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Sarasota magazine dining guide.

A select listing of restaurants in Sarasota and Manatee counties, arranged by location and compiled by our editors. (For more information, including directions and maps and links to our restaurant reviews, go to



Barnacle Bill's The fresh seafood at this popular spot will make you feel like you're sitting waterside. Ask for a table outside and enjoy the sights and sounds of downtown while you feast on dishes like shrimp pasta in a garlic cream sauce, in-season snow crab, and Maine cold-water lobster tails. 1526 Main St, Sarasota and other locations, (941) 365-6800; [moderate]

Bijou Cafe This romantic restaurant enchants with intimate dining rooms, an award-winning wine list and a menu reflecting chef/owner Jean-Pierre Knaggs' French and South African heritage. Signature dishes include blue crab cakes and creamy potato gratin. 1287 First St., Sarasota, (941) 366-8111; [expensive]

Brassiere Beige This terrific new addition to Main Street features sublime steamed mussels, superior frites and a host of other good choices. The Belgian beers and ales are not to be missed; save room for crepes or chocolate mousse. 1990 Main St, Sarasota, (941) 706-1944. [moderate]-[expensive]

Cafe Americano Authentic Italian cuisine from breakfast through late night. Brunch on the spinach and ricotta frittata, lunch on octopus and eggplant salad and feast on fresh sole with lemon. More than 400 wine bottles, outdoor seating. 1409 Main St, Sarasota, (941) 365-1026; [moderate]

Cafe Amici This intimate ristorante, nestled into a cozy space on Main Street, offers creative takes on classic, hearty and contemporary Italian fare, including antipasti, soups, salads, pasta dishes and an impressive wine list. 1371 Main St, Sarasota, (941) 951-6896. [moderate]


Cafe Epicure This trattoria, bar and gelateria bustles, with crowds filling the indoor restaurant and spilling out onto the sidewalk. The wood-fired pizzas are great; you can't miss with the pasta and meat dishes, either. Don't leave without trying a specialty martini. 1298 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota, (941) 366-5648; [moderate]

Caragiulo's Popular with locals and visitors alike for its homey atmosphere, friendly service and consistently delicious food (think homemade mozzarella and fresh-baked biscotti). Bring your family for a big dinner or eat in the cozy bar on your way to or from a performance. Indoor and outdoor dining. 69 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota, (941) 951-0866; [moderate]

C'est La Vie Who doesn't love a hot cup of strong coffee and a fresh-from-the-oven authentic croissant? Main Street staple C'est La Vie offers all that and more, including fresh sandwiches on crusty baguettes, intricate, handmade pastries, omelets, quiche, crepes and salads. 1553 Main St, Sarasota, (941) 906-9575. [inexpensive]-[moderate]

Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant Housed in a four-story historic building downtown, Ceviche offers more than 100 Spanish-style tapas dishes to try (you can wash them down with a glass of sangria), plus a flamenco room open Fridays and Saturdays and the famous rooftop bar. 1216 First St, Sarasota, (941) 952-1036; [moderate]

Darwin's on 4th Thanks to the name recognition of its proprietor, chef Darwin Santa Maria, newcomer Darwin's on 4th has already gathered much buzz--and it lives up to the hype with its urban street food fare with a Peruvian twist. 1525 Fourth St, Sarasota, (941) 343-2165, [moderate]-[expensive]

Derek's Culinary Casual Culinary explorations from chef Derek Barnes include adventures in beef, lamb, duck, chicken, seafood, salads and soups with small and large plate options. The wine list is inspired. 514 Central Ave., Sarasota, (941) 366-6565; [expensive]

Divino A family-owned restaurant with regional Italian food, excellent wine list and full bar. Homemade ravioli and gnocchi, sogliola di mare (fillet of sole) and agnello divino (rack of lamb) are just some of the specialties. 1766 Main St, Sarasota, (941) 330-9393; [moderate]-[expensive]

Duval's New World Cafe The sleek decor will draw you in, but the food will keep you there. Duval's serves up fresh, seafood-oriented fare with a New Orleans twist. Don't miss the shrimp and crab cake with chipotle mayonnaise or any of the po' boys--and save room for the bread pudding. 1435 Main St, Sarasota, (941) 312-4001; [moderate]

Eat Here With a second location now open in downtown Sarasota, Eat Here--the "little sister" of Sean Murphy's Beach Bistro--is sure to become a local go-to. Its well-edited and well-priced menu offers variations on comfort-food faves with Murphy's signature twist and a skillful emphasis on seafood. 1888 Main St, Sarasota, (941) 365-8700;; 5315 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, (941) 778-0411; [inexpensive]-[moderate]

El Greco Opaf This perennial favorite, featuring classic Greek and Mediterranean dishes like moussaka, kebabs, avgolemono soup and Greek salad, is great for a business lunch or a leisurely dinner with friends. There are nightly specials, live Greek music the last Thursday of each month and outdoor seating, too. 1592 Main St, Sarasota, (941) 365-2234; [inexpensive]-[moderate]

First Watch A local favorite, First Watch offers up breakfast and lunch fare that caters to both those diners looking for a lighter bite (salads or egg-white omelets) or a hearty meal (pancakes, waffles and loaded sandwiches). 1395 Main St., Sarasota, (941) 954-1395; 8383 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 923-6754; [inexpensive]

Galileo This intimate downtown restaurant features indoor and outdoor seating and a classic Italian menu built on seasonal ingredients. The cannelloni ricchezze del mare is a crowd pleaser--pasta rolls stuffed with king crab, Gulf shrimp and a blend of ricotta impastata and Mascarpone cheese. 443 Burns Court, Sarasota, (941) 330-2811; [moderate]-[expensive]

Half Shell Oyster House Oysters, oysters, oysters! Half Shell Oyster House, whose roots are in Gulfport and Biloxi, Miss., recently opened in the former Zoria space on Main Street and features a seafood-heavy menu with a decidedly Southern twist. 1991 Main St., Sarasota, (941) 952-9400; [moderate]-[expensive]

Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse This downtown hotspot is a refreshed version of the classic American steakhouse offering creative preparations of steaks, chops, seafood and fish. The wine list features more than 50 wines by the glass, and the bar offers affordable bar bites and inventive cocktails. 35 S. Lemon Ave.. Sarasota, (941) 366-7788; [expensive]

Indigenous The name Indigenous was chosen to reflect the chef/owner's goal of providing superior, sophisticated cuisine, sourced from local farms and fisheries whenever possible. Be sure to take a look at the menu's "Plentiful and Abundant" section, and don't leave without sampling the desserts. 239 S. Links Ave., Sarasota, (941) 706-4740; [expensive]

Lan It's nice to know that Main Street's Lan is open late--until 1 a.m. Monday-Thursday and 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Even better? The restaurant's three-course prix fixe menu is full of eclectic, exquisitely prepared food, like lamb leg with tangerine coulis or duck confit with hoisin licorice glaze--and the late-night menu is just as tantalizing. 1568 Main St., Sarasota, (941) 953-7111; lanrestaurantcom. [expensive]

Marina Jack Upstairs in Marina Jack's lavish dining room, feast on award-winning blue crab cakes and black grouper while gazing out over Sarasota Bay and downtown Sarasota. Downstairs, the open-air raw bar is perfect for casual fare and cocktails. 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, (941) 365-4232; [moderate]-[expensive]

Mattison's City Grille Commanding the busiest downtown Sarasota corner, Mattison's shares some of its tables with the sidewalk. Sip top-shelf wines, down-to-earth beers (cocktails, too) and sup (from sandwiches to rack of lamb) under the Sarasota sky. Music nightly. 2 N. Lemon Ave., Sarasota, (941) 330-0440; [moderate]-[expensive]

MoZaic Dylan Elhajoui's menu is inspired by Southern French and Mediterranean cuisine and fortified by regional fare. Favorites include the braised petite veal shank tagine with root vegetables and the sauteed quail and forest mushrooms with chevre polenta. 1377 Main St., Sarasota, (941) 951-6272; [expensive]

Nancy's Bar-B-Q Graphic-designer-turned-bar-becue-maven Nancy Krohngold produces some of the best 'que in town. You'll find chicken and pork options galore, but there's also a can't-miss chopped salad, mouthwatering sides and house-made desserts. 302 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, (941) 366-2271; [inexpensive]-[moderate]

O'Leary's Tiki Bar & Grill The vibe is laid-back but the menu is packed: peel-and-eat shrimp, oyster buns, batter-dipped oysters and an ocean of brews and wines. Live music (most nights) creates the perfect soundtrack to the killer view of Sarasota Bay. 5 Bayfront Drive, Sarasota, (941) 953-7505; [inexpensive]

Owen's Fish Camp Owen's--located in a historic cottage in Burns Court--offers up Southern-style cuisine with an emphasis on seafood (think shrimp and grits and a Low Country boil). The food is fresh and the preparation often simple, but a meal here is one you won't soon forget. 526 Bums Lane, Sarasota, (941) 951-6936; [moderate]-[expensive]

Patrick's 1481 Patrick's is the real deal. Sports on the tube. Suits sealing deals. Super-sized burgers, sizzling steaks, a respectable wine and beer selection and full bar--it's the all-American joint gussied up with some downtown swank. 2482 Main St, Sarasota, (941) 952-1170; [moderate]

Pho Cali Discover authentic Vietnamese fare with a menu offering appetizers and soups, vegetarian specials, and such chef specials as pan-fried white fish, spicy beef stew, roast duck, and avocado smoothies. 2578 Main St, Sarasota, (941) 955-2683; [inexpensive]-[moderate]

Pomona Bistro & Wine Bar Located in downtown's Rosemary District, Pomona specializes in French and Italian fusion cuisine, with standouts including rosemary-and-lemon roasted chicken, and chocolate souffles to die for. 481 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota, (941) 706-1677; [moderate]-[expensive]

Retropolitan Nestled in a quaint 1920s Spanish Mission-style bungalow, "The Retro" offers from-scratch cooking, including a Guinness-and-goat-cheese burger, grilled meatloaf, broiled cod and steak frites. 437 Burns Court, Sarasota; [inexpensive]-[moderate]

Salute! Downtown's Salute! features an extensive, heavily Italian menu, including a beautiful pasta list and a wine list starring bottles from the restaurant's own vineyards. Excellent happy hour deals on food and drink. 23 N. Lemon Ave., Sarasota, (941) 365-1020; [moderate]-[expensive]

Savory Street Located on the corner of Citrus Square in downtown's Rosemary District, Savory Street serves up standard breakfast and lunch fare, but at night offers a unique combination of modernist Latin-American cuisine. Feel free to bring a bottle of your favorite wine. All N. Orange Ave., Sarasota, (941) 312-4027; [inexpensive]-[moderate]

Tropical Thai Enjoy creative Thai cuisine with a wide selection of soups, noodles, meats, seafood, vegetarian and macrobiotic dishes. Specialties include a spicy soft shell crab, grouper with ginger sauce, zesty salads and a tantalizing array of curries. 2420 Main St, Sarasota, (941) 364-5775; [moderate]

Two Senoritas Dishes from Mexico and the American Southwest with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients. The salsa, guacamole and flour tortillas are housemade daily. Try one of their signature dishes which include the steak tortillas and the ancho- and cumin-encrusted salmon. 2355 Main St, Sarasota, (941) 366-1618; [moderate]

Vernona at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota Award-winning cuisine reflecting the flavors of the Mediterranean, coupled with indigenous products of our Gulf Coast. Fresh seafood, produce, prime meats and poultry dishes are served in an ambiance of elegance. Also a popular Sunday brunch. 2222 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Sarasota, (941) 309-2008; [expensive]

Yume Sushi Offering a diversity of Japanese specialties, including a creative selection of sushi rolls (ask for the low-carb roll if you're counting calories), super fresh sushi and sashimi offerings, and more than 50 kinds of premium sake. 2537 Main St, Sarasota, (941) 363-0604. [moderate]


Bella Roma Italian food is the star at this local favorite. Bella Roma is situated in the heart of Siesta Key Village just a few blocks from Siesta Beach. Pizza lovers will be happy to know that the space has been newly expanded to include Flavio's Brick Oven & Bar. 5239 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key, (941) 349-0995; [moderate]

Blu Smoke Island Grill Offering smoked cuisine--like hardwood grill favorites cooked low and slow over hickory and applewood--Blu Smoke Island Grill serves favorites such as babyback ribs and beef brisket smoked chicken. Try the "blu" cheese slaw and bourbon bread pudding, too. 149Avenida Messina, Siesta Key, (941) 346-0738; [moderate]

Captain Curt's Crab & Oyster Bar Captain Curt's is an old-timey seafood joint located just off Siesta Key's Stickney Point Bridge. With reasonable prices and a casual atmosphere, Captain Curt's is a great place to take the whole family. 2200 Old Stickney Point Road, Siesta Key, (941) 349-3885; [inexpensive]

The Cottage Chef Darwin Santa Maria, former proprietor of downtown favorite Selva Grill, is a consultant to this Siesta Key eatery. Choose plates to share from a menu heavy on seafood and starring heavenly ceviches and sashimi. 153 Avenida Messina, Siesta Key, (941) 312-9300; [moderate]

Daiquiri Deck Don't let the name fool you--the daiquiris are part of the draw here, but, there's also a raw oyster bar and an extensive selection of sandwiches, burgers, seafood and salads. With locations in walking distance from the beach on both St. Armands and Siesta Key, there's no better place to beat the heat after a day in the sun. 520 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key, (941) 349-8697; 325 John Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, (941) 388-3325; [inexpensive]

Javier's Restaurant and Wine Bar At this intimate eatery, expect Peruvian-inspired ceviches, tapas and Chinese-Peruvian fusion dishes starring organic vegetables, seafood and meats. Favorites include the arroz chaufa, a bracing stew of rice, shrimp, chicken, scallions and crunchy red pepper. 6621 Midnight Pass Road, Siesta Key, (941) 349-1792; [moderate]-[expensive]

Ophelia's on the Bay Enjoy indoor or outdoor dining surrounded by gardens overlooking the sweep of Sarasota Bay. Combining local seafood and fine meats with Florida-grown produce, Ophelia's offers a menu with a distinctly New World flair. The wine menu is one of the region's best. 9105 Midnight Pass Road, Siesta Key, (941) 349-2212; [expensive]

Siesta Key Oyster Bar This Siesta Key mainstay is just as popular with the locals as it is with the tourists. Casual with a distinctly beachy vibe, SKOB delivers food that's moderately priced and drinks with a distinctly local bent--Jalehouse Light Lager and Siesta Key Rum are always available. 5238 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key, (941) 346-5443; [inexpensive]


15 South Ristorante and Straight Up Martini Bar Authentic Italian specialties and wines on St. Armands. A favorite for lively nights out, the upstairs martini bar features live jazz, rhythm and blues and Latin music. 15 S. Boulevard of Presidents, St Armands, (941) 388-1555; [moderate]-[expensive]

Blue Dolphin Cafe Serving breakfast and lunch daily, Blue Dolphin Cafe offers comforting, hearty food--stacks of pancakes, overstuffed omelets, and thick slices of French toast. The eggs are locally sourced. 470 John Ringling Blvd., St. Armands, (941) 388-3566; [inexpensive]

Cafe L'Europe A Sarasota institution, 34-year-old Cafe L'Europe offers multi-continental cuisine, from Asian to classic French. Highlights include bourbon pecan salad, brandied duckling, potato-crusted grouper and pan-seared sea scallops with sweet potato hash. 431 St. Armands Circle, (941) 388-4415; [expensive]

Cha-Cha Coconuts Settle into an outdoor table overlooking St. Armands Circle and immerse yourself in that tropical, beachy feeling. Dive into island staples like fish tacos, burgers and coconut shrimp as well as a long list of tropical drinks, including Rum Runners and margaritas. There's live music, too. 417 St Armands Circle, (941) 388-3300; [moderate]

Columbia Restaurant There's a reason Columbia Restaurant is busy from morning to night: it's been famous for its Cuban and Spanish food since the first in the seven-restaurant chain opened in 1905. Order the 1905 salad as an accompaniment to your meal, which could be anything from an authentic Cuban sandwich to arroz con pollo to ropa vieja. 411 St Armands Circle, (941) 388-3987; [moderate]-[expensive]

Crab & Fin With its 33-year history and lovely sidewalk tables, it's no wonder Crab & Fin is a Sarasota mainstay. Start with Charley's Chowder, a Mediterranean fish soup, then proceed to coldwater oysters and any one of the restaurant's various fresh catches. There's pasta, sandwiches and chicken and steak, too. 420 St Armands Circle, (941) 388-3964; [moderate]-[expensive]

Le Colonne Le Colonne doesn't just have ambiance (although dining at its sidewalk tables is a treat). Meat dishes are delightful (try the pollo alla Rusticana), as are desserts (hello, tiramisu), but it's the homemade pasta that's the real star here. 22 S. Boulevard of Presidents, St Armands, (941) 388-4348; [moderate]

Lido Beach Grille The Lido Beach Grille, located on the eighth floor of the Lido Beach Resort and featuring spectacular views, serves up consistently ambitious fare. Try the lump crab martinis and the pan-roasted free range chicken with a whole-grain mustard demi glace. 700 Ben Franklin Drive, Sarasota, (941) 388-5608; [moderate]-[expensive]

Lynches Pub & Grub Lynches offers authentic Irish fare, from corned beef and cabbage to Irish stew to cottage pie. Peruse the menu, order a pint of Guinness and you'll feel just like you're back in the Old Country. 19-B N. Boulevard of Presidents, St Armands, (941) 388-5550; [inexpensive]

Old Salty Dog The City Island outpost of the Old Salty Dog (there's a second location on Siesta Key) offers some of the best water views in town--and the wait for an outdoor table (often long during season) is worth it. Order a fish sandwich or a juicy burger and enjoy the feel of the sun on your face and that beautiful view. 1602 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, (941) 388-4311; 5023 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key, (941) 349-0158; [inexpensive]

Terrace on the Circle Located on the second story of the Columbia Restaurant building, Terrace on the Circle has one of the best views on St. Armands Circle. Open daily for breakfast and lunch, the restaurant features authentic Eastern Mediterranean, classic American and signature Italian cuisine. 419-A St. Armands Circle, (941) 388-2222; [inexpensive]

Tokyo Steakhouse & Sushi Bar There's a populist vibe at Tokyo, with its hibachi grill tables and performing chefs, but at the upstairs sushi bar masters of the knife turn out the standard sushi repertoire in anything but standard fashion. 29 N. Boulevard of Presidents, St. Armands, (941) 556-9758; [moderate]-[expensive]

Tommy Bahama Your initial response when you hear "Tommy Bahama" may be island-style clothes, but don't discount the restaurant half of this popular chain--the menu offers a great balance of choices for both the seafood and meat lover, a creative cocktail list and a pina colada cake that's the perfect ending to any meal. 300 John Ringling Blvd., St. Armands Circle, (941) 388-2888; [moderate]-[expensive]


Chart House With a prime location and dramatic views, the Chart House is a favorite with locals and visitors alike. You'll find fresh seafood, juicy steaks and decadent desserts like Hot Chocolate Lava Cake, as well as a nice selection of wines. 201 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key, (941) 383-5593; [expensive]

Dry Dock Waterfront Grille Another restaurant that's as popular with visitors as it is with locals, Dry Dock has indoor and waterfront dining overlooking Sarasota Bay. The grouper sandwich is a cant-miss item here; the homemade lobster bisque is also tasty. There's also a kids' menu. 412 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key, (941) 383-0102; [moderate]

Euphemia Haye This picturesque Longboat Key mainstay is a favorite with visitors and locals alike thanks to its gourmet fare, excellent service and outstanding wine list. Guests looking for a more casual experience can enjoy live music and bites in the upstairs Haye Loft; diners who want to recreate the Euphemia Haye experience can sign up for one of chef Ray Arpke's cooking classes. 5540 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key, (941) 383-3633; [expensive][inexpensive]

Harry's Continental Kitchen This local treasure is renowned for fresh seafood offerings, gourmet winemaker dinners, inventive soups (the vichyssoise is the tastiest this side of Vichy) and an ever-evolving wine and beer list. 525 Saint Judes Drive, Longboat Key, (941) 383-0777; [moderate]-[expensive]

The Lazy Lobster Starring lobster (and mussels) in all incarnations, sinfully rich lobster bisque, carnivore offerings and an extensive wine list. The lemon sole Francaise is also spectacular. 5350 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key, (941) 383-0440; [moderate]-[expensive]

Maison Blanche There's a reason why our food critic named Maison Blanche as one of the top seven Sarasota restaurants that'll win your heart: It serves sophisticated French food in an equally sophisticated Longboat Key space. Adventurous eaters will appreciate the inclusion of sweetbreads on the menu. 2605 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key, (941) 383-8088; [expensive]

Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant and Pub Serving up first-rate Florida fare, inside and outside, with views of north Sarasota Bay. Menu highlights include steamer pots, Long Beach Bouillabaisse, perfectly crunchy stone and blue crab cakes. 760 Broadway St, Longboat Key, (941) 383-2391; [inexpensive]-[moderate]

Moore's Stone Crab Restaurant Moore's features fresh stone crab during season, and fresh, local seafood the rest of the year. You can order your stone crabs to take home and prepare yourself, or stop and sample the fine Old-Florida offerings. 800 Broadway St, Longboat Key, (941) 383-1748; [inexpensive]-[moderate]

Pattigeorge's Casually elegant with Gulf views and a generous libation list. Chef/owner Tommy Klauber's globally influenced fusion cuisine relies on naturally raised meats, sustainable seafood and regionally grown produce. 4120 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key, (941) 383-5111; [expensive]


Broadway Bar This local favorite opened in 1925 and has been going strong ever since. The pizza is acclaimed, but don't overlook the hearty appetizers, sandwiches, pasta dishes and daily specials. The ambiance is family-friendly; the bar full of good cheer. 2001 Cocoanut Ave., Sarasota, (941) 953-4343; [inexpensive]

Currents Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota With its waterfront views, bright decor, lively bar scene and friendly service, this is a great place to sit and sip. Signature dishes include roasted fennel and goat cheese almandine salad. 2000 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota, (941) 953-1234; [moderate]

Da Ru Ma Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar Featuring award-winning cuisine, Da Ru Ma has expertly trained Teppan-style chefs preparing Japanese classics at your table, a sushi lounge and a friendly cocktail lounge. 5459 Fruit-ville Road, Sarasota, (941) 342-6600; [moderate]-[expensive]

El Pescador The second restaurant by Joe Casadio--of 15 South Ristorante fame--offers up Spanish- and Italian-style Mediterranean fare. Excellent wine selection, plus house-made Italian pastries that are not to be missed. 2603 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 312-4711; [inexpensive]-[moderate]

Kumo Japanese Steakhouse This award-winning restaurant has earned a reputation for excellent sushi, Teppan-style grilling and a full menu of Japanese classics. 5232 University Parkway, Sarasota, (941) 355-5866; 1740 E Venice Ave., Venice, (941) 488-5866; [inexpensive]-[expensive]

Lee Roy Selmon's What do you get when you combine a sports bar and Southern comfort food? You get Lee Roy Selmon's. This eatery features items like Mama Selmon's own meatloaf recipe and sweet-heat fried chicken. 8253 Cooper Creek Blvd., Sarasota, (941) 360-3287; 6510 Cortez Road W., Bradenton, (941) 798-3287; [inexpensive]-[moderate]

Morel Featuring award-winning American/Continental contemporary cuisine, including Atlantic salmon, grilled filet mignon, sea bass and duck breast. The extensive wine list is awe-inspiring. 3809 S. Tuttle Ave., Sarasota, (941) 927-8716; [expensive]

Treviso Holding court in the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Treviso serves classic Italian and American cuisine and its modern-minimalist decor. Patio seating boasts a view of the grounds. 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, (941) 360-7390; [expensive]


62 Bistrot Creperie and French Bistrot A bustling bistro serving inventive crepes, salads, sandwiches, cheese plates, delectable desserts and heartier French dishes, including cassoulet, bouillabaisse and beef Bourguignon. 1962 Hilt-view St., Sarasota, (941) 954-1011. [moderate]

Andrea's Voted "Best New Restaurant" in our May Best of Sarasota issue, Andrea's serves made-from-scratch pasta and perfectly prepared meats and seafood, all reflecting Chef Andrea Bozzolo's hometown of Piedmont, Italy. 2085 Siesta Drive, Sarasota, (941) 951-9200; [expensive]

Bangkok Have a craving for curry, pad Thai or stir-fry? Head to Bangkok, a haven for all things Thai. (You'll also find Burmese, Chinese, Indonesian, Malaysian and Vietnamese selections.) Non-meat-eaters will appreciate the vegetarian options. 4791 Swift Road, Sarasota, (941) 922-0703; [inexpensive]-[moderate]

Cafe Baci This longtime local favorite specializes in Tuscan and Roman cuisine, including seafood, homemade pastas and veal. Plus, the wine and spirits menu is inspired. 4001 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 921-4848; [expensive]

Chutney's Chutney's, located in an unassuming spot on Hillview, serves up delicious Indian and Middle Eastern fare--everything from falafel to koo koo (spinach pie) to chicken masala to a fiery lamb vindaloo. Order a big glass of mango iced tea and enjoy the casual, friendly atmosphere. 1944 Hillview St., Sarasota, (941) 954-4444. [moderate]

Cosimo's Brick Oven The pizza is the highlight here (don't miss the quattro formaggi version), but Cosimo's Brick Oven also offers up New World and traditional Italian fare, a nice wine list and a full bar. And if you're in the mood for a salty, cheesy treat, try the Gorgonzola fries, which were named one of our "Sarasota's Best." Worth every calorie. 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 363-0211; [inexpensive]-[moderate]

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar You'll find classic steakhouse fare and an excellent wine list, for sure, but Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar also boasts one of the best happy hours in town (five appetizers, wines and cocktails, respectively, are available for [inexpensive]6 until 7 p.m. nightly) and an innovative small plates menu. 2001 Siesta Drive, Sarasota, (941) 358-9463; [expensive]

Hillview Grill A casual mood combines here with a sophisticated menu. Entries include seafood, pasta, burgers and sandwiches--all cleverly re invented. Small plates for diet-conscious gastronomes. Full bar. 1920 HiUview St, Sarasota, (941) 952-0045; [moderate]

J-Pan Serving sushi standards, original rolls and creative fusion dishes, this local favorite is famous for artistic presentations, friendly service and impeccably fresh fish. The lunch bento boxes are spectacular. 3800 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 954-5726; [moderate]

Libby's Cafe + Bar This Southside Village standout features modern American cuisine and puts an innovative spin on comfort food. An expansive menu of small and large plates includes quinoa cakes with curry aioli, Karubi pork belly ribs, blackened red grouper and prime steaks. 1917 0sprey Ave., Sarasota, (941) 487-7300; [moderate]-[expensive]

Mattison's Forty-One The award-winning menu includes fresh seafood, aged beef, duck, a tapas selection, creative cocktails and first-rate wines and brews. The ambiance is elegant but comfy with live music and dancing most nights. 7275 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 921-3400; [moderate]-[expensive]

Mi Pueblo El Restaurante Mexicano & Cantina This family-run restaurant offers specialties that reflect the cuisine of Northern Mexico. Signature dishes include the house fajitas, the shrimp and mango tortillas and the polio con mole. Also offering a vegan menu. 4436 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, (941) 359-9303 and other locations. [inexpensive]-[moderate]

Michael's On East This much-awarded Sarasota institution boasts a plush ambiance, an American-Continental cuisine menu and an adventurous wine list. This is the spot where cognoscenti engage in serious talk over serious food or sip spirits in the piano lounge. 1212 East Ave. S., Sarasota, (941) 366-0007; [expensive]

Mrs. Chen's Sarasota has no Chinatown, but thank heaven for Mrs. Chen's. Crowds gather, lining up for the buffet, though some prefer table service. It's relaxed and affordable. 6125 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 924-0039. [inexpensive]

Oriental Buffet Watch Mongolian and sushi chefs prepare your food. Sarasota's biggest buffet boasts more than 200 all-you-can-eat items to choose from. Crab legs offered nightly; kids ages four to nine eat at reduced prices. 4458 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, (941) 377-6699. [inexpensive]

Pacific Rim This spot offers outstanding Japanese-Thai fusion cuisine. Think tempuras, grilled seafood and meats, curries and pad Thai dishes, lemongrass-based soups and an inspired sushi and sashimi selection. 1859 Hillview St, Sarasota, (941) 330-8071; [moderate]

Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar Casual waterfront dining (indoors and out) and fresh seafood, burgers and sandwiches. Delights include the Cajun seafood gumbo and the steamed pots (oysters, clams, mussels). 5353 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 925-4444; [moderate]

Piatti Think of Piatti as II Panificio's glamorous older sister--one that serves cocktails in a fun, urban location in Gulf Gate. There's pizza, sure, but there's also a rotating menu of classic Italian favorites like chicken Saltimbocca. 6630 Gateway Ave., Sarasota, (941) 923-5570; [inexpensive]-[moderate]

Roy's Chef Justin Fields is adept at turning out Roy's signature Hawaiian fusion cuisine--the menu places a heavy emphasis on seafood, featuring items like blackened ahi, macadamia nut-crusted mahi mahi and Hawaiian-style misoyaki butterfish. You'll find chicken and steak, too, as well as an exquisite selection of cocktails. The after-work crowd won't want to miss the Aloha Hour and its [inexpensive]5 appetizers and drinks. 2001 Siesta Drive, Sarasota, (941) 952-0109; [expensive]

Ruth's Chris Steak House Their famous steaks are seared to perfection and sizzling when they hit your table. Dishes celebrating seafood, lamb chops, chicken and seasonal vegetables prove the rest of the food chain is not neglected. 6700 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 924-9442; [expensive]

Sam Snead's The hearty fare at this South-side Village hot spot ranges from flatbreads, soups, and salads to steaks, chops and Reuben sandwiches, all served in a golfer-friendly ambiance. 1830 S. Osprey Ave., Suite 100, Sarasota, (941) 906-7771; [moderate]

Siam Orchid This family-owned restaurant offers Thai and Asian fusion dishes, including pastakeemao (a heavenly affair of angel hair noodles stir-fried with sweet basil leaves), duck in many flavors, and an array of Thai curries. 4141 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 923-7447; [moderate]

Square 1 Burgers & Bar If you've got burgers on the brain, then Square 1 Burgers & Bar might be your idea of mecca. The restaurant offers an impressive list of burgers that includes everything from classic beef and turkey to Kobe beef, chicken, buffalo and ostrich. Don't leave without tasting one of the homemade cupcakes. 2737 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 870-8111; [inexpensive]

The Table Creekside Sarasota favorite The Table has reopened in a picturesque location at Phillippi Creek. Lots of appetizers and small plates. The entrees aren't just delicious, they're beautiful, too. Excellent cocktails and wine list. 5365 S. Tamiami Trait, Sarasota, (941) 921-9465; [moderate]

TooJay's Gourmet Deli Restaurant & Bakery Celebrated for its New York-style delicatessen specialties, comfort foods, heart-healthy choices and delicious desserts. Applauded for its blintzes, potato pancakes, meat loaf and vegetarian offerings. 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 362-3692; [inexpensive]-[moderate]

Vizen Japanese Restaurant You'll find some of the best sushi in Sarasota at Vizen, located in busy Gulf Gate. There are sashimi, sushi and tempura options, all exquisitely and authentically prepared and presented by Chef Matsu in the Edo style. 6559 Gateway Ave., Sarasota, (941) 926-0830; [moderate]

Yoder's You may want to loosen your belt at the end of the meal, which will consist of hearty Amish fare like fried chicken, meatloaf, roast turkey and smoked ham. And don't even get us started on the award-winning pies (everything from peanut butter to strawberry and back again). 3434 Bahia Vista St, Sarasota, (941) 955-7771; [inexpensive]


Casey Key Fish House This Casey Key establishment features dinner specials like bouillabaisse, ahi tuna, stone crab claws, lobster tail and grouper. The popular Tiki Bar recently reopened to local applause. 801 Blackburn Point Road, Casey Key, (941) 966-1901; [moderate]

Crow's Nest With fantastic views of the Crow's Nest Marina and Intracoastal Waterway, the Crow's Nest serves fresh Florida seafood, beef and pork. A Wine Spectator award-winning wine list and a lively tavern with raw bar menu. 1986 Tarpon Center Drive, Venice, (941) 484-9551; [moderate]-[expensive]

Le Petit Jardin A Venice institution offering classic French fare--think crepes, quiches, rata-touille--as well as salads, sandwiches and homemade soup, all at reasonable prices. Great for lunch. 1500 E. Venice Ave., Venice, (941) 485-4449. [inexpensive]

Saltwater Cafe This Osprey restaurant has a varied menu guaranteed to please any palate. Pizza is quite good here, as is everything from the burgers to the pan-fried softshell crab to unique pasta offerings. The chef likes experimenting, so you'll always find fresh, interesting flavors. 1071 N. Tamiami Trail, Nokomis, (941) 488-3775; [moderate]

Sharky's on the Pier Watch the sunset as you sip a tropical frozen drink, or stop in for a grouper sandwich after digging for sharks' teeth. There's live music too. 2600 Harbor Drive S., Venice, (941) 488-1456; [inexpensive]-[moderate]



Anna Maria Oyster Bar The oyster selection will wow you here, but the menu also offers succulent seafood selections (including fresh Maine lobster), pasta skillets, inventive salads and even land critters. 6906 14th St W., Bradenton, (941) 758-7800; 6696 Cortez Road W., (941) 792-0077, and another location; [inexpensive]-[moderate]

The Bearded Clam Located at the Ramada Inn Waterfront. The menu includes 12-oz. rib-eye, a 21-ptece shrimp trio, hot dogs on grilled New England lobster rolls and fish burritos. 7150 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 355-2600; [inexpensive]-[moderate]

Captain Brian's Daily selections of Florida's freshest seafood have earned this favorite Florida Trends Golden Spoon Award. Highlights include seafood chowder loaded with Gulf shrimp, snow crab and sea scallops. 8421 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 351-4492; [moderate]

Ezra Cafe Chef and owner Donna Easton boasts a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology. Her "kitchen chemistry" includes such favorites as grilled Australian rack of lamb with a balsamic-strawberry reduction and the Ezra bento box. Ah, here's to sweet science. 5629 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, (941) 792-0990; [moderate]-[expensive]

The Grill at O'Bricks (formerly Mangrove Grill) in downtown Bradenton, the Grill features fresh seafood, perfect cuts of meat and a wide variety of smaller plates and salads. For instant attitude adjustment, we like to recommend the crisply pleasing pear martini. 42512th St. W., Bradenton, (941) 896-8860; [moderate]

Ortygia Chef/owner Gaetano Cannata celebrates his proud Sicilian heritage with old-school authenticity and rustic family recipes. Favorites include the housemade pates, roasted garlic bisque and the Torta Rustica, a classic ricotta-filled tart. 1418 13th St. W., Bradenton, (941) 741-8646; [moderate]-[expensive]

Pier 22 Located on the Memorial Pier overlooking Manatee River, this restaurant/ballroom offers indoor and outdoor dining and a friendly outdoor bar with live music, with a menu emphasizing fresh seafood, lamb, duck and beef. 2200 First Ave. W., Bradenton, (941) 748-8087; [moderate]-[expensive]

SoMa Diner Nestled into a cozy building in downtown Bradenton, SoMa Diner serves up a wonderfully creative menu. Colorful art--all for sale--adorns the inside walls; outdoor seating is also available. The food, perhaps best described as "Asian-Southern fusion," features standouts like fried green tomatoes, Florida lobster fried rice and black tiger shrimp. 626 20th St E, Bradenton, (941) 748-0002; [moderate]


Star Fish Company Market and Restaurant This picture-postcard setting is ideal for enjoying vintage Florida food--and views. The Star Fish runs a commercial fishing business, so the fish you eat here is flopping fresh. The cornmeal hush puppies pop with sweet corn goodness. 12306 46th Ave. W., Cortez, (941) 794-1243; [inexpensive]


Beach Bistro Renowned for serving up some of the best food in the nation, this intimate restaurant presents showstoppers like Bistro Bouillabaisse and Death by Foie Gras. Service is accommodating and unobtrusive, and more often than not you'll find owner and consummate host Sean Murphy making the rounds in the dining room. 6600 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, (941) 778-6444; [expensive]

BeachHouse Restaurant Perfect views of the Gulf of Mexico, grouper sandwiches to write home about, and a bustling bar scene with live music, too. Locals rave about the chilled seafood salad. 200 Gulf Drive, Bradenton Beach, (941) 779-2222; [moderate]

Blue Marlin Here's the hook at Blue Marlin: The seafood they serve is straight off the commercial docks at Cortez. Fresher fish and shellfish are hard to imagine, but the kitchen needs to know what to do with the catch or fresh is beside the point. Blue Marlin delivers on both counts. 121 Bridge St, Bradenton Beach, (941) 896-9737; [moderate]

Bridge Street Bistro A relaxed yet refined bistro setting with spectacular views of the Gulf of Mexico, Bridge Street Bistro serves expertly prepared dishes, from fresh seafood to steak to pasta. 112 Gulf Drive S., Bradenton Beach, (941) 782-1122; [moderate]

Gulf Drive Cafe & Tiki To get any closer to the beach, you'd need a snorkel The family-friendly menu includes crepes, pancakes, sandwiches, burgers and fresh seafood dishes. Did we mention the hot fudge brownie sundae? Wine and beer, too. 900 Gulf Drive N. Bradenton Beach, (941) 778-1919; [inexpensive]-[moderate]

MartiniVille Bar Grazing is definitely the way to go here--unless you hook a table on the covered porch. The menu is geared to a little of this and some of that, from pizzas and flatbreads to a variety of small plates and a raw bar list. 5337 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, (941) 779-1000; [inexpensive]-[moderate]

The Sandbar Flip-flops and bathing suits are welcome on the outdoor deck; the inside dining room offers more formal service. The menu offers unfussy Florida fare with an emphasis on fresh seafood. The tropical cocktails are amazing. 100 Spring Ave., Anna Maria, (941) 778-0444; [moderate]

Sign of the Mermaid This historic, 1920s-era cottage offers a cozy ambiance, a fresh take on Florida-inspired cuisine and an impressive beer and wine selection. Their pies win national awards. 9707 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, (941) 778-9399; [moderate]-[expensive]

The Waterfront Restaurant Exquisite views of Tampa Bay, inspired wine and beer selection and a menu featuring local fish, produce and meats. Ill S. Bay Blvd., Anna Maria, (941) 778-1515; [moderate]-[expensive]


Broken Egg Looking for a big, hearty breakfast? Look no further than the Broken Egg. You'll find all the staples--pancakes, waffles, eggs, baked goods, as well as delicious off-the-beaten path favorites like Bubba's Skillet (eggs, onions, ham, mushrooms and cheddar cheese). Lunch menu, too. 6115 Exchange Way, Lakewood Ranch, (941) 388-6898; 140 Avenida Messina, Siesta Key, (941) 346-2750; 4031 Clark Road, Sarasota, (941) 922-2868. [inexpensive]

Polo Grill and Bar Serving American cuisine with a global soul, this upscale eatery pairs outstanding foods and wines with an upbeat ambiance. The lounge area is always hopping with a lively happy hour, entertainment, dancing and light bites. 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lake-wood Ranch, (941) 782-0899; [moderate]-[expensive]
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Publication:Sarasota Magazine
Geographic Code:0GULF
Date:Apr 1, 2012
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