3 Restaurants to Try on Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island is in the perfect area to offer up some delicious eats. Once you choose the perfect option from one of our Sanibel rentals or Captiva rentals, you’ll want to scope out the best restaurants nearby. There are so many wonderful spots to eat at that are nearby. We’ve selected some of our top picks where you can grab a bite to eat during your vacation to Sanibel. You might even love it so much, you’ll want to move here.

seafood dish at doc ford's rum bar and grille

Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille

This is one of the best sports bars on Sanibel Island and features a great selection of Caribbean fare to try out. Located on Island Inn Road, Doc Ford’s is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and it’s a chill option with island-inspired cocktails and tons of televisions for catching any sports game that’s on.

Open for both lunch and dinner, Doc Ford’s has a focus on providing a unique balance of flavors inspired by the Caribbean Rim. The chefs here are always looking at new ways to serve up the freshest local seafood and the menu rotates often so there’s always something new to taste.

Choose from classic appetizers like flatbreads and crab cakes to start with, then move onto the main menu filled with sandwiches and fresh seafood entrees. There’s also a great selection from the raw bar and even a kids menu so everyone will be happy.

On top of the fantastic cuisine, Doc Ford’s also offers live music overlooking the beach weekly from Wednesday through Sunday.

Popular dishes at The Island Cow in Sanibel Island

The Island Cow

This is the perfect restaurant to pick for an evening out if you’re bringing the kids along. This American style restaurant features American food and a raw bar. This fun spot offers an array of options from fresh seafood to mouthwatering burgers. You’ll love the fun, cow-themed décor when you come through the doors.

Located on Periwinkle Way, The Island Cow is open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For the early risers, you can choose from breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, and even fun spins on breakfast like quesadillas and fajitas. For lunch and beyond taste some awesome sandwiches, soups, conch fritters, and raw options like oysters, clams, and steamers. There’s also an extensive menu of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, plus smoothies, fresh juice, coffee drinks and more.

The menu here is massive, and the food is so delicious that you’ll be coming back to eat your way through the whole thing. With more than 300 menu options, you can also choose to order for takeout. In addition to the food, there are options to play some games with the kids or even stick around to hear some live music.

Lobster and steak dish at Mad Hatter Restaurant

Mad Hatter Restaurant

This spot is an elevated New American style restaurant with a Gulf view. If you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, this is the spot for you. Open for dinner every day except for Monday, the doors open at 4:45 and the restaurant is located on Sanibel Captiva Road.

Start with delicious fresh seafood appetizers like phyllo encrusted jump shrimp, surf and turf, or even a seafood martini. Amazing started to like the Portuguese Oysters and blue crab cakes are just the beginning of the fantastic dishes you’ll find here. Move onto the entrees, and you’ll find short ribs, black grouper, a seafood stew, scallops, lobster, and more. The menu choices here change seasonally but everything is prepared from scratch. The chefs have a dedication to fresh food and fine dining, and there is also top of the line cocktails to choose from.

Reservations are not necessary but are suggested, as this cozy spot on the beach is generally pretty busy. Not only will you experience some wonderful fare, but this location is also known for its radiant display of infamous south Florida sunsets. Mad Hatter Restaurant is the perfect selection for a romantic date night during your vacation getaway.