Savor Sarasota Dish.  Photo credit: Nicole Coudal
Savor Sarasota Dish.  Photo credit: Nicole Coudal

The 13th Annual Savor Sarasota Event Offers Lots of Options at Local Eateries!

Great dining at great prices at restaurants near you, June 1-14, 2018.

What a wonderful time to visit (or live in) the Sarasota area, especially if you love good food. This annual culinary event offers many reasons to visit more than 90 participating restaurants, each offering something delicious, including pre-fixe, multi-course menus priced at $16 for lunch and $32 for dinner, per person. 

This year there are more than 25 new restaurants in the mix, including New Florida Kitchen, Farlow’s on the Water, Howard’s Restaurant, Brick’s Smoked Meats, Taverna Grill, Tokaj, Italian Tradition Restaurant & Martini Bar, Evie’s Tavern & Grill on Main Street, El Greco Mediterranean Cafe, and Two Senioritas. 

You’ll also find returning favorites like Crow’s Nest Restaurant & Marina, Shore, Siesta Key Oyster Bar, Louies Modern, Mattison’s Forty-One, Bijou Cafe, Cafe Baci, Sophie’s at Saks Fifth Avenue, and more. Many are locally owned and operated, including members of Sarasota-Manatee Originals, like Michael’s on East, Euphemia Haye and Cafe L’Europe. You probably won’t be able to visit all of them, but there are plenty of opportunities to take a break from cooking over this two-week period. To see all the offerings, including menus and profiles of the chefs, check out SavorSarasota.com..

Here’s just a sampling of what you’ll find:

Chef Jamil Pineda at Michael’s on East created a special menu for the occasion, including sugar cane-skewered BBQ shrimp with jicama slaw and toasted coconut, blackened diver scallops with crawfish, tasso and corn maque choux, a tasty Cuban sandwich with yucca fries and cilantro aioli, and Phil’s birthday cake — orange liquer cake, pastry cream, swiss meringue buttercream and berries. 

Farlow’s on the Water's Chef John Mazza knows a thing or two about Caribbean and Southern-inspired dishes, offering items like the St. Croix crab salad sandwich, fish tacos with kiwi pico de gallo, and a mean coconut shrimp, as well as, delicious land-based dishes like the “World Famous Kentucky Hot Brown". 

While in the Englewood area, check out Howard’s, a family-owned restaurant that’s been around since 1955. It’s a casual spot with a diverse menu including things like classic BLT or grilled chicken sandwich, wedge salad, fresh seafood

like PEI mussels, Scottish salmon, and fish and chips, plus Italian treats.

If you’re looking for comfort food, stop into Cafe Barbosso — Chef Joe DiMaggio Jr. will be offering special dishes for the occasion, but you’ll also find his tried-and-true dishes like seven grain crusted salmon, veal and chicken parmesan,

Grandma’s smashed meatball pizza, arancini, grilled octopus, and more. As Chef DiMaggio says, “Eat, Laugh and Love, or Else!”

And if you can’t get enough Italian fare, try Chianti Ristorante Italiano on Clark Road, a place that’s been around since 2012, run by Ed & Josie Pizzuti. This is one of those off-the-beaten-path places that you simply must visit if it’s not already your favorite spot. The menu is full of specialties they’ve perfected over their more than 40 years in the restaurant biz, so you’re sure to find something you love. And if you need extra incentive, I hear they offer a popular Spring menu with a specialty each day, including Meatballs on Mondays and Maine lobsters on Tuesdays.

For those who have been in the area for some time, you’re probably familiar with the Saltwater Grill in Nokomis, and you’ll be happy to know that Chef Rolf Zahnd has opened a new restaurant in the former Roy’s location in Sarasota. It’s the New Florida Kitchen — an upscale spot with an emphasis on high-quality, locally sourced seafood. This is the place for things like Indian River Clams served Bavarian style, escargot, sesame crusted Ahi, lobster flatbread, plus non-seafood dishes like filet mignon, osso bucco, duck a l’orange, and much more, so stop in and give it a try. 

If you’re hankering for delicious Greek food, stop into El Greco Mediterranean Cafe on Main Street, Sarasota. Husband and wife owners Robert and Gena Marini have created a family-focused eatery that’s conducive to the simple enjoyment of good food.

Barbeque fans will be happy to know that Brick’s Smoked Meats is participating in the Savor Sarasota event. They’ll offer special items on the menu for the big event, but you’ll also find local favorites like specialty cocktails, fattening desserts and, of course, BBQ — some of my favorites include “Chick” Arones (deep fried chicken skin served with dill aioli), “Two Meat” ribs and brisket - tender, with lots of delicious cracked black pepper, and Bacon Burnt Ends - sweet, chewy and smokey, with refreshing pickled cucumber, jalapeño & onion.

For vegans, vegetarians and gluten-free lovers, Lila is a bright, lovely spot in downtown Sarasota. Their Savor Sarasota menu includes the well-known Veg Burger, a tasty lunch item filled with mushrooms, rice, herbs and a special dressing to pull it all together, served with sweet potato wedges; and the Buddha Bowl filled with squash, quinoa, kale, sweet potato, cashew falafel and tahini dressing. But there’s lots more, so stop in for a visit.

For classic cuisine, be sure to visit a landmark on Longboat Key - Euphemia Haye. The small, intimate restaurant has been around since 1975 and current owners, Chef Ray and D’Arcy Arpke, have operated it since 1980. This is a lovely spot for masterfully prepared dishes like roast duck, Caesar salad, lamb shank, peppered steak, seared scallops, and more. After dinner, head upstairs to the Haye Loft for a more casual experience, live music and decadent desserts.

For Mexican dishes, long-time favorite in downtown Sarasota, Two Senioritas, is participating in Savor Sarasota this year. Here’s your chance to get your fill of refreshing margaritas, warm corn chips, fresh guacamole and tasty salsas, along with tacos, chimichangas and many other traditional treats.

Check out Savor Sarasota for more information!

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Nicole Coudal is a home chef and food writer based in southwest Florida, where she fishes and cooks using local ingredients. When not on the water, she visits farms, farmer’s markets, and other food-related venues to highlight what’s in-season and to create tasty recipes. Nicole is a regular contributor to Edible Sarasota, as well as, a frequent guest on ABC 7’s Suncoast View. Read more at www.MyDeliciousBlog.com.

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