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Nov 1, 2011 08:20 AM

sarasota dinner

looking for excellent fish or farm to table restaurant for dinner next week in Sarasota...would also love to hear about good spots for breakfast...thanks!

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  1. Would be happy to help, but what is a "fish or farm to table restaurant"?

    25 Replies
    1. re: Mother of four

      well, we're interested in a seafood restaurant, or in a restaurant that emphasizes local produce and ingredients...thx

      1. re: stackm

        Derek's in Sarasota uses local produce/meat/fish/ etc. whenever possible. It is one of the few places We go to on a regular basis.

        A new place that just opened, have not been there yet, is "indigenous" in Towles Court, they say their menu is based on locally sourced provisions.

        My fav place is the well known "Bologna Cafe", while not farm to table nor seafood it is the best example of the cooking of Emiglia Romagna anywhere. Claudio, has an extensive background in regional cheese and salumi of Italy; everything they serve is either house made or imported. Claudio makes the Mozzerella, and Burata, Barbara makes all the pasta, as well as her unbelievable Sugo Bolognese, and the variations thereof.
        Just North of Longboat Key, in Cortez is Star Fish a very casual spot right on the commercial docks of A.P. Bell, who owns Star Fish Restaurant, they have the freshest Grouper, Stone Crabs, (now in season!), local shrimp, oysters, stews, smoked mullet, etc. outside dining only, lunch and dinner.

        Hope this helps

        1. re: ospreycove

          thank you...looks like Derek's will suit us perfectly...

          1. re: ospreycove

            All excellent choices. Have not been to Star Fish but it is on my list. I think that the chef owner of Indigenous was at the Canvas Cafe when we ate there once, and it was very good. Will have to try it.
            Lans on Main is another one of my favorites too. Lavanda in Towels court is another goodie.

            1938 Adams Ln, Sarasota, FL 34236

            1. re: ospreycove

              We are going to be on Longboat Key the first of May; can't wait to try Star Fish Company. Sitting in the sun, smelling the salt water and eating an oyster sandwich, I can almost taste it now.

              1. re: kengk

                lucky you! one caveat, each year the lines seem longer and longer. Well worth it, but don't arrive too hungry. We now plan an hour before food comes between standing on line and waiting for food. We usually get chowder at ordering time to assuage hunger.

                1. re: magiesmom

                  We normally go during the middle of summer when all the snow birds have flown back north. Will it still be crowded the first of May?

                  1. re: kengk

                    Most snowbirds head north after Easter. You shouldn't have too bad a crowd.

                    1. re: kengk

                      You will be fine in May..... But, another wonderful restaurant opened next to Cortez Kitchen called Swordfish Grill....
                      Really good, very reasonable, very clean and outdoor dining...

                      1. re: irwin

                        very good, but an addition not sub for Starfish imo.

                  2. re: kengk

                    I went to Star last Tuesday at 11:30, hoping to beat the rush. Long, long line. But the 5 stools at the little bar were empty. "You serve food at the bar?" "Yup". "If I order, I'm not cuttin' in line?" "Nope" . Done deal and a great meal of shrimp, scallops, oysters, and grouper. They only had medium stone crabs so I passed (same story next door at Bells, Thursday also). I scored 9 jumbos weighing in at over 3 pounds at Captain Brians, but they set me back $84.

                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        I was still groggy from the Monday night $5 martinis at Half Shell Oyster House. The varieties of grilled oysters and saucy shrimp at HSOH are quite tasty, no?

                      2. re: Veggo

                        I was at Star last night and on Wednesday and we waited way to long for dinner. Grouper anf fried oysters were perfect. I even love the cole slaw and hush puppies! Last night was told that you could go next door and buy fish at wholesale prices...gutted but not really dinner-cooking ready. Also you can put your name on a list for when the tuna comes in. But don't tell anybody.

                        1. re: t14072

                          t14072, you hit the perfect storm of snowbirds and spring breakers at Star this week. Yes, next door at A.P. Bell, you can buy whole fish and they will clean it or filet it. I tip a couple bucks. I especially seek their varieties of grouper, snapper, and pompano. Pompano is very much a Florida treat, and hard to find anywhere. I noticed on their chalkboard it was $5.50 per pound last week for the whole fish. A quick rule of thumb is you should get 1/3 of the gross weight of the fish in filets. Pompano sauteed with OO and lemon juice and finished with capers is exquisite.

                          Walter Bell sells octopus on the cheap, too, if you know what to do with them. The stone crabbers hate them because they raid the traps and eat the bait and smart as they are they often can't find their way out.

                          As to the tuna at A.P. Bell, I have eaten it as sashimi for years, with all of its magnificent scarlet translusence.

                          1. re: Veggo

                            We are in Holmes Beach just till Monday. But I come back about every 6 weeks. I always appreciate recommendations! Mostly we eat at Star. You will see me with my sisters tomorrow in front of Duffys, watching the parade.

                            1. re: t14072

                              Enjoy the parade! An FYI, A.P. Bell closes at noon on Saturdays so go buy your fish for home before you lunch at Star. I wish I could see you and your sisters but I'm back in Dallas.

                2. re: Mother of four

                  >> looking for excellent fish or farm to table restaurant for dinner next week in Sarasota...

                  >> Would be happy to help, but what is a "fish or farm to table restaurant"?

                  "Farm to table" is a fairly common term, usually used for a restaurant that works directly with farms who supply the ingredients for their kitchen. Some restaurants even own the farms (or own animals at a local farm) and/or raise their own vegetables.

                  In Sarasota, Indigenous uses the term "hook to fork" for its seafood. :) You can read the Indigenous discussion at

                  1. re: Mother of four

                    I respect that you asked the question, but, hopefully, people who are on Chowhound are true foodies who know this type of information....

                    1. re: vitaminD

                      Gee, guess I'm not a true "Foodie"!! I guess I will have to be very careful what questions that I ask in the future!!! I bit late aren't you...question was asked and answered in Nov.

                      1. re: Mother of four

                        The question was answered in Nov but I revived it with my comment about the breakfast house in March.
                        Mother of 4 your reviews and and opinions are valued by me. Keep them coming.

                        1. re: Mother of four

                          Mother, I was hoping you wouldn't see that. what idiocy!
                          And I for one hate the term foodie, and all else pretentious.
                          But we did have a truly great locally based meal at Indigenous a couple of weeks ago. I would go back in a heartbeat.

                          1. re: magiesmom

                            Can't stop idiots from posting! LOL
                            Have not made it to Indigenous yet, but looking forward to it when Sarasota is less crowded. My DS and DDIL really enjoyed it.

                            1. re: Mother of four

                              how true!
                              We easily got a weeknight res for Indigenous and there is ample parking, btw.

                              1. re: magiesmom

                                During season we try not to go out on weekends. It's either at our house or at friends. Have no desire to deal with large noisy crowds...even with reservations it's not always wonderful. Another month or so!!! Traffic the last month or so has really been unreal. Good for business though!!

                    2. I think that you would enjoy The Breakfast House on Fruitville Rd. Charming old house and good food.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Mother of four

                        Mo'4, Agree on Breakfast House; also there is the new "Toasted Mango Cafe" on Tamiami Trail,(41 North), immediately past Fruitville Rd. Owned by 2 veterans in the hospitality biz Unmatched friendly service and very good Breakfast, sides include fresh fruit, real fried potatos, grits and potato pancake served with apple sauce, and lunch, Breakfast served 'til they close at about 3:00PM, interesting daily specials too.

                        1. re: Mother of four

                          Went to Breakfast house today. Excellent lobster omelet and pineapple macadamia nut pancakes. Thanks for the recomendation. Would have never gone in to the house if it weren't for this site. By the way, we sat outside and enjoyed sitting under the trees enjoying our meal.

                          1. re: Mother of four

                            I am a total newbie and am just trying to learn to navigate this site. Felt compelled to reply to another post you had on another thread but I cannot seem to find it again. It was regarding good Chinese and you veered off mentioning the Thai restaurant on fruitville and be Eva. I think you were referring ti pad thai. If that was the case they have closed and you will be gald to know the rumor floating around back when they closed is that the owners took over a new spot over in Sarasota commons (the next plaza over closer to 17th) and it is called Thai Star. Have gone in and read the menu but haven't tried it yet. Friends say it is good. I don't know how this blogging thing works so I picked your most recent post I found to respond to in hops you get this info and can enjoy that food experience again while in the area. Hope this finds you happy, healthy and full. :-)

                            1. re: suzigirl

                              Yes it was Pad Thai. We were just there a few weeks ago. It moved to the new location last year, is that what you are talking about? It used to be near K Mart now it's in the mall in back of it. Never noticed the name change...the new place is quite a bit nicer. Unfortunately, good Chinese does not exist in Sarasota.

                              1. re: Mother of four

                                No, sadly the couple of good places we had have long since closed. The place that occupied the space prior toPadThai (Fun Wong) was the last one I knew. Shangra-La in the public plaza on bee Ridge and Cattlemen was good a few years ago but I can't say if it has remained that good. Don't go by there anymore as I ran into the dreaded ex there twice. The hot and sour soup was worth the trip across town alone. We do however have a vast array of other delishious choices. My best friend do regular " grub crawls" spending the afternoon going from one place to another sharing small plates til one of us taps out. Lots of fun. Always looking for the next yummy place.