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Need a great restaurant in Sarasota

Will be in Sarasota beginning of June to celebrate my mom's 70th birthday. Need a great special occasion (i.e. money is not a problem) restaurant to take her to. All of us really care about great food and I would love to impress her on this special day.
Thanks in advance for any and all help.
Someone recommended a restaurant, I believe Michael's was the name. It was a while ago, but I definitely remember a man's name.

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  1. I recently saw http://www.dereks-sarasota.com/ mentioned on here. I haven't been but it seemed to get good reviews from people here. I plan on going and trying out their pretty creative menu when I'm on the gulfside of florida next month

    2 Replies
    1. re: catlike

      I was in Sarasota this last week end. Several years ago I had a very nice dinner at Michael's on East. The telephone book in my hotel listed Michael's on East as a catering and wine shop so I wound up taking my guest to Fleming's which is on the east side of U.S. 41 just north of Bee Ridge. I realize that Flemoing's is a chain (albeit upscale) - the ambiance and the food were outstanding, and the service was good. Their wine list is something else (although nothing like Bern's) and they do offer flights.

      1. re: catlike

        I also recommend Derek's. They have a more progressive menu than a lot of the places you'll find in the area. That being said, if you're looking for something a little more traditional for your mom's birthday, I'd suggest the Beach Bistro (beachbistro.com) on Anna Maria Island.

      2. Zoria's!!! I think it's the best restaurant in town. The food is consistently great, they have a good wine list and fantastic service. We go to Zoria's whenever we're in Sarasota and we've never been disappointed. My favorite appetizer is the gorgonzola tortellini in the brown butter sauce. It's divine!

        1. Derek's Eclectic Cuisine is where it's at! They have some of the most imaginitive dishes I've seen on this coast, a great winelist and the atmosphere is utterly charming. I can't think of a better special occasion restaurant.

          3 Replies
          1. re: laboheme

            Michael's on East is my fave. It is one of the best restaurants in the state. Euphemia Haye on Longboat Key is also wonderful. Marina Jack's is not a great restaurant, although they have a super seared tuna appetizer, but they are right on the harbor. I have not been to Zoria's or Dereks, but hear good things about them.

            1. re: phneale

              Thanks everyone. I think we will try Michaels the first night and Dereks the second. I believe my Mom hasn't been to either one. I was a little pessimistic about finding a good restaurant, but now I feel we have 2 potential good ones.

              1. re: WestfieldFoodie

                WestfieldFoodie:
                These two are not my choices because of several reasons. Michaels is very very overated, and Dereks is very very noisy, and difficult to listen to the person across the table, and I don't find their food extraordinary. My choices would be the Table on Hillview, and Beach Bistro. The Table is excellent, different, hip, and the in place of Sarasota..... Beach Bistro is one of the top best 20 restaurants in FLORIDA. A meal you will not forget. A little expensive, but someplace where you do not go but only on very special occasions. You are physically on the beach in Anna Marie, with exceptional service, etc. etc.
                Good Luck whereever you go, and let us know. Irwin

          2. we went to selva grill last weekend...it was wonderful and just what you're looking for...enjoy and hb

            1 Reply
            1. re: sandra

              Thanks so much. Now I'm confused again. I'm thinking we will try Beach Bistro and Selva Grill.

              I will definitely let you all know how it works out. I appreciate everyone's input.

              Drew

            2. I agree with Irwin - Michael's on East is overrated. Its ok food, service is a little snobbish. They do have a nice piano bar and the decor is great.

              The Table is awesome. Beach Bistro is massively expensive and its such a small place that it would be difficult to accommodate a large party. Its more of a romantic dinner at the beach type of place. Try "Cork" in St. Armands. Its brand new and the executive chef there was the exec chef at Beach Bistro. I was just at Zoria last weekend and was not impressed. Its nice but not a memorable experience.

              Euphemia Haye's Haye Loft features a dessert bar that is pretty amazing. The food there is good too, but I'd recommend the dessert bar if you are thinking of doing something after dinner.

              1 Reply
              1. re: steamykitchen

                Just returned from Sarasota area and tripped over "Cork" by accident...being self proclaimed foodies from New Orleans, we had what can only be described as a perfect meal! Downstairs brasserie style, upstairs more upscale. Chef came to the table and spoke with us for half an hour about his prep techniques...our mouths hummed all the way back to the hotel!