Fresh yellow squash. Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com

Healthy Eating Options in Sarasota

Introduce yourself to the freshest and healthiest dining options in Sarasota County.

In Sarasota, a locale geographically blessed with year-round sunshine that nurtures farm food, healthy eating seems to simply make sense. As the city of Sarasota has the highest concentration of Zagat-rated restaurants in Florida, you'll have no problem finding a variety of healthy places to eat dinner, dessert, and breakfast – in whatever order you so choose. From the best seafood in Sarasota to organic restaurants and even coffee houses, Sarasota's food scene has something to offer everyone.

Markets

Sarasota Farmers Market

Every Saturday, vendors flock to Main Street and Lemon Avenue at the heart of downtown Sarasota for The Sarasota Farmers Market, a 30-plus-year tradition that connects Sarasota residents and visitors with local farmers, businesses and artisans.

The early bird gets the worm – or at least the fattest cucumbers and juiciest tomatoes. At Sarasota's biggest weekly farmer's market, however, there's always enough fresh produce for everyone. Vendors from Sarasota, Manatee and Hillsborough counties, including Brown's Grove, Worden Farms, and Kinsey's Produce, to name a few, set up shop at the downtown market every Saturday with the freshest produce from local fields. The Sarasota Farmer's Market also hosts vendors peddling local honey, locally caught seafood, and locally made packaged foods such as pastas, coffees and teas, breads, and sweets. 

Neighboring Farmer's Markets

Other Sarasota County farmer's markets that take a farm-to-table approach include the Venice Farmer's Market in historic downtown Venice every Saturday, and the Philippi Farmhouse Market in south Sarasota every Wednesday. 

Farmers Market. Photo credit: Eddie Kirsch
Farmers Market. Photo credit: Eddie Kirsch

Restaurants

Ionie Healing Center & Raw Food Cafe

Ionie is a peaceful oasis located in the downtown Sarasota area where locals and visitors alike flock to escape the stress of daily living. Proprietor Ionie Bergs, who specializes in massage and acupuncture and is a proponent of raw, vegan living, has opened a raw café at the healing center to promote a nutritionally conscious healthy lifestyle to clients. 

Mi Pueblo Mexican Restaurant and Cantina

Those who seek organic, vegan dining options with a south-of-the-border theme need look no further than Mi Pueblo, whose north Sarasota location features a 100% vegan and organic menu, separate from its typical fare. Entrée items like the Tacos de Paz are accompanied on the menu by delicious drinks and desserts, such as the sangria, made from fresh-squeezed juices, and the delectable (and vegan) Mexican chocolate mousse tart, drizzled with macadamia cream and garnished with fresh berries.

The Veg

The Gulf Gate area of Sarasota is primarily celebrated for its nightlife scene, but nestled amongst the pubs and bars is The Veg, a restaurant where those who seek a healthy meal flock for lunch and dinner during the daylight hours. The vegetarian and seafood restaurant caters to vegans by providing dairy-free soups and vegan, gluten-free options in addition to the low-salt and low-fat vegetarian and seafood dishes on the menu. 

Simon's Coffee House

Another south Sarasota eatery, Simon's Coffee House, features a largely organic and locally sourced whole-foods menu that caters to vegetarian and vegan diets. The family-owned café and juice bar features a rotation of six or more soups made daily on the premises, a broad selection of fresh salads, and popular raw options, such as the raw lasagna and raw kale tabouleh. The menu also features vegan and gluten-free desserts, like the vegan chocolate cake and gluten-free Belgian chocolate and almond brownies. Lunch specials change daily, as reflected on the festive chalk boards in the café. In addition to vegan and vegetarian cuisine, Simon's Coffee House also serves a wide range of paninis and entrées for meat-eaters in its ever-rotating fresh, daily menu. It should go without saying that the coffee is excellent – and if you take yours au lait, sip easy knowing the milk from Dakin Dairy Farms is local, too.

Sun Garden Cafe

Sun Garden Café on sunny Siesta Key is renowned not only for its diverse menu, but for its pleasantly casual, family-friendly garden atmosphere. The multi-cultural influence is apparent in the cuisine, featuring wild-caught seafood from local waters, farm-fresh eggs, and locally grown organic produce. All elements can be found on their lengthy list of breakfast and lunch items, ranging from lean and healthy to hearty and heavy, depending on your appetite. 

Sarasota: Ahead of the Organic Curve

As the trend toward healthier and more ecologically sustainable eating habits takes root in the United States, Sarasota sits at the forefront of the movement with its dedication to organic, vegan, raw and locally sourced dining alternatives. Feeling good about a full tummy has never been easier!