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Longboat Key Recs for NOLA Foodies

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EatingEmily May 5, 2010 03:13 PM

Hey FL Board- A group is coming to town for a wedding this weekend. Looking for some good breakfast/lunch spots on Longboat Key. We're staying at The Diplomat so something closeby (less than 10 minute driving distance) would be best!

Thanks!

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  1. SaltyRaisins RE: EatingEmily May 5, 2010 04:13 PM

    I'm out in San Diego, but just back from two months on the Key. Options:

    Henry's
    Euphemia Haye
    Chart House
    Newpass Cafe
    Blue Dolphin

    I'm not necessarily recommending these places-but they are available to you...

    ...and then a smattering of others that I haven't tried in the Bay Isles Plaza. And then all the places in St. Armand's, of which I would only recommend (and I'm not kidding) Tommy Bahamas. Good service, good drinks and a very predictable menu that is cooked correctly. Cork winebar makes decent food as well.

    Not really any "foodie" places at all out there per se. In fact, I'd avoid the Blue Dolphin for breakfast (not the one in St. Armand's) like the plague unless you're into deep-fried potato chunks billed as "homefries" on the menu and heinous coffee. There's not even a decent bakery out there- you're stuck with Publix. Frankly, your best bet for good grinds near the Diplomat proper is a good burger and onion rings (they also do egg sandwiches for breakfast) at the Newpass Cafe under the Newpass bridge on your way over from St. Armands- it's pretty good and reminds me of the way Florida may have been, once upon a time- mangroves, white shells, interesting seabirds and a diner with cold beer.

    Not on LBK, but the pizza by Beppe at Cafe Epicure on Main in Sarasota should really not be missed- he is from Naples, wears a white tee and has the giant biceps, and is making some of the best pies I've had anywhere in the US. He is usually working on Tuesday-Sunday from around 6 to closing. Order a pie ONLY if he is cooking in the real oven to the right of the bar area, and sit at the bar. If he is not there, the pizza comes from the regular oven in the back and is no good- in fact, the pasta at Epicure is not very good. For excellent Italian, head down Main to Mediterraneo.

    I have been told that there is a delicious seafood omelette to be had at the cafe all the way at the end of Anna Maria island- a 25 minute drive for you if there's no traffic. Not sure what the place is called, but it's apparently near, on, or at the end of a pier at land's end.

    Have a good time! and Cheers!

    -----
    Blue Dolphin Cafe
    470 John Ringling Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34236

    Mediterraneo
    1970 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236

    Cafe Epicure
    1298 N Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

    Euphemia Haye
    5540 Gulf of Mexico Dr, Longboat Key, FL 34228

    3 Replies
    1. re: SaltyRaisins
      o
      Old E. RE: SaltyRaisins May 6, 2010 09:24 AM

      Drive just north to Cortez (very short trip). Go to the Starfish. Exceptional dockside dive! Just excellent.

      1. re: SaltyRaisins
        i
        irwin RE: SaltyRaisins May 6, 2010 03:18 PM

        I can't believe what Salty Raisins wrote......
        Blue Dolphin is very very good and that is why they have a line of people waiting every day.
        Cafe Epicure and Mediterraneo is owned by the same.... Both just ok. Davino on Main St is excellent.
        Lazy Lobster on Longboat is very good also, and again there is always a line waiting.
        Publix happens unfortunately to be our only bakery, but the breads are pretty good for store bought.
        Harry's -- not Henry's is OK. New Pass Grill is terrible. Great hamburger on a BIG COLD ROLL.
        Euphemia Haye has the best duck in the country.... Maison Blanche is excellent and rated as one of the best in Sarasota. St. Armands is weak for good food....
        Star Fish in Cortez is "fish haven", and the City Pier in Anna Marie is also good, but a distance away.
        So for us "year rounders" we see our food as different then for the snowbirds that come down here and expect food like in NYC or San Diego. We are not known for food. We have other assets.

        -----
        Blue Dolphin Cafe
        470 John Ringling Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34236

        Mediterraneo
        1970 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236

        Cafe Epicure
        1298 N Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

        City Pier Restaurant
        100 S Bay Blvd, Anna Maria, FL 34216

        Lazy Lobster
        7602 Lockwood Ridge Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243

        Maison Blanche
        2605 Gulf of Mexico Dr, Longboat Key, FL 34228

        Euphemia Haye
        5540 Gulf of Mexico Dr, Longboat Key, FL 34228

        1. re: irwin
          SaltyRaisins RE: irwin May 6, 2010 05:43 PM

          In my own defense about irwin's posting, let me say that I can certainly believe what I wrote, and slinging barbs about "snowbirds" seems pretty silly. I live in San Diego (no snow here), and come yearly to the area for work. Needless to say, the work I do goes a long way toward contributing to the "other assets" that irwin mentions. I love the life on LBK, and do bring my tastebuds with me when I travel.

          The OP is a foodie, and is looking specifically for breakfasts and lunches in LBK. For the most part, I listed places that are available since it seemed that their question was not being answered. As stated, I haven't been to many of them and therefore can't recommend with firsthand info.

          "Blue Dolphin is very very good and that is why they have a line of people waiting every day."

          We chowhounds know that lines of people don't always indicate good food. I was speaking of the LBK location- not the St. Armand's one. After three breakfasts there, I can absolutely say that it is not very good.

          "Cafe Epicure and Mediterraneo is owned by the same.... Both just ok."

          I don't recommend anything other than pizza at Epicure for a reason. The pizza, when prepared by Beppe, is perhaps the single most "foodie-worthy" thing in the area. Mediterraneo has better pasta than Epicure.

          Screwed up on the name of Harry's- my bad, but it is there.

          "New Pass Grill is terrible. Great hamburger on a BIG COLD ROLL. "

          Newpass is nothing more than a burger shack on the water. In my opinion, the burger is fine and surely the location has something to do with my rec. Not to mention the great show of the "other assets" irwin mentions. Also, you could ask the cook to throw the bun on the grill for you- I'm certain they'd be happy to oblige.

          Agreed that St. Armand's is weak for food- I think I made this pretty clear. Tommy Bahama is the least weak of the lot.

          Thanks for clearing up and second my City Pier recommendation. Like I said, a drive. May be an asset considering the likely presence of the OP's in-laws.

          "We are not known for food."

          For sure.

          Cheers!

          -----
          Mediterraneo
          1970 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236

          City Pier Restaurant
          100 S Bay Blvd, Anna Maria, FL 34216

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