Barnacle Phil’s Restaurant on North Captiva (or as the locals say “North Cap”), is a great place to relax old Florida style. The only way to get there is via boat or small plane. Owners Mindy & Brett, grandson of the original Phil, serve up some excellent island food and drinks for locals & visitors. Might I suggest the Buffalo Chicken Wrap, or the house specialty Black Beans and Rice…yum yum good!
Last Saturday, my friends and I set our nautical course for North Cap and a little fun in the sun with a stop at Barnacle Phil’s. The weather couldn’t have been better and the seas were calm as could be, just another day in paradise here in southwest Florida.
We traveled north along the gulf side of Sanibel, Captiva and North Captiva to our first stop, Charlie’s Pass. Charlie’s Pass was where the eye of Hurricane Charlie passed over North Captiva Island back in 2004. The storm literally cut the island in two, creating a pass or channel. The pass has now closed, filling in with sand, and has become a popular place for boaters to anchor.
It seems that we weren’t the only ones heading to Charlie’s Pass this day. We were joined by a group of friendly dolphins that wanted to get a better look at our rowdy bunch. We see dolphins just about every time we go out, bu they usually don’t get this close to the boat. Here is a video of the playful dolphins.
After getting our fill of sand and sun our stomachs were calling monsters, so we pulled anchor and set sail for Barnacle Phi’s. Barnacle Phil’s is located in Safety Harbor on North Captiva just past the grass airstrip. It’s a favorite with local anglers, vacationers, and Castaways. Barnacle Phil’s is open to everyone, with ample dockage that gives local boaters easy access for lunch excursions. Barnacle Phil’s offers casual dining at picnic tables outdoors under umbrellas and a pavilion tent or indoors (AC). You might even be lucky enough to see Florida otters scampering about the mangroves, or manatees hanging out in the warm shallow water canals. It really is an old Florida paradise.
A fun feature about Phil’s is the entire place is covered with dollar bills. Island visitors like to leave their mark and usually scribble their name or design the dollar in a unique way. We always have a good time browsing the dollars and finding the old ones we’ve left in the past. Need tip money? Just grab a few bucks off the wall! (kidding, don’t do that)
There is a small Marlin under there somewhere.
The food at Phil’s is worth the trip alone. Try the local favorite, Roberta’s world-famous black beans and yellow rice, or the RumShop favorite Buffalo Chicken Wrap. I get the wrap just about every time and it always leaves me making embarrassing noises after every bite. I can’t help it, it just so yum yum delicious! Their menu features Caribbean and Island favorites including seafood chowder and jerk-style fresh fish and chicken. There are also salads and mainland favorites, as well as children’s items. Sorry rum lovers, beer and wine only.
We finish our meals, load up on the Gypsy Soul and head south through Pine Island Sound. The boat ride was quiet and peaceful. I think everyone was taking in the natural beauty surrounding us and reflecting on what an absolutely perfect day it was. I know that’s what I was doing.
Barnacle Phil’s is a great meeting place and just about any visit will find you in the company of friendly North Captiva Island guests and locals, smiling and laughing about “the fish that got away”. I know Phil’s isn’t a stereotypical beach bar and I hate to stray away from the Beach Bar theme, but it is just to perfect of a place to be left out. It is just so, what’s the phrase? Yum Yum Heaven.
Cheers Castaways, let me know if you’ve ever made the trip to North Captiva and Barnacle Phil’s. Would love to hear your story.
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