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Need a Sarasota Dinner Rec for Tonight...

A last minute change in plans has me in Sarasota tonight. I'm there on business so, we'll be on an expense account, which means price considerations aren't that big of a deal. It seems like in the past we always end up at Columbia Restaurant, which i generally enjoy, but I'd like to switch it up this time if I can get a good Chowhound recommendation or two. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Duval's or Cafe Bologna, both on S. Tamiami Trail between Bee Ridge and Stickney Pt. Rd. Duval's has great seafood, something very hard to find in Sarasota, while Cafe Bologna is genuine Italian. You can't go wrong with either one.
    Good Luck

    -----
    Good Luck Cafe
    1910 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605

    5 Replies
    1. re: snobman

      I am pretty sure Cafe Bologna closes for a month sometime around August or Sept. You may want to call first. Derek's Culinary Casual, downtown, is nice. We had two very nice meals there recently.

      1. re: Wallace

        Wallace, you are right, Bologna Cafe closed for vacation, Barbara and Claudio go to their mountain house near Bologna) last Saturday, they will re-open on 23 August. Below is from their site.

        Hi,
        We are closed for vacation from August 1st to August 23rd.
        ( we are going to Italy, Bologna, Modena, Rimini etc....)
        and,
        from August 24th to September 17th
        there will be available a Special Summer Menu,
        Dimitre and Danny will take care of You
        Thank you for being the Best Friends and Customers in...the whole World !!!
        See You Soon
        Ciao
        Barbara & Claudio

        1. re: ospreycove

          Hey Osprey, can you tell me if this Barbara and Claudio are the reason Marcella Hazan spends time in Sarasota.

          1. re: LilMsFoodie

            LiMsfoodie.......Victor and Marcella Hazan are very good friends with Barbara and Claudio. The Hazans live on longboat Key, close to Sarasota. They often are at Cafe Bologna with their son Guiliano and his wife, for lunch or dinner

        2. re: Wallace

          Thanks for recs, we'll look into them.

      2. With expense account and you dine at Columbia????
        What's wrong with Ruth Chris's, Flemings or Cafe E"urope????

        19 Replies
        1. re: irwin

          Local rep really enjoys it. I've decided to kick things up a bit. As far as Ruth's and Flemings, been there done it enough that I like to try other things.

          1. re: picklelicious

            I love, love, LOVE Cafe L'Europe on St. Armand's.

            1. re: sweet_polly

              Perhaps next time, I've already made reservations at Derek's.

              1. re: picklelicious

                Derek's is excellent. I highly recommend them.

              2. re: sweet_polly

                Just looked at Cafe L'Europe menu...man are they proud of food!!! Is it that good?

                1. re: picklelicious

                  I think it is, in a classically Continental kinda way that makes everything seem "special". And, hey...you did imply that you wanted to give the old expense account a workout. ;)

                  1. re: picklelicious

                    Not one of my favorites. Where you are going is far better. Enjoy!

                    1. re: picklelicious

                      yes-yes-yes
                      Cafe L'Europe it is.............

                      1. re: irwin

                        It's funny,we usually agree on restaurants, but this is one we totally disagree on. I have never had a decent meal there, and you have had totally different experiences.

                        1. re: Mother of four

                          yes, we love it there......
                          They have a great chef this year.....
                          I am up north for the summer, and hope they keep the chef for next season. People watching is fabulous also...
                          Have a great summer.
                          Irwin

                      2. re: picklelicious

                        So Pickle:
                        where did you end up at ?
                        did it meet approval ?
                        Just wondering .....

                        1. re: irwin

                          Irwin.....Any info on the following report, that Duval's is opening on Main St.?

                          Thanks,

                          Under construction are The Irish Pub on Main occupying the former Stairway to Belgium space, Duval’s World Cafe occupying the former space of the Nook on Main Street, Bistro Figliulo occupying the former Deli Lane space on Siesta Drive, and Indigenous occupying the former space of The Canvas Café

                          -----
                          Deli Lane
                          2157 Siesta Dr, Sarasota, FL 34239

                          1. re: ospreycove

                            Ceci DuVal says sometime this summer or fall she is opening a mini version of her restaurant. They will take the best dishes and duplicate them for her very casual restaurant on Main St.
                            It will also offer take-out. I guess it appears to be a lite-version of her other restaurant.

                              1. re: irwin

                                i really hope that they can manage both places. Unless they find a good manager it could be difficult, and that's not saying anything about the chef. I'm sure they have figured it out, or are in the process of.
                                I too am up North for the summer, and always wonder what will still be there when we return. Have a good one!

                                1. re: Mother of four

                                  Mo4 The way restaurants have been opening and closing in SRQ I wouldn't bet the "rent" on any restaurant being there, especially after today's debacle in the stock market!!!!!, We will see who is still standing come October.......

                                  1. re: ospreycove

                                    It's funny, but the one's that are consistent in food and service seem to remain as long as they don't expand to much larger and fancier quarters. Couldn't we all name more then a handful of wonderful restaurants that did just that and are long gone. My most favorite was Fishtails when it was in Gulfgate...no reservations, tiny, had to wait outside....but, wonderful fish and reasonable prices. There was also a small Italian restaurant that was in a strip mall on 41, before Stickney called Gastranomia (I'm sure that's not how it was spelled, but it sounded like that), where, when it first opened you stood outside and drank their tiny cups of free wine while you waited for a table...food was nothing to write home about, but what fun it was...all the new people that you met, inexpensive and decent food. Somehow the one's that came never did take their place! Just reminiscing!!

                                  2. re: Mother of four

                                    Mo4--you are right...
                                    Management is always a problem.
                                    Hopefully she has it all figured out.
                                    Have a great summer.

                              2. re: irwin

                                I ate at Derek's Culinary Casual. Very interesting menu he offered up. I had a chilled mango and crab soup, and what i didn't see coming was a rather strong cilantro edge to it that at least for me, detracted from an otherwise good offering. Cilantro is just something that I personally struggle with...I wish that wasn't the case. For the main course I had a snapper dish that was one of the better fish entrees I've ever eaten, just magnificant. In the dish there were also some nice sized mussels. that were cooked perfectly, and had some type of flavor fused in (without any sauce), that was quite unique and tasty, I wasn't able to identify what that flavor was, except I liked it very much. The black bean sauce that went with the fish was unlike any other black bean sauce I've ever had, just amazing...I'd give that dish a rare 10.

                                The dessert was what appeared to be a deconstructed carrot cake, which at first I didn't think was that special, but as I kept eating, I seemed to enjoy it more and more.

                                So I give the Derek's Culinary casual 2 thumbs up. Thanks for recs.