Locally grown veggies, freshly caught fish and farm fresh eggs are what’s cooking at the Longbeach Cafe, Blue Dolphin and Harry’s Continental Kitchen. (Longboat Key)

For waterfront dining, the Gulf Drive Café is right on Bradenton Beach serving freshly squeezed O.J. and Belgian Waffles.

Word of Mouth at 711 South Osprey Ave., Sarasota features fresh eggs and locally grown veggies with homemade 7 grain bread.

Dinner On Longboat Key…

Three restaurants come to mind when looking for something casual and on the water. The Dry Dock, at 412 Gulf of Mexico Drive, features superb dining and great views from the second floor restaurant and a covered patio on the bay. At the north end of the island is Mar Vista neighborhood bar and restaurant with spectacular bay views and if interested in a sunset, the Chart House is impressive.

The Lazy Lobster at 5350 Gulf of Mexico Drive has excellent fare and a lush garden patio.

Longboat has two Zagat rated restaurants … Euphemia Haye and Pattigeorge’s with Maison Blanche soon to be included among the elite.

St. Armand’s Circle is a perfect spot to grab a bite or people watch while dining.  Most shops do stay open for that after a good meal.. stroll.

While listening to piano and song, start the evening with a refreshing cocktail at Crab and Fin’s sidewalk lounge. Stay for their succulent seafood or head to Café L’Europe for superb intimate dining in temperature controlled indoor/outdoor spaces. Award winning Spanish cuisine is on the menu at Columbia’s wide corner location with open-air and sidewalk dining.

At the top of the Holiday Inn at Lido Beach is the Sand Dollar Restaurant; although it’s not flashy, trendy or hip, the views are spectacular.

Another location with amazing views is Lido Beach Resort’s 8th floor bar & Grill Patrons of the bar are treated to Lido’s beach and glimpses of Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island. After dark, the dining area offers a panoramic shot of Sarasota’s lighted Downtown.

Families will be delighted to find a good selection of eateries on and off Circle that are very reasonably priced.


Sarasota’s Main Street has plenty of eateries, bars and nightlife. Places like Mattison’s City Grill and Divino Restaurant offer great food while award winning Bijou Café is an excellent choice off the beaten path on First.

Other good establishments include Selva Grill, Caragiulo’s, Barnacle Bills, Café Epicure and Patrick’s.

Looking for waterfront? There are a few along Sarasota’s Bay-front. There’s Marina Jack’s spectacular second floor dining or if you’d rather be cruising… their yacht is available for sunset buffets.

A burger and brew can always be found at O’Leary’s in Centennial’s Bayfront Park while the Ritz Carlton’s “Jack Dusty” features outstanding fare and a partial view of the bay.

On Anna Maria Island…

With a slew of Zagat Ratings and Golden Spoon Awards, Anna Maria’s Beach Bistro is probably one to reserve for those great impressions and special occasions. Arrive before sunset as the dining room is right on Holmes Beach.

The Waterfront Restaurant may not be on the water, yet it’s worth mentioning as the food is excellent and water is right across the street. The same goes for the restaurant at Bridgewalk’s Island Time Bar and Grill across from Bradenton Beach.

The legendary Sandbar Restaurant is a casual spot where indoor/outdoor beachside seating features perfect sunset watching. That’s also true of the Beach House on Bradenton Beach. Both locations have access to sand for that balmy moonlit stroll.

On Siesta Key…

If you don’t mind the drive, there’s a great spot with excellent credentials… Ophelia’s on the Bay. Featuring dockside dining on Little Sarasota Bay, this is where manatees and dolphins raise their young and where mangrove islands are filled with shorebirds tending to their broods.