Kelly’s Fish House (1302 S. 5th Ave., 239/774-0494, 4:30–10 p.m. daily, main courses from $17) is the oldest seafood restaurant in Naples, a badge of honor that could result in lazy service and bland assembly-line dishes; instead, this no-nonsense eatery has made a legend of itself not just by lasting a long time but by serving ultrafresh seafood in traditional grilled, broiled, and fried fashion. You can get raw-bar treats like oysters and clams along with expertly prepared takes on standards like shrimp, grouper, and crab as well as a limited selection of chicken and steak dishes. The wood-paneled walls and kitschy nautical bric-a-brac make it clear that Kelly’s isn’t going to try to impress you with its modern styling, but the quality and pricing of the food and waterfront views more than make up for any such shortcomings.
On the other hand, the hyperstylized and hyperstylish USS Nemo (3745 N. Tamiami Tr., 239/261-6366, lunch 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. Mon.–Fri., dinner 5–9:30 p.m. daily, main courses from $18) prides itself on delivering an exceptional atmospheric experience that, with blue-tinted windows covered by porthole-like contraptions and a bar that looks like a submarine galley, is intended to make you feel as if you’re underwater. Thankfully, the food lives up to the decor, with a focus on super-fresh preparations that are highly influenced by an Asian fusion approach. Sampler platters come in bento box–type plates, and appetizers include tuna tataki salad and shrimp tempura.
The Yabba Island Grill (711 S. 5th Ave., 239/262-5787, 5–10 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 5–11 p.m. Fri.–Sat., main courses from $16) combines fresh and inventive seafood dishes prepared with a modern flair with a casual, beachside-bar vibe. Occasionally the delicate plating and exotic cocktail concoctions are a bit too cute, but the Yabba is far from pretentious and manages to be mellow and fun while serving up excellent individual dishes.
The national upscale seafood chain Trulucks (698 S. 4th Ave., 239/530-3131, 5–10 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 5–11 p.m. Fri.–Sat., main courses from $31) also has a location in Naples.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition