Mattisons Xmas
Mattisons Forty-One "Feast of the Seven Fishes"
Mattisons Christmas Dishes
Mattisons Forty-One "Feast of the Seven Fishes"
Overture Restaurant
The Overture at Art Ovation
Baker & Wife Octopus Carpaccio (Credit: Baker & Wife)
Baker & Wife Octopus Carpaccio (Credit: Baker & Wife)

Holiday Restaurant Dining Options Abound This Season!

There’s no shortage of dining options in the Sarasota area, so leave the cooking to a pro, and enjoy more time with your loved ones. 

If you hadn’t noticed, the holiday season is upon us! It’s a wonderful time of year to celebrate holidays in southwest Florida, considering our balmy temps, beautiful beaches and many outdoor activities. It’s also a time for gift-giving, spending time with loved ones, and enjoying delicious food. 

For your holiday table, you might be preparing a special dish you’ve enjoyed for generations, or maybe trying a new recipe from a cooking show. Perhaps you’ll stop at a local market to pick up a few pre-made items for a picnic on the beach. It doesn’t really matter where you feast or what you feast on, it’s simply important to feast! 

When planning your special days, if you’re not inclined to make all your meals at home, consider one of the wonderful dining establishments throughout the Sarasota area, and leave the cooking to someone else so you can spend more time with loved ones. Here are just a few ideas:

Andrea’s (941-951-9200). Savor “the art of food and wine” at this lovely spot open on Christmas Eve (5 to 9 p.m.), when they’ll be serving their regular menu of fine Italian dishes. Closed Christmas day. Reservations required.

Antoine’s (941-331-1400). Enjoy an elegant dining experience at this sweet place hosted by Olivier and Angela Georges. They’ll be open Christmas Eve from 5 to 9 p.m., offering a special menu priced at $89 per person, including five courses. Christmas Day dinner starts at 4 p.m. with their regular menu, plus a few specials. For New Year’s Eve, they’re offering their regular menu, along with a few specials. Closed New Year’s Day. Reservations required.

Baker & Wife (941-960-1765). This delightful spot near Siesta Key offers several chef specials throughout the holidays. Regular hours are noted on their website. Special entrees include Octopus Carpaccio rubbed with Chimichurri; unique cocktails like the Blood & Sand, made with blood orange juice, Heering Cherry Liqueur and Johnnie Walker Red Label; and desserts like house-made sticky buns topped with cream cheese ice cream and candied bacon. Reservations suggested.

Capital Grille (941-256-3647). Their Fall menu is available during the holidays. Closed Christmas Eve, open Christmas day, as well as New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Reservations suggested.

Chaz 51 Bistro (941-484-6200). If you’re craving a steak or traditional American fare, stop into this little spot tucked away in Venice. They’ll be serving their regular menu on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Check out their website for schedule and menus.

Chef Rolf’s New Florida Cuisine (941-806-6820). The talented folks at Chef Rolf’s new location are working on their Christmas menu, so check out their website or call them soon to get details, especially if you have a craving for delicious seafood.

Crow’s Nest (941-484-9551). Starting in December, the Crow’s Nest opens at 4:30 p.m. Throughout the holidays, they’ll be serving their regular menu. On New Year’s Eve they’re offering chef-inspired dishes along with champagne cocktails. Reservations are preferred. 

Currents Restaurant (941-953-1234). This lovely restaurant inside the Hyatt will be offering a special buffet on Christmas Day from 4-9 p.m. priced at $51 per person (children under 12 are $25.50). Reservations are required for that special event. On Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, they’ll be offering their regular tasty menu.

Lido Beach Grille (941-388-2161). On Christmas Day they’ll serve a holiday buffet from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. featuring a raw bar, fruits & cheeses, carving stations and lots of holiday specialties. Priced at $52.95 per person, it’s sure to be a lovely way to celebrate a special day, all while viewing the beautiful Gulf of Mexico. Reservations are required. For Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, they’re serving the regular menu (plus they’re open until midnight on NYE). 

Farlow’s on the Water (941-474-5343). This popular destination will be offering their regular menu on Christmas Eve, but will be closed on Christmas Day. For New Year’s Eve be sure to reserve a space for their last seating which offers a tasty, four-course dining experience. Reservations strongly encouraged for that special dining experience.

Fins at Sharky’s (941-999-3467). The folks at Fins will be offering their regular menu on Christmas Eve, and they’ll be closed Christmas Day. New Year’s Eve will also offer the regular menu, and it will be a great opportunity to see the fireworks that Sharky’s On the Pier sends off at midnight. Reservations are quickly filling up, so call soon if you’d like a spot at Fins.

Howard’s (941-473-0171). This popular spot in Englewood is offering Christmas day reservations, but call quickly, since they fill up fast. They’re closed Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas. Weekly specials are posted on their website, including their famous prime rib served on Saturdays from 3 p.m. to whenever it’s gone.

Jack Dusty (941-309-2266). Located inside the beautiful Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota hotel, enjoy a lovely meal along with hand-crafted cocktails in this nautically inspired spot. For the Christmas holidays, order their special Burrata Salad with Braised Lamb Shank, along with their a la carte menu. For New Year’s Eve they’re having a special event in the Ca’ d’Zan room — for a $50 entry fee, you’ll enjoy desserts and champagne to ring in the New Year. Reservations required, so contact them soon to make arrangements!

Marina Jack (941-365-4232). Chefs are finalizing holiday menus, so call or check the website for more information. The restaurant offers views of Sarasota Bay and the marina, and will surely be a lovely spot to enjoy your holiday dining. Reservations may be required, so be sure to call soon!

Mattison’s Forty-One (941-921-3400). On Christmas Eve the talented folks at Mattison’s will once again offer their popular “Feast of the Seven Fishes” dinner (reservations required), and throughout the holidays, they’ll be offering their traditional menu as well. Check their website for hours and menu offerings.

Overture Restaurant & Gallery Lounge (941-316-0808). Located in downtown Sarasota’s lovely Art Ovation Hotel, the restaurant is working on its holiday menu, but you can be sure there will be something delicious for the upcoming holidays, so keep an eye on their online menu or call for more specifics about what will be offered. Reservations are encouraged.

Ophelia's on the Bay (941-349-2212). This romantic spot will be offering its wonderful regular menu throughout the holidays. Christmas Eve dinner service is from 4 to 9 p.m., Christmas Day from 2 to 9 p.m., New Year’s Eve service is 5 p.m. to midnight, and New Year’s Day will be 5 to 10 p.m. Reservations are required, and filling up fast!

Roesslers (941-966-5688). Open Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, each with a special menu that includes some of their popular dishes, including fresh seafood, roast turkey and more. Reservations are required, so call soon! 

Sophie’s at Saks Fifth Avenue (941-444-3077). When you’re done shopping, stop in Sophie’s for some delicious treats. They’ll be open Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day for LUNCH only, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and there will likely be a few special menu items, too. Closed Christmas Day. Reservations are not required, but highly recommended.

Evoq Restaurant & Lounge (941-260-8255). The Westin Sarasota is sure to be busy this New Year's with a special celebration scheduled on their popular rooftop bar downtown. However, back at ground level Evoq has an exquisite multi-course menu designed for a luxurious entry into 2019: Spice glazed pork belly, cobia & caviar, house made parmesan potato tortellini, and Godiva chocolate butter cake are just a few of the holiday offerings. A price of $125 per seat at 6 p.m. and $150 at 9 p.m. includes a wine pairing with each course, valet parking, gratuity and tax.


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

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