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Anna Maria Island & between Venice-Fort Myers Rec's??

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wineaux Sep 2, 2006 02:59 PM

Will be traveling to the Gulf Coast of Florida for 2 upcoming weekends. Looking for rec's in Anna Maria Island or closeby (prefer open-air type on beach).

Also looking for something casual between Venice & Fort Myers for lunch (also open-air beachfront).

Thanks much!!!

  1. n
    Nick Sep 2, 2006 04:11 PM

    By all means check out the Beach Bistro in Anna Maria if you want a high-end meal on the beach. Also, Star Fish Co. in nearby Cortez is a great spot for a grouper sandwich on the dock.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Nick
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      irwin Sep 2, 2006 09:34 PM

      I happen to like Cortez Kitchen a little better then Star Fish.
      I heard that the Grouper Sandwich on the Pier is also excellent.
      Beach Bistro is fabulous, but expensive so we keep it for special occasions. OK, I have one for you... Its called "Sign of the Mermaid" on Anna Maria. Make reservations. Its in a house, and excellent, with a very big variety of food. Tel 941-778-9399. Its located 9707 Gulf Drive. It reminds me of a old hunting/fishing camp in the Maine woods, and the owner/chef has a beard, etc..... Oh-the garlic bread.....
      Let me know how you make out. Irwin

      1. re: irwin
        Rubee Sep 3, 2006 10:12 PM

        Hi Irwin - How far ahead would we need to make reservations for "Sign of the Mermaid"? We may be a group of 4-6 on a weekday in October. Any other tips on what to order? Thanks in advance!

        1. re: Rubee
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          irwin Sep 4, 2006 11:26 PM

          3-4 days ahead of time for a reservation would be fine. I really don't remember what I ordered, but remember it was excellent. My wife had fish, and loved it. Ask the wait staff what they recommend, or what is the chefs favorite, and usually this dish comes out excellent. This restaurant is in a very old wood house on the main road, with a very little sign, so you will need to watch for it. Parking is around the corner or in back. The bread comes as hot garlic bread, and the portions are large. Can't remember pricing, but I think you will really have a experience. Enjoy, and report back to us. Do you want some more tips for Sarasota area? What do you like to eat? Irwin

          1. re: irwin
            Rubee Sep 5, 2006 08:31 PM

            This will be the second time we're heading down to visit my parents, who stay in Bradenton for a couple of months in the fall. Their favorites are places like the Beach House, Anna Maria Oyster Bar, and various chains, so we like to get them to branch out. Last year my picks were the Sun House, Beach Bistro, and Moore's Stone Crab (BTW, is Moore's still open?), so this year I'd like to check out some new spots. On my list so far is Sign of the Mermaid, and checking out the taco place at the Red Barn market and one of the spots in Cortez Village. We also plan on doing the sunset cocktails at Ca d'Zan for the Third Thursdays - any place close to the Ringling Museum you would recommend? I would love any other suggestions, especially on Anna Maria island, and a restaurant at St. Armand's Circle as my parents enjoy strolling around the area, but always go to Cha Cha Coconuts. Oh, and we like everything - high end to low end - nice sunsets a plus.

            1. re: Rubee
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              poovey0409 May 18, 2007 11:45 AM

              rubee, july w/ be our 4th trip in 5 yrs. to ann maria. we love Banana Cabana & they have live music, some nites, (one guy & acoustic guitar.) food is great. city pier has the BEST coconut shrimp. sun house was extremely overpriced we thought, the 1st yr. we were there, but we DO make a trip there every time, JUST for the chips & salsa. they're so unique. 3 types or salsa.

    2. w
      wineaux Sep 3, 2006 05:05 AM

      Thanks to both Nick & Irwin for the suggestions.... we have been doing our annual trip to Clearwater Beach for at least the past 10 years or so (I've been going there for at least 25 years) and now that it's changing so much, we're ready to move on to new adventures, which is why we're really excited about heading further south into new territory for us. These suggestions sound so enticing, that we may have to try them all!!! Do any have good music..... reggae, blues, classic rock (Stones)?? We are so looking forward to this trip and want to make the very best of it. If you think of any more, please feel free to pass them along!!! Thanks so much!

      We are always looking for the best grouper sandwich & the best conch fritters. I've seen a few comments on the grouper sandwiches (we've never had a bad one in Florida). Any suggestions for conch fritters (must have a good amount of spice in them). Why?? Because spice is the key of life!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: wineaux
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        poovey0409 May 18, 2007 11:47 AM

        best conch fritters are @ Banana Cabana ! and spicy !

      2. n
        Nick Sep 5, 2006 08:34 PM

        Glad to hear that the taco stand at the Red Barn has made your list. I'm not sure when they switch over to their winter hours, but as of now they might still only be open friday-sunday. The tacos al pastor, carnitas and lengua are all good. Chicken tostadas and posole are good too, as is the horchata and other aguas frescas.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Nick
          Rubee Sep 5, 2006 09:15 PM

          Great! Thanks for the tips!

        2. i
          irwin Sep 5, 2006 09:31 PM

          Rubee:
          Beach House is a tourist trap with just ok food.
          Moore's Stone Crab is open with fabulous views and good food.
          Sun House is terrible in my opinion.
          Coconuts is lousy but decent hamburgers.
          Anna Marie Oyster Bar is fried food haven, and just ok.
          Tommy Bahamas has real good food in St. Armands.
          Cafe E'urope is the best in the cirle.

          1 Reply
          1. re: irwin
            p
            poovey0409 May 18, 2007 11:49 AM

            where is Moore's Stone Crab? We;ve been to ami 4x but haven't been there.

          2. Rubee Sep 5, 2006 09:47 PM

            Thanks Irwin! I was hoping to find some new spots we haven't been to yet - those I listed above are either places my parents really like that I have already been to (Beach House, Oyster Bar, Coconuts, etc.) or places I tried last year (Sun House, Beach Bistro, Moore's). I'll be sure to check out Cafe L'Europe!

            1. p
              Podie1956 Sep 6, 2006 01:43 AM

              Beach Bistro was our all-time favorite splurge, but we also enjoy Dry Dock on Longboat Key (bayside), which has indoor and outdoor seating and excellent grouper and lobster bisque (among other great things). It's casual but still frequented by some of the "beautiful" winter people.

              We enjoy the Haye Loft at Euphemia Haye on LBK but didn't care for the main part of the restaurant downstairs. The Haye Loft has fewer choices but is a great atmosphere, and their dessert offerings will blow you away!

              I can't second Tommy Bahamas or Cafe L'Europe as I've been disappointed at each of them at least once.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Podie1956
                Rubee Sep 6, 2006 02:55 AM

                Thanks! The Dry Dock and Haye Loft look great. I love the idea of live music also. Can you tell me more about Euphemia Haye? Looking at the menu - I'm considering treating mom and dad to dinner there, then dessert upstairs, but not if it will be disappointing.

                1. re: Rubee
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                  irwin Sep 6, 2006 10:54 PM

                  Euphemia has the best duck I have ever had, and usually always get the duck and ceaser salad. Real goo deserts too.

                  1. re: irwin
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                    irwin Sep 6, 2006 11:39 PM

                    I forgot that we live next to Dry Dock, and they serve good food very reasonable too. I love their grouper sandwich, but all their fish and hamburgers are good. For breakfast you must try the Blue Dolphin either in St Armands cirle, or on Longboat. But for the best hamburger, you must go to the New Pass Bait Shop & Grill, on the right just before the Longboat Bridge. Its on the same road as Mote. They have the best hamburgers. Enjoy and tell us what you liked best. Good Luck.

                    1. re: irwin
                      Rubee Sep 7, 2006 01:01 AM

                      Thanks so much everyone for all the great suggestions. I promise I'll report back.

                      1. re: irwin
                        Rubee Oct 17, 2006 02:35 AM

                        I'll be writing up all the wonderful suggestions everyone has given us when we're back from Florida next week, but just wanted to say a quick thank-you for the tip about New Pass - we had a great lunch today!

                        Picture:

                        http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47...

                        1. re: Rubee
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                          irwin Oct 17, 2006 01:36 PM

                          SARASOTA'S BEST HAMBURGER......
                          NEW PASS BAIT SHOP AND GRILL....

                2. b
                  bjames Sep 9, 2006 09:31 PM

                  First of all, stay far, far away from the Beach House if you are looking for good food. Nice spot right on the beach, but it's too bad their food is soooo lousy. The Sand Bar is also right on the beach, but unfortunately, it is owned by the same person that owns the Beach House. The restaurant that has not yet been mentioned, and it is the first place I would have told you to go, is The Rod and Reel Pier. Spectacular view and very good food. Try the Mexican grouper. A bit spicy, but yummy. And you can't leave Anna Maria without stopping at Duffy's for a burger and cold one.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: bjames
                    Rubee Sep 19, 2006 03:11 AM

                    Not going to the places my parents like is not an option. I will, however, bring them to the Rod and Reel Pier, and maybe fit in a burger - thanks for the tips!

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