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Good eats around St. Armands, Sarasota?

I am suprising the hubbie with an anniversary trip to St. Armand's in Sarasota. He is usually the planner so I am trying to make sure all my bases are covered so he enjoys this trip! This includes planning a good place for lunch and/or dinner. Any suggestions? There seems to be so many places! It doesn't have to be exactly at St. Aramnds Circle. A drive around Sarasota is no problem.

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  1. What kind of food do you and hubby like and what price range?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Longboat

      We both like a lot of things and are very open to any food. However, as much as I love seafood, my husbands does not like to order it due to fishing practices, etc. So while we could eat a seafood restaurant, I don't know if it is worth going to if all he is going to get is a chicken sandwich. As far as price, I think that 50-75 for the entire meal is a good range. We are just poor college students!

    2. I can never get enough of Cafe L'Europe on St. Armands Circle. I have to drive down from Tampa on a regular basis just for some of their lobster bisque. It's lovely inside, and also has nice patio seating if you like watching the world go by. It is on the pricey side, and if you enjoy a cocktail or two you can easily hit $75 at lunch. It does have a "special" feel, though.

      1. I frequently enjoy the 1905 salad prepared tableside with sauteed garlic shrimp at the cuban-themed Columbia on the circle, and it's nice weather now for sidewalk seating and people watching. Too warm for their excellent cuban soups, and stone crab season ends today, but there are plenty of options there plus great mojitos.
        I have only made one quick visit to Ceviche, on 1 st. in a beautiful four story historic building with elevator and a rooftop tapas bar. It offers half price tapas at happy hour (the scallop ceviche was excellent, a pricey agave margarita a bit gimmicky). It's 10 minutes from St. Armands and I want to go back for a dinner. Iberico hams hanging from the ceiling over the first floor bar can only be a good thing.
        The Restos at Marina Jacks have been disappointing.

        1. For breakfast, try Yoder's which is a "Amish/Mennonite" restaurant. Their homemade breads and pies are amazing....

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          Yoder's Restaurant
          3434 Bahia Vista St, Sarasota, FL 34239

          1. Most of us on this list were poor college students too and can relate to dining within a reasonable budget. The reality is that on St. Armands, $50 to $75 (for more than hamburgers, pizza, Chinese) won’t go a long way; it’s a very pricey area. Someone suggested Café Europe (and we evidently have very different opinions of that restaurant) but a dinner there with drinks or wine will come closer to $75 per person than not. I see your choices on the Circle as Tommy Bahamas (which I like, and if you go split the pina colada cake), Hemmingway’s, Cork downstairs. Columbia is also in your range, Cuban food, not particularly distinguished but fun – and very good sangria. For Tommy Bahamas, make reservations: (941) 388-2888.
            If you go down the road a touch onto Longboat Key, the Dry Dock Grill is reasonably priced and it’s on the water. It's about 10 minutes from the Circle. They don’t take reservations but if you’re coming now it’s out of season and the wait, if any, should not be long. If you want to spend a touch more, also a touch further out on Longboat is Pattigeorge’s, which I love, and right on the water, too. The reason I think of that restaurant for you is if you’re coming from Gainesville (I checked your profile) you’ll want to meet Sam the bartender at Pattigeorge’s. He’s a local legend AND a Gator. Note that I’ve addressed the St. Armands area and not broader Sarasota. Happy Anniversary!

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            Pattigeorge's Restaurant
            4120 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Longboat Key, FL 34228

            3 Replies
            1. re: Longboat

              For the record, I suggested lunch at L'Europe...which you can do for $75.

              And I don't agree with you regarding Tommy Bahama. I've had a $75 lunch there, too (and the food was absurdly overpriced and very Bennigan's-esque, IMO).

              Different strokes, I guess. :)

              1. re: sweet_polly

                Well, even though we don't agree, I still like your blog. ;-)

                1. re: Longboat

                  Thank you! :)

                  People seem to either love or hate L'Europe. Agree with you that Columbia is a nice, consistent and relatively reasonably-priced crowd-pleaser. Might be a good option for these guys.