Where to Dine in Sarasota

Michael's DR

This is the Part 2 of our article on Sarasota, Florida.  One of the reasons we travel is to dine at new restaurants, enjoy regional specialties, and learn what chefs are doing in other parts of the country.  There are some great restaurants in Sarasota featuring everything from fresh local seafood to global cuisine.  Here is what we discovered while visiting the city.

Dining in Sarasota

From casual crab shacks to long established fine dining restaurants, Sarasota has a lot to choose from. These are a few of the places we enjoyed while in the area.

Old Salty Dog

A local favorite - Old Salty Dog

A local favorite – Old Salty Dog

For fun, casual open-aire dining, go to one of The Old Salty Dog locations. The City Island location is next to a marina, hangs out over the water, and is a great choice for a light lunch or dinner when you don’t feel like dressing up and would rather have a cold beer and basket of peel & eat shrimp or oysters on the half shell. Kind of quirky with the bar area crafted from the hull of an old boat, the menu features Florida seafood along with Traditional Fish & Chips, as a nod to the owners’ British heritage. Voted as the best outdoor dining in Sarasota, it’s worth a stop during your stay.

A bit messy, but delicious

Spicy and delicious local shrimp

Roast

Entrance to Roast

Entrance to Roast

Roast’s executive chef and owner, Andrew Thompson, is another chef with British heritage. Thompson had earned the coveted 2 rosettes at The Clerkenwell and The Chancery in London, England before crossing the pond and moving to Lakewood Ranch, just outside Sarasota, Florida where he was at the helm at Polo Grill and Bar.  He’s also worked with renowned chefs Marco Pierre White, Charlie Palmer, and Phillip Howard in London and Manhattan.

Handcrafted cocktails

Handcrafted cocktails

We sampled a little bit of everything at Roast

We sampled a little bit of everything at Roast

Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta, Burrata cheese, garlic ciabatta

Roasted Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta, Burrata cheese, garlic ciabatta

Charcuterie plate

Charcuterie plate

Roast beet salad, goat curd, candied walnuts, truffled honey

Roast beet salad, goat curd, candied walnuts, truffled honey

We enjoyed our tasting menu that included a beet salad, grouper sliders, house-made charcuterie, Scottish Salmon with champ potatoes, and finished with a classic rendition of Sticky Toffee Pudding that was spot on. The ambiance is that of an upscale English pub and the menu features fresh, local ingredients with a tip of the bonnet to some classic British preparations. Roast is newer to the Sarasota restaurant scene and offers something unique.

Herb crusted Scottish salmon with crushed champ potatoes asparagus, beurre rouge

Herb crusted Scottish salmon with crushed champ potatoes, asparagus, beurre rouge

Blackened grouper slider with remoulade

Blackened grouper slider with remoulade

Tandoori Chicken, tika marsala sauce, scented rice and grilled naan

Tandoori Chicken, tika marsala sauce, scented rice, and grilled naan

To die for - Warm sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel ice cream

To die for – Warm sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel ice cream

Michael’s on East

Menu at Michael's on East

Menu at Michael’s on East

For a classic fine dining experience with white tablecloths, book a table at Michael’s on East. This is Sarasota’s only AAA Four Diamond restaurant and has been a local favorite for 28 years. Traditional dishes such as lobster bisque, oysters on the half shell, Caesar salad, and excellent steaks are on the menu, but don’t miss Executive Chef Jamil Piñeda’s culinary excursions as he takes diners around the globe. Each month he offers a unique Epicurean Adventure menu from a different region of the world with dinner selections from appetizers to desserts.

Dining room at Michael's on East

Dining room at Michael’s on East

They have a wonderful wine list

They have a wonderful wine list

Amuse-bouche from the chef

Amuse-bouche from the chef

Friday nights are a long standing tradition with their Lobster Pot Fridays offering in addition to the standard menu. Dress up a bit, enjoy a romantic evening or dinner with friends, and then retire to the Piano Bar and lounge to enjoy some music and a cocktail or glass of port before ending the evening. A dining experience at Michael’s is a pleasant step back in time with excellent food, wine, and service.

Baby Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad Toasted Walnuts, Pecorino, Dried Cranberries, Pumpkin Seeds, Green Apples, Crispy Bacon, & Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette

Baby Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad, Toasted Walnuts, Pecorino, Dried Cranberries, Pumpkin Seeds, Green Apples, Crispy Bacon, & Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette

Roasted Atlantic Swordfish Roasted Red Potatoes and Onions, Prosciutto, Caper and Mushroom Beurre Blanc

Roasted Atlantic Swordfish, Roasted Red Potatoes and Onions, Prosciutto, Caper and Mushroom Beurre Blanc

Classic steamed lobster boil

Classic steamed lobster boil

Yoder’s

This Amish family moved their restaurant from Indiana to Sarasota and they have been in operation for 40 years. The Amish are known for desserts, among other things, but it’s the pies that are really worth the trip. Their pies and desserts are crowd favorites and perennial winners at baking contests. While there, be sure to try the fried chicken. Cooked in a special fryer with their own secret ingredients, the fried chicken might have to wait until after the pies, but it’s also one of their specialties. Don’t forget to order a couple of their side dishes like Amish Noodles, potato cakes, or fried okra. This is home cooking at its finest.

* Pecan Pie

* Pecan Pie

* Fried chickemn at Yoder's

* Fried chicken at Yoder’s

It is often said people that live in Sarasota arrive the same way. It all starts with a vacation that leads to a condo and ultimately people either move here or retire here. An active life style filled with fun and sun and something for everyone. It will entertain you, unwind you, and dine you. That’s Sarasota.

Beach at Siesta Key

The award-winning beach at Siesta Key

For more information on what to do and where to stay in Sarasota, please see Part 1 of our article.

If you’re interested in traveling to other parts of Florida, then you might enjoy these articles:

Getting High in Orlando – Part 1

Getting High in Orlando – Part 2

Soaking up the Sun and Surf in Naples, FL

* These photographs are courtesy of Yoder’s

Disclosure – We were assisted with part of our travel plans by VisitSarasota.com.  We have in no way been compensated and the opinions expressed regarding our experience are our own.

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