By Laura J. Cummings
Where do you go when you’re craving a fine dining experience without all the pretension of waitstaff in tuxes? If it’s a warm welcome and great food you’re seeking, consider Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Restaurant in Bonita Springs.
While the servers dress in professional black attire rather than kitschy Hawaiian shirts, they bring the “aloha” spirit with their kukui nut leis and genuinely inviting smiles. They consider their team, and their guests, to be “ohana” (family).
Sometimes it’s fun to try out whatever is new and hip on the dining scene, but we find ourselves going back to Roy’s time and again for a reliably great dining experience. Roy’s has proven longevity — celebrating 20 years i n Bonita Springs — and for good reason. This upscale casual restaurant offers beautifully plated, flavorful dishes in a friendly space with modern decor, suitable for any occasion, whether it’s a special anniversary or simply a weeknight dinner out.
Guests are greeted by giant tiki torches and tropical botanicals on the patio before entering into a newly renovated bar and lounge area. Roy’s recently expanded its footprint at The Promenade at Bonita Bay. The sleek bar now has 28 seats and opens to a modern dining space which seems to invite casual conversation among friends and strangers alike.
The original dining room also has received some decor upgrades and is still the favorite seating area for those who enjoy a “white linen” experience and more intimate dinner conversation with the comfort of cozy, circular booths. Even the table water presents upscale options: sparkling mineral water or artesian Fiji Water.
We started the evening by sampling some of Roy’s outstanding cocktails. Go classic with the Roy’s Island Mai Tai or try the “1988” — named in commemoration of the year the first Roy’s opened in Honolulu — featuring grapefruit vodka and SOHO Lychee Orange Liqueur. For a truly refreshing drink, we recommend the Cool Breeze, combining organic cucumber vodka with coconut water, pineapple juice, fresh lemon and agave nectar.
Next, settle in with a signature sushi roll. Get a “taste of the islands” with Auntie Lei’s Aloha Roll: spicy tuna, cucumber, yellowtail, salmon and avocado-garlic ponzu. Roy’s showcases the bold Asian flavors of the Pacific Rim. Seafood selections dominate the menu; however, you’ll also find some surprises like braised short ribs and pork chop. For the indecisive, Roy’s also offers several “mixed plates” combining smaller portions of favorite dishes like the Classic Four: Hibachi Grilled Salmon, Misoyaki Butterfish, Blackened Island Ahi and Roasted Macadamia Nut Mahi Mahi. Dessert options like Pineapple Upside Down Cake incorporate the fruit of the islands, but Roy’s also gives a nod to Florida’s classic dessert with its Kaffir Lime Tart.
Embrace the aloha spirit at Roy’s and get ready for a relaxed evening with polished service as the staff draws you into their ohana. There’s a reason Roy’s Restaurant has been a Southwest Florida staple for 20 years, and the recent renovations make it even better. Enjoy the tastes of Hawaii right in Estero’s “backyard.”
This Asian appetizer takes a turn from the traditional with tasty lobster meat inside. The potstickers are fried golden and served with spicy Togarashi Miso Butter Sauce. Other “hot” appetizers include Lobster Bisque, Szechuan Spiced Pork Ribs and Crispy Wok Fried Shrimp Tempura.
2. Sweet Home Waikoloa Salad
This “Chef’s Creation” salad is a Bonita Springs original, combining capers, pancetta and goat cheese for intense flavor — unexpected from a salad. Avocado slices and house-made parmesan dressing provide additional dimension, but the star is definitely the crispy-fried, goat cheese crouton on top.
3. Bone-In Pork Chop
Created by Sous Chef Kehaulani Chung, this pork chop entree is a pleasant addition to the seafood-heavy menu. It might be hard to pass on the Butterfish and scallops, but trust us, you will NOT be disappointed with this monster, 14-ounce bone-in pork chop! It’s tender and delicious and — double bonus — it’s served over the creamiest Wild Mushroom Risotto!
4. Butter Seared Georges Bank Sea Scallops
These super-sized sea scallops are tender, buttery deliciousness. Served over Creamy Coconut Black Rice with lobster essence, this entree is simply scrumptious! The pretty plating is a bonus.
5. Hibachi Grilled Atlantic Salmon
Presented with perfect sear marks, this hibachi-grilled salmon gains even more flavor from the Japanese Citrus Ponzu Sauce. It’s served with rice and vegetables for a healthy, and tasty, main course.
6. Roy’s Melting Hot Chocolate Soufflé (& More)
So…we just couldn’t decide on ONE dessert — we tried them all! And we’re happy to report all are delicious. Chocolate fans will love the decadent Melting Hot Chocolate Soufflé. It’s (surprisingly) a flourless cake with a warm, gooey, molten chocolate center, served with raspberry puree and vanilla bean ice cream. Equally divine is the Macadamia Nut Bread Pudding with guava sauce!
26831 South Bay Drive, Ste. 100