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Good eats.

North Captiva offers four restaurants and we sampled three of them on our trip. Who doesn't want yummy chow on a vacation? On our first night we visited Barnacle's (formerly Barnacle Phil's, 239-472-1200, www.barnaclesislandresort.com), owned by Deb and Charles Skinner. Residents for 20 years, they acquired Barnacle's four years ago and have turned it into a very popular establishment.

A wall in the restaurant is covered with signed dollar bills, which total about $3,000 per year and are donated to conservation causes. Tiki huts constructed by Seminole Indians provide outside dining ambiance. Activities are often sponsored such as Ping Pong, volleyball, cornhole, live music and a monthly art show. Barnacle's operates a chic gift shop and boutique, and sponsors the annual "Fish 36" tournament in early October organized by Jim Griffiths.

We raved about entrees such as the Red Tide Tacos, Shrimp and Clam baskets (jumbo clams--largest we've ever seen) and Nautical Mile, the latter a composition offish, shrimp and scallops. Barnacle's was our favorite dining experience and the Skinners very amiable hosts to all present.

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Dinner the following night didn't disappoint either. We enjoyed wonderful cooking by Chef Krista Sabella at The Boathouse Restaurant (239-283-3630, www.northcaptiva.com) at the North Captiva Island Club. Dishes of chicken marsala, coconut shrimp, sesame crusted ahi tuna and the ribeye steak were scrumptious with a buffalo chicken beach bread appetizer that we still talk about--flat bread topped with mild buffalo chicken dip with chopped bacon, onion and drizzled with ranch dressing.

Last but not least, we lunched one day at Mango's Cafe and Grill (239-395-1001, www.northcaptiva. com) also at the North Captiva Island Club. While waiting for our food to arrive, we watched manatees lazing in the marina. Mango's has a great pool bar--taste one of the Arctic Grapeberry Snowcone cocktails. The foodie items we chose were delicious: blue crab burrito, Mango's burger, island club and a spectacular ahi tuna with seaweed salad.

Mango's also provides a general store for snacks, beer, condiments, medications and whatever else you may have forgotten to bring.

We didn't get a chance to dine at the Over the Waterfront Restaurant at the Safety Harbor Club, but heard great things about the food quality served up by Chef Dave.

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--D.K.

With Photos by Kelly S. Kelly

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Author:Kelly, Doug
Publication:Florida Sportsman
Date:May 1, 2016
Words:388
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