HOME > Chowhound > Florida >

Discussion

First visit to Sarasota and Tampa

Hello everyone,

I am visiting Sarasota this coming spring and am so excited! It's my first time going there so I was wondering if there were any suggestions for awesome restaurants. I'm from Canada, so any good chain restaurants would also be a great help :)

Also, I might go to Tampa for a day or two, so any suggestions for restaurants there would be appreciated.

Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. knicho- welcome!

    My advice- Avoid most chains. See what the area really has to offer as far as mom & pop spots and explore some excellent ethnic food, if you search the boards you'll find that the members on here have visited some really excellent places. Where in Tampa will you be? Downtown? North Tampa? It's pretty spread out. In Sarasota I haven't been too many places, but I really enjoyed L'Europe in St Armands Circle, and Beach Bistro on Long Boat Key. I've heard both great and bad things about LAN.

    -----
    Beach Bistro
    6600 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

    5 Replies
    1. re: askdrtodd

      Beach Bistro is on Anna Maria, the next island north of Longboat. An exception to the chains in Tampa is Seasons 52 at Westshore Plaza. It's a chain in the vein of Houstons and is very good.

      -----
      Beach Bistro
      6600 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

      1. re: drjimdolan

        I disagree, Seasons 52, in Tampa at least, is mediocre at best.

        1. re: drjimdolan

          drjim- I have to respectfully disagree, this Seasons 52 is pretty weak, although it is a pretty space and a good concept. The Seasons on Sand Lake in Orlando was killer (although I haven't eaten there in over a year) but this one not so much.

          1. re: askdrtodd

            I've eaten in them in Phoenix, Tampa, Palm Beach Gardens and a couple of other places. For mid-priced chains, they're pretty good and in my experience, consistent.

            1. re: drjimdolan

              For a first-time visitor to Tampa, there is no reason to settle for "consistent". I;m sure you could do worse, but you could also do so, so much better in this town.

      2. If you like wine and steak, Tampa has a world class spot. Was there last night. Bern's, may be best wine list in world, and the steak is perfect as well. Also reasonably priced.

        1. Thank you all for your suggestions :) Much appreciated! As for where in Tampa I would be, I'm not sure yet. I haven't planned that much yet!

          1. yoders..
            best pie in florida imo

            1. Cafe L'Europe on St. Armand's Circle is a wonderful place to enjoy an al fresco spring lunch while watching the worldl go by. The lobster bisque is insane. I have no idea why you would actively seek out chains, though. I avoid them like the plague...you can do much better.

              Do you want to see Tampa for any particular reason? I think St. Petersburg (both the beach area and downtown) are much nicer and more interesting.