Growing up in a tourism hotspot like Fort Myers, Florida means you get used to seeing restaurants come and go.
As rewarding and profitable as business can be during the season, not all restaurants have what it takes to make it through year-round in our little slice of paradise, regardless of how amazing their food might be.
Restaurants that do stand the test of time around these parts become like fixtures of the city where you know you can always go for a delicious meal and a wonderful dining experience.
The Veranda is exactly that, and more.
Having been around since 1978, The Veranda is less of a restaurant and more like a historical landmark that stands as a monument to fine dining, with the perfect accent of stylish Southern comfort.
If you’d like to know more about what awaits you here at The Veranda, read on below for a tantalizing glimpse of what our visit was like.
About The Veranda
As I’ve mentioned, The Veranda has been serving the community of Downtown Fort Myers high-end cuisine since 1978, with no signs of slowing down.
When you walk in the restaurant, you’ll immediately notice how cozy and welcoming The Veranda is.
It feels as though you are stepping into someone’s home when you enter, and 100 years ago you would have been.
What we know and love as The Veranda was once two separate homes built in 1902 by a man named Manuel Gonzales where he and his family lived when Fort Myers was still in the early stages of becoming a city.
The history within the walls of The Veranda is as rich as the cuisine coming from the kitchen every night, and it adds a wonderfully charming layer of ambiance that you will not find anywhere else.
Our Review of The Veranda
Per their website’s recommendation, I made a reservation for 8 o’clock on a Saturday night for a table of two.
After handing my keys to the valet, we went inside where we were immediately greeted and escorted to our table.
The elegance of the restaurant is apparent, yet not overstated–perfectly balanced by the warmly-lit atmosphere and vintage photographs decorating the walls.
We were seated near a window which afforded us a beautiful view of the courtyard at night, all lit up under string lights and surrounded by foliage.
By the time we had reached our table, I knew we were in for a treat.
We opted to split a bottle of Robert Hall cabernet sauvignon for starters. It was delightful.
I highly recommend this wine if you like a nice, full-bodied red wine with just the right amount of fruitiness and stunningly smooth tannins.
We decided to kick things off with a couple of appetizers, so we ordered the pan-seared sea scallops and the beef carpaccio for a little bit of surf and turf.
Both appetizers arrived at the table together and in a very timely manner, looking divine.
The scallops were noticeably fresh and perfectly seared with a golden brown crust. I found the lemon beurre blanc to accompany the flavor quite nicely, as well.
The carpaccio was gorgeous and tasted sublime.
The infused olive oil and various herbs present themselves sparingly, just enough to enhance the pure flavor of the tenderloin, while the balsamic drizzle and the Dijon mustard work in tandem, creating a dynamic juxtaposition of incredible tastes.
I found the shaved parmesan to be a bit overly potent in larger portions, so I incorporated it conservatively with every bite to avoid overshadowing the rest of the flavors in the carpaccio.
After two phenomenal dishes like that, my appetite was fully primed for the main course.
For our entrees, we chose the aged USDA Prime New York strip steak cooked medium-rare and the veal piccata. As with the other entrees, they include a house salad with your choice of dressing and freshly baked bread.
The bread arrived at the table first, accompanied by butter and a Southern pepper jelly that I found to be absolutely delicious when spread on the adorable miniature corn muffins.
After a few pieces of bread, our salads arrived, both with vinaigrette dressing.
What makes The Veranda’s house salad unique is that, in true Florida fashion, they add hearts of palm to it.
With the salads finished and nothing left of the bread but crumbs, it was time for our entrees.
Upon first glance, the New York strip had a beautiful sear and the vegetables looked fresh.
The first cut I made in the steak told me two things: it was cooked exactly as I had requested and that the aging process had done its job and produced the intended effect on the meat.
The steak was so unbelievably tender that I probably could have cut it with a spoon, and the flavor was fantastic, just as you would expect from a high-quality NY strip.
As for the sides, the vegetables were also cooked to perfection and the mashed potatoes were outstandingly fluffy.
When I tried the veal picatta, I was enraptured. It’s a simple classic, yet it never fails to impress when prepared correctly, and this one certainly was.
The sides for the veal picatta were the same as the ones that accompanied the steak. Luckily, they were so tasty that we didn’t mind having two servings of each.
Our experience at The Veranda was immaculate. The restaurant truly lives up to its reputation for fine dining and I would recommend anyone to eat here.
The price point at The Veranda is higher than many other restaurants in the area, but the cost pales in comparison with the infallible quality of cuisine and service you receive during your visit; they use nothing but the finest ingredients in every dish and the staff are incredibly attentive to your every need.
The Veranda is a terrific place for a romantic night out or any type of special occasion. It is not uncommon for people to get married here, and for a couple of foodies, I could think of no better place to tie the knot.
Whether you live in Fort Myers or you’re just visiting for a while, The Veranda is a must-visit destination for an unforgettable meal.
I had sky-high expectations for this place when I arrived and each one of them was not only met, but surpassed as the night progressed.
If you haven’t booked yourself a reservation at The Veranda by now, then it’s time to give them a call and fix that. You will not be disappointed.
Want to see what else Fort Myers has to offer? Check out these other top-rated hot spots around town for more great food!
Let us know your thoughts on The Veranda down below in the comments!