Chef Alexander Bernard reopened his eponymous Naples restaurant for dinner last Thursday with a new name — Alexander’s Garden Restaurant.
The reopening follows the chef’s annual summer sabbatical in California’s Bay Area. The restaurant sustained minimal damage from Hurricane Ian and the Oct. 6 reopening has been planned since spring. That reopening date also was the 27th anniversary of the restaurant’s original opening in 1995 as Alexander’s Restaurant.
“The name change to Alexander’s Garden Restaurant best describes the attraction of our alfresco dining, which comprises more than 60% of our total seating. It’s a popular and romantic venue and highly requested,” Bernard said.
The expansive garden offers a secluded, tucked-away ambiance just off U.S. 41 in Naples. Surrounded by flowers and tropical foliage, diners are seated at tables placed under patio umbrellas and strings of lights. Tables are spaced on tiered levels leading to a flower-bedecked gazebo for private groups of up to 10 people.
Indoors, the main dining room is an elegant, art-filled, intimate space for about 55 diners. Adjacent to the dining room is a clubby bistro section consisting of a bar with seven seats plus 15 seats at tables and two outdoor high-tops for two people each. The bar is a convivial hangout for those fortunate to secure a stool with a direct view of the kitchen, where Chef Alex works his culinary magic.
Joining Bernard in the kitchen is a culinary team with 10-plus years of experience at the restaurant. The chef’s new menus continue his tradition of sourcing products such as fresh fish and organic produce and grains. The menu is influenced by the chef’s European training, with a Californian flair because of his culinary experiences in the Bay Area.
The dinner menu includes entrees from the sea such as macadamia-crusted grouper, sauteed yellowtail snapper and cioppino; entrees from the land such as a pan-seared veal tenderloin, Moroccan lamb tagine and crispy duck; and pasta selections such as porcini mushroom, butternut squash and lobster ravioli options. The menu also has soup, salads, starters, and steaks.
In addition to the regular menu, the chef will debut prix fixe theme nights 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday priced at $38 to $40 per person. Monday is Italian night, Tuesday is French, Wednesday is date night, Thursday is American night, and Friday and Saturday nights are “Sizzle Nights,” featuring specials from the regular early dining menu, served 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Dishes change each week according to the best products available. A happy hour from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. offers half-price discounts on house wines by the glass and well cocktails.
A highlight of Alexander’s Garden Restaurant’s front-of-the-house team is the chef’s well-known wife, Monika Bernard. “She has become the face of Alexander’s and is ever-present greeting guests and meeting their needs,” Bernard said.
Many of the restaurant’s clientele have been regulars for decades. “Monika and I are fortunate to enjoy strong relationships with our diners and we are privileged to understand their personal tastes and preferences,” he said.
Alexander’s Garden Restaurant, 4077 Tamiami Trail N., serves dinner 4:30 to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Lunch service will resume on Oct.17 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. The restaurant is closed on Sundays. Ample parking is offered both in front and behind the building.