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The Best Restaurants in Sarasota, Florida
An hour south of Tampa, Florida you’ll find Sarasota; the home to many unbelievable white sand beaches and some of the most terrific local dining we have ever had! We always enjoy finding new favorites so we decided to compile a list of the best restaurants in Sarasota and surrounding areas. So stop and enjoy all the delicious dining options this amazing area has to offer.
BEST BREAKFAST AND BRUNCH IN SARASOTA
We’ve become huge fans of Der Dutchman for their inexpensive, yet wide variety buffet full of all the breakfast comfort foods. It’s also the perfect place for a large family gathering which is why we typically visit their once a year with Logan’s family while they are in Sarasota during the winter. If you don’t have time to go to their breakfast buffet you can order off the regular menu at lunch and dinner time.
Recommendations: Okay aside from the breakfast buffet, let’s talk about donuts… you need to try the orange frosted cake donut. Two words: LIFE. CHANGING!
Address: 3713 Bahia Vista St, Sarasota
Hours: Restaurant & Bakery: November–April, Monday–Thursday: 6am–8pm Friday–Saturday: 6am–9pm
Summer Hours: May – October, Monday–Saturday: 7am–8pm, Closed Sunday
The Blue Dolphin Cafe
The Blue Dolphin Cafe is a small breakfast and lunch spot located on St. Armand’s Circle. Some of the food was on par with any regular breakfast spot but the prices and customizable menu make it unique and the location makes it one of the best restaurants in Sarasota for breakfast. While their french toast was yummy, I think I’ll be going for the waffle piled high with fresh fruit next time!
Recommendations: Two egg breakfast, smoked salmon platter, or the French Toast.
Address: 470 John Ringling Blvd, Sarasota
Hours: 7am-2pm daily
Toasted Mango Cafe
Go crazy for mango everything at this choice for one of the best restaurants in Sarasota! But hey, even if you’re not a fan of mangos, Toasted Mango has a variety of lunch entrees and breakfast is served all day. The wait can be long, but the food here is fresh and nothing less than terrific.
Recommendations: Toasted Mango Waffle, Eggs Benedict, Omelets, and of course, the smoothies.
Address: 430 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
Hours: 7am-3pm daily
BEST CASUAL RESTAURANTS IN SARASOTA
This is by far one of our favorite local restaurants to visit and no, not just for their daiquiris! Daiquiri Deck has an amazing happy hour and a large variety of fresh seafood but there are also many menu items for those who aren’t a fan of seafood. There are many locations around Sarasota which also makes this hotspot convenient. If you’re wanting to visit a novelty restaurant, Daiquiri Deck is worth it!
Recommendations: We’ve honestly never had anything bad here so it’s hard to pick a favorite item. We definitely love their fresh catch of the day items (especially the blackened grouper), any selection of their oysters, the lobster fondue, and the cajun creole pasta! As for drinks you say? Our favorite daiquiris have been the banana slider, mango-lada, and voodoo love shake.
Address: 1250 Stickney Point Rd, Siesta Key (A few other locations available)
Hours: Sunday-Saturday 11am-2am
J.R.’s Old Packinghouse Cafe
Another hole in the wall favorite, J.R.’s Old Packinghouse has live music 6 days a week that will make you tap your feet. This fun, informal restaurant offers a blend of southern style and Cuban style food. Looking for something more basic? They’ve been named “best burger in Sarasota” so that’s something to talk about too!
Recommendations: Cuban Sandwich, Basa Sandwich or Fillet, any selection of appetizers
Address: 987 S Packinghouse Rd, Sarasota
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11am-10pm, Friday & Saturday 11am-11pm, Closed Sundays
Similar to Der Dutchman, we have enjoyed visiting Yoder’s Restaurant a few times for dinner but especially for their dessert and the famous Peanut Butter Pie. In fact, Logan’s grandma loved this pie so much over the years she coaxed the ingredients out of them and perfected it herself. HAHA! At this best restaurant in Sarasota, you’ll find a terrific casual spot with Amish comfort food.
Recommendations: Famous Fried Chicken, Chicken & Dumplings, and yes, a slab of the Peanut Butter Pie
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 6am-8pm, Friday & Saturday: 6am-9pm, Closed Sundays
The Starfish Company started as a wholesale fish market then opened as a small, dockside restaurant serving the locally fresh caught fish that is still sold in their market daily. The entree items are prepared simply – fried, grilled, blackened, or sauteed. Note that Starfish Company is cash only but there is an ATM at the restaurant if you need to get some cash.
Recommendations: Blackened Red Snapper or Grouper with Cheese Grits or Fries, make sure you save room for a slice of their Key Lime Pie!
Address: 12306 46th Ave W, Cortez
Hours: Sunday & Monday 11:30am-3pm, Tuesday-Saturday 11:30am-8pm
Gilligan’s Island Grill
Conveniently located near Siesta Key Beach, Gilligan’s is a fun Tiki bar with live music and great food! The world-famous fries are everything you dreamed of as a child and offer a variety of curly, crinkle, and regular fries! I really liked their fish tacos with a mango verde salsa.
Recommendations: Gilligan’s Fish Tacos, Grouper Sandwich, Coconut Shrimp, World Famous Fries.
Address: 5253 Ocean Blvd, Sarasota
Hours: 11am-2am daily
Captain Curt’s is a tiki bar themed seafood house well-known for its world-famous clam chowder and live music. Like Gilligan’s Island Grill, it is also located near Siesta Key Beach making it a great place to grab lunch or dinner after a day at the beach.
Recommendations: We enjoyed their Gulf grouper filets, Mahi Mahi fish tacos, and of course, their famous clam chowder.
Address: 1200 Old Stickney Point Rd, Sarasota
Hours: Sunday 11am-12am, Monday-Wednesday 11am-11pm, Thursday-Saturday 11am-2am
If you’re looking for delicious Vietnamese food Pho Cali is the place to go. The expansive menu caters to many dietary or food restrictions and it’s a great place to try something new. This restaurant is ALWAYS bumping and it’s for a good reason, but we’ve never found it hard to get a table or had to wait too long.
Recommendations: Tom Yum Soup with Shrimp, Coconut Lemongrass Chicken, and Vietnamese Iced Coffee
Address: 1578 Main St, Sarasota
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11am-9pm, Friday & Saturday 11am-9:30pm (closed 4-5pm), Closed Sunday
Kona Grill is a unique concept restaurant with Hawaiian food, but also has Asian fusion and pasta dishes. If nothing else, check out their amazing happy hour deals at this best restaurant in Sarasota.
Recommendations: Lemon-Garlic Shrimp Penne, Pad Thai Noodles, Sushi Rolls (any)
Address: 150 University Town Center Dr #150, Sarasota
Hours: Sunday 11am-9pm, Monday-Thursday 11am-10pm, Friday & Saturday 11am-11pm
After shopping downstairs at their clothing store, you should definitely head upstairs to enjoy a meal at the Shore restaurant. We’ve only been there for a late lunch but were blown away by the freshness of the ingredients. Every single thing we ordered was fabulous. On Sundays, they have brunch – which we’ve never been to but it looks FANTASTIC.
Recommendations: Blue Lump Crab Cake, Bosc Pear Grilled Cheese, and Fish Tacos
Address: 465 John Ringling Blvd #200, Sarasota
Hours: Sunday 10am-10pm, Monday-Thursday 11am-10pm, Friday & Saturday 11am-10pm
Owen’s Fish Camp
If you’ve ever been to Sarasota you’ve probably heard of Owen’s Fish Camp. It is a well-established and well-known seafood restaurant near the downtown Sarasota area. No matter when you go, it’s going to be busy so be prepared to wait – but it will be worth it!
Recommendations: Fried Green Tomato Salad, Market Fish, Sea Scallops, or Shrimp & Grits.
Address: 516 Burns Ct #7030, Sarasota
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 4pm-9:30pm, Friday & Saturday 4pm-10:30pm
Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar
Holy buckets of seafood! Phillippi Creek is a casual oyster bar and seafood restaurant but also boasts a great waterfront view (perfect for sunset!). Phillippi Creek is also one of the best Sarasota restaurants to accommodate larger parties.
Recommendations: For an appetizer, we suggest the jumbo lump crab cake or crab dip. For entrees, definitely try one of their Au Gratin platters (we had the baby Maine lobster tails) or one of their specials. Just be sure to ask the price first!
Address: 5353 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11am-10pm, Friday & Saturday 11am-10:30pm
FINE DINING IN SARASOTA
Barnacle Bill’s Seafood
Voted the “Best of the Best Seafood” in Sarasota for 15 straight years and we can see why! After one visit, Barnacle Bills quickly rose to the top of our favorites list and it really is one of the best seafood restaurants in Sarasota. Give yourself plenty of time to look at all of the menu options while enjoying a brew from their also rather large drink menu. Barnacle Bills also offers free valet parking if you are having trouble finding a close spot.
Recommendations: Seafood Strudel and the Baby Gulf Shrimp Pasta
Address: 1526 Main Street, Sarasota
Hours: Sunday 4pm-9pm, Monday-Thursday: 11:30am-9pm, Friday & Saturday: 11:30am-10pm
Crab & Fin
Crab & Fin is another favorite seafood restaurant in Sarasota. It’s an open-air lunch and dinner spot on St. Armand’s Circle (there’s also dining space inside if you’d prefer that too). Make sure to get there early as it tends to get busy during prime lunchtime and dinner times.
Recommendations: Baked Brie Almondine and Baby Gulf Shrimp Pasta
Address: 420 St. Armands Cir, Sarasota
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11:30am-10pm, Friday & Saturday 11:30am-10:30pm, Closed Sundays
Tommy Bahama Restaurant
Conveniently located at St. Armands Circle, Tommy Bahama offers excellent dining and sweeping sunset views. We frequently go for drinks, apps, and their bread (no shame!). After dinner stroll on over to Lido Key Beach which is walking distance from the restaurant and enjoy a cotton candy sunset.
Recommendations: World Famous Coconut Shrimp, Seared Scallop Sliders, Mango BBQ Chicken Lollipops, and any of their well-crafted cocktails.
Address: 300 John Ringling Blvd, Sarasota
Hours: Sunday: 10am-10pm, Monday-Saturday: 10am-11pm
Venezia Italian Restaurant
While many Italian restaurants can be overrated, Venezia offers homemade Italian fare like gnocchi, pizza, a large selection of wine and other pasta dishes. On a nice evening, ask to sit outside and watch as St. Armand’s Circle comes alive.
Recommendations: The pizza is phenomenal or order any of the homemade gnocchi dishes and don’t share! 😉
Address: 373 St Armands Cir, Sarasota
Hours: Sun-Sat: 11am-10pm
The Sandbar Restaurant
The Sandbar Restaurant is a bit of a drive from Sarasota, but it has one-of-a-kind beachfront dining with a gorgeous view of Anna Maria Island. This is perfect for a romantic dinner or a casual lunch spot while on the beach.
Recommendations: Silver Queen Salad, Blackened Fish Tacos, Grouper Reuben, Hummus Platter, and the Blackberry Frozen Lemonade
Address: 100 Spring Ave, Anna Maria
Hours: Sunday: 10am-10pm, Monday-Friday: 11:30am-10pm, Saturday: 11am-10pm
DESSERTS IN SARASOTA
Kilwins has quickly started spreading across the U.S. and we are thankful for that! It is a nice place to stop and get a sweet treat, especially after a day on the beach or to escape the summer heat.
Recommendations: Salted Carmel Ice Cream, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Fudge, and any of the Chocolate Covered Krispies (can you tell we love dessert?).
Address: 312 John Ringling Blvd, Sarasota
Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 8am – 11pm, Friday & Saturday: 8am – 11:30pm
Settimi’s Gelato is a place we always stop at while in Sarasota. Although we’ve never had gelato in Italy, we love the creamy texture and sharp flavors of each gelato that they have to offer.
Recommendations: Stracciatella, Limoncello, Cappuccino, and Orange Chocolate
Address: 367 St Armands Cir, Sarasota
Hours: Sunday 11am-10:30pm, Monday-Saturday 10:30am-10:30pm
The Donut Experiment
While it may be a short distance away from Sarasota, this colorful and eccentric shop is well worth the drive to Anna Maria Island. At The Donut Experiment, you can customize your own hot, cake donut dipped in the icing of your choice and finished off with a terrific topping!
Our creations from left to right: TOP- Coconut Flaked chocolate glazed, Reese’s Pieces Chocolate glazed, Salted Caramel. BOTTOM- Oreo Crumble Chocolate glazed, Fruity Pebbles strawberry glazed, Reese’s Puff with peanut butter drizzle chocolate glazed.
Address: 210c Pine Ave, Anna Maria
Hours: 7am-1pm daily
GROCERY STORES IN SARASOTA
If you are in Sarasota for an extended stay or just a short time you have to check out the local Detwiler Market which offers some of the best food and produce in Sarasota. Similar to a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, you will be soon impressed by the variety of items at this popular local grocer. In addition, we highly recommend buying fresh produce, homemade cheeses, and bakery goods.
Recommendations: Fresh seafood, an amazing selection of cheeses, and their baked monster cookies. We can’t say enough about all of their produce, but we could go on for days about their strawberries!
Address: 2881 Clark Rd, Sarasota
Hours: Monday-Saturday 8am-7pm (vary by location), Closed Sundays
COFFEE SHOPS IN SARASOTA
Perq Coffee Bar
Perq Coffee Bar has a unique environment to sit and relax or work from your computer. They bring in locally produced goods and have terrific hand-crafted lattes.
Recommendations: Matcha Latte, Flat White, Macaroon Ice Cream Sandwiches
Address: 1821 Hillview St, Sarasota
Hours: 7am-5pm daily
BREWERIES & DISTILLERIES IN (OR NEAR) SARASOTA
Yuengling Brewery Tour
The Yuengling Brewery Tour is a 45-60 min free tour of America’s Oldest Brewery that produces a cool, crisp beer that is only available in some southern and east coast states. The Yuengling Brewery is located in Tampa so it’s a bit of a drive from Sarasota but is a great activity for adults on a rainy day in Sarasota.
FYI: you must wear closed-toed shoes during the tour for safety purposes.
Tour times: Monday-Friday: 10am, 11:30am, & 1pm, Saturday: 10:30am & 12pm
Drum Circle Distillery
At Drum Circle Distillery you’ll be able to have a 50-60 minute free tour of Siesta Key Rum. Not to mention you will also be given free samples and the option of buying a bottle of your favorite flavor. Be sure to schedule your tour on their website and arrive early to check-in!
Tour times: Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday: 12:30pm, 2pm, & 3:30pm
Which of these best restaurants in Sarasota would make the top of your list?
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