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Best of JLB: Five places Cupid would approve

Feb. 5, 2013
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Strip House is located in the Naples Grande Resort. / The News-Press file photo

I don’t like eating out on Valentine’s Day (too crazy), but I do like a romantic meal.

• Angelina’s Ristorante (24041 S. Tamiami Trail, Bonita Springs; 390-3187; Call to reserve one of Angelina’s curtained booths complete with sparkling chandliers and chenille cushions. If you can’t get one, don’t fret. Chef Greg Scarlatos’ food is great anywhere.

• Ariani Ristorante Italiano (1529 SE 15th Terrace, Cape Coral; 772-8000; The dining room is dark, the murals on the walls are of the chef’s hometown on the Istrian Peninsula, and the food is scratch-made with passion.

• The Strip House (475 Seagate Dr., Naples; 598-9600; When the walls are flocked in red velvet and lined with pictures of 1920s burlesque performers, you’re in for a good night. Throw in serious steaks and potatoes simmered in goose fat and the good only compounds.

• Thistle Lodge (2255 West Gulf Drive, Sanibel; 472-9200; With waves crashing onto the white-sand beach out front, food can seem secondary. Not that mojito-glazed grouper should ever be secondary.

• The Veranda Restaurant (2122 Second St., Fort Myers; 332-2065; Built by one of the town’s first residents, The Veranda oozes local charm. Dine in the quaint courtyard with its gurgling ponds, or inside the old homes where bow-tied servers take Southern hospitality to another level.

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