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Nov 6, 2009 05:11 PM

Sarasota Dining

Haven't been in a while. Any new places wirth checking out? What's the best seafood restaurant thes days?

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  1. For seafood: Zoria has rebranded/rebooted itself as Main Street Oyster Bar and it's very good. It's not just shellfish -- there's a broad fish menu as well. The prices are at the moderate price-point level and that includes the wine list. At a recent dinner everyone enjoyed his/her prepared fish. Except for me: I had ODed on fish over the prior several days and went for the goat cheese covered hamburger. It was superb.

    1. That is about the only new(?) place that has opened. A lot of closings through. I have not eaten there yet, but after Longboats reply I will give it a try. All the other Zoria's have been very good. There is a very small place called Oh Mama Mia in Gulfgate that is not bad, it's sort of a fun place and the prices are moderate. The restaurant that they have listed below (that is new) is not the one on Gulfgate, as you can see.

      Mama Mia
      2985 Silver Star Rd, Orlando, FL 32808

      1991 Main St Ste 118, Sarasota, FL 34236

      9 Replies
      1. re: Mother of four

        Another seafood place worth mentioning has opened on Longboat Key -- a sister to a restaurant in Sarasota of the same name -- The Lazy Lobster. It takes the space of the now-closed Cafe on the Bay in the Centre Shops. I consider it in a step down from the Main Street Oyster Bar (that I wrote about earlier today) but it's a pretty good, medium priced restaurant, sort of a busier Barnacle Bills. At 7:30 PM on a recent Wednesday night it was jammed -- with people waiting. That said, they did honor reservations and thankfully we had them. I'm told that the original restaurant in Sarasota doesn't have a full bar but the Longboat one does. The manager hails from Cafe L'Europe and he knows what he's doing. My prediction: this place will be very, very busy in season and will absolutely require reservations. They told me that they’ll seat new arrivals until 9 PM. (941) 383-0440.

        Main Street Bar
        335 E Main St, Bartow, FL 33830

        Lazy Lobster
        7602 Lockwood Ridge Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243

        Barnacle Bills
        2901 Placida Rd, Englewood, FL 34224

        1. re: Longboat

          Just FYI we went to Barnacle Bill's in downtown Sarasota last Sunday. We sat down outside for 15 minutes and were ignored by the waiter. We went inside to see if we could get some attention. We were seated immediately then ignored for another 15 minutes. We got up and left.

          1. re: Longboat

            A few other Sarasota dining tidbits:

            Chef (and part owner) Jeff Trefry has left Cork and gone to the Ringling complex where he’ll cook at Treviso and manage the overall food service function. Cork is now owned by some real estate agents and they’ve brought in a manager from the Polo Grill. The new chef is an internal promotion. I used to love Cork (upstairs) and lunch (not dinner) downstairs. That said, when the head chef leaves it’s a new restaurant. I hope Cork maintains its excellence but that’s an open question that remains to be answered in the dining room.

            The chef of the now closed Canvas Café has now taken over the kitchen in the Bijou Café.

            The First Street Chophouse is set to have a soft opening on November 6th in a space next to the Opera and opposite the Bijou Café. It previously was another restaurant whose name escapes me.

            Once again the Beach Bistro was awarded the highest Zagat rating for food and service in the state of Florida.

            Beach Bistro
            6600 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

            Polo Grill
            2855 Ocean Dr, Vero Beach, FL 32963

            Visitors Pavilion at Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL 34243

            1. re: Longboat

              Thanks or the information. We will have to check out Main St Oyster. Always had a goos dining experience at Barnicle Bills but its getting old.
              Love Beach Bistro, but it's not in the budget for this trp. It is a truely wonderful place & deserves the praise it gets.
              What about the Dry Dock? ?It was recomended by a friend

              Beach Bistro
              6600 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

              1. re: mcro

                We found Dry Dock overpriced for the relatively bland little blobs of food.

                1. re: OH2FL

                  I take visitors to Dry Dock for lunch as you can get a simple sandwich outside on the bay in very pleasant surroundings. I have never been to dinner as, based on the lunches, I can't imagine that the dinners are anything special. And in season there are long waits with no reservations. This said, there are others on this list who in the past have recommended Dry Dock. I do own a Dry Dock tee shirt and like it a lot. ;-)

              2. re: Longboat

                Cork has always been owned by realtors. Ownership is not new, just the chef and GM. Agree that time will tell regarding maintaining their excellence. Downstairs menu has already changed, and I think the new menu upstairs is due next month.

                1. re: Longboat

                  We went to the Aslo about a month ago and had dinner at Treviso. The food was excellent! I had fish, can't remember what DH had, but he was also impressed. Very impressed with the service, as they had us all in and out in time for the show, without us feeling rushed. it is not inexpensive, but in this case worth it.

                2. re: Longboat

                  Lazy Lobster is nothing to write home about, but since it is on the low end I'm sure that it will be busy. I have eaten there once, that should say it all!

                  Lazy Lobster
                  7602 Lockwood Ridge Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243

              3. Have you tried First Street Chop House yet?
                It is definately my new favorite in Sarasota.
                Great food, reasonable pricing and very attentive wait staff. I highly recomend it!

                18 Replies
                1. re: dogwood9

                  i have seen lots of ads, but no one I know has gone there yet!

                  1. re: Mother of four

                    Lazy Lobster just opened on Longboat and they are standing in line......
                    Barnicle Bills on Main St has great fish.
                    Da Ja Vu just moved to Webber and Beneva, and I feel its the best in Sarasota. He is a fabulous fish chef.
                    Casey Key Fish House has very good fish and real reasonable.......

                    1. re: irwin

                      You mean Da Ja Vu has moved from Gulf Gate?? Could live without Lazy Lobster along with Barnicle Bills. Casey Key has great fish, just wish they would have glass wine glasses! Do like Captain Brian's, but a long drive from the south end. Aside from the Chop House, nothing new.

                      1. re: Mother of four

                        It's spelled: Déjà Vu, meaning "already seen" in French, although they're not really a French restaurant. I was told that they were in that Gulf Gate location at one time, closed and later returned, thus their name "Déjà Vu" really was a play on words, saying it was their "second time around".

                        And, yes, they have moved now from Gulf Gate, so I guess it will be their first time around somewhere else.


                        1. re: Longboat

                          Took the spelling from your post!! Going to the new location tonight! I'm not sure if it's in the exact space that Barnacle Bill's left, but it is in that strip.

                          1. re: Mother of four

                            I thought it was Irwin who spelled it Da Ja Vu (his December 9 posting). If I did also, I apologize! Do let us know how Déjà Vu is in their new location.

                            1. re: Longboat

                              Right you are! Sorry. I somehow clicked on the wrong name to reply! This is in reply to longboat!

                            2. re: Mother of four

                              can't wait to hear about your dining experience ?

                              1. re: irwin

                                My wife and 3 other women just returned from eating at the First St Chop House.
                                Very very disappointed. Lots of cream sauces. Good size portions. Food tasted terrible, and the restaurant only had one other table occupied. It won't be around much longer.

                                1. re: irwin

                                  It seems that space is jinked! Too bad, as it is a prime location for, opera and Fl Studio.

                                2. re: irwin

                                  CC wasn't there!! First time I can ever remember!! Not complaing, she needs a night or two off! Two of us had Triple fish, never heard of it before but our chatty waitress said that it was local so we gave it a try. I had mine with the artichoke sauce and my son had the picata sauce. Both of us enjoyed ours very much. Served with a broccoli,I think, risotto which was not quite creamy enough for me. My DH had the scallops, and said that they were very good, can't remember the sauce he choose! The restaurant itself is still BB's ambiance, not great, but it is quite a bit larger then their precious 9 tables. I really don't care for the location, and won't go there as often. I just wonder why they choose that location. It would seem to me that they could have found larger space near by. I have yet to see a small restaurant in Sarasota expand and move and last. Example, the wonderful Fishtails when it was in Gulfgate. Such a shame. I do wish them well.

                                  1. re: Mother of four

                                    just fyi, Mother of Four, you had tripletail, a fish found on coastal florida waters. It is delicious. Not many restaurants bother and it is seldom available in markets. It is a large fish with, you guessed it, three tails.

                                    Here's a link to more information than you might want <G>


                                    1. re: LilMsFoodie

                                      Thanks, yes it was Tripletail. It was very good. Thanks for the information!

                                      1. re: Mother of four

                                        glad to see that u enjoyed it.....
                                        I am going tonight and will also report back.
                                        Thanks for your comments.
                                        Have a safe - happy - healthy holiday, and lets pray for peace.

                                        1. re: irwin

                                          Just returned from having a wonderful dinner at Deja Vu, and all four of us thought it was excellent.
                                          The atmosphere is nicer then her former restaurant, and they now have a full bar, which is very nice. The outside area is a little undesirable, but plenty of parking, and closer to town then Gulf Gate. The food and service is the same as before, which has always been very good. We can't wait to return. CC was out doing a private party.

                          2. re: dogwood9

                            Regard the First Street Chop House. Mediocre to good food. Poor to terrible service. I had heard the food was great and was disappointed. The service and attitude of the staff was bad. Tha attitude of the owner was abhorent. 2 drinks and a glass of wine, basic entre, no dessert...$70. I will never go back, and would recommend the same for anyone who reads this.

                            1. re: longtimelocal

                              I think they are having a hard time making it happen.