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Sarasota’s award winning beaches are not the only reason to visit this Florida city on the Gulf of Mexico. Sarasota is a prime destination for food lovers, offering a range of experiences from fine dining to casual eateries, with plenty of sweet treats in between. Whether you’re heading into downtown Sarasota or planning to relax on the waterfront, bring your appetite and check out some of the best restaurants in Sarasota!
The Old Salty Dog
1601 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236
If you’re a fan of TV food shows, you won’t want to miss The Old Salty Dog. Known for their beer battered hot dogs, which were featured on the tv show “Man Vs. Food,” this Sarasota restaurant also offers delicious traditional British pub fare, seafood dishes, fresh fish, classic American faves, like burgers and beers and excellent mixed drinks and margaritas.
This sale is valid until 6/4/2023.
Go big with the 1/4 pound battered and fried hot dog, or stay traditional with crispy fish and chips, fried just right. The children’s menu offers a sampling of both their hand crafted highlights, and kid staples like mac and cheese and fruit cups.
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They have three locations – Siesta Key, Venice Island and City Island. We visited City Island and enjoyed the Sarasota bay waterfront views off the Gulf Coast, just across from Longboat Key. It was the perfect combination of sea breeze and comfort food. The City Island location also serves breakfast.
Both indoor and outdoor dining options were easily wheelchair accessible and the laid back beach vibe was welcoming for all ages.
C’est La Vie
1553 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236
A true Parisian delight in every bite! This award-winning French bakery and café certainly exceeded our expectations with its delicious offerings. From traditional croissants and eclairs to crepes and baguette sandwiches, this bistro is a little slice of Paris in downtown Sarasota.
We enjoyed a breakfast of freshly baked pastries and handcrafted espresso, but they offer a variety of foods from sweet to savory and from petit to hearty with something for every taste and preference. It’s a super brunch destination, but they have enough variety to make it a great stop any time of day.
Whether you prefer indoor or outdoor dining, C’est La Vie offers a welcoming and accessible atmosphere for all.
411 St Armands Cir, Sarasota, FL 34236
Simply euphoric! Every bite at Columbia Restaurant, located in St. Armands Circle, is a flavor explosion that leaves you breathless. As Florida’s oldest restaurant, dating back to 1905, it’s no wonder why this Spanish cuisine gem continues to thrive. From the warm, freshly baked bread to the expertly crafted dishes, it’s easy to see why Columbia Restaurant is one of Florida’s best restaurants, with seven locations in the state!
Because there are so many tantalizing options, I suggest you go with the traditional Spanish tapas as appetizers, or order a variety of entrees to share. You don’t want to miss their classic Cuban sandwich or spiced yellow rice. La Completa Cubana offers a feast of Cuban flavors, if you can’t decide. You can also try Babe Ruth’s favorite steak – The Bambino – still cooked in the same dressing sauce as in 1905. Pair it with a private barrel liquor, hand-selected from around the world by their 4th and 5th generation family members, then carefully bottled and delivered to each Columbia Restaurant. Or choose a family wine, made in Spain by relatives of the founders.
This will be difficult, but save room for dessert. They serve the best flan I’ve ever had, but if you’re running out of space, you can’t go wrong with some churros to share. It’s also a great place for sampling Sarasota’s key lime pie.
With a diverse children’s menu and accessible indoor and outdoor dining options, there’s something for everyone here. Handicap restrooms are also available.
150 University Town Center Dr #150, Sarasota, FL 34243
America’s favorite grill, indeed! With fresh seafood, steaks, sushi and classic American grill options, there’s something for everyone at Sarasota’s Kona Grill. If you’re a fan of brunch, their weekend specials featuring mimosas and signature menu items are not to be missed.
Don’t skip their happy hour with menu items and drinks starting at just $3 and sushi options starting at $6 for a full roll.
The kids’ bento box options, with entrees from grilled salmon to cheeseburgers, offer a little bit of something for everyone. Our table was filled with a bit of everything, from fresh Asian flavors like sushi, chicken satay and edamame to American favorites like mac and cheese, cheeseburgers, French fries and fresh fruit. There was nothing that didn’t pair well with my perfectly crafted margarita.
A fun dining experience indoor or out, with accessible options for both. The dining room is classy, yet fun, with a large fish tank to check out while the kids are waiting for their meals.
Commons Plaza, 935 N Beneva Rd Suite 701, Sarasota, FL 34232
If you’re looking for authentic Mexican cuisine in Sarasota, Reyna’s Taqueria is the place to be. With rotating menu options, you can try something new each time you visit or stick to a classic like carnitas tacos or quesadillas. The use of fresh, local ingredients is evident in the vibrant flavors of every dish.
Make sure you try the homemade chips and salsa. The juicy carnitas and fresh cheeses were our other favorites.
Enjoy the Sarasota weather while dining outside, or soak up the Mexican vibes in the indoor dining room. Both options are fully accessible and handicap facilities are available.
Wink Wink Lounge
1290 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota, FL 34236
Situated inside of The Sarasota Modern, Wink Wink Lounge is a cozy breakfast spot for both guests and visitors, a laid back lunch destination and a lively night scene for dinner or cocktails.
It’s a vibe worth checking out, even if you’re not staying on site. The menu is a globally inspired modern twist on local favorites. Like many of Sarasota’s best restaurants, Wink Wink features locally sourced Gulf favorites and fresh seafood.
Come for breakfast and try the crunchy French toast – coated in cereal, deep fried and drizzled with a sweet peanut butter sauce. Come any time of day to soak up the Florida sun and sip hand crafted cocktails by the pool. The Sarasota Modern offers spa passes, so even if you’re not an overnight guest you could combine your Wink Wink dining experience with a day at the pool and spa! This may be the best type of waterfront dining.
The unique retro atmosphere indoor and out makes this eatery a unique dining experience. The restaurant and amenities are fully wheelchair accessible.
Gecko’s Grill and Pub
1900 Hillview Street, Sarasota, FL, 34239
If you’re looking for a Sarasota stop that will make everybody happy, Gecko’s Grill and Pub is the easy destination. Whatever you’re craving, from soups and salads to Mediterranean flatbreads and Italian pastas, and from American burgers and wings to Asian noodle bowls and blackened Gulf grouper, they have a wide range of menu offerings to please every palate!
The dining room is filled with large screen TVs so sports fans don’t have to miss a play. Choose a spot at a table to watch the Tampa Bucs, Lightning or Rays, then order appies like boom boom shrimp or crispy hot wings. Next, dive into some Sarasota favorites like a Gulf grouper sandwich or a Cuban sub. Unlike other pub restaurants, they also have plenty of healthy options, like poke bowls and even gluten free menu items.
While many people come for the sports bar, Gecko’s also has outdoor seating so you don’t have to miss out on a perfect Florida weather day. Both options are wheelchair accessible and have a laid back atmosphere that is welcoming to all ages.
Toasted Mango Cafe
430 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236
Voted the best waffle in Florida, the signature waffle at Sarasota’s Toasted Mango Café might just change your life. If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, this is the best restaurant for kicking off your morning!
They offer all the breakfast classics, but they also bring their own twists to raise everything up a level. Some examples include fresh mango and toasted coconut on a waffle topped with whipped cream, bowl-sized biscuits and the biggest breakfast potatoes you’ve ever seen. If sweet isn’t your thing, go with the corned beef hash or the Sarasota omelet with house roasted turkey, fresh avocado, spinach, tomato and Jack cheese. The children’s menu has smaller versions of all the favorites, with added fun like pancakes made to look like Mickey or Minnie, or stuffed with bacon.
Conveniently, they have a downtown location on North Tamiami Trail and a Siesta Key location! Grab breakfast at one and an afternoon smoothie at the other!
Accessible dining both indoors and out. Handicap restrooms available.
O’Leary’s Tiki Bar and Grill
5 Bayfront Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236
If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience in Sarasota Bay, look no further than O’Leary’s! This delightful destination has it all – waterfront dining in the sand, mouth-watering fresh seafood, live music and a true taste of Florida life.
The menu at O’Leary’s offers a wide range of options, making it a great place to come with friends and family, no matter what your taste buds are craving. From entrees ranging from succulent fish tacos to delicious grilled cheese and mozzarella sticks for the kids, there’s something for everyone. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, making it a great stop at any time of day.
With wheelchair accessible seating available both indoors and outside, and ramped access to the lower level with tables in the sand, O’Leary’s makes sure that everyone is able to enjoy all the fun and festivities. If you’re looking for a fun place to spend an afternoon or evening, be sure to check out the live music – it just completes the perfect beach vibe of this Sarasota restaurant!
Main Street Creamery
1359 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236
Great coffee and perfectly creamy ice cream seem to go hand in hand in Sarasota.
Indulge in the goodness of both at Main Street Creamery! With over 30 flavors of ice cream, coffee and a cute and trendy creamery atmosphere, this is the perfect place to try a new ice cream flavor or enjoy an old favorite.
For those with dietary restrictions, there are vegan options available. Whether you prefer indoor or outdoor dining, Main Street Creamery offers accessible facilities for all. This should be your first Main St. destination!
Rise & Nye’s
1534 State St, Sarasota, FL 34236
Not only does Rise & Nye’s offer delicious coffee and gourmet ice cream, but it’s also a place of inclusion. The shop is run by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, providing support for successful employment and helping employees improve their public speaking, self-advocacy and communication skills. It’s truly inspiring to see the impact this business has on its employees and the Sarasota community.
Try a flavored cone of their perfectly smooth chocolate ice cream or a steaming mug of hand crafted cappuccino. Better yet, combine the two in a delicious Italian affogato!
They have the most diverse vegan ice cream menu I’ve ever seen and the facilities are accessible to all. The outdoor patio is almost as cute as the fun creamery vibes, so feel free to grab your cone as takeout and enjoy the sunshine.
Whether you’re a local or a visitor, you’ll enjoy the best restaurants in Sarasota, with these choices!
I’m already dreaming of returning for some of these favorites, and to try out some other local highlights like the schnitzel at Siegfried’s Restaurant; fresh mussels and grilled scallops at Owen’s Fish Camp seafood restaurant; the ceviche, or any of the Peruvian delights, from Selva Grill; Siesta Key calamari or crab cakes at Duval’s downtown Sarasota restaurant; and clams from Lido Key’s renowned Speaks Clam Bar. I also didn’t get to compare Sarasota’s fried chicken and whoopie pies with my Amish Country hometown favorites. Just another reason to return!
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