Now that my parents are retired, they get to spend about six months of the year in Naples, Florida. My sisters, Tommy and I are fortunate enough to get to visit them a couple of times a year. Not only is all the golfing we get to do wonderful, but my parents often treat us to delicious meals out in Naples.
Florida has a nice variety of cultural dishes. There are Cuban, Mexican, and Italian restaurants everywhere. There are also many seafood restaurants that serve freshly caught fish, crab, and oysters. There are an abundance of cooking schools in the region, and it definitely shows in the quality of their food.
On our most recent visit down to Naples, we checked out a restaurant that was knew-to-me, called Chez Boet. As the name implies, Chez Boet is French restaurant. It is actually owned by a French family and has a very authentic feel to it. We even saw a few dogs eating dinner on the terrace – how Parisian!
They serve classic French cuisine with favorites like escargot, steak frites, bouillabaisse and duck l’orange. They also had a nice wine list that included French and international reds and whites. One of the other things that I liked about the wine list is that it listed wines by price range and had about eight whites and eight reds all for under 40 dollars. My family ordered one red and one white wine. The red we ordered was a Malbec from Argentina. It was full bodied and dry and very delicious!
For the white wine, we took our waiter’s recommendations and ordered a Sauvignon Blanc from France. It was light, very easy drinking and was the perfect complement to the hot Naples night!
In addition to getting a recommendation on the wine, the waiter also guided us on what the best items on the menu were. To start, we ordered some escargot and a salad to split amongst the table.
The salad was actually a little on the bland side. It had some interesting ingredients including goat cheese and chickpeas, but needed some salt and I thought that the dressing was on the watery side. The escargot on the other hand was absolutely delicious and some of the best I have ever had. I find that sometimes the garlic that comes in the escargot butter sauce can overpower the whole dish. Chez Boet’s escargot had just the right amount of garlic in its sauce. The snails were also perfectly cooked and so tasty.
For our entrees, my mom, Kate and I split two dishes – the Yellow Tail Snapper en Papillotte and the Bouillabaisse. My dad ordered the Moules Frites.
The Yellow Tail Snapper en Papillotte was wonderful. Cooking fish “en papillotte” means roasting it with seasonings and a little liquid (think stock or citrus juice) in a parchment paper purse. This gently steams the fish while infusing it with the flavorings of whatever you cook it with!
The gentle steaming of the fish made this yellow tail so tender and flakey and it was full of flavor. Chez Boet also served the fish with some roasted vegetables (including bok choy which was both different and delicious!) and saffron rice. Between my sister, my mom and I, there was not a single bite left on this plate!
We equally enjoyed Chez Boet’s Bouillabaisse which was chock full of fresh local seafood and had incredible depth of flavor in the seafood stock.
This was a huge portion and although we were able to eat all of the seafood and potatoes in the dish, we regrettably had to leave behind some of the stock! I have no idea how Chez Boet got such a flavorful, mild and well balanced stock.
From the bites that I stole of my dad’s Moules Frites, or mussels with crispy French fries, I can tell you that this is definitely a dish I would order in the future.
The mussels were fresh and very well cooked. We think the key to the mussels was that they were cooked just until they opened and were not overcooked. Overcooking mussels can lead to them being gummy and unappealing, and these mussels were definitely not that! The French fries were also the perfect texture with a crispy exterior and a soft interior! They were the perfect accompaniment to the broth that comes with the mussels!
To end the meal, we opted to do as the French would and split a cheese plate. Chez Boet’s cheese plate included a rich Roquefort cheese, a tangy goat cheese and a creamy brie. A couple of bites of each cheese was a great way to end the meal!
I know that there are an abundance of wonderful restaurants in Naples (I hope to do a post on a couple others that I have enjoyed in my time here), but I would highly recommend checking out Chez Boet.