By: Larry Hoffman
The New Kids In Town
Here we go! You have picked the exact perfect time to be in Sarasota, Florida. Especially, if you’re looking for a fantastic and delicious dining experience. In just the past twelve months, our local restaurant scene has gone from great, to off the charts! We’re not talking about adding a few more choices to our already flush food community. But, a full blown tidal wave of new places. And, yes, there’s even more good news. These new stops on our Sarasota restaurant journey hit every part of town and span the culinary spectrum from street food to oysters to BBQ and just about everything in between. OK, time to grab your knife and fork and get to it.
We’re Talking Italian
Italian style food is popular. It’s by no means just limited to Sarasota. Nope, this comforting cuisine is a hit all across the country. Sarasota is no different. We have a flurry of new dining choices in that space. Here’s a couple to add to your “to-do” list.
ITALIAN TRADITION | 481 N. Orange Avenue | 941.706.1677
This is higher end Italian fare. They feature homemade pasta (as you would expect from an upscale Italian eatery). Their desserts are also pretty top notch. Make sure and save some room for a piece of biscotto con gelato and an espresso after you’ve indulged in your main meal.
CAFÉ BARBOSSO | 5501 Palmer Crossing | 941.922.7999
Chef Joe DiMaggio Jr. knows his Italian food. That much is for certain. This is more than just another Italian meal. This is a dining experience! There’s a whole lot of NYC thrown into this restaurants atmosphere. If you like that kind of higher energy feel, then you’re going to go crazy for this place. There’s pasta for sure (lots of it). But, the real find here is the pizza. There is a load of creative combinations. Take advantage of that. Also, don’t miss the chance for a delicious, homemade meatball!
Something A Little Closer To Home
All the international cuisine that our dining scene has is fantastic. But, sometimes you just want a little touch of home cooking. So, depending on where you call “home,” we’ve got some options for you.
BRICKS SMOKED MEATS | 1528 State Street | 941.993.1435
The REAL deal BBQ. I am serious about that too. Pitmaster Mark Gabrick, knows his way around a fire. You can tell that from the minute you walk in the door and take that first good whiff. The brisket is the star here. We are talking about USDA Prime brisket that has been carefully smoked for fourteen hours! You can taste the brisket love in every juicy bite. They also feature delicious side dishes. Don’t miss the State Street corn or the pimento mac ‘n cheese.
BUTTERMILK HANDCRAFTED FOOD | 5520 Palmer Blvd. | 941.487.8949
This is more of a bakery/café than a full-blown restaurant. As a matter of fact, they do not even consider themselves to be a restaurant. Rather a “place to come with friends and enjoy delicious treats and coffee.” And, I will say, their treats are delicious. Super delicious in fact. Limited seating completes the non-restaurant effect. They do serve coffee from Perk. One of Sarasota’s best coffee houses. A hyper local place to be sure. One that’s usually not on a visitor’s radar. But now it’s on yours! You’re welcome.
Steak Makes Everything Better
Let’s just start off by saying, “what is going on here?” SO MANY steakhouses have opened in Sarasota during the past year or so. I’m beginning to think something is up that we don’t know about. I mean there are a lot of options. Not to worry, our traditional, dependable, steak places are still here. I’m talking about Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, Ruth’s Chris, Hyde Park, and The Capital Grille. Now, a whole host of new players have entered that culinary space alongside them. Good news for us. AND, they span the gamut of price and stuffiness. I’m going to run the new choices down for you with an eye towards brevity. Ready?
CANNON’S STEAKHOUSE | 6540 Superior Avenue | 941.924.7171
Gulf Gate location. A little less pricey. A little more casual. 22oz. King cut prime rib. Get that!
PRIME SERIOUS STEAK | 8201 S. Tamiami Trail | 941.921.6161
Westfield Sarasota Square Mall. Casual dining. Steaks $20-$30. Large bar/lounge area.
CONNOR’S STEAK AND SEAFOOD | 3501 S. Tamiami Trail | 941.260.3232
Westfield Siesta Key Mall. Steaks low $20’s – mid $30’s. Valet parking. Casual dining room.
ELEMENT | 1413 Main Street | 941-724-8585
Downtown Sarasota. Upscale steakhouse. Steaks mid $30’s to $50’s. Large wine list.
RODIZIO BRAZILIAN STEAKHOUSE | 5911 Fruitville Road | 941.260.8445
Brazilian Churrascaria. Tableside gauchos. Great for groups. Lively dining experience.
But wait there’s more! A brand-new entry into the steakhouse (SUMMER HOUSE) scene opens on Siesta Key in March 2018. Boy, that’s a lot of meat!!
As you can tell, we’ve been busy here in Sarasota welcoming a lot of new restaurants to town. Each of them has their own unique style. They also have their own sense of what the local dining audience wants in a place to gather, eat, drink and enjoy. Make sure you get around the city and make a few new dining discoveries for yourself!