The mention of Fifth Avenue South conjures in the minds of visitors and residents alike images of a flower-adorned, oak-shaded thoroughfare lined by eclectic European-style boutiques, chic clothiers, decadent jewelry stores and world-class restaurants and cafes. But it is also home to premier art galleries that collectively showcase some of the most coveted art in all of southwest Florida.
Even seasoned collectors are surprised to learn that there is a gallery in southwest Florida that offers original artworks and limited edition lithographs and giclees from some of the art world’s most iconic names: Rembrandt, Picasso, Renoir, Matisse and Salvador Dali. It’s name is New River Fine Art, and the gallery also offers a smattering of contemporary masters, including third and fourth generation artists like Camille Pissarro’s great-granddaughter, Lelia, and Claude Monet’s great-grandniece, Diane Monet.
Contemporary masterworks in impressionism, realism, fractured imagery and abstract expressionism can be found in Fifth Avenue South’s other prestigious galleries, such as Shaw Gallery of Fine Art, Sheldon Fine Art, Call of Africa’s Native Visions Gallery, gallery O and Aura Fine Art Gallery & Studio, with The Lady from Haiti and Random Acts of Art contributing a plethora of exciting boutique arts-and-craft items.
Most gallery goers combine their fine art experience with some fine dining, and the galleries accommodate that nexus by staying open until 8, 9 and even 10 p.m. In addition to inside dining rooms done in sophisticated European to art deco motifs, the ristorantes and bistros that line Fifth Avenue South offer elegant sidewalk dining under colorful canvas umbrellas and arched, column-supported breezeways that lend character and ambiance to the entire district. Dining choices include Bellini on Fifth (serving authentic Italian cuisine to locals and international travelers since 1955), Bert’s Seafood and Chowder Restaurant (offering Mediterranean cuisine with a Florida flair), Bice Ristorante (melding old world elegance with modern chic), Bistro 821 (bringing a taste of South Beach to Naples), Café and Bar Lurcat (combining serious food with voguish design under a Chagall-inspired ceiling), Chop City Grill (the hottest spot on trendy Fifth Avenue), McCabe’s Irish Pub (authentic in every detail), Pazzo! (with its crazy, romantic atmosphere), Ristorante D’Angeli (rated best Italian restaurant by Gulfshore Magazine), Verginia (a stunningly classic restaurant with Naples’ friendliest, largest and most dynamic bar), and Yabba Island Grill (with fun, casual island dining).
Now you know why people come from the four corners of the globe to visit that other Fifth Avenue – the one here in southwest Florida.