Muse Restaurant dish
Muse at The Ringling
Seafood platter from Captain Brian's in Sarasota Florida
Captain Brian's Seafood (Photo: Vanessa Caceres)
Cuban sandwich at Mirna's Cuban Cafe in sarasota florida
Cuban sandwich at Mirna's Cuban Cuisine (Photo: Vanessa Caceres)

4 Restaurants to Try on North Tamiami Trail

You won't have to wait long for a memorable meal next trip thanks to these local spots near the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport

North Tamiami Trail in Sarasota is loaded with local history and several cultural and educational sites. From The Ringling to the historic New College of Florida campus, the North Sarasota span of Highway 41 (a.k.a. Tamiami Trail) can keep you busy for a while. Here’s the scoop on four great restaurants to enjoy on Sarasota’s North Tamiami Trail when you’re ready to grab a bite (or drink).

Captain Brian’s Seafood

You just arrived to the Sarasota airport from some landlocked destination, and you’re starving for some of that famous local seafood. Captain Brian has got your back. Located right in front of the runway, Captain Brian’s Seafood keeps customers happy with its fresh fish and salad bar. “My mom loves it,” says Jim Atkins, who ends up there several times a year. He particularly enjoys the pompano and grouper. The wait staff are friendly and respectful of any time obligations you have, says Reba Rogers, who makes it to Captain Brian’s regularly for a quick lunch. This seafood stop also has a market with live lobsters, fish, marinades, and locally made sea salt. Plus—“The fish tank at the restaurant is always a hit with the kids,” says Judy Vobroucek.

Mirna’s Cuban Cuisine

Take a trip due south of Sarasota—figuratively speaking—to Mirna’s Cuban Cuisine with its cheery yellow walls and paintings depicting Havana. Bring your appetite because the Cuban sandwiches are massive and rival the footlongs at popular sandwich chains. (FYI, their Cuban sandwiches – a.k.a. Cubanos – have ham, shredded roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard, served inside Cuban bread.) Ropa vieja is another classic Cuban dish at Mirna’s, with shredded beef and diced bell peppers, cilantro, and onions. For your sweet tooth, offerings include authentic arroz con leche (a rice pudding), guava pastry, and flan. The prices at Mirna’s are affordable, especially considering the hearty portions. Enjoy bachata and merengue music and practice your Spanish, and you’ll leave Mirna’s full and felíz.

Muse at The Ringling

The Ringling is the state art museum of Florida featuring world-class art galleries and even a historic circus museum. Not everyone realizes their onsite restaurant Muse at the Ringling is also cooking up some works of art. Located inside The Ringling’s Visitors Pavilion, Muse is popular with museum visitors, theater-goers (grabbing a bite before a show at Asolo Repertory Theatre), locals and tourists looking for a gourmet touch. Menu options like the burrata caprese salad served on a Himalayan salt plate, squash Gouda dumplings, and roasted beet hummus win raves from visitors. “The warm naan bread with the hummus was grilled exactly to the right temperature, and there was an ample amount of seasonal vegetables to use as a dipping spoon,” says Michelle Dalton. Muse also wins praises for its elegant indoor or outdoor seating. “My wife recently went to brunch with her mother before a show, and they enjoyed great jazz music while sitting outside,” says Jake Broen.

Tip: After you eat, stroll around the Ringling grounds, which you can enjoy for free. The museums have a separate admission price, but Mondays are free admission for the Museum of Art.

Bahi Hut

It’s all about the tiki bars and strong Mai Tais at the Bahi Hut, a local legend in Florida since the 1950s. “You can’t live around here without going to Bahi Hut. It’s an experience,” says Sharon Barhorst, who had friends take her there for a birthday celebration. “It’s great for people watching, and the Mai Tai is a must,” says Heather Crawford. Be forewarned—the drinks can be strong, so you may be dancing with a lampshade on your head before the day is over. (There’s a two-drink limit for the famous Mai Tais.) Bahi Hut, which uses locally made Siesta Key rum in its drinks, went through renovations before becoming smoke free recently.

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