Sarasota, Florida, is home to nearly 58,000 people and welcomes more than three million visitors each year. The city’s white sand beaches and crystal clear water make it the ideal vacation spot or paradise home. Whether you’re visiting Sarasota for the first time or looking to call it home, one of the first things you’ll want to do is to dive into the local restaurant scene.
Sarasota has dozens of amazing restaurants, offering everything from seafood and barbeque to Peruvian cuisine and more. Read on to discover some of the best restaurants in Sarasota and the specialties they’re known for.
Pacific Rim is a delightful Asian fusion restaurant that highlights the gorgeous fresh seafood of Sarasota. The restaurant blends Thai and Japanese food, offering both delicious curries and stunning sushi rolls. You can get fresh tuna and rainbow trout, as well as wok dishes served in a pad prik sauce.
Duval’s Fresh Local Seafood
Finding the best seafood in Sarasota is a close race, to say the least, but Duval’s is a top contender. In fact, the restaurant has been voted the best seafood restaurant in Sarasota for the last five years running. Their dinner menu includes lobster mac and cheese, Siesta Key calamari, a seafood sampler plate, and, of course, a fresh catch special.
The Blue Rooster
If you’re looking for down-home Southern comfort food, look no further than The Blue Rooster. They offer everything from deviled eggs and fried green tomatoes to duck wings and chicken biscuits. But if you want to get a local favorite, don’t miss their famous fried chicken, which gets cooked in peanut oil for fantastic flavor.
Owen’s Fish Camp
Owen’s Fish Camp offers a whimsical take on Florida culture and the local seafood dining options. Every day, the restaurant offers a catch of the day special, which you can get with a brown butter hollandaise, fish camp tartare, lemon caper butter, or green tomato salsa. You can also get a softshell crab sandwich, a fried green tomato BLT, or a fabulous veggie succotash.
Shore creates an amazingly fresh dining experience in everything from their menu to their atmosphere. The restaurant has open dining spaces that invite in the coastal air. Their menu is filled with ceviche, lobster rolls, grilled asparagus, pan-seared red snapper, and more!
Heinrich’s German Grill
Heinrich’s German Grill offers a no-frills take on German food in a laid-back atmosphere. Dig into some schnitzel, sauerbraten, potato pancakes, red cabbage, and more, all made using traditional German recipes. And, of course, no German meal would be complete without one of the ales they have to pick from.
Columbia serves amazing seafood dishes with their own signature Hispanic flair. Every bread is served with hot Cuban bread and butter, and you can get the restaurant’s famous Cuban sandwich as your main. You’ll also love their paella, grilled grouper, or their shrimp and yellow rice, all served in a dining room with enormous windows and gorgeous décor.
Antoine’s offers a unique blend of Italian, French, and Belgian cuisines with a seafood twist. They’re particularly famous for their mussels, which can be served with a creamy garlic sauce, in a curry sauce, Provencal style, or in the traditional style. You can also dig into a steak tartare, duck breast, or filet mignon wrapped in puff pastry.
Dry Dock Waterfront
If you’re willing to explore restaurants just outside Sarasota, you’ll want to visit Dry Dock Waterfront. This restaurant is known for serving fresh-caught seafood and quality ingredients. Their specialties include Florida grouper and red snapper, served blackened or grilled, as well as their corn chowder and lobster rolls.
If you’re looking for gluten-free options or restaurants on the lighter side, you’ll love Sarasota’s Fresh Kitchen. Everything at this restaurant is made from whole foods, and all their meat is free of antibiotics. You can build a bowl using your preferred base, veggies, protein, and sauce for a healthy, quick meal.
Crab and Fin
Crab and Fin has been in business for more than forty years, and it’s easy to see why they’re a local favorite. They take pride in sourcing their seafood from local fishers who use ecologically responsible techniques. You’ll love their black grouper, yellowtail snapper, Mahi Mahi, wahoo, and Florida Keys lobster tail.
If you’re craving barbeque during your Florida vacay, Nancy’s won’t let you down. Chef Nancy uses fourteen secret ingredients to season her Boston butt roast before cooking it for a solid fifteen hours! The result is a dish that will melt in your mouth, accompanied by cheese grits, potatoes, baked beans, and other such staples.
Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar
The Daquiri Deck Raw Bar will give you those perfect Florida vacation vibes you’ve been craving. The restaurant has a casual, laid-back atmosphere and daiquiris that range in flavor from mighty mango and electric lemonade to deck diesel and purple haze. You also won’t want to miss their half-shell oysters and short rib grilled cheese.
Selva Grill brings a fabulous take on Peruvian dishes to the shores of Sarasota. In particular, Selva is known for their ceviches, which can be made with everything from tuna and wahoo to shrimp, scallops, and more. You can also dig into skirt steak, a rack of lamb, empanadas, parihuela, and other such Peruvian specialties. Locations are in downtown Sarasota as well as University Town Center near Lakewood Ranch.
Find the Best Restaurants in Sarasota
Sarasota’s restaurant scene is a gorgeous tapestry of different cuisine and cultures. You can enjoy Belgian and French fusion cuisine or a down-to-earth German dining experience. Feast on the city’s fresh-caught seafood or dig into a butt roast that will make you swear you can hear the angels sing.
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