By Heather Turk
Florida’s Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands’ dining scene has flourished in recent years thanks to several delectable developments. From new restaurants opening their doors to familiar favorites giving diners even more to love, foodies are sure to relish these culinary changes.
FARLOW’S ON THE WATER
A locals’ favorite since September 2003, this Englewood eatery recently underwent a $1.4 million renovation and reopened with an expanded dining room, kitchen and lushly landscaped tropical patio that’s nearly twice the size of the original. While the remodel gave the venue a fresh new look, one thing that didn’t change is Farlow’s mouthwatering menu of Caribbean fare with a Southern twist, available for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. The delicious Crab Stuffed Portabella Mushroom marinated for 24 hours in olive oil and Modena balsamic vinegar and topped with blue crab stuffing and provolone cheese is a must, as is Farlow’s signature St. Croix Seafood Pie for dinner: Caribbean lobster, shrimp and scallops in a creamy white wine lobster sauce served in a puff pastry. farlowsonthewater.com
LEROY’S SOUTHERN KITCHEN & BAR
Celebrating its first anniversary in September, this relaxed Punta Gorda restaurant was recently named Best New Restaurant by Harbor Style magazine. Serving regional Southern cuisine, including Cajun/Creole dishes and traditional Deep South and coastal Carolina specialties, guests can dig in to such signature favorites as the buttermilk fried chicken or pork and sweet corn pancakes while sipping a Southern whiskey or bourbon from the bar’s eclectic spirits menu. Be sure to try the Brunch Shrimp & Grits made with fried Gulf pink shrimp, Anson Mills grits, tasso gravy and fried egg. In addition to serving lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, Sunday brunch is available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. leroyssouthernkitchenandbar.com
THE TURTLE CLUB
Since opening in October 2014, this coastal tavern in Punta Gorda has been a big hit with seafood lovers thanks to its savory menu featuring a wide range of delicacies from the sea. Open exclusively for dinner Monday through Saturday, guests can enjoy such “Fresh Catch” selections as the Pan-seared Salmon or Grilled Mahi Mahi while dining inside the restaurant or seated around a Tuscan-style fountain on its 70-seat patio. A few non-seafood dishes, like the scrumptious Braised Short Rib Mac-N-Cheese, are also available, guaranteeing something for everyone to savor! turtleclubpg.com