Top 10 in South Florida – USA TODAY

Sweet Melissa’s Café has been named as one of the top 10 restaurants in South Florida, according to USA Today.

Landing at number five on the list of the Best Restaurants in South Florida, USA Today touts the Sweet Melissa’s creative menu that is jam packed with fresh, local produce, seafood, beef and everything in-between.

Under the command of Executive Chef Melissa Donahue – Talmage, diners will experience delicious seasonally-inspired eats where fresh ingredients and small plates reign supreme. Diner’s taste buds will be challenged by trend-setting fare with a wide array of different tastes, textures and eclectic ingredients that truly make Sweet Melissa’s Sanibel Island’s ultimate foodie destination.

Listed #5 out of the top 10 restaurants in South Florida – USA TODAY

Proclaimed The Best Food in Lee County, Sweet Melissa’s Cafe and Chef Melissa Talmage have been recognized and repeatedly celebrated by every major publication in Southwest Florida. Talmage continues to break the mold with her inventive cuisine. Her recipes, which are in great demand, have been featured in numerous travel and restaurant guides. In addition to being a 2010 Sanibel Island “Taste of the Islands” award winner, Chef  Talmage works with the acclaimed Sanibel Sea School to promote the use of sustainable seafood. Click on the articles below to read more about Sweet Melissa’s Cafe and Chef Melissa Talmage.

Sweet Melissa’s Café Earns Second Wine Spectator Restaurant Award

Sweet Melissa’s Café has been honored for its outstanding wine program in Wine Spectator’s 2018 Restaurant Awards. The restaurant is recognized among 3,758 winners from all over the globe as a top destination for wine lovers.

Sweet Melissa’s Café has won the Award of Excellence for the second year in a row. The Award of Excellence recognizes restaurants whose wine lists feature a well-chosen assortment of quality producers along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style.

“We are delighted to win the Wine Spectator Restaurant Award for a second time,” said Melissa Donahue, Executive Chef and owner of Sweet Melissa’s Café. “This recognition inspires us to continue to provide our guests with a phenomenal wine selection and dining experience all year long.”

Wine Spectator began its program to recognize the world’s best wine lists in 1981. There are three levels: the Award of Excellence, the Best of Award of Excellence and the Grand Award—with 2,453; 1,215; and 91 winners this year in each respective category. Seven of the Grand Award winners are first timers.

“This year’s class of restaurants is one of the most impressive and innovative ever,” said Marvin R. Shanken, Editor and Publisher, Wine Spectator. “Their wine lists keep improving, because wine lovers are eager to explore and learn. The goal of our Restaurant Awards is to support restaurant wine programs and bring them to diners’ attention through our outreach through print, digital and social media. Wine Spectator salutes every restaurant honored in the 2018 Restaurant Awards.”

The complete list of award winners is available in print in Wine Spectator’s August issue, on newsstands July 17, and online at, where visitors can search and access exclusive content on the more than 3,700 restaurants. The full list is also available for free on iOS via the Restaurant Awards app, which allows users to look for dining spots in any location with maps, choosing by wine strengths, cuisine type, pricing and more.

Follow the Restaurant Awards on Twitter and Instagram, with hashtag #WSRestaurantAward.

About Wine Spectator

Wine Spectator is the world’s leading authority on wine. Anchored by Wine Spectator magazine, a print publication that reaches around 3 million readers worldwide, the brand also encompasses the Web’s most comprehensive wine site (, mobile platforms and a series of signature events. Wine Spectator examines the world of wine from the vineyard to the table, exploring wine’s role in contemporary culture and delivering expert reviews of more than 16,000 wines each year. Parent company M. Shanken Communications, Inc., also publishes Cigar Aficionado, Whisky Advocate, Market Watch, Shanken News Daily and Shanken’s Impact Newsletter.

Chef Melissa Represents Gulf Coast Cuisine in NOLA Cook-off!

Sweet Melissa’s Café is proud to announce that our Executive Chef, Melissa Talmage, will be competing LIVE in New Orleans. The 2018 Chefs Taste Challenge: Battle of The Gulf is happening September 7th, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s a battle that pits New Orleans chefs against culinary geniuses from all over the Gulf Coast. You can find out more about the event by visiting:  

In Other News…

What do overalls, peaches, Sanibel Island and the southern rock band the Allman Brothers all have in common …….

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Sweet Melissa’s Café, one of the most highly regarded restaurants is celebrating five years of tantalizing taste buds at its current location on Sanibel Island’s famed Periwinkle Way….

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With the stunning presentations and mouth-watering, award-winning dining found at Sweet Melissa’s Cafe on Sanibel Island, you have to ask yourself: Is Melissa Talmage Executive Chef, Executive Artist or Executive Both?…..

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The Culinary Journey of Chef Melissa Talmage…..

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You’ve seen them before, those people who take photos of their food: you’ll become one of them when you eat here…..

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On a recent trip to Sanibel Island (just across from Ft. Meyers, Florida), Editor Anne Weaver and I enjoyed some of the most incredible mussels we’ve ever eaten….

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Chef Melissa Talmage opened Sweet Melissa’s Cafe on February 14, 2009, and has been delighting Sanibel diners ever since….

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See how chef-owner Melissa Talmage makes this wildly popular dish….

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Our critic shows you five Southwest Florida restaurants where all parts of the pig are appreciated… Sweet Melissa’s Café on Sanibel is one of them…

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Sweet Melissa’s Café offers diners charming atmosphere…

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Sweet Melissa’s Café picked as one of the “Five Restaurants To Visit” before the snowbirds and tourists descend…

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When Chef Eddie Vozzella of University Grill in Fort Myers, isn’t cooking for his patrons, he enjoys eating at Sweet Melissa’s Café….

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Sweet Melissa’s Café – Fish Stew named in the “101 Best Dishes in SW Florida” per Jean Le-Boeuf……

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