restaurants

Create your own luxury lifestyle story - Auteur

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We like to be the first to tell you about new and notable happenings downtown, and the official opening of the Auteur sales center certainly is one to pay attention to! The ultra-luxury building, which is being developed by the same team that brought us Beau Ciel downtown and Orchid Beach Club, Aria, and En Provence on the barrier islands of Lido and Longboat, is truly not to be missed. We LOVE the chic and glam sales center itself, for starters, and the floor plans are unlike anything we have downtown now.

Allison at The View From The Top has just had the pleasure of working with one of the very first buyers of Auteur to make a reservation. Right now the building is available for reservations ($50k down for all but the highest floors, which command a deposit of $100k) and it is expected that these will be converted to contracts in mid-to-late summer. Auteur is expected to be delivered in 2022 but, for those who are planning ahead for their next move, now is the time to get in!


INTRODUCING AUTEUR

Rendering found on auteursarasota.com website

Rendering found on auteursarasota.com website

THE DETAILS

Auteur will be a 216’ tower with a projected 56 units priced from just under $2,000,000 to more than $3,500,000.  Residents of Auteur and residents of downtown Sarasota alike will benefit from the developer’s involvement in the community: when originally proposed to have over 85 units, the community of Sarasota voiced concerns.  The developers listened and reduced the number to 56, and by reducing the number of units, the builders were able to both set the structure back further from the street – adding aesthetic value - and increase the size of each home to an average width of 75 feet, something not commonly found in condominiums at any price point (even many single-family homes are on lots of a smaller width than this!).  Each residence will have a spacious, open floor plan and panoramic views of Sarasota Bay.

  • Four floor plans are available, ranging from 2915sq’ to 4219sq’

  • All feature approximately 500sq’ of terrace

The Location.

Auteur will be located at 1100 Boulevard of the Arts on the 1.25-acre site next to the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. The Hyatt parking garage will be torn down to accommodate the structure, and future parking for the hotel is incorporated into the plans for the building, though hotel and resident parking will remain decidedly separate. The close proximity to all of the current amenities of downtown and future The Bay project are a major draw for the building, especially since pedestrian overpasses at 41 are part of the plan! ;-)

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The Experience.

The features and benefits at Auteur are extensive and just exude the modern style of luxuriousness that discerning buyers today are seeking.  Coded access elevators will deliver owners to private foyers and interiors created by world-renowned designers.  Walls of glass span multiple rooms to create sunlit spaces where high ceilings and HUGE terraces add to the overall elegance of each home.  Kitchens come equipped with Sub-Zero® and Wolf® appliances.. and of course, each residence will be pre-wired with the latest smart home technology. Two sides of the Auteur building are expected to feature a vast assortment of fitness, social and general recreational opportunities. 

Other amenities owners will enjoy:

  • Attentive concierge staff

  • Tropical pool overlooking Sarasota Bay

  • Resort-style heated pool, spa and shade cabanas

  • Two assigned parking spaces per residence

  • Fitness center, message therapy, steam showers and yoga studio

  • Fenced pet play area and pet grooming facility

This is an addition to downtown that we at The View From The Top are seriously excited about and we think you will be too!



For all of your downtown real estate needs - in both the to-be-built and classic buildings - we have you covered! Please call us anytime for guidance on the right spot for you in fabulous Sarasota.

NEW SAGE IS ALL THE RAGE!

Ever since Ceviché departed in 2013, Sarasotans have wondered what is going to happen to the fabulous space located at 1216 1st Street, in the cool historic Sarasota Times Newspaper building. Finally, a new restaurant has opened its door here, still featuring 4 stories of dining space and the famous rooftop bar. Welcome to the scene, Sage! I had the opportunity to check out this swanky new world-cuisine restaurant recently and highly recommend you check it out.

Sage Restaurant & Rooftop Bar

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The Food.

The seasonal menu changes so often, it’s not even posted on their website. Their mission is to use fresh ingredients, unique flavors, and cooking styles from around the world to give their patrons the best dining experience. Bonus: They happily accommodate any dietary restrictions and many of their dishes are already gluten- and dairy-free. In addition to the exquisite flavors, their food presentation is some kind of work of art!

When I visited, I went straight to the fabulous rooftop bar - one of my favorites hang-outs from years past when Ceviche was there! - and I was certainly not disappointed! The vibe was sophisticated but not fussy and it was pleasantly busy but not so packed that I wanted to leave. The cocktail I had was delicious and my friends and I loved the various types of seating on the roof - bar, high-tops, and lounge areas and, of course, THAT VIEW is a major draw!

The Location.

As I said above, the building itself is a Sarasota historic landmark, formerly housing the Sarasota Times Newspaper. The 1st Street location is on the western edge of downtown, so it is easily walkable from the Bayfront condominiums, offering an alternative to Jack Dusty for dinner and a nightcap, as well as the Palm Avenue area of downtown. Also nearby: the Sarasota Opera and FST — which makes this a perfect pre-show dinner location!

The historic downtown building used to house The Sarasota Times.

The historic downtown building used to house The Sarasota Times.

Prime location right across from the bayfront in downtown.

Prime location right across from the bayfront in downtown.

The view from the rooftop bar overlooks the bright buildings of downtown. And you can even wave at the rooftop bar-goers on top of the Art Ovation Hotel right across the way!

The view from the rooftop bar overlooks the bright buildings of downtown. And you can even wave at the rooftop bar-goers on top of the Art Ovation Hotel right across the way!

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The Experience.

Despite the casual vibe of the rooftop bar, make no mistake, Sage is a fine dining establishment. The waitstaff is friendly, professional, knowledgable, and in uniform. Searching for the perfect place to grab drinks with the girls? The lively atmosphere on the top level is just right — absolutely beautiful décor with great views of the city that you can enjoy from beneath a mod chandelier or next to a roaring fire pit. And to top it off, pop star Pink has been seen there already, during her recent vacation to our area. ;-)

Sage Restaurant & Rooftop Bar | 1216 First Street | Downtown Sarasota | www.sagesrq.com | 941.445.5660

How To Be a Sarasota Foodie

The dessert table at the Haye Loft, above Euphemia Haye

The dessert table at the Haye Loft, above Euphemia Haye

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.

Major Award-Winners

Michael’s on East

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.

Indigenous is located on S. Links Ave. downtown.

Indigenous is located on S. Links Ave. downtown.

Indigenous

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

Yoder’s

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. ;-)

Munchie’s 420 Café

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!

Bijou Café

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.

Shore

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!

Downtown Favorite: Beulah

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By Molly Russo

Classic & Eclectic Dining

Beulah landed on the cuisine scene in 2015, opening its doors on Main Street near Osprey Avenue on the east side of downtown Sarasota.  The name doesn't give much away but when you enter this eclectic establishment, the smells of authentic Italian food drift in your direction and the vintage-y, Bohemian interior is a treat for the eye.  Mismatched tables and chairs and well-placed comfy couches coupled with the ornate décor and chandelier lighting made this feel cozy to me, like I had wandered into a very interesting old woman's house, à la Great Expectations. 

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Head in for Happy Hour...

The happy hour menu, which is available at the bar only (as many a Yelp-reviewer informed me prior to my visit), features a small array of appetizers, cocktails, beer, and wine for under $10.  Not a bad deal!  Try the Margherita pizza, mussels, or eggplant rollatine for a flavorful snack from 5-7pm with your drink, or the Caesar salad if you're trying to be good. ;-)

...or an Authentic Italian Meal

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Seeing as I was there for dinner, I did not partake in the happy hour menu, but moved right in for dinner.  A friend and I each ordered -- what else at an authentic Italian place? -- pasta!  She opted for the lasagna, which was so light, yet well-spiced; it reminded me of the fresh-made pasta an old friend from Italy had made me once upon a time.  Hands down, this was the best lasagna I've ever had (thank goodness she let me share a bite!).  I had the ravioli of the day, this particular day the flavor was mushroom.  It did not disappoint.  The ravioli were set in a white alfredo-type sauce and were simply mouth-watering.  We both cleaned our plates.

Though Beulah has been a part of our scene for a few years, this was my first time there.  The food was spectacular, the service friendly and professional, and the ambiance was just cool.  Brick walls juxtaposed with elaborate fixtures and artwork set a perfect stage for the new twist on old world cuisine.  I highly recommend Beulah for your next date night!

Side note: As I was writing this, an article popped up on the Herald Tribune naming Beulah's Aperol the cocktail of the summer.  Check out their article here.

 

Savor Sarasota Starts Tomorrow!

Plan your culinary adventure around nearly 100 area restaurants that are slashing their menu prices for Savor Sarasota.  Starting tomorrow, a wide variety of local restaurants will offer a special prix-fixe menu of $16/person for lunch and $32/per for dinner for a 3-course meal.  Savor Sarasota runs from June 1 to June 14 only so the time to get out and try something new in our area is now!  

Duval's Fresh Local Seafood

Duval's Fresh Local Seafood

Participating Restaurants

We can't wait to try many of these!  Here's a partial list of participating restaurants in the downtown area:

Tsunami Sushi & Habachi Grill

Tsunami Sushi & Habachi Grill

  • Brand-new Element Modern Mediterranean Grill
  • Mozaic
  • Beulah
  • The Coolinary
  • Prague
  • Bijou Café
  • Café Epicure
  • Evoq @ the Westin Hotel 
  • Jack Dusty @ the Ritz Carlton
  • Louie's Modern
  • Lolita Tartine 
  • The Blue Rooster
  • El Greco
  • Mélange

There are literally more than we can mention in this post, but suffice it to say that if you have a downtown favorite, it's on the list.  For a full list of all the Savor Sarasota restaurants, visit their website here.  

Savor Sarasota is county-wide so you can enjoy some of our best restaurants off of Main Street downtown as well!  Here are some we recommend checking out around the rest of Sarasota County:

Carmel

Carmel

University Park/Lakewood Ranch

  • Sophie's at Saks - UTC Mall
  • Capital Grille - UTC Mall
  • Carmel - Cooper Creek

Lido Key

  • One of our faves, Shore
  • Tommy Bahama
  • Crab & Fin
  • Café L'Europe

Longboat Key

Shore

Shore

  • Another personal favorite of Realtor Extraordinaire, Euphemia Haye
  • Harry's Continental Kitchen
  • Chart House

Siesta Key

  • Ophelia's on the Bay
  • Siesta Key Oyster Bar
  • Café Gabbiano
  • Miguel's

North Sarasota

Siesta Key Oyster Bar

Siesta Key Oyster Bar

  • Half-Shell Seafood House
  • Muse @ the Ringling
  • Rodizio Grill
  • Mona Lisa in The Meadows

South Sarasota

  • Off the Hook Seafood Co.
  • Ruth's Chris Steak House
  • Roessler's Restaurant
  • Mattison's Forty-One
  • Café Baci
  • Bravo Coastal Bar & Kitchen

Enjoy the opportunity this month to taste and sample many of our best restaurants!  Bon appetit!

Hidden Gem: Korean Ssam Bar

Written by Molly Russo

Time to try something new...

We are always on the lookout for new and interesting places in and around downtown, and this week, I got the chance to visit Korean Ssam Bar, located just north of downtown on US 301.  If you enjoy Asian cuisine, you simply must stop at this small family-owned Korean restaurant!

With only about a dozen tables, Korean Ssam Bar is cozy.  Immediately upon walking in, the smell of delicious Asian food hit my nose, and the big "SUSHI" sign piqued my interest.  About half the tables were still full, even though I was walking in at 8:15pm for dinner, and throughout the course of our meal, there were probably just as many carry-outs as there were in-house diners.  (The restaurant has a great carry-out and food-delivery business.  You can find them on Grub Hub or Bite Squad if you want it brought right to you!)

Yes, we did pig out a bit.

Kimchi Seafood Pancake - yummmm!

Seeing as our dinner was kicking off kind of late, my two dinner partners and I literally ordered everything that looked good: we started with a seaweed salad, edamame, and one of their specialties, the Kimchi Seafood Pancake.  A skeptic of all but my safe-bet edamame (which, of the three ironically was my least favorite, simply because of its simplicity in relation to the other appetizers we tried), I sampled both the others hesitantly, only to be utterly blown away by the deep flavor.  The seaweed salad bore a consistency that I wasn't used to, but I adjusted quickly and thoroughly enjoyed.  As a gluten-free person, I shouldn't have even tried the kimchi pancake, but it came out looking like an Asian version of cornbread and smelling so sweet with a soy-based sauce for dipping that I just HAD to try it.  The pancake was subtly sweet and light, but had a toasty flavor that complemented the cooked-in kimchi and seafood perfectly.  It was absolutely delicious, and I highly recommend it.  (There is a non-seafood version of the Kimchi Pancake too!)

Generous portions, beautiful presentation

For dinner, the two ladies at the table each enjoyed a version of the Bibimbop Rice Bowl, which we were told by our server would have extra flavor due to being cooked in a stone pot.  The presentation was beautiful: a fried egg and your protein of choice (I had beef, my friend, tofu) poised atop slivered zucchini, carrots, and bean sprouts, which were served on a pile of rice.  The server brought over a Korean hot sauce and recommended we drizzle the sauce, then stir the whole beautiful pot up.  There was enough for both of us to have leftovers as lunch the next day, and both fresh and reheated, the Stone Pot Bibimbop was flavorful and mouth-watering.

The third person in our party ordered Beef Bulgogi, which was seasoned beef served with 4 sides: bean sprouts, spicy bean sprouts, daikon radish, and spicy kimchi.  We all picked at the sides, which they graciously refilled several times, and my partner finished his entire plate of beef, sharing one succulent bite with me.  We both would recommend this dish!

We finished our meal with mochi ice cream, which was smooth & creamy mango and strawberry ice creams wrapped in mochi and served artfully with chocolate sticks and a drizzle of fudge.  It was another beautifully-presented dish, decadent and interesting in flavor.  If you are not turned off by the glutinous nature of mochi, you should certainly give this a try!

Do we recommend it?

In short, I was blown away by this small hole-in-the-wall Korean restaurant located in a strip mall on North 301.  The food was amazing and the service was impeccable, with the entire staff assisting each other in keeping glasses full, side dishes refilled, and making sure we had everything we need.  Next time you're looking for an adventurous meal, take the short drive to Korean Ssam Bar!

Korean Ssam Bar | 1303 N. Washington Blvd | Open for Lunch 11-2:30 and Dinner 5-9

Pay a Visit to Bravo Coastal Bar & Kitchen

Written by Molly Russo

The Renaissance of South Gate/Siesta Key Mall

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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.

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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.

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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).  

Relaxed Atmosphere

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.

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Downtown Hot Spot: The Fountain

Quaint Italian Charm, Delicious Food, & Great Specials at

The Fountain Kitchen & Wine Bar

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There has been a restaurant on the corner of Pineapple and Orange for quite some time.  That restaurant has changed frequently, never really finding one that could take root in the little niche corner by Burns Court of downtown.  That is, until now.  The Fountain Kitchen & Wine Bar opened in 2016 and seems to have been gathering a large, local, and loyal following ever since.

Italian Done Right.

I popped into The Fountain a couple of weeks ago for happy hour with a friend on a Monday, and surprise!  My original having-a-case-of-the-Mondays day turned into five-dollar-gourmet-pizza Monday!  (Which is obviously a better kind of Monday, to be sure.)  Every. Single. Pizza on their menu is $5 on Monday, and if that's not a way to start your week, I don't know what is.  

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With their excellent selection of wine, my companion and I settled into one of the outdoor seats overlooking the fountain and sipped our rose while we waited for our pizza.  The restaurant is inherently Italian, featuring the aforementioned pizza, as well as salads, toasted sandwiches, and small plates.  According to a multitude of online reviews, and our own experience, the food is something they do quite well.  The place smells fantastic, and every dish rolling out looked the same.  Our pizza was absolutely indulgently delicious.

Great Food.  Great Deals.

In addition to $5 pizza Mondays, The Fountain has Wine Wednesdays--where all wine is 50% off, (This is clearly the next time I'll be stopping by!), Thirsty Thursdays--where beer & wine is $2 off, and occasionally features live music on the patio.  If you haven't stopped in yet to this relatively new downtown gem, take a walk down Pineapple and check it out!

Shhh... It's a Sarasota Best Kept Secret!

Burns Court Cafe Wine Bar

I had a wonderful time last week when I stumbled into the Wine Bar of the Burns Court Cafe.  Separate from, and yet a part of, the fantastic Burns Court Cafe, the Wine Bar is a quaint, quiet, and exclusive little enclave with both a worldly and incredibly intimate neighborhood feel.

The international owners and staff make this place feel like you've teleported to an old cafe in France or Italy.  I sat at the 6-seat bar, enjoyed a glass of rose' and live jazz.  There is a special wine bar menu after 5pm with appetizers, small plates, entrees, and desserts, and while we didn't eat that evening, the food coming out of the kitchen looked amazing.  As expected, the wine bar has an extensive selection of wine both by the glass and by the bottle, as well as a pretty decent selection of beer too.

...the Wine Bar is a quaint, quiet, and exclusive enclave with both a worldly and incredibly intimate neighborhood feel.

By morning, Burns Court Cafe is a delightful patisserie with pastries, fresh squeezed juices, coffees and cappuccinos.  By day, the cafe serves elegant entrees, salads, pressed sandwiches, quiche, and tapas.  But by night, this little best kept secret transforms into a private jazz club with great, sharable plates and fantastic wine.  Stroll over to Burns Court one evening and check it out! 

Cheers!

Pamper Your Pooch

Sarasota is a place to pamper yourself.  For many, it's a vacation - a chance to indulge and pamper and splurge.  For others, it's a part time home - a place to get away from the stresses of winter and unwind by the water.  And for a lot of us, it's just... home - where work can take us away from the luxuries that surround us, or where retirement allows us to immerse ourselves in them!  In any case, there are ample options for pampering and splurging, even for our best four-legged friends!  Here are some ways you can pamper your pooch in Sarasota, a town that is just as luxurious and vacation-y for dogs as it is for humans.  :-)


For the dog who loves sunbathing...

Take them to Brohard Paw Park on Venice Beach.

This section of Venice Beach is a great place for your dog to pant away a morning on the sand with you by his side.  It's the only dog-friendly beach in all of Sarasota County!   There is an enclosed play yard with a watering station near the parking area, and a pet-friendly section of the beach where your dog can swim and romp.  Check out my dogs enjoying the rays!

Enjoy a stroll around Bird Key Park.

This leash-required park is a great place to bring your dog and enjoy the views of Sarasota Bay.  Expanses of grassy areas are lined with sidewalks perfect for a stroll, and there are benches around if you and Fido want to just enjoy the sun and the view for a while.

This dog is enjoying the trails at the Celery Fields.  Photo credit: Sarasota Magazine

This dog is enjoying the trails at the Celery Fields.  Photo credit: Sarasota Magazine

For the dog who loves to run...

Boy, do we have options for you!  There are dog parks dotted all over the county, from exclusive ones within certain neighborhoods, to ones within county parks such as Arlington Park, to the huge acreage of the 17th Street Paw Park.  Arlington and 17th Street both are leashless parks, fully fenced in, where your dog can get off and running with a pack of buddies.  If you like to run too, leash up your dog and go for a jog down the Legacy Trail, up and down the hill at the Celery Fields, or around the serene lake at Nathan Benderson Park.

Toasted Mango Cafe's dog-friendly patio

Toasted Mango Cafe's dog-friendly patio

For the dog with a refined palate...

This is another area in which Sarasota SHINES.  So many restaurants open up their exterior tables to your furry companions.  I love taking my dogs with me to brunch at Toasted Mango or Station 400, where no one judges me for dropping a bite off sausage to them under the table. ;-)  Owen's Fish Camp is another great downtown option, with loads of outdoor seating and a casual setting.  For the fanciest of pets, Bijou Cafe downtown, Cafe L'Europe on St. Armands, and Libby's in Southside Village are all great options for when you want a delectable meal, a glass of wine, and your dog by your side.

For the dog whose nail polish matches yours...

Take them for the full treatment at Bayside Pet Resort.

With options from the basic grooming package, to mud baths, pet-icures, and facials, your doggie will leave here feeling rested, relaxed, and perfectly pampered!  There is also an on-staff doggie masseuse and loads of relaxation packages available.  If you live the high life, so should your sweet pup. (Also, shout out to Bayside Pet Resort for being an outstanding supporter of the Humane Society of Sarasota County!!!)

Give their fur some flair at Sarasota Grooming Company.

Has your dog always yearned to stand out?  Give your poodle's poof a splash of pink.  Let the stylists give your maltese a mohawk.  The options are limitless so get creative.  This cute little boutique company also does fancy spa treatments too.


A great resource for anyone whose dog is more than just a pet is BringFido.com.  Check it out for pet-friendly places and services around Sarasota and the rest of the USA!

Lila: Fresh New Downtown Hotspot

Written by Molly Russo

Lila opened on Main Street in the fall of 2016, and we are just finally able to say we've been there.  (Let's be serious, Realtors can be a little busy during "season"!)  But now that the crowds have thinned, the waits have shortened, and the emails have slowed to 100 a day instead of 300, we had time this week to spend the lunch hour at a leisurely pace at this fresh, healthy, and delicious Lila.  

So What's the Vibe?

This restaurant has a cool, comfortable, rustic vibe from the moment you walk through the door.  Its clean and modern look of wood, metal, and glass is punctuated by fresh greenery on the front table and wide-matte shots of bright fruits and veggies on the wall.  Lila, which (in case you hadn't heard) is pronounced "lee-lah", is a dream come true to anyone with food allergies.  The menu is built on a foundation of farm-fresh vegetables, presented exquisitely and prepared to perfection, and is almost entirely gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan-friendly.  

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Sorry, did you say Vegan???

Let's carify: VEGAN-INSPIRED.  This is not a vegan-only restaurant, but it is one that offers endless options for those on restrictive diets. And as someone with food allergies, I must say I've never been more excited looking over a menu and not having to skip straight to salads that don't have croutons.  My table mates were Allison, a dedicated and longtime vegetarian, and our colleague who eats a normal diet.  While obviously guided by vegan/vegetarian cuisine with a side of meat, as opposed to the opposite, this menu reads like a page of Bon Appetit, and leaves even the "normal"-eating omnivore with mouth-watering options.  There were full on vegetarian/vegan dishes, such as beet salad, veggie burger, and stir fry, and there was also a section of the menu with eggs, meat, chicken, and seafood that can be added to any meal.  After much discussion and internal debate, we ended up with:

  • The Macro Bowl - ordered by the vegetarian
  • The Bean Tostadas - ordered by the gluten-free, dairy-free
  • The Greek Salad plus shrimp - ordered by the person without dietary restrictions

But... would we go back?

We all agreed at the end of this meal that Lila was a hotspot worth revisiting.  The flavors were interesting, the dishes were well-seasoned, and we all left feeling good--not stuffed to the gills or over-indulgent.

The menu is amazing; the food is incredible and succulent and creative.  We found the prices a bit high for lunch (all of our lunches were $12 or more per plate), but expected given the farm-to-table nature of Lila.  We also thought the service was a little slow; after all was said and done, our appetizer-less lunch took over an hour.  Again, this is probably thanks to the fact that everything is freshly prepared at the time you order it.  Overall, however, this is a new lunch place we would be happy to frequent again.

Lila. 1576 Main Street, Downtown Sarasota.  941.296.1042