Of many things I am grateful to my father for, high on the list is his appreciation of good restaurants. Since my late mother, who worked part-time, had only five recipes in her repertoire, most requiring Lipton Onion Soup Mix or chicken a la Shake ‘N Bake, we ate out many nights.
While I was always allowed to invite friends to join us, no one ever wanted to eat at Casa Biederman, yet everyone wanted to go out with our family.
My workaholic daddy made me a foodie. From Rustler Steakhouse, a cafeteria-style chain near my ballet class in Hillsdale, New Jersey, to the Russian Tea Room in Midtown Manhattan, there was always something delicious — as long as we went out.
Nowadays, I can’t always remember what I’m looking for in the kitchen, but if “Jeopardy!” ever creates a category on 1970s restaurants in northeastern New Jersey, I’d bet it all during the Daily Double. Sunday brunch buffets at Forum Diner in Paramus or Pearl River’s then-new Marriott. Saturday nights depended on the movie theater: Hackensack’s Ichiban for sushi and sashimi. Westwood meant the Iron Horse, where I ordered shrimp scampi every visit.
The most memorable part of our jaunts: spending time with dad while he was in relaxation mode.
If you’re feeling flummoxed about making Father’s Day reservations for June 19, freight not. We curated some best bets from endless possibilities in Naples and Marco Island, divvied by category then alphabetically.
Whether TV or tees, busy dad’s limited free time is planned to the minute on his day when he doesn’t want to spend more than an hour on any meal. Grant him his freedom at these “time is money” budget-friendly options.
Pelican Bend: An Isles of Capri casual waterfront lunch spot where fish is a specialty. (219 Capri Blvd., Naples; 239-394-3452; pelicanbendinc.com)
The Rs Diner: I would start every morning at The Rs with an omelet and side of pancakes if it was closer to my house. Great sausage gravity too. (Two Naples locations: 11518 Tamiami Trail E.; 239-732-6614; visit Facebook and 11985 Collier Blvd.; 239-529-5806; visit facebook)
Skillets: It’s hard to decide among so many options, mostly priced under $13. (Multiple locations: skilletsrestaurants.com)
Stonewalls: Marco’s best option near public access to South Beach. Pre-pay your order at the counter; they bring it to your table. (551 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island; 239-389-1995; marcostonewalls.com)
Taqueria San Julian: Best with a small group because you’ll want to try everyone’s order. (3575 Bayshore Drive, Naples; 239-775-6480; visit Facebook)
If dad’s a curious culinarian, these restaurants should pique his interest and palate but not his wallet.
Fusion Bowlz Napoli: Sushi including ceviche? Yes and it’s fantastic. (7700 Trail Blvd., North Naples; 239-431-6352; fusion-bowlz-naples.business.site)
KC American Bistro: Chef Keith Casey is serving up prime rib on his three-course $44 prix fixe menu. (885 Vanderbilt Beach Road, North Naples; 239-566-2371; kcamericanbistro.com)
Oaxaquena: I can’t pronounce it or say enough good things about this authentic Mexican restaurant. Discover what the fuss is about and use the secret parking lot in back. (2795 Davis Blvd., Naples; 239-732-7565; visit Facebook)
The Indya: Feed dad like a maharaja at this fabulous restaurant. (975 Pine Ridge Road, North Naples; 239-591-5156; leindya.com)
The Local: Dad scores a free Florida craft brew with his entree. (5323 Airport-Pulling Road, North Naples; 239-596-3276; thelocalnaples.com)
Mango’s Dockside Bistro: Its Esplanade location makes every meal celebratory. The sushi boat is not to be missed. (760 N. Collier Blvd., Marco Island; 239-393-2433; mangosdocksidebistro.com)
More:First-date restaurants: a Matchmaker’s guide to Southwest Florida’s date-night dining spots
And:Stress-free dining out? Welcome to summertime in Southwest Florida
This dad craves good design and terrific food for upping his restaurant game.
Jane’s Cafe on 3rd: This organic cafe is the first restaurant I visited a year before moving to Naples. It remains a favorite brunch. (1209 Third St. S., Naples; 239-261-2253; janesgardencafe.com)
Oasis the Kitchen Lounge: Carnivorous dad will love terrific steaks prepared as salads, sandwiches and mains. Save room for dessert. (5072 Annunciation Circle, Ave Maria; 239-658-5938; oasiskitchenlounge.com)
The Oyster Society: TripAdvisor’s top Marco restaurant is beautiful with food to match. (599 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island; 239-394-3474; theoystersociety.com)
Seventh South Craft Food + Drink: Consistently excellent comfort food where short ribs and shells would possibly be my death row meal. (849 Seventh Ave. S., Naples; 239-231-4553; seventhsouth.com)
TrueFood: My favorite pizza (sausage-fennel) and to-die-for edamame dumplings are found at this healthy spot. It’s also good for groups. (5375 Tamiami Trail N. at Waterside Shops, North Naples; 239-431-4580; truefoodkitchen.com)
Ziggy D’Amico’s: Gorgeous, dog- and group-friendly with powerful craft cocktails. (4691 Ninth St. N., Naples; 239-430-0955; ziggydamicos.com)
For dads who don’t mind a delicious splurge.
Chops City Grill: “The Classics” four-course tasting menu pays homage to traditional steakhouse specialties. The entire table is required to participate with no substitutions; $145 per person with optional $125 wine pairings. (Two locations: 837 Fifth Ave. S., Naples; 239-262-4677; chopscitygrill.com and 8200 Health Park Blvd., Bonita Springs; 239-992-4677; chopsbonita.com)
Hyde N Chic: Caviar bumps and bottomless Champagne? Bougie and foodie dads will love it but need to pony up $150 for the city’s most unique food experience. (923 Creech Road, Naples; 239-302-5828; hydenchicrestaurant.com)
More:Naples restaurants: Hyde N Chic has everyone talking, and it’s worth the hype — JLB review
And:The Michelin Guide showers stars on Florida, just not Naples or Fort Myers
sails: Brunch will set you back $164 per person (kids too) but includes tax, tip, unlimited courses, bubbles and booze within a two-hour seating. (301 Fifth Ave. S., Naples; 239-360-2000; sailsrestaurants.com)
Truluck’s: Tenderloin medallions with “Maine Lobster Oscar” and smoked salmon is the $125 special of the day. (698 Fourth Ave. S., Naples; 239-530-3131; trulucks.com)
Diana Biederman is the food and restaurant writer for Naples Daily News. Please subscribe to read her stories and reviews. Connect via email@example.com.