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Sweet Melissa's Cafe
Sweet Melissa's Cafe

Sweet Melissa's Cafe Details

  • Dining Style: Fine Dining
  • Website: http://www.sweetmelissascafe.net
  • Phone: (239) 472-1956
  • Hours of Operation: Dinner: Tuesday - Saturday 5pm Closed Sunday
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Contemporary American, Tapas / Small Plates
  • Executive Chef: Melissa Talmage
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Counter Seating, Entertainment, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Entertainment: Acoustic Guitarist Wednesday Thursday Friday and Saturday Evenings

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Casa Ybel
  • Parking: Private Lot
A word from Sweet Melissa's Cafe
Executive Chef Melissa Talmage offers a divinely creative menu sure to fit any foodies dream. Serving lunch and dinner, Chef Melissa challenges your taste buds to explore an array of different textures and tastes. Our dinner menu is broken into sections and the entrees are offered in half portions to give you the ability to try a few different dishes in one visit. We also offer an extensive wine list to enhance your dining experience. Come join us for another side to island dining.Continued
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
Diner Reviews
  • "Just not quite great. Appetizers were outstanding (beet salad, steak tartare), main courses ranged from great to acceptable, dessert (banana strudel) to die for. Nice, reasonable Chardonnay. The renowned fish stew was in a thick tomato base rather than a fish broth, which was a surprise and a disappointment. The mushroom risotto under the guinea fowl was amazing, while the bird was good, but largely reminiscent of well prepared chicken (tender with crispy skin). We'll be back, but read the menu more carefully."
    Dined on 7/15/2014
  • "My husband and I stay on Captiva Island and always make the trip to Sweet Melissa's Cafe in Sanibel. The food is always excellent! Forget all those over rated and over advertised restaurants on Sanibel & Captiva Island, and go to Sweet Melissa's Cafe for the ultimate dining experience!"
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "Most enjoyable. Decided to dine only appetizers and was rewarded by well-seasoned and creative dishes. Very nice and helpful staff who provided prompt and cheerful service."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "Fish stew, Beef Tenderloin and Cobia awesome. Try anything on menu and you won't be disappointed."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "Best restaurant in Sanibel - hands down! Every dish perfectly prepared and presented. Interesting and very special food. One of my three all time favorite restaurants!!!!"
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "23rd anniversary for me and my wife - took a night to leave the family and celebrate our special day. Food, service, ambiance - all great.. Highly recommended. Fish stew is highly recommended."
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "Chef Melissa continues to tantalize the taste buds with great preparations and even better execution. The asparagus appetizer is amazing and the scallops were perfect. It will be one of my stops on the Island going forward"
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "We are from Orlando and celebrated our anniversary several years ago at Sweet Melissa's, so this year as we made our plans to celebrate our anniversary at Sanibel, we knew Sweet Melissa's was the perfect place for us. The food is exceptional. Bill tried the Fish Stew and stated that was the best meal he had ever had. We have already recommended Sweet Melissa's to friends in Fort Myers and know that we will return whenever we are in the area."
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "We have been to Sweet Melissa's before which brought us back again--previously the food, ambiance and service was what we talked about when we left. This time only two of the three were positive….our service was less than good….way less. Our server was disinterested in us……he apparently did not understand one of the guest's request and blamed it on the guest (very rude!)………he was aware that one of the guest's was there for a birthday celebration but as we did not order desserts no mention was made….we had called in about the birthday and also the hostess reconfirmed the same. Overall the experience was very nice except I would hope that we would not have as our server the next time."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Melissa is one of the most innovative and personally involved chefs we have encountered, on Sanibel or anywhere. We especially appreciated that each dish was cooked from scratch with fresh and local ingredients. We loved the ambience for dinner, and our waitress was so pleasant and knowledgeable. Our seafood meals, with excellent sauces and vegetables, were truly delicious - fantastic! - and we can't wait to go back."
    Dined on 6/19/2014
  • "My wife and I had our first anniversary dinner at Sweet Melissa's. The wine list was wonderful but the pour was terrible. Three sips and its done. The ambiance was best on Sanibel and service was professional. Started with Mussels and they were the best I have had in years. BUT my wife's medium rare steak was well done and my "small plate" scallops had only two (2) scallops on the plate. For $17 are you kidding me? We may come back for a glass and wine and the mussels but for diner no way."
    Dined on 6/11/2014
  • "There is good food, there is great food, and then are dishes that have been created by a true artist that uses flavors as their medium. Melissa works at the latter level. A little pricey at first glance at the menu, but that feeling disappears at first bite. This was our first visit to Sanibel, but not our last, and Sweet Melissa is one of a few places on our ' must go back again' list."
    Dined on 6/6/2014
  • "Located on Sanibel Island. The food and flavors were out of this world!! Great menu!"
    Dined on 6/6/2014
  • "Had great time with wife, daughter son-in-law and granddaughter. Fine food and "great" service from waiter Paul! We go to Sweet's whenever we visit Sanibel!"
    Dined on 6/6/2014
  • "So we stopped in to Sweet Melissa's for late lunch. The restaurant was quiet as it was about 30 minutes before close. (Lunch is 11:00 - 2:30) Our server was attentive and the atmosphere was clean, relaxed and classy. The crab cake sandwich was outstanding - a large crab cake, fresh, flavorful and light. The homemade chips were great too. My dining partner had the beet salad with grilled shrimp. It was so good she didn't share! Our cocktails were well made and a good size for the spend. The fresh bread on the table was a bonus - very delicious! We split the key lime parfait for dessert and it was the "cherry on top" of a wonderful lunch. If you are in Sanibel, go to Sweet Melissa's!"
    Dined on 6/6/2014
  • "Excellent food & service. We were there for dinner. There was a guitarist playing at an appropriate noise level. Already recommended it to others."
    Dined on 5/29/2014
  • "Inventive food, including a nice selection of local fish and food, good wine and cocktail list, professional and friendly waiter with great homemade ice cream for dessert! Nice bar are, outdoor dining."
    Dined on 5/26/2014
  • "My wife and I were somewhat disappointed with the tamale appetizer because it was so dry tasting. Following that we were each served a hanger steak that was tough as shoe leather, a blob of sautéed spinach and nearly cold French fries. The steak was so tough we couldn’t cut it with our steak knives. We advised our waiter of the toughness of the steaks, and after consultation with the manager, we were offered a free desert and cup of coffee. A more appropriate result might have been Chef Melissa apologizing for the steaks, providing new steaks or taking the steaks off the check. None of the components of the meal or the quality of the individual components warranted being on Sweet Melissa’s menu or anybody’s menu for that matter."
    Dined on 5/26/2014
  • "Pleasant surprise on Sanibel. Loved that they had small plates / smaller entree portions available. Well executed dishes. Chocolate dessert was crazy good."
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "We had a lovely meal with lots of small plates to sample. The wine was good, great service, and really appreciate the gluten free items. Best place in Sanibel, hands down"
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "The food was fairly good and unique. They need to offer bottled water cause Sanibel municipal water has that awful taste. Drinks were very good. Service was attentive and professional, but for such a seemingly upscale place, they wait staff needs to stop referring to my wife and I as "guys". That really kind of takes the specialness out of dining out. And, we were dressed up for the occasion and "guys" just doesn't show respect. The chairs are bottoming out - they need new seat cushions. Otherwise everything else was good - good food, good timing, overall well done."
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "We travel to Sanibel each May. The best food on the island--by far--is at Sweet Melissa's Cafe. Love the menu... roasted beet salad and fish stew are delicious!"
    Dined on 5/23/2014
  • "My boyfriend and I visited Sanibel while we stayed in Naples. I saw some very good reviews o Yelp So we decided to check it out. Our server was absolute delightful, but more importantly she knew about the ingredients and preperation of the foods. We had the grilled Caesar and beet salad. Both were very tasty with fresh flavor. The bread is to die for. Next we had the shrimp and lobster tamale. This was good but a bit on the bland side. It could use a salsa or a bit of spice to dress it up. For dessert we had both the homemade Carmel ice cream and the praline ice cream. Both are outstanding! We had a lovely fruit tart, and the banana strudel in the phyllo dough. Pleasant but nothing special. Overall a very good dinner. "
    Dined on 5/23/2014
  • "We were seated in a section of the restaurant that cut us off from the main dining room which left us to wonder what really goes on here. I rated the ambience "fair" only because it was clean. Our server was excellent, knowledgeable and friendly. I would go back because of her, the main courses and the fabulous hand made gelatos and sorbets."
    Dined on 5/23/2014
  • "We went here to celebrate our daughter's birthday, and were not disappointed. The restaurant had excellent food. The salads and appetizers were fresh, and our entrees were perfect. Melissa's also has a very nice way to order entrees--a "full" or "half" portion are choices for almost all of the entrees. The "half" portion has half the amount of protein (fish, steak, etc) but about the same amount of sides. This worked out very well and made the meal very reasonably priced. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone going to Sanibel Island who wants to experience fine dining."
    Dined on 5/22/2014
  • "We had great meals on Sanibel/Captivia Island. Sweet Melissa's was top on the list of where to go based on reviews here but it was my least favorite. We had 2 small plates. The Mussels were good but too much garlic. We also had a crab & lobster tamale. It was a bit mushy. The apps came out before we even got out drinks - too quick for my liking. We also had to remind our waitress 2x about our drinks. For dinner, I had Grilled hangar steak. I asked for medium is was rare & tough & lacked flavor. My friend had the Sauteed Sweetbreads which had duck in it but it does not say that on the menu - strange. Dessert was very good! Overall, it was an ok meal but expected better."
    Dined on 5/17/2014
  • "The food was really good, although my husband didn't love his entree. The ambiance was a little stale, not very lively for a Saturday night. Service was average at best. We found much nicer places, this wasn't worth the high price. "
    Dined on 5/17/2014
  • "Service was good as was most of the food, however, the change with steak from the filet was a huge disappointment. Tasty, but tough and nothing like the filet. The french fries, while not bad, is not something I want to have with a nice dinner. Seemed like a "lunch only" meal. The grouper over black eyed peas was fabulous, but my guest was my daughter and she had the steak. Very disappointed with the steak dinner."
    Dined on 5/17/2014
  • "A unique dining experience featuring small & full size plate choices. Always good but at it's best when Melissa is there."
    Dined on 5/15/2014
  • "Food and service were wonderful up until the very end. We ordered coffee and dessert. Dessert came immediately but coffee was a good 15 minutes coming by which time dessert was almost done. Apparently they had had to brew a new pot of coffee. "
    Dined on 5/15/2014
  • "The app special of heirloom tomatoes with their homemade ricotta was fantastic. The shrimp and lobster tamale was good. Excellent fish stew and wonderful grouper special. Fantastic service by helen. "
    Dined on 5/13/2014
  • "Food was excellent. We had the fish stew which was exceptional. The scallops were very good also. Our server Paul was helpful and made us feel very welcomed. This was the 1st time for our guests and they enjoyed the experience."
    Dined on 5/12/2014
  • "Fantastic meal from start to finish. Had the shrimp and lobster tamale appetizer and it was wonderful. We ordered the grouper special and the seafood stew for our entrees. Both were exceptional, but the seafood stew was superb. Our waitress was very pleasant and the ambiance was island informal, but guests were dressed from shorts to sport jackets. Overall a very pleasant experience and we will definitely be back."
    Dined on 5/12/2014
  • "Wonderful little gem on Sanibel. This is the second time I have had dinner there, and both times was a wonderful experience. Their menu consists of farm to table, and everything is fresh. Will definitely go back when I am in that area. "
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "First time there, I have a vacation home on the island so I try to visit every restaurant there. the have an adventurous menu which I like and drawn to. The execution was not perfect, but acceptable. A good wine list. Good staff. I will go back to try other items."
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "We saw good reviews online and gave it a try for our 38th Wedding anniversary. So glad we did. Service and ambiance was excellent and our entrée’s were so good we can’t wait to return and try the others. Can’t forget the flowerless chocolate torte. This is like a hidden gem that you almost want to keep secret, but we recommend highly. An excellent destination for that Special Occasion Dinner."
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "We kept seeing great reviews for this restaurant after coming to Sanibel year after year for vacation so decided to try it. We found the food to be good, just not great and certainly not for the bill of $138 before our tip. That was for 2 cocktails, 2 entrees, 2 salads & splitting a dessert. If you haven't been to Sanibel before, be aware that there are quite a few restaurants which are on the pricey side for dinner. I personally don't think this is one of the better ones. Also, the menu is pretty limited. On the plus side we did find the staff to be very nice and the banana strudel was very good. "
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "Great dinner, delicious food! Don't go for the outdoor dining, seating inside is better."
    Dined on 5/9/2014
  • "My wife and I were on the island for the weekend and had only one night for a nice meal out. We are used to nice restaurants and good food but find when we travel it can be a real crap shoot. Sweet Melissa's was everything we hoped for. Great food and service. When you spend that kind of money it should be special, and it was. Simply perfect."
    Dined on 5/9/2014
  • "Ok, the owner/chef is in the kitchen where she obviously belongs, because the food is very good; but, the ambiance is starkly cold, the atmosphere is impersonal (we'll probably never see you again, so we won't make any effort), and the server so poorly trained we felt sorry for her. Not sure if we'd go back, and we do get to the island fairly frequently. Remember, Sweet Melissa, not every tourist is a stupid tourist."
    Dined on 5/9/2014