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Fine dining 60 minutes from Venice?

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I love the outdoorsy places where the birds perch on the railings, but we will be on vacation in Venice during our anniversary and want something a bit 'more'.

I've tried reading but am overwhelmed with the divergent opinions on the white tablecloth places in Sarasota and Longboat Key, etc.

Are there any consistently excellent places (American cuisine preferred) that serve up slightly fancy food without an attitude 60 minutes north or south of Venice?

Euphemia Haye and Michael's on East seemed good, but opinions vary widely.

I thought Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa was 'it', but their prices are astonishing.

TYIA.

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  1. The Perfect Caper in Punta Gorda. Should be able to get there in 60 minutes. You don't always have to go north. <G> Do a search here for comments on this little place. I've yet to hear a bad comment. LMF

    http://www.theperfectcaper.com/index.asp

      1. re: Mother of four

        Thank you both. The recs in Sarasota will be kept for future reference.

        We've decided to try The Perfect Caper, it's one I haven't heard about before and appears interesting.

        1. re: Floridabound

          I pulled up the website on the Perfect Caper, and it really sounds wonderful. I have never heard of it before. Enjoy! Come back and let us know how it was!!

          1. re: Mother of four

            Will do, Mother of four.

            Thanks again, everyone.

      2. I have always had a soft spot for Roessler's. Great duck. Not too far from Venice. Always impeccable.

        http://roesslersrestaurant.com/