Marker 8.5 in Goodland, FL is exactly what you look for in an off the beaten path gem. It has a small fishing town feel, a great atmosphere, and great food to match. The chef brings in fresh fish caught daily from the Florida Keys which makes all the difference in the world. Under new ownership, the restaurant is doing their best to draw in the tarpon as well, by discarding filleted carcasses under their docks. The hope to bring in resident tarpon much like Robbie's in Islamorada, Fl.
With there being so few beach front places to eat in Bonita Springs, Doc's Beach House is always worthy of a mention if for no other reason than for it's magnificent view of sunset. The bar upstairs serves beer and wine, and there is beach front seating as well. The restaurant is cash only, and you'd better believe that the on site ATM has outrageous fees. This won't stop me from snagging a spot upstairs by the window an hour before sunset, ordering a pizza, and enjoying a good pizza and a pitcher of beer with good friends.
While every town along 41 from Marco Island to the Caloosahatchee River seems to be in a race to modernize and clone housing communities, the Downtown Bonita Springs seems to stand no chance at winning--and they are just fine with it. Me too. Downtown Bonita Springs is more reminiscent of an old fishing village than any of its neighbors to the north or south. No place encompasses that feel better than a small cafe converted from an old Florida cottage with a wrap around deck, The Survey Cafe.