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Jul 15, 2010 01:33 PM

Recs for Anna Maria Island visit

Staying for three days in August and am looking for casual dinning recommendations for all meals. Include nearby [ within 10 miles ] also.

Spending lots on beachside accommedations so the budget is a little limited but I want more than beer, burgers, pizza, etc.

You know what I mean.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. I'll try again.

    Anybody have a recommendation?

    or should we go to sourrounding towns?

    5 Replies
    1. re: mcanni

      I can recall very few reviews of Anna Maria restaurants on this board, with the exception of the Beach Bistro, which is way too expensive for what you're seeking. I know very few Anna Maria restaurants but if you go up and down Gulf Drive, particularly in Bradenton Beach (the southern end of the island) you'll find a significant number of restaurants that will range from inexpensive to the lower end of expensive (especially those right on the Gulf). Bridge Street has several restaurants that sit on the Bay. Cross the Cortez Bridge into Bradenton and you'll find piles of restaurants, including most of the chains (including upper end chains like Bonefish Grill).

      Beach Bistro
      6600 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

      Gulf Drive Cafe
      900 Gulf Dr N, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217

      1. re: mcanni

        We always enjoy the Rod and Reel Pier when we visit AMI. This place is Very Casual, with a lovely view of Tampa Bay and the Sunshine Skyway. They have very good grouper sandwiches. Last time we were there, they offered amberjack sandwiches as the SOTD, as well. Very good, and something you don't see on menus that often.

        1. re: mcanni

          Hopefully this is not too late for you :). Ocean Star is a great little Sushi place in a plaza right over the Manatee Ave. bridge. Other than that everything out there is pretty expensive, go to Cortez Kitchen right over the bridge into town and you will be able to get some great straight from the boat seafood. Further down Cortez is a good little Cuban place called Jose's. Head up to Longboat for dessert at Euphemia Haye, upstairs they have a smaller menu and a dessert room, the main rest. does not meet your budget. I'm actually headed there for dinner tonight for my Anniversary with my Wife :).

          Ocean Star
          3608 E Bay Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

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

          1. re: mcanni

            Mr. Bones BBQ in Holmes Beach - about 10 min drive north from Anna Maria - very casual.

            I love their ribs and curried rice.


            1. re: mcanni

              Ocean Star is an amazing sushi restaurant on AMI. Born and raised in the 941 area and I think it's hands down the best sushi I've ever had.

              Duffy's is a burger place on AMI that possibly the best burger in Manatee County.

              The SandBar is a moderately priced restaurant on the island. Very popular for tourists. Go during sunset, if you guess the correct time that the sun will set you get a bottle of champagne.

              Rod and Reel is a great local restaurant on a pier. Very casual, bathing suits, coverups, sandals.

              Waterfront is also a moderately priced restaurant with a great atmosphere. Beautiful views and you can take a walk out onto the City Pier afterwards.

              Beach Bistro and Euphemia Haye are both wonderful restaurants, but they are more appropriate for special occasions. Not in your budget for this trip. The dessert room at Euphemia is a nice thing to do if you're a sweets person.

              Mar Vista is on N. Longboat, but is a cool resturant with a nice outdoor patio out back. Good prices.

              Dip's is a good ice cream/candy store on the island if you're looking for anything to do with kids.

              Minnie's has a good breakfast.

              Lots of suggestions. Let me know if you need more details! Enjoy AMI!

              Beach Bistro
              6600 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

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

              Duffy's Tavern
              5808 Marina Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

              Ocean Star
              3608 E Bay Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

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

            2. Thanks for the recommendations.
              I think we are ready - need one more for Italian food.

              3 Replies
              1. re: mcanni

                I loved the Sign of the Mermaid for brunch. Not offered every day - I think we went on a Sunday - but I enjoyed the food and atmosphere (it's an old house).

                We didn't have any Italian per se, but we ate pizza twice (guilty!) at Solo's - very casual, bar-type atmosphere but good pizza.

                Also enjoyed Tortilla Bay, located in a small strip mall, for cheap and yummy fish tacos. Atmosphere somewhat like a tiny Moe's Southwest Grill or something.

                Agree on the overpriced standards at the Sandbar, but it is a nice place to be on the beach at sunset.

                Good luck and have fun - I loved it and wish I was going back this week!!

                1. re: u_bee

                  If you go over the bridge to Cortez, Star Seafood restaurant . It is behind their seafood store on the water. Wonderful place, very reasonable with the greatest most reasonable food. About as casual as you can get and it gets very crowded.

                2. re: mcanni

                  "Ciao" On Longboat Key
                  Italian Restaurant that is very good
                  Its in the Center Shops Shopping Center
                  Also "Lazy Lobster" (not italian) in the same shopping ctr is very good and reasonable.... Enjoy and report to us !!

                3. Just back and here are my observations / experience:

                  Ate lunch at Gulf Cafe - very good baked Feta cheeze / roasted peppers appetizer. Enough for two for a light lunch. Menu looked quite varied and I regret not returning .

                  Dinner at Banana Cabana . Wife had a nice Caribian shrimp dish with rice. I had " Island 's Best Crab Cakes - all lump meat."
                  Yeah right. Tasty but about the same type you would find at Publix - claw and back meat mostly. Beer was cold., funky atmosphere, good service.

                  They have a terrific singer who has a great selection of songs.

                  Breakfast at Peaches - wife had very good waffel with fruit.

                  I had a forgettable CB hash - all potatoes , very little CB and veggies . I sent it back and got scrambled eggs.

                  Dinner at Waterfront across from City Pier. Wife had excellent Salmon and sides .
                  I had roasted oysters app, salad with crab cake [ second time no lump crab as advertized] and a nice mac and cheeze side.

                  Others had excellent fish dishes and there was a very good shrimp/ linguini dish that was enjoyed. Excellent service- A definite recommendation.

                  The Sandbar, Beaches , City Pier Cafe all looked like they served ordinary food with loud music - howerver they had great views!
                  We chose to pass them up.

                  Overall - food on the island was overpriced and of less quality than I expected.

                  Drove to St Armond's Circle and I got a recommendation for a real gem - Claw and Fin [ or Crab and Fin].

                  Very good food, dynamite desserts, nice cafe atmosphere and reasoanabe prices . I will return there and highly recommend.

                  Overall a good trip and I'll keep searching for that great crab cake !

                  Thanks everyone.

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

                  Banana Cabana Restaurant
                  4590 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, FL 33050

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mcanni

                    Just joined chowhound so I missed your earlier post. But, if you return to the area take a trip north across the skyway bridge to Gulfport. Backfin Blue Cafe has the best jumbo lump crabcakes, well worth the drive.

                    Backfin Blue Cafe
                    2913 Beach Blvd S, Gulfport, FL 33707