Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Dock at Crayton Cove - a Tropical Taste of old Naples Florida


The Dock at Crayton Cove is a seafood restaurant located on the Fishing Pier in Naples, Florida that advertises a laid-back attitude with bay views and great food. They like to think of themselves as a little piece of Naples’ history. They’ve been there for more than 30 years, and for a lot of locals and visitors too, they’re practically part of the family.


For us that is really true. A trip to Naples always includes lunch at the Dock. We’ve been dining at the Dock in Naples since the seventies when Meakin’s mother retired to nearby Marco Island.


A little history of the area - The Naples Fishing Pier was originally built as a freight and passenger dock in 1888. In the 1920’s the area was known as “The Back Bay” because it provided the town’s first sheltered moorage. It became the community center for the year-around pioneers who were building the Tamiami Trail, creating a fishing industry, and laying the foundation for Naples. Renamed “Crayton Cove” in 1936, it remains an integral part of  Naples’ social and business life while providing a rare glimpse into the town’s earliest days.

The Dock is an open-air restaurant overlooking Naples Bay. You can come by car or boat.


Seafood has been a three-decade love affair at the restaurant where, according to their menu, they offer "seasonally superior fin-fish, shellfish and crustaceans energized with tropical flavors. The preparation reflects the area’s cultural history of the Caribbean and Latin cuisines." In our opinion, it's some of the best seafood in southwest Florida.

On our most recent visit I had the porcupine grouper with mango Thai chili sauce and pineapple salsa that was not only crispy and delicious, but also very colorful as you can see.


Meakin can never resist calamari, so he chose the flash fried calamari “Ropa Vieja” with a spicy red sauce and a drizzle of secret sauce. His favorite way to start his meal is with a wonderful bowl with steaming clam chowder. The Dock's chowder was chock full of clams and had a very nice consistency, not too much of a flourly taste as some inferior chowders are inclined to have.


Meakin’s mother’s favorite item was always the Dock hotdog, a foot long affair with all of the trimmings. I can still hear her saying, “Tell 'em to burn it.” Many times since her death we’ve ordered the hotdog in her memory, which is no longer on the menu. You almost have to be a local to know about it. Last time I ordered the hotdog, an older gentleman at a table near us (who was very snappy dresser in his starched shirt and bow tie) nodded and winked as his sign of approval when he saw the waitress serve my hotdog.


We recommended The Dock to our friend Larry of Big Dude’s Eclectic Ramblings when he was in the area last fall. He ordered the seafood tower which included 6 raw oysters and clams, 12 steamed mussels, 6 boiled shrimp and half a snow crab, plus 3 sauces and lots of napkins. To quote Larry, “I enjoyed every bite and while it looked like a lot to eat, about 75 percent of it was still on the tower when I finished and I was pleasantly full. The waitress said she’d served several sea food towers as a table-wide appetizer, but never to a person as a meal. She can count on her second time when I come down next year.”

We never leave Napes without a stroll down the glamorous and ritzy shops on Fifth Avenue South, one of the nation’s premier shopping districts. One of my favorite stops is Cleopatra’s Barge.

This fine jewelry shop has been in business for 44 years and owner & designer Marilyn Janss is one talented lady. She was trained by two premier jewelers, one of whom designed and manufactured jewelry for Cartier, Tiffany & Co., and Van Cleef & Arpel. I have an “I Love You” gold charm that was designed by Marilyn for Meakin’s mother as a gift from her husband and every time I wear it I can count on getting compliments.


Among the many other unique creations at Cleopatra's Barge, Marilyn has designed a lovely Naples Medallion in 14k yellow gold or sterling silver to celebrate the Naples Fishing Pier, where we just dined. Don’t leave Naples without a stop at Cleopatra's Barge.



Cheers and good-bye from Naples, Florida and The Dock at Crayton Cove where locals and visitors alike have been enjoying consistently excellent seafood, tasty salads and sandwiches, tempting beef, poultry and pasta dishes in a casual, laid back setting for over 30 years. In a town full of jewelry stores catering to the wealthy and elite, Cleopatra's Barge is the insider's favorite (sorry Tiffany).

The opinions in this post are solely my own and I was not compensated in any way. I will be linking this to Miz Helen’s Country Cottage Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum.

39 comments:

  1. What a great place! The food looks fantastic.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Oh, how I wish I were there enjoying a big plate of fresh seafood. It all sounds so good and looks delicious.

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  3. Grouper is definitely reminds me of Florida. It has been years since I visited so will live vivaciously through you Sam.

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  4. If I ever get to Naples, I know where to go! Lovely tour. Your description of the Dock sure made me understand why it's a favorite. Familiar, friendly and that seafood! (I never saw calamari so elegantly presented!)

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  5. We need to make a visit to Naples soon after reading your post!
    The porcupine grouper with that sauce and pineapple salsa looks amazing!
    Loved reading your post and look forward to following you.

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  6. I could use a visit to Florida right about now.

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  7. That porcupine grouper looks FANTASTIC! What a clever, colorful dish. :)

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  8. Well, you know you are in my old stomping grounds! We love the Dock. Did you know that Riverwalk in Tin City is owned by the same people?

    I used to work for the Naples Daily News selling advertising and 5th Ave and 3rd Street were my territories. Marilyn was one of my customers!

    Now I am homesick :-)

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  9. Well now, doesn't that look like a desirable dining location as I'm looking out my window with 20 some inches of snow on the ground. :) I love that plate of grouper, that's what I would have ordered. Interesting that they called the calamari "ropa". I've made a ropa vieja" that was beef and capers. I think the ropa meant that the beef was shredded into "rope" type pieces. I'll have to do some research, now I'm curious.

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  10. We had our first dusting of snow last night - boy, would I like to be in Old Naples right now. The seafood dishes all look extraordinary, but I too would want to sample the Dock Hotdog!

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  11. I love all sea food so this would be a good place for me to go to. It sounds fantastic. That gold charm is very unusual, lovely. Take care Diane

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  12. Looks like fun, you two. (as I sit at Goodyear waiting for car repairs on a cold Michigan day) I'm not jealous or anything!!

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  13. I've noted the restaurant in my address book in the hopes that we will, one day, get to Naples. My sister lives in Leesburg (about 25 miles from Orlando) and, now that the children are no longer small and loving all things Disney, we do branch out when we visit.

    Love the photo of the two of you looking completed sated with delicious seafood.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  14. Naples is sure looking good from here; were are in a deep freeze. You and the Mr look great. Would love a taste of that grouper. Enjoy!
    Rita

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  15. A relaxing place to enjoy a meal! Love the grouper with Thai flavour.

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  16. Fantastic place Sam...and I love how the porcupine grouper looks...
    Thanks for sharing Florida Naples and hope you are having a wonderful week :)

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  17. One of these days we need to get to your side of the State. Great post Sam.

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  18. Great shot of you guys at the dock and thanks for the mention. I will indeed have the tower next time just as you should have this time :-). Looks like you are having really nice weather and thanks for the history lession.

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  19. What a colorful and lovely place (not to mention warm!). I am salivating looking at your luncheon choices. What a nice photo of you and your hubby! Cheers :)

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  20. The west coast of Florida is such a pretty part of the state...

    I love the hot dog..."Burn it" Love it. That's a great memory.

    Cheers to good food, good times and good memories.

    Velva

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  21. Thank you for the tour. I love that charm, it's so beautiful!

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  22. Homesick for Florida seafood . . .

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  23. Lovely post, Sam. I adore Naples and have eaten at The Dock. Love it, the ambiance and the food. And the shopping in Naples is such fun, although a few of my favorite stores have gone out of business. There are some nice places for dinner here too. We go to the Antique show nearly every year. (I'm thinking they didn't have it last year, because we didn't go. Probably the economy.)
    Great photo of you and Meakin!

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  24. For years when my kids were growing up, I had so many family members at Marco Island and never could get down to see them. Now you have me wishing and hoping. That calamari would be my first choice. That charm - is just so sweet and elegant!

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  25. Hi Sam,
    This is such a fun afternoon on The Dock AT Crayton Cove, I just love little special places like this. Your lunch looks wonderful with that Chili Sauce and the Grouper. Thanks for taking us with you! Hope you have a fabulous week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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  26. I'm looking at snow falling through my windows...and Naples sounds extremely appealing :) Looks like great spot for dinner...and I know I've been in that upscale shopping area, but needed your guidance to get Cleopatra's Barge! Have a great weekend~

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  27. You just made me feel old...the first time I went to Naples, the Dock had only been open for a year (I didn't go to The Dock, but just the thought.).

    Glad you are enjoying the warm weather down there.

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  28. looks like a great place love you guys

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  29. It sounds like a great place for seafood lovers to meet and eat. I love open air restaurants and know I would enjoy this spot. I hope you are enjoying all that warm weather. I bring balance to the universe with damp and cold :-). Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  30. Thanks for sharing this little piece of lovely Florida with us! The sea food restaurant sounds so lovely & the food looks fab! Very tasty too! :)

    Oh, I miss Summer so much with all of that lovely sunshine! :)

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  31. What a gorgeous spot! wonderful friends, food and weather!
    mary x

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  32. You make me want to jump in an airplane and fly to Florida. Right now.

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  33. What a lovely spot. The restaurant sounds delicious. I'm with your husband - I love a good cup of clam chowder to start my meal. :)

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  34. What a charming spot! I love restaurants you can drive your boat to, and the food here looks spectacular! Glad you enjoyed your visit, and thanks for sharing!

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  35. This is such a delightful post, Sam. I would love to explore more of western Florida, and the Naples area in the future. I would definitely add The Dock Restaurant and Cleopatra's Barge to my list of places to visit. The food looks so fresh and delicious, and your mother-in-law's pin is exquisite.

    PS: I had to smile as your Food Buzz ad when I came to your blog stated: "Get the latest in hair trends." How apropo for my topic today! :)

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  36. I had so much fun reading this post. It was definitely a flash from the past for me, and I can't wait to show it to my husband. He loved the clam chowder there, too.

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  37. You have so many great memories affiliated with Naples. How neat that you still order hotdogs. I've never had a hotdog burned, but I imagine that I would prefer them a bit charred. Also, that seafood tower sounds delicious. I'd order one just for myself too.

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  38. Dear Sam, Looks like good food and good fun. Blessings my dear, Catherine xo

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Sam