In a time when information is at the tip of our fingers, when crossing the country takes but a few hours, and when indulgence is not a rare treat but an opportunity offered to many, we are deciding where we visit and where we live based on simple luxuries like high-scale food scenes, nightlife, and access. Sarasota itself is a budding food city, with many fabulous award-winning restaurants as well as local favorites that are worthy of your tastebuds! Here are a few places to go, if you want to do Sarasota like a foodie.
This Sarasota staple fine dining establishment boasts the most national awards in our area. It is Sarasota’s only AAA 4-diamond award restaurant, but it’s not just the awards and accolades that make Michael’s special. Its attached piano bar and wine cellar bring in guests who come just for the experience and who stay for the food, and the happy hour prices make this fine dining experience accessible for most. They give back, too! A frequent sponsor of our local non-profits, Michael’s also donates proceeds to one of them every Monday.
When it opened in 2012, Indigenous came in with a bang, winning the Best New Restaurant award from Florida Trend right out the gate. Chef Steve Phelps is a two-time semi-finalist for the James Beard Best Chef - South award, the restaurant received a place on Zagat’s Best Restaurants in America list in 2013, and has landed on more Best Eats in Sarasota lists than we can came here. The ambiance of this restaurant is casual and chic simultaneously, featuring as many local, or indigenous, vendors as possible, from the wood used in the wine rack to the locally-sourced produce.
Food Network Accolades
Featured on Man Vs. Food in 2009, this little Amish restaurant located just south of downtown has a reputation far louder than its comfortable dining room would suggest. The home-cooked comfort-food vibe makes you feel right at home. I, myself, enjoy the pies the most, but meat-eaters rave about their pot roast & fried chicken. A personal tip? Don’t be afraid of the name, just order the Shoofly Pie—a gooey and sweet molasses pie like nothing I’ve ever tasted before in my life. But really, any pie there will be the best pie you have ever tasted, even if you are a cake person. ;-)
Man Vs. Food was back in 2016 with a visit to the late-night Gulf Gate staple, Munchie’s 420 Café. Featured on the episode was a challenge to eat ghost pepper poppers, one we don’t suggest! But if you are craving literally every comfort food wrapped into one, Munchie’s is your place. My indulgence there is always the fries, as I’m a vegetarian so I don’t eat their sandwiches, but my foodie, meat-eating sister swears the Fat Sandy is where it’s at when you are searching for perhaps the most delicious thing you can put in your body at midnight: cheeseburgers, mac n’ cheese, chicken fingers, and mozzerella sticks on a sub roll. You read that right. It’s the king of good eats.
My Faves - It’s time you knew!
I just love lunches at the Bijou, where the experience makes you feel like you rolled back a hundred years. Pour from the left, take from the right, white-glove service. The middle-of-downtown location is perfect if you work in the area. The nostalgic elegance coupled with modern European food creates a fine dining experience that you will enjoy in the middle of the workday or just before the opera on a Friday night.
This new essential place to eat on St. Armands Circle features a lot of what I love all in one place: a balcony view of a beautiful place (right on St. Armands), a good rosé, and seriously the best truffle fries in the world. It is true that I make special trips to Shore for the fries. The rest of their menu is nearly flawless, with fantastic tomato bisque soups and hot-weather friendly salads, but seriously—go try those truffle fries!
The Haye Loft at Euphemia Haye
It’s my party and I’ll eat dessert if I want to! Euphemia Haye’s dessert room has always been one of my favorite makes-me-feel-special places. The location on Longboat Key makes this a destination for me, but the dessert room makes it worth it. The fancy atmosphere is highlighted by the dessert bar, where everything from absolutely indulgent pies, bananas foster, and homemade ice cream are featured nightly. Invite some friends on your next big occasion—you won’t regret it!
Sarasota isn’t just a beach town, it’s a foodie town too. For all your Sarasota real estate and lifestyle needs, please give me a call today!