There seems to be little discussed on this board about restaurants in the Sarasota area. We are here for a month and would like some good suggestions from chowhounds in the know.. One recommendation is for Zoria on Main St. Any yeas or nays? Thanks so much for your input.
Check out Red near the hospital. Great peruvian food. It used to be in a nasty building in a strip mall, but has since gotten new digs but kept the same amazing food. If you are willing to venture into Bradenton there is a taco stand at the Red Barn flea market called Maria's. Simply some of the best tacos I've ever had (they make their own tortillas. Also check out Yoders for some amazing, authentic Amish food. I think Sarasota gets a bad rep for dining. There are lots of great little places (espcially if you aren't looking for French food and people to put your napkin on your lap for you)
Zoria - Had dinner there Sat. evening. Excellent food, service, ambience. Way above the norm,.... for any city.
Sarasota's a difficult food town. There IS mucho mediocre food. People just don't complain here. That's part of Sarasota's vibe. That's good. Not good - they return.
But, don't go by Juan's fast brush-off. After 6 months here (from New York), there are fine meals to be found. There are many overall pleasant eating experiences if you are not looking for a Zagat 25-25-25. Or, if you do not mind a dose of local color. Thank goodness, Sarasota has resisted "malling" and the conquest of the big chains.
Cru - also fine dining, good wine selection.
Mattison's City Grill - Very good informal eating. Live music nightly. Lively and good fun.
First Watch - Good breakfast / lunch spot. Far from cozy.
C'est la Vie - Also breakfast / lunch spot, but cozy. Very good
Pho Cali - Good Vietnamese
A Taste of Asia - Heard good things from friends. Have not tried yet.
Selva Grill - Ditto
Further afield -
Hob Nob Drive In (301 and 17th. St)- Great breakfasts. The real deal; my wife won't go near it (but she will)
Seafood - Capt. Bryan's. N. Tamiami Tr. near the Airport. Very reasonable; the best simply prepared seafood in the area. Has not near the charm of a cafeteria. Also the best retail fishmonger.
Thai - Thailand; in the Gulf Gate area just south of Stickney Pt. Rd.
Indian - Tandoor, Sarasota's one and only. Better than any on NYC's E.6th. St.
Eclectic - Ray's at Bob's Place - Central Ave. in the Rosemary Dist.
Take-out "4 and 20" on Swift, just north of Clark / Stickney Point. Absolutely sublime Cornish pasties, sausage rolls and other baked goods done the way the British should do them back home. Can't say enough good about this hidden, understated, gem. Chat them up and you'll be pointed to exactly what will satisfy. Dine there? Not likely.
For other tips pick up the free alternative paper "Weekly Planet". And, don't go by the "Voted Best BY Readers of ....." you see in the adverts. That's why Sarasota's food is in the state it mostly is - numbers and low expectations.
Enjoy paradise. We do every day.
Yes, you are right about the advertorial style of most publications but the Weekly Planet/creative loafing is no different, they also only write nice things about their advertisers or those they are courting to advertise with them. Sarasota's food is more effected however by the penny pinching locals who drive the quality down by entertainment card toting and coupon clipping and early birding. Independant restaurant owners are forced to do business by participating in these quality thinning practices if they want to feed there own families in the slow months. Sarasota need not look any further than itself for this.
re: vino d'feet
THE REAL FOOD IS AT THE FOLLOWING WONDERFUL RESTAURANTS IN SARASOTA:
MICHAELS ON EAST-----41 SOUTH
GALILEO--------------STICKEY POINT ROAD
BELLA ROMA-----------SIESTA KEY
As a NYer on my way to Sarasota to check out the area, I am looking for the good food....is there anyplace you recommend outside Sarasota proper, like on Siesta Key or Longbot or Venice? Does anywhere do "real" Florida seafood, whatever that is, grouper is it? Thanks for all the recommendations!