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St. Armand's Circle Florida

wmp Apr 30, 2009 02:51 PM

Hi- looking for more current advice on eating in the St. Armand's Circle area - we live in St. Pete - so have already done Ceviche & Columbia and don't want to do the fried seafood routine.

Going down with kids (7 - 16) for mother's day - would love something with a bit of ambience (outside seating or good interior) but even more important - a good chef - we don't need 5 star prices - but appreciate any recommendations for great food that I don't make at home everyday (ie - no italian / steaks / basic chicken etc) - are there any good restaurants with creative chefs? Thanks!!

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  1. Veggo RE: wmp Apr 30, 2009 03:01 PM

    the Crab and Fin is worth a looksee, maybe the best on the circle.

    1. s
      sandra RE: wmp Apr 30, 2009 04:09 PM

      my parents eat at the new chinese place all the time and love it

      1. i
        irwin RE: wmp May 1, 2009 06:06 AM

        The best place on the cirle is Cafe E'urope
        excellent food, sidewalk service, and nice variety

        1. e
          ElGimpo RE: wmp May 1, 2009 11:48 AM

          I'm sorry you had to endure the Columbia.

          I second the Crab and Fin. One of the best restaurants in Sarasota hands down, very unique and creative seafood dishes. However, believe it or not, they have the best hamburgers (lunch) and fried calamari I've ever had. Outside seating with live piano player, very nice. If I am not mistaken, they have half a dozen different species of fresh oysters on the menu, beluga caviar, and whole ophelio crab sometimes. I've eaten there at least 15 times and always top notch. Fine dining.

          L'Europe is another great choice. Expensive. Outside seating not as nice as the C&F. But definitely one of Sarasota's best. Very fine dining.

          For lunch, a great choice is down the road about 2 miles at 'The Dry Dock'. Best fish and chips you've ever had, actually everything on the menu is high quality. Casual restaurant. And the water view is unbelievable. Outside seating by the docks if you like.

          3 Replies
          1. re: ElGimpo
            redzinner RE: ElGimpo May 1, 2009 12:00 PM

            ElGimpo, Where is The Dry Dock exactly?

            1. re: redzinner
              ElGimpo RE: redzinner May 1, 2009 03:38 PM

              It's right past the Chart House on the right.

              From St. Armand's Circle:

              Exit off of The Circle by turning right at the Columbia Restaurant. You'll cross over a drawbridge onto Longboat Key about 3/4 of a mile after exiting off St. Armand's Circle. Proceed 1/2 Mile, turn right just before a BP gas station. Approximate driving time from St. Armand's and Lido Key is 5 Minutes.


              1. re: ElGimpo
                lattelover RE: ElGimpo May 3, 2009 10:53 AM

                I've heard really good things about Cork, especially for dinner. Haven't tried it yet ourselves, but plan to soon.

          2. sweet_polly RE: wmp May 3, 2009 11:44 AM

            Another vote for Cafe L'Europe...it's amazing! I especially love their lobster bisque.

            1. l
              Longboat RE: wmp May 4, 2009 07:51 AM

              Cork (upstairs) is excellent, the best on the Circle by a wide margin.

              Tommy Bahamas is fun, especially with kids.

              I beg to differ with the positive opinions on Cafe L'Europe. I think it's mediocre, at best, and it's also expensive. A bad combination. They do have street seating for those that like that. The best seating (in my humble opinion) is just inside the restaurant but open to the outside and looking out onto the sidewalk.

              I also think that Crab and Fin is mediocre, although the shellfish offerings are good. That said, seafood restaurants in Sarasota are few and far between and when I think about Crab and Fin I'm reminded of how Sherlock Holmes described Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard: the best of a bad lot. If you go, it's much nicer downstairs than upstairs; also, they have sidewalk seating, if that's something you like.

              As always, your mileage may vary.

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