Written by Molly Russo
The Renaissance of South Gate/Siesta Key Mall
Just a short drive from downtown, Siesta Key Mall is in the midst of a full-scale reinvention, including the addition of a great new restaurant that I would recommend you try. If you love UTC’s Brio, you’ll appreciate Bravo, a sister restaurant with the same caliber of food but a much closer drive.
Siesta Key Mall (formerly South Gate Mall) is succeeding in its quest to bring more foot traffic to the once-in-dire-straits collection of shops by totally redefining itself. This started with CineBistro moving in and continued this year with a full-scale renaissance, adding several new restaurants and of course, the newly launched Colorado-originated superfood market, Lucky’s. (We have been there and love it!)
Bravo opened at the end of August and we have just had the chance to check it out. We were very pleased to find many of the same delightfully affordable happy hour options that we love from Brio, including $5 wine selections, $5 cocktails, and $5 appetizer plates. They have a great looking dinner menu, focusing on local, chef-inspired coastal meals with high-end ingredients.
Unique to our location, there is a bakery open every morning at 8am, specializing in artisanal breads, glazed croissant donuts, and other assorted pastries. Bravo also has a limited brunch menu on the weekends, with elevated versions of classics such as shrimp and grits, avocado toast, and scrambled eggs.
At our visit to Bravo, my friend indulged in a pineapple-infused vodka that literally was so tasty it didn’t need a mixer, while I had the honey bourbon Manhattan, which was smooth as silk. We split the quesadilla as a snack and were in and out for less than $20 during “Social Hour” — what Bravo calls their extended happy hour (which runs from 3:30-6:30pm and from 9pm to close on weekdays).
The atmosphere is casual, yet sophisticated, and the food is inspired and creative. There is a great outdoor space with giant Jenga and firepits too, so it will be a fun place to visit in the cooler months of the year. If you enjoy the local culinary world like I do, sometimes you have to get off of Main Street to check out the next new thing, and I certainly recommend taking the time to give Bravo a shot.