Seafood restaurants are abundant in southwest Florida, but casting your net for a quality steakhouse produces fewer choices. Yet cattle ranching began in Florida. In 1521, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon introduced the first cattle to the New World in what would eventually become Florida. It's something to contemplate the next time you enjoy beef.
Cattle ranching in Florida is mostly a cow-calf business in which calves are shipped out of state to grow up where feed corn, grains and grass are plentiful, such as in the Midwest. Consequently, Florida beef makes a round trip to reach restaurants throughout the state.
Nevertheless, there are many fine steakhouses in the Lee County metro area stretching south from Fort Myers and Cape Coral through Estero, Estero Island and Bonita Springs.
Where's the Beef in Lee County
When a primal urge for beef strikes, but you don't feel like grilling at home, it's time to dine out. If you want to combine dinner with a trip to the beach, an Internet search will lead you to steakhouses on the long, narrow barrier island of Estero. The name is Spanish for estuary, a waterway where fresh and salt water mix. An estuary separates the mainland city of Estero from the island.
The mainland is home to steakhouses presenting a zesty cultural twist as well as a trail of steakhouses traveling along Interstate 75.
Dining on Estero Island
One of the favorite things to do in southwest Florida is to visit Estero Island, which includes the city of Fort Myers Beach. Two Estero restaurants serving featuring steak are:
Charley's Boat House Grill 6241 Estero Boulevard, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931 (239) 765-4700 Braveheart black Angus beef is wet aged for up to six weeks and hand cut at the restaurant.
South Beach Grill 7205 Estero Boulevard, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931 (239) 463-4700 Merlot demi-glace is drizzled over the filet mignon, which comes with roasted garlic mashed potatoes.
Discovering Cultural Flavor
Florida steakhouses reflect the state's mélange of cultures from Asia to Brazil.
El Gaucho Inca 4383 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers FL 33966 (239) 275-7504 Try fried plantains with your Argentinian grilled steak and chimichurri sauce.
Rodizio Grill 8017 Plaza del Lago Drive #101, Estero, FL 33928 (239) 498-0018 Many kinds of rotisserie grilled steak are available along with Brazilian side dishes, including cheese bread made with yucca flour.
Traveling the I-75 Steakhouse Trail
If you live at one of our apartment communities -- Springs at Gulf Coast or Springs at Six Mile Cyprus -- you are conveniently located to dine at steak restaurants in Fort Myers and Estero and beyond. From north to south along I-75, here are four of many favorites.
Texas Roadhouse Colonial Square, 8021 Dani Drive, Fort Myers, FL 33966 (239) 561-7427 Try the filet medallions topped with peppercorn sauce.
Beef O'Brady's 20301 Grande Oak Blvd #108, Estero, FL 33928 (239) 949-4423 This family-friendly restaurant offers steak nachos and steak quesadillas.
Connor's Steak & Seafood 10076 Gulf Center Drive, Fort Myers, FL 33913 (239) 267-2677 Connor's serves its filet with homemade Boursin and crispy onions.
Ruth's Chris Steak House 23151 Village Shops Way #101, Bonita Springs, FL 33928 (239) 948-8888 Hungry? They serve a 24-ounce T-bone.
Manhattan Steakhouse 24940 South Tamiami Trail, Bonita Springs, FL 34134 (239) 676-8687 From "cowboy" rib eye to Porterhouse cuts, enjoy a steak dinner in elegant surroundings.
So, if you need a break from seafood, remember that wherever you live in the Fort Myers metro area, a good steak dinner isn't far away.