-1155

  • Dairy Queen - This is the only fast food restaurant on the island besides Subway, it was established in 1971 prior to the City being formed. 1046 Periwinkle Way, 3 miles from White Sands. (239) 472-1170
Breakfast Places on Sanibel
  • Lighthouse Cafe - They are know for their breakfasts, (they claim best in world), and are often very busy. 362 Periwinkle Way (near the lighthouse), 4.1 miles from White Sands. (239) 472-0303.

  • Over Easy Cafe - Award winning restaurant has breakfast and lunch only, only open for dinner during some seasons. Across from Bailey's at 630 Tarpon Bay Rd., 1.2 miles from White Sands. (239) 472-2625

Coffee shops on Sanibel

  • Sanibel Bean Island Coffees - Coffee, juices, hand dipped ice cream and limited sandwich menu. Also in terminals B and D at the Ft. Myers airport.
    2240 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel (239) 395-1919

  • Coffee Bar at Bailey's - Coffee bar in Bailey's General Store serves up fresh ground coffee specialties along with fresh baked goods from their bakery.
    2477 Periwinkle Way, 1.6 miles from White Sands. (239) 579-0026

  • Bennett's Fresh Roast - Coffee shop with fresh hand cut donuts they claim are the best on the island. 1020 Periwinkle Way. (239) 312-4651

  • PocoLoco Sanibel - Fresh ground coffees, artisan gelatos, natural fruit smoothies, fresh pastries and sandwiches. In Jerry's shopping center, at the end of Casa Ybel Rd - 1700 Periwinkle Way, suite 9, 1.9 miles from White Sands. (239) 395-0290
  • Dunkin' Donuts - 1.4 miles from White Sands, just off Tarpon Bay Road. 2499 Palm Ridge Rd. (239) 395-0290

Captiva Island Restaurants

(it's about 7 miles from White Sands Condominium to the Blind Pass bridge leading onto Captiva, and then another four to five miles to most of the restaurants)

  • Bubble Room - The is the original Bubble Room that has been made famous for eclectic decor. They're noted for having a wide variety of desert cakes that are served in huge slices. Don't miss out on walking through the restuarant to see all the unusual things on display.
    Andy Rosse Lane, in the heart of Captiva, 12 miles from White Sands. (239) 472-5558

  • The Mucky Duck - Opened in 1976, it is one of the oldest restaurants on the islands, and also one of the few that is truly on the beach and has good sunset views. People gather here for the sunset, so it gets crowded. Since they don't take reservations you should plan on coming well before or after the sunset crowd, or plan on a wait. Food is a little upscale, with dinner prices typically in the $18-$28 range.
    11546 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva, 12 miles from White Sands. (239) 472-3434.

  • The Green Flash - Excellent food and great views of the bay from most seats in this elevated restaurant. The food was great, and most entrees are just under $20. It's just a bit dressier than most restaurants, so a nice shirt and shorts would be appropriate.
    1/2 mile south of Andy Rosse Lane, 11.5 miles from White Sands. (239) 472-3337.

  • The Old Captiva House at 'Tween Waters Inn - An old historic resort on Captiva. Beach sunset views (from across the road) and an upscale menu, more expensive than most,  and you will need to dress up a bit for this one. We enjoyed sitting outside on the terrace. 15951 Captiva Drive (the main road), 10.75 miles from White Sands (239) 472-5161

  • Keylime Bistro - Festive decor and a wide menu.
    11509 Andy Rosse Lane, in the heart of Captiva, 12 miles from White Sands. (239) 395-4000

  • Sunshine Seafood - This hidden away restaurant has inside and outside dining.
    14900 Captiva Drive, in the heart of Captiva, 12 miles from White Sands. (239) 472-6200

  • R.C. Otter's - Pass on this one. The food was marginal (we had problems with two dishes out of seven), the waitress was rude, and the atmosphere was bad. 11506 Andy Rosse Lane. (239) 395-1142.

Out Island Restaurants

With all the great restaurants on Sanibel/Captiva there's no reason to go to the mainland, but these are a bit different - you can only get to these with a boat, seaplane or swimfins since they are on nearby remote islands!

  • Cabbage Key - It is claimed that Jimmy Buffett's visit here inspired him to write his trademark song "Cheeseburger in Paradise". The Restaurant is extremely casual. The decor is marked by dollar bills taped to the walls, a tradition started years ago by fishermen stopping in and leaving a little extra money there so that they would have enough for a beer the next time they came back. Located at mile marker 60 on the Intracoastal Waterway. Click here for options on how to get here. We've gotten there by renting a boat from one of the Sanibel or Captiva marinas.

  • Useppa Island Club - A hotel was first put on Useppa Island in the early 1900's and had a colorful history with the rich and famous, and even a role in WWII.  The islad is a private club, and an invitation is required to visit or dine.  We took a tour boat there and had an excellent lunch. To get there, take the channel between intra-coastal Waterway markers 64 and 65, or click here for other ways to get to the island.

  • Barnacle's - located on North Captiva Island, which is just north of Captiva. The restaurant is very casual. Located on Safety Harbor, a protected inlet with plenty of docking directly infront of the restaurants. The island's grass airstrip is an easy walk too.

Other Websites with info on area Restaurants

The restaurants listed above are just a few of many. Here is a link to other online restaurant guides:

Urban Spoon top ten list of Sanibel-Captiva restaurants

Frommers list of Sanibel-Captiva restaurants - Frommer's list of Sanibel/Captiva restaurants

Other Helpful Links:
To contact us -

Call us at (614) 792-2593 or at (614) 792-2523 to rent our beautiful Gulf front condo in the White Sands complex on Sanibel Island.  If we do not answer, please leave a message.

David Ulstad
E-mail: dculstad@aol.com
Last Modified: February 20, 2014

Copyright 2014