moving to Sarasota from Charleston, SC
I love great food from burgers to gourmet and live for a great dessert! So please, if you know Sarasota, share the best bakeries, delis, BBQ joints, seafood, beach bars, brunch spots, Mexican, Italian, etc! I'd love to know of places worth visiting in nearby south Tampa, St. Pete, and Brandon, etc. as well. Thanks in advance for sharing!
I've been in your shoes. We moved from Charleston here about 5 years ago. This area has wonderful white sandy beaches, beautiful clear water, great temperatures, the fishing is good. But when looking for a top-notch restaurant - you may be out of luck. We were fortunate to be spoiled with so many great places in Charleston. We are foodies and were in the food service business for over 30 years. We go out several times each week and leave remembering we aren't here for the restaurants, but for the location. There are plenty of good places for fried grouper sandwiches and many of them have great views. Sorry we can't recommend a single place that compares with what you are use to. Learn to cook the wonderful fresh seafood available and be content with the many other good points that Sarasota has to offer.
Charleston to Sarasota? Go ahead and understand now that you're done with dining out as a foodie. I live in Tampa and we drive 6 hours regularly to spend a couple of days dining in Charleston. pdefratus has it correct; enjoy the beaches and atmosphere, save your money and spend a couple of days in Charleston for eating good food.
Get acquainted with Mortons Gourmet Store until you learn your way around the restaurant scene. St. Armands Circle has at least 3 good restos, Cafe L'Europe, Crab & Fin, and one of the Columbia cuban restos. Ceviche is a wonderful tapas bar/resto in a restored 4 story building (with elevator).
Ezra in Bradenton is well regarded, as are the seafood shacks in the Village of Cortez, in particular Cortez Kitchen and Star Fish. Star Fish and A.P. Bell next door have the best prices for fresh retail fish and stone crabs in season. Beach Bistro on Holmes Beach is top notch. Tampa is of course home to Bern's Steak House. Weak links are Italian, Asian, and jewish delis.
Crab & Fin
420 Saint Armands Cir, Sarasota, FL 34236
Welcome to Southwest Florida! Sarasota and the surrounding areas have some great restaurants. Try Derek's Culinary Casual in the Rosemary District--outstanding. Selma Grill is also good in Sarasota, and Ezra's in Bradenton is phenominal. (Calamari salad and local oysters...hard to beat.) The Beach Bistro provides excellent, eclectic food in a lovely beach atmosphere. Enjoy!
6600 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217
I second Derek's. Also, it's considered sport in the Sarasota area by relocated folks to bash the dining scene. While true that it doesn't match foodie heaven, you can still find some great meals, but they do tend to the casual side of things. And the folks above are right - the "whole package" of living there is a winner.