South Fort Myers truly has a gem on its hands with the restaurant Crave! Tucked within The Bridge Plaza on College Parkway in South Fort Myers this restaurant truly has the appropriate name, as you will crave their food once you have tried this establishment.
My dinning partner and I have been hearing things about Crave for some time, and finally decided we needed to go and see about this restaurant for ourselves. We arrived for the dinner service, around 6:30 in the evening. While it is a small establishment the first impression of the atmosphere is that you are in an European Bistro, very quaint, warm and welcoming. The only issue we had with Crave was with our arrival to the restaurant. When you walk in you are inside the dining room and you are not sure if you seat yourself or if you need to wait to be seated. So some type of sign would handle this issue, at least it would have for us. With that being said, I can tell you that the rest of our visit to Crave was very nice indeed. Upon arrival, we waited a minute or so before we were greeted by the Hostess. She sat us at our table and indicated that our waitress would be with us shortly. The restaurant was a little less than half full, about 5 of the 12 or so tables. Our waitress showed up right after we were seated, giving us enough time to get settled into our seats and give the restaurant the once over. She showed up with menus (food and beverage) and welcomed us to Crave. The waitress truly made us feel at home, which only added to the overall atmosphere and ambiance. She took our drink order and gave time to look over their menu. Within a couple of minutes our drink order was on our table and the waitress went over their specials. She then gave us a little time to make up our minds. Crave has an extensive menu to select from, seems something for everyone’s palate. Chicken dishes including: Country Fried Chicken Breast and Chicken Pot Pie. Nice selection of beef entrees including: Meatloaf and Pot Roast. Interesting seafood dishes: Cedar Plank Organic Irish Salmon and Shrimp and Grits seafood. And lastly for the vegetarian: Vegetable Wellington and a Crave Vegetable Plate. This is to name a few of their mouth watering dishes. We were impressed with the wide selection available for appetizer, salad and main entrees.
Our waitress returned at the right moment to get our meal order. Both my dining partner and I wanted to sample from each menu area, appetizers, salad and entrée. We started with Crave’s Home Made Chips and French Onion Dip, shared a Caesar Salad and for our entrée order my dining partner ordered the Pan Roasted Chicken Breast which came with Mac & Cheese, Broccoli and Pan Gravy. I ordered Shepherd’s Pie which promised to be topped with Horseradish and Cheddar Potato Crust and I added a side of Asparagus steamed with Hollandaise Sauce. They did have steak specials but we wanted to try things that were different and if offered at other restaurants are usually not adding up to expectation. We wanted to put Crave to the test! It wasn’t long before the Home Made Chips and French Onion Dip were served along with the Caesar Salad. The Home Made Chips and French Onion Dip were truly just that, HOME MADE! They were more addictive than bagged store bought potato chips, but we were not sure if that was because of the Chips or the Dip as both complimented the other fabulously! We are certain that you will not stop at just one! I now believe that there is such thing as a “Gourmet Potato Chip” and not only does Crave have it but they have a “Gourmet French Onion Dip” to go with it! Be sure and try it when you go! Moving on to the Caesar Salad, I felt it was spot on, just the right amount of anchovy taste (not a huge fan of anchovy flavor – so it was perfect for me) but my dining partner felt it could have had just a bit more anchovy flavoring. Really it boiled down to preference. All in all the Caesar Salad was delicious, lettuce nice and crisp, ample amount of sauce and the croutons were not out of a box and if they were, where did you get the box! After devouring our starters, our main course arrived and our eyes truly had a feast before our stomachs did! The food looked absolutely stunning on the plate. You could taste the Chicken as the plate was presented on the table and the Shepherd’s Pie was stunning to look at, just the right amount of toasting of the Potato Topping and the vegetables that were served looked as though Crave has a garden in the back that they picked the items from, color was vibrant, welcoming and was tasted by our eyes before our stomachs had the chance. My dining partner only orders a chicken breast out if they want to put the restaurant to test. Usually they find them dry and tasteless. Well let me tell you, the look on their face after just one bite told me that we have discovered a true gem within Southwest Florida’s Culinary World! The flavoring, spices and juiciness of this item were enough to make my dinner partner definitely want to come back again and again. My Shepherd’s Pie was also something of a feasting marvel. Perfectly cooked, seasoned and yes the Horseradish and Cheddar Potato Crust was savored by myself! Masterfully created, I say created as no other description could do the Shepherd’s Pie justice. Delicious from the first bite to the last! I don’t want to forget our vegetables, Broccoli and Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce, both fresh and the Hollandaise Sauce was definitely homemade and not from any type of pre-mix. And let me say at this point that the portion size of each meal was wonderful! You will not leave hungry! They are ample without being over bearing in size. Nice to see a restaurant deliver a nice amount of food with excellent presentation and flavor! All of our food was masterfully done by someone that truly knows how to put their love and passion for cooking into what they create! Great job done by their Chef!! After enjoying everything we have had so far, it is our normal dinning routine to just get coffee and ask for the check. However, with being so impressed with the food at Crave, we wanted to go one step farther and discover what their dessert menu could bring to our palates! Crave has a small dessert menu, which normally we would shy away from as usually when a restaurant has awesome entrees and provide a small dessert menu it means that you have had what we do best, but if you still have room we have a few store bought items to fill you up the rest of the way. Their menu consists of a Crave Brownie, Warm Bread Pudding, Apple Crisp, Crème Brule, and Banana Pudding. Now I will usually never order Bread Pudding when I am out as I was spoiled growing up with my Grandmother’s Homemade Bread Pudding. Usually I find Bread Pudding out at restaurants just bread in a vanilla pudding mix, not too appetizing. My dining partner loves a good Crème Brule so they could not resist ordering that. The desserts and coffee arrived not too long after we put our order in and by this time the restaurant was more than three quarters full! We both thought that with a quick arrival of the desserts that we would be treated to what we like to call, “dessert disappointment”. A bad dessert after an excellent meal. Well let me tell you, that is just not the case with Crave! Their desserts were just divine. The Bread Pudding would have made my Grandmother smile and the Crème Brule was heavenly! The only thing I would have done differently with the Bread Pudding is, it comes with a Bourbon & Vanilla Sauce with is scrumptious! Rather than swirl the sauce on the plate and put the Bread Pudding over the sauce, I would do it the other way, Bread Pudding on the plate and heap that to die for sauce over the Bread Pudding! But even as served was delicious!
Now that the meal is over, the aspect that everyone wants to know, what about their prices! They are right in line with other eatery’s in town that offer the atmosphere, service and great food. On the average you will be looking at a per person rate of $25 to $35. Definitely not bad for food of this caliber. With all that we ordered and ate out bill was under $70 including the tip. While we did not have any alcohol, it would not have added that much more to our bill if we each would have had a drink before dinner. Their prices are very reasonable, again for the absolute quality of the food you receive.
Crave is definitely a place you want to try, as once you do, you will most definitely crave what Crave is serving!! We both heartily recommend Crave to even the most discerning dinner, as we know Crave will win you over with your first bite of your appetizer!
Check them out and be sure to visit them, as they truly do have what you are craving……..great atmosphere, good service, good pricing and excellent food! Crave is what you’re craving!!!!
When you do visit Crave, let them know that you heard about them from What’s Up Southwest Florida!