Most of us here in Fort Myers, Naples, and in general, Southwest Florida, are all from somewhere else. I moved here from Ohio 18 years ago and I guess I consider myself to be ‘from here’. So,  don’t think you need to be “FloGrown” to be a local. I do think you need to fully experience everything in town before you be considered local, however. So we took to Reddit to see what other Fort Myers resident think of the criteria needed to be a local.

According to Ok_Acanthocephala914 one thing you need to experience in this town to be a local is a hurricane. Well, with Hurricane Ian hitting last year, a lot of people can now check that box. I was at a St. John Neumann football game when Hurricane Katrina passed over Florida. Was without power after Wilma for 2 weeks +. Irma destroyed my roof. I can check that box several times.

Another Redditor, Apexblackout7, thinks you need to be here 20 years before you’re really a local. That’s a nice round number. But since going out to eat is such an integral part of Southwest Florida let’s take a different route. So I asked Reddit.

What’s One Restaurant Every Fort Myers Resident Needs To Try To Call Themselves a Local?

Sadly, last year’s hurricane wrecked some of our favorites. COVID took some, too. Remember Island Cow? That was amazing. And then there’s others that only long time residents remember.  Neon_1984 reminded us of Downtown Fort Myer’s French Connection that closed back in 2016. Others are coming back. Bubble Room’s restaurant is closed but has plans to reopen early next year.

But there’s still a lot of great places out there. So if you’re a permanent resident of Lee County, these are the restaurants that you have to try at least once. I’ve been to some of these so often I’ve lost count. Here’s the 11 that Reddit considers a must.

  • Cibo

    Family owned Italian restaurant on McGregor in Fort Myers. They’ve been there about 20 years so if you haven’t been, you need to.

  • Taqueria San Julian

    Taqueria San Julian - Fort Myers, FL

    Delivery & Pickup Options - 470 reviews of Taqueria San Julian "If you want really good tacos and ceviche this place is yummy. It is big with the Mexican locals and the food is fresh! Really cheap too. My hubby would have ordered more ceviche except that the tacos and chimmichanga were tastey and filling.

    Authentic tacos. It’s as real as you can get. If it’s your first time and you’re unsure, go with the Al pastor.

  • The Mucky Duck

    One of our staff members took this lovely photo last night, and we wanted to share. The weather has been so perfect the last couple of days! 🏝️ 🌅 🦆

    Posted by The Mucky Duck Restaurant on Wednesday, April 19, 2023

    This gem on Captiva was closed for a bit after the hurricane but is back now. A beachfront English Pub. An absolute must visit. Lee County is doing a thing right now where there’s no bridge tolls on Sunday so that might be the thing to do.

  • Haneys Cafe

    Haney’s Cafe is in San Carlos Park and has been open since 1995. This is my parent’s favorite spot when they come to visit. My dad doesn’t ask about going to the beach. My dad wants to know when we’re going to Haney’s.

  • Farmers Market Restaurant

    Farmer's Market Restaurant - Best Southern Food in Southwest Florida

    Farmers Market Restaurant is the longest operating restaurant in Lee County serving he finest southern food you have ever tasted using recipes passed down generations.

    Southern food located on Edison Avenue. This place has been there since the 1960’s. You want some old Florida? This is the place.

  • Osaka Japanese Steak House

    Many people have remarked that this is the best sushi they’ve ever had.

  • The Dixie Fish Co.

    Where to start...?

    Posted by Dixie Fish Co. on Monday, August 14, 2023

    The hurricane really battered this place. Even left a boat at their front door. But Dixie Fish Co. is back. 100% worth the trip to Fort Myers Beach.

  • Lobster Lady Seafood Market & Bistro

    This weeks specials!!! Come on down and taste the flavors of the Lobster Lady!!!

    Posted by Lobster Lady Seafood Market & Bistro on Monday, December 13, 2021

    Don’t miss out on this absolute gem in Cape Coral. Even when we talk about other lobster places, we end up talking about Lobster Lady.

  • Bimini Bait Shack

    Sip on a refreshing daiquiri, feel the ocean breeze in your hair, and immerse yourself in our unique tropical vibe at...

    Posted by Bimini Bait Shack on Saturday, August 12, 2023

    Live music and that aquarium bar. I was worried about this place after the hurricane but they are back and better than ever.

  • Skip One Seafoods

    Many snowbirds make this their first stop off the plane. Some of the best fried fish you’ll ever have.

  • Nevermind Awesome Bar & Eatery

    This Wednesday August 16th please come join us to remember Shannon the way he would want us to-with food, friends, and...

    Posted by Nevermind Awesome Bar & Eatery on Monday, August 14, 2023

    Shannon was amazing and everything on the menu is a tribute to him. If you’re going to be in Cape Coral, this place is a must. 

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