Tofu Vegetable Bowl from Lila

8 Sarasota County Restaurants for Clean, Conscious Eating

Whether it’s vegan, organic, gluten-free or environmentally friendly, these restaurants are leaders along Florida’s Gulf Coast®

April 21, 2020

Add a little refreshment to that rest & relaxation in Sarasota County with a meal from some local eateries committed to recharging your mind, body and spirit while delighting taste buds.

The following restaurants are a cut above when it comes to clean eating in the destination. At these eateries over 30 percent of the menu is organic, ingredients are locally sourced and there is clear attention paid to environmentally friendly practices and compostable materials.

La Dolce Vita

Wait a second, eating Italian food without guilt? Well, when everything from the pasta to the sauce is made from scratch, yes, it is possible to enjoy the authentic classics at La Dolce Vita during and after your meal! Owner/Chef Mauro and his wife Tina grew up in Italy eating and making food from their southern-inspired menu. Mauro journeyed from his Naples home to Milan to learn even more northern-style dishes, while Tina’s desserts are inspired by her own family recipes. Portion control will be your only problem here!

Zildjian Catering

If it’s good enough for world class athletes, it’s probably good enough for you too! This locally owned meal prep mecca is also owns Peak Performance Catering and keeps made-to-order or grab-and-go meals stocked regularly as part of their Fresh Food To Go service. Chef/Owner Alyson is professionally trained with extensive experience with developing recipes for people with special dietary restrictions. Her menus specialize in fresh Mediterranean style food. Zildjian Catering has received several sustainable and “green” business awards for the care and consideration that go into their freshly prepared meals. This means local, fresh ingredients are sourced as much as possible, and the company is also committed to reducing its impact on the planet with composting and recycling practices.

Café Evergreen

The driving force behind Café Evergreen in Venice is “passion for a healthy lifestyle.” Not only fresh, healthy foods, but great tasting and unique recipes to go along with them. This is a perfect stop for groups with dietary preferences all over the spectrum. Their menu features healthy versions of common favorites like baked sweet potato fries (the café does not even have a fryer) so anyone can have a memorable meal similar to what they normally enjoy. In addition to fresh ingredients, the café boasts a commitment to using 2/3 less salt than the average eatery.

Jack Dusty

Jack Dusty is the luxurious restaurant inside the Ritz-Carlton property along the Sarasota Bayfront. Don’t let the eatery’s attachment to a large, international brand fool you: this place has deep roots in local, organic and authentic cuisine on its menu. Regional seafood favorites like Gulf shrimp, grouper and even locally sourced have been worked in to this contemporary, coastal dining establishment which flaunts dozens of other gourmet recipes fit for any guest of a Ritz-Carlton property (or those who want to feel like it for a night).

Clasico

It’s hard to miss the iconic look of Clasico in downtown Sarasota on the corner of Main and Palm. It’s ivy-covered walls and bright red sign have been attracting afternoon crowds to occupy their sidewalk seating for years. What’s keeping those customers coming back is the Contemporary American cuisine that evolves with the seasons. You’ll recognize many of the menu items, but the taste and special care from Executive Chef Raymond Ortiz is what you will remember long after your meal.

Lila

Lila says their concept is to “offer food the way we like to eat: creative, vegetable-centric dishes, many of which are vegan.” This model makes it easy to work mostly locally sourced ingredients into a seasonally changing menu. The staff here is also paying extra special attention to using separate cooktops without customers needing to request. They say its part of their dedication to serving strict vegan diets.

CROP Juice

If you can’t find what you’re looking for at CROP Juice, it doesn’t exist! Known for their cold pressed, raw, organic juices, CROP is constantly pushing the limits of working healthy ingredients into contemporary favorites like donuts, parfaits, chili, rice bowls and other edible goodies. Much of their food is made to order, limiting waste and making for some of the freshest juice and other items available. Their meals are 100 percent organic, vegan and gluten free and perfect for grabbing on your way to a beachfront picnic!

Gecko’s Grill and Pub

The Gecko’s brand is as local as local can be. With owners raised right here in Sarasota, it’s no surprise that the mission at their restaurant’s Gecko’s, Dry Dock and Dockside has been to support local food suppliers like Honeyside Farms and Dakin Dairy. Their delicious local produce is worked into a massive menu that Gecko’s promises will be “accessible to everyone.”