Dining in Sarasota County

It's no surprise that a destination named as one of the Best Food Cities in the US by Conde Nast TravelersReaders' Choice Awards in 2016 attracts the best of the best in the culinary industry.

Home to Award-Winning Chefs

  • The Crow's Nest Restaurant, Marina & Tavern located in Venice offers a romantic, upscale dining room with a panoramic view of the Intracoastal Waterway serving the highest quality seafood and steaks. Its wine cellar boasts over 950 selections and it has been awarded the coveted Wine Spectator Award of Excellence since 1996 and the "Best Of" Award of Excellence since 2004.
  • Café L'Europe on St. Armands Circle won Sarasota Magazine's Best Elegant Restaurant Award.
  • Libby's Café + Bar, which serves lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch, was a Diners' Choice Winner in 2010 by OpenTable.com.  Libby's brother restaurant, Louie's Modern, is an open-style restaurant and event venue in downtown Sarasota.
  • Euphemia Haye, a chef-owned and operated fine dining restaurant located in Longboat Key, is known as one of America's Top 200 Most Romantic Restaurants.
  • The Bijou Café boasts a European décor complete with French windows and doors and freshly cut flowers. Knaggs' South African and French cuisine has received numerous awards and recognition in Town & Country, Bon Appétit, and Gourmet magazines. The restaurant also has the largest collection of South American wines in Florida.
  • Chef Paul Mattison has succeeded in opening not just one establishment, but two: Mattison's Forty-One and Mattison's City Grille, both in Sarasota and both offering comfortable ambience indoors and out and continue to win Florida Trend magazine's Golden Spoon Award year after year.
  • Ophelia's on the Bay, which is situated on the waterfront of Sarasota Bay, offers guests panoramic views of the water through two glass-walled dining rooms. Among its numerous accolades, Ophelia's has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Restaurants in Floridaby Epicurean Rendezvous and rated "Extraordinary" by Zagat Guide for ten years in a row.
  • Chef Klaus Roessler and his son, Klaus Shawn Roessler, owners of Roessler's restaurant in Sarasota, offer a traditional German menu consisting of such dishes as Steak Diane, Veal Oscar, and Wiener Schnitzel Holstein. This exquisite dining establishment has been recognized by Gourmet magazine and its wines have received Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence.
  • At Nancy's BBQ on the corner of Pineapple and Orange Avenues in downtown Sarasota, visitors belly up for pork, chicken, and brisket served alongside macaroni and cheese, baked beans, and coleslaw. 

Craft Beer

  • JDubs Brewery, Big Top Brewery and Calusa Brewing join the long-established Sarasota Brewing Company.
  • Drum Circle Distillery distills small-batch rums in cooper still pots. Winning numerous awards in the past several years, the rum varietals may be mixed or drunk straight. Tours are available at the Distillery on select dates and times. 
  • A regional map to beer and spirits, aptly named The Gulf Toast, names the top spots to grab a brew from Bradenton to Naples.

Authentic Amish Home Cooking

In addition to award-winning chefs, Sarasota is home to large Amish and Mennonite communities, which offer two outstanding restaurants:

  • Located near Florida's favorite Amish community of Pinecraft, Der Dutchman Restaurant is a hub of activity for snowbirds and year-round residents alike.
  • A longtime favorite of locals and visitors, Yoder's Restaurant is known for "Mom's" homemade Amish pies and made-from-scratch home cooking.

Food & Wine Festivals

  • Forks & Corks Food and Wine Festival is a multi-day annual event presented by the Sarasota-Manatee Originals, a group of local restaurants. The festival includes interactive food and wine seminars at various restaurants and a Grand Tasting at The Ringling Museum.
  • Whiskey Obsession Festival in March offers 200 spirits to taste ranging from the elegant to the sublime and the annual Suncoast BBQ & Bluegrass Bash in April brings award-winning pit-masters and bluegrass music to Venice. www.whiskeyobsessionfestival.com; www.suncoastbbqbash.com

Restaurant Weeks

  • Each year, Sarasota County celebrates its famed Savor Sarasota Restaurant Week during the first two weeks of June, where visitors can experience culinary excellence from more than 40 restaurants without breaking the bank. The Englewood Restaurant Week in the fall celebrates dining with special menus and prices.

For more information, contact Visit Sarasota County©  at 800-522-9799 or www.VisitSarasota.com or www.savorsarasota.com.  Information may also be found on smartphones and tablets by downloading the Visit Sarasota County©  app.