Unique Outdoor Seating for Memorable Outdoor Eating in Sarasota

Outdoor seating at restaurants is easy in paradise along Florida’s Gulf Coast, but this list of local eateries features places that put their own special twist on the concept.

Sitting outside for a meal in Florida is canon—especially when you’re taking a break from a long, arduous winter elsewhere and want to soak up as much warm, sunny vibes as you can before heading back!

If you are looking to skip some of the crowds at the popular bayfront and beachfront restaurants in the area, here’s a list of more unique, somewhat lesser-known gems with outdoor seating, and why we think it’s a memorable setting for an meal al fresco.

Michael’s On East

You wouldn’t notice outdoor seating during a drive or walk past the AAA Four-Diamond Award-winning Michael’s On East. But true to their “1940s supper club atmosphere,” they feature a breathtaking, covered breezeway of outdoor tables that will make you feel like you’ve been transported to a European destination—especially at night!

Mattison’s City Grille

Mattison’s City Grille is a staple in downtown Sarasota at the corner of Lime and Main Street, and it allows you to take in the full main street experience with covered tables along the recognizable brick walkways downtown. Throw in a dynamite menu and regular live music, and you have a quintessential Sarasota urban dining experience. Mattison’s other location near the Siesta Key south bridge—Mattison’s Forty-One—went through renovations in 2020 offering a revamped outdoor seating option as well.

Farlow’s On the Water

Don’t let the name fool you—you won’t find this place cruising along the beaches in Englewood. Farlow’s On The Water is a delightful local spot along an unassuming stretch of intracoastal waterway. The real magic of their outdoor seating, though, is the variety: a unique blend of half-moon booths, docks, lights, ivy-covered walls and other Mediterranean-style decorations that make it unlike anything you’ve ever seen in Florida.

C’est La Vie

C’est La Vie in downtown Sarasota creates (no surprise) the perfect atmosphere of a French café. There are no walls, no special areas blocked off for their sidewalk tables and umbrellas—but somehow the combination of delectable pastries, quaint façade and quiet downtown Sarasota streets make the al fresco experience here one to remember.

The Overton

Located in the up-and-coming Rosemary District just north of downtown Sarasota, The Overton combines it’s exceptionally minimalistic, modern approach to food with a matching atmosphere of outdoor/indoor tables and chairs for casual lounging. Once you’re here, you will find it hard to leave this unassuming urban oasis.

Columbia Restaurant

The legendary Cuban menu of Columbia Restaurant is perfectly complimented by their outdoor tables elevated just slightly above the sidewalk of St. Armands Circle. The view of swaying palm trees makes the food taste better, we swear.

Owen’s Fish Camp

Located in the heart of historic Burns Court in downtown Sarasota, Owen’s Fish Camp is an ode to old Florida living. Shaded by a massive banyan tree said to be gifted to local developer Owen Burns by inventor Thomas Edison, you won’t want a reservation so you can maximize your time hanging out in the restaurant’s iconic back area complete with a tire swing, picnic tables, grilled oysters, beer coolers and more!

Stottlemyer’s Smokehouse

This Sarasota staple is oft-overlooked by tourists due to its location out East, but make no mistake, their tagline of “Classic BBQ Meets Old Florida” sums it up perfectly. This restaurant serves comfort food under the largest tiki roof you’ve ever seen, and attracts only the most laid-back locals and visitors looking to enjoy live music and fresh air.