Georgies utc

6 Dining Destinations in the Lakewood Ranch Area

Restaurant standouts in the Sarasota-Lakewood Ranch area not to snooze on for those nights you just can't figure out where to eat.

From cozy cafes tucked away in the new Waterside Place town center to upscale eateries at University Town Center (UTC) and local mainstays off LWR Main Street, the Sarasota-Lakewood Ranch area has an array of dining options to try for those indecisive nights deciding where to go out to eat.

1. Bar George & Georgie's Garden Cafe: Elevated Drinks & Dining

georgies cafe utc

Georgie's at UTC consists of Bar George and Georgie's Garden Cafe in the West District of the UTC. The posh indoor/outdoor restaurant is one of the newer spots on the list and is an all-day spot for brunch, dinner, drinks and dancing. With a wrap-around garden patio and chic dining room inside, Georgie's is a great spot to enjoy a happy hour with elevated bar bites and craft cocktails or a leisurely meal and glass of wine with friends after a full day of shopping at the UTC. From their Coastal Lump Crab Cake and Wagyu Sliders to the Strawberry Field Salad and Parker House Smash Burger, Georgie's Cafe offers something for everyone to enjoy. 

Hot tip: Try one of Georgie's "Tableside Cocktails," like the Smoked Oaxan Paloma or Enhanced Cosmopolitan.  

2. FORKED at Waterside: Neighborhood Feel Meets Global Fusion

As the newest restaurant on this list, FORKED at Waterside should definitely be on your list to check out for breakfast, brunch or lunch. The restaurant perfectly reflects the culinary diversity of Sarasota with its neighborhood feel and urban, upscale vibe—all the while dishing up global flavors on its expansive menu. From American and Hispanic touches to a French flair, you can expect everything from omelettes, skillets and tamales to French toasts, sweet/savory crepes and their famous chicken and waffles. You can even indulge in innovative cocktails, mimosas or Bloody Marys to top off your Waterside meal. 

Hot tip: Plan to check out FORKED before or after walking the Farmers' Market at Lakewood Ranch on your next free Sunday morning.

3. Libby's Lakewood Ranch: Contemporary Comfort Food

libby's brasserie

Libby's Brasserie opened its second location in Lakewood Ranch with the same cozy dining setting and modern American fare. Head here for comfort food classics in a stylish and inviting atmosphere. From their Harvest Brussel Sprouts and Truffle Fries to their juicy Krabby Patty Sandwich and famous Dr. Pepper Ribs, every dish at Libby's Lakewood Ranch is crafted with care and a contemporary twist. Pair your meal with a craft cocktail, local beer or a glass of wine from their extensive list to round out your LWR dining experience. 

Hot tip for dessert lovers: Save room for the scratch-made flourless mocha chocolate cake!

4. GROVE Restaurant: Housemade Specialties Made Modern

GROVE Restaurant has a way of blending traditional cooking methods and housemade dishes with innovative recipes and the freshest seasonal ingredients. Nestled on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard in downtown Lakewood Ranch, the Contemporary-American restaurant offers a mix of inviting gathering spaces and seating. From a casual patio and spacious dining room to a lively, modern bar and intimate private rooms, each area serves a sophisticated vibe with high-end hospitality. Indulge in light, flavorful flatbreads, like the Fig & Prosciutto or BBQ Brisket, or take it all the way with hearty entrees like Pork Osso Bucco, Bison Bolognese and Stuffed Lobster. 

Hot Tip: GROVE's multiple private dining rooms and ballroom are great spaces to book out for private events—including meetings/work lunches, holiday parties, birthdays, showers, rehearsal dinners and more.

5. Selva Grill UTC: Latin-Inspired Fusion Cuisine

selva grill

Sarasota locals were ecstatic to discover the local touchstone, Selva Grill in downtown Sarasota, was opening its second location at the UTC. This location offers the same tantalizing fusion of Latin-inspired flavors and dishes with an artistic flair in its newly finished restaurant. From the Maya Shrimp Ceviche and a Selva Caesar salad worth writing home about to an Andean Rack of Lamb, Malbec Braised Short Ribs and Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna, this Sagat-rated restaurant transports you to a chic eatery in Peru with its vibrant ambiance and mainstay culture. Savor the bold flavors and colors of Latin America while enjoying impeccable service and a memorable dining experience. 

Hot tip: For those late nights out and about town, Selva has a delicious Late Night Menu, available daily till close. 

6. Kona Grill: Island-style with an American Twist

Kona Grill is an undercover gem if you're not already walking the shops of The Mall at UTC. The Classic American grill is a great spot to stop for lunch between shopping at the mall, but it's also worth the drive if you're just looking for dinner. Everything is made in-house from scratch daily, offering a fusion of Hawaiian-Asian and American flavors with a modern twist. From their wide range of sushi rolls and handcrafted cocktails to their Big Island Ribeye and Macadamia Nut Chicken, Kona Grill's diverse menu is as fun as its ambiance. 

Hot tip: Be sure to check out the daily happy hour with booze and bites, starting at $3 and paired with Margarita Heaven!