Sanibel Family Restaurants: Dig Into Fresh Foods, Fun Atmospheres

As an award-winning shelling destination in Florida, Sanibel Island welcomes families year-round to comb the beaches and enjoy warm sunshine. But locals also know hungry travelers need to recharge. That’s why many own and operate family-friendly establishments paired with fresh creations. If escaping to the island, here are the top Sanibel family restaurants.

Sanibel Family Restaurants: Dig Into These Local Favorites

sanibel family restaurants breakfast lunch

Over Easy Cafe

Step inside this favorite Sanibel Island breakfast spot and see bright colors and plenty of rooster decor. Over Easy Cafe serves breakfast from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., with lunch served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Start the day with pancakes, eggs, skillets and scramblers. For lunch, try a fresh salad, wrap, sandwich or burger. Popular menu items include the egg Reuben sandwich and smoke salmon Benedict.

Kids have their own menus, and even well behaved dogs are welcome to join families on the outdoor patio. After a meal, pet owners should visit Island Paws, the restaurant’s sister store that sells all-natural pet food and treats.

Sanibel Fish House

Sanibel Fish House has won awards for best appetizer, seafood and happy hour. Even better, this Sanibel Island family restaurant has provided the area tasty food and friendly service for over 20 years.

Once settled, find a menu with soups, salads, sandwiches, baskets, pastas and entrees. Start with a shareable dip, oysters or shrimp. Then choose from clams, grouper, seafood combos, crab and fish tacos. Land lovers have several options as well. Sanibel Fish House also serves steak and chicken. Feel free to bring kids — they love the bright colors and beach decor.

sanibel seafood restaurant family

George and Wendy’s Sanibel Seafood Grille

Among the top Sanibel family restaurants and best places for entertainment, George and Wendy’s welcomes everyone to enjoy good food and good vibes. In fact, their focus is fresh, local and fun.

George and Wendy’s Sanibel Seafood Grille has seating options inside and out. Once settled, browse soups, salads, flat-breads, tacos, tapas, burgers and wraps. Seafood options range from mussels and calamari to crab legs and signature sandwiches. For dinner, find steaks, salmon, snapper, shrimp, pasta and burgers. Additionally, kids order quesadillas, PB&J, grilled cheese, burgers, chicken tenders, and fried fish or shrimp.

Cheeburger Cheeburger

Looking for old-fashion fun? Head to Cheeburger Cheeburger, a fast-food chain that serves burgers, shakes and fried favorites in a ’50s-style setting. Although Cheeburger Cheeburger serves salads and appetizers, burgers are the go-to here.

Start by picking a burger size, ranging from a quarter-pound to 1 pound. Then select the bun and fixings. The restaurant offers dozens of cheeses, toppings, sauces and extras, so hungry visitors create the ultimate handheld treat. For a simple option, order an in-house specialty such as island with Swiss, teriyaki, pineapple, and bacon. Don’t forget to pair the burger with a milkshake.

sanibel island restaurants burger

The Island Cow

Many say a trip to The Island Cow ranks as a must for anyone vacationing in Sanibel Island. Great food, outdoor games and live music – this hot spot has it all. For over 15 years, this family-owned restaurant has served delicious food in a fun atmosphere.

The Island Cow serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, each with a menu the whole family will enjoy. Parents try signature specialties, while kids dig into their favorites. Menu items include seafood, sandwiches, burgers, barbecue, pasta and a mama’s good cookin’ section. Kids have dozens of options as well – from fresh fruits to burgers, shrimp, and mac and cheese. After sharing a meal, play family-friendly games in the sunshine.


This Italian-inspired delight is among the only Sanibel family restaurants that serve wood-fired pizza. Known as Sanibel’s Italian Kitchen, Matzaluna also has an Iron Chef winner Sal Velez who creates weekly specials.

Pizza fans have nearly a dozen options, such as angelo, chicken siciliano and primavera. Classic entrees include fettuccine alfredo and ravioli, or choose the create-your-own-pasta option. This allows visitors to choose a pasta, sauce and meats, if desired. For something special, order Sal’s Guava Salmon, a pan-seared filet with guava citrus butter. In addition, kids select from chicken fingers, ravioli, spaghetti and pizza.

sanibel family dinner affordable

The Pecking Order

Located on the west side of Sanibel Island, The Pecking Order focuses on old-fashioned comfort food. Those who need a seafood break feel right at home at this family-owned spot.

The Pecking Order specializes in fried chicken made with a signature batter and marinade. Visitors select individual meals, chicken by the piece and combo buckets. A few options include: chic and waffle, white meat chicken pot pies, and boss hog breast with biscuits and gravy. For even more flavor, select homemade sides such as mashes potatoes and gravy, collard greens, and mac and cheese.

Pinocchio’s Original Italian Ice Cream

Need something sweet? Cool off with a huge cone from Pinocchio’s Original Italian Ice Cream. Over 37 flavors of ice cream greet customers every day, and this sweet shop doesn’t count dips or scoops. This means ice cream lovers get generous portions with an animal cracker on top.

This award-winning shop creates ice cream by hand daily in their on-site laboratory, and uses flavors from southwest Florida. Examples include: pina colada, Sanibel krunch, dirty sand dollar and gator stew. Those who prefer more traditional flavors can order banana, birthday cake, butter pecan, chocolate toffee coffee and dozens more.

After reading about these Sanibel family restaurants, check out Sanibel Island fishing charters. Then browse family-friendly rentals in Sanibel-Captiva.