Over the years I have been receiving more and more requests for recommendations in Sarasota – particularly where to dine out! While this is by no means an exhaustive list, below are a few of the Sarasota restaurants I love (and the dishes to try!) as well as a few local shops to visit. These spots stretch from Siesta Key, to Sarasota, to Longboat Key, but most are centrally located downtown.
ARTISAN CHEESE COMPANY
Artisan Cheese Company is an independent, cut to order cheese shop located in the Rosemary District of Sarasota. They are open daily for lunch (the grilled cheese – omg!), and the shop features a pantry section, natural wine section, and grab and go cooler section. I often order the cheesemonger boards when friends and family are visiting and we sip wine and enjoy while in the shop (but you can also order boards to go for party needs and hosting). The shop also hosts cheese classes, one of which I recently attended over the holidays!
OWENS FISH CAMP
Owens Fish Camp is located in the heart of Burns Court in Downtown Sarasota. This restaurant specializes in southern hospitality and is an ode to old Florida. There is a banyan tree, tire swing, and back patio that features live music and fried oysters nightly! The restaurant specializes in bringing in the freshest fish daily – my recommendation is the scamp, grilled with lemon-caper butter sauce. I also love the shrimp and grits dish as well as the hot crab dip. It is a wonderful place to bring guests, but beware, there are no reservations! So, either go early, or be prepared to wait!
CANNED HAM VINTAGE
Canned Ham Vintage is the best vintage store in Sarasota (I bought the above caftan there and earrings featured on the right)! This is such a fun place to browse and they sell everything from women’s clothing to jewelry to homewares. They also have an online shop if you aren’t local. When NYC fashion friends are visiting this is always a top request to visit.
PROJECT COFFEE CO.
Project Coffee has two locations in Sarasota, the original in Burns Court, and a newly opened more industrial outpost in the Rosemary District. Project Coffee’s coffee is sustainably sourced and roasted in-house, and all of the food menu items are 100% vegan. The Rosemary location feels like a little slice of Brooklyn in Sarasota and rumor has it they will soon be open later on the weekends to serve beer, wine, and food!
WALT’S FISH MARKET
Walt’s Fish Market was established in 1918, and decades later, is still run by the Wallin family. The restaurant, fish market, and tiki bar are open every day. Walt’s claim to fame is that they sell fish that was literally caught the day you buy it! I love taking friends here as the atmosphere is always lively, the fish is super fresh, and the staff is so wonderful.
BISTRO AT THE SARASOTA ART MUSEUM
The Bistro at The Sarasota Art Museum is one of my favorite quiet hangouts for a casual breakfast or lunch (there is ample indoor and outdoor seating). The Bistro is located in a beautiful Paul Rudolph designed building directly behind the Art Museum and has been thoughtfully designed with a clean aesthetic, tile flooring, and bright bistro chairs. The fare is inspired by Florida’s regional fruit stands and is constantly being updated with wonderful new special items. The weekend brunch is my favorite! Also if you are in town on a second Thursday of the month, you check out ‘Jazz Thursday‘ put on by the museum. The music is always amazing and you can sit outside and sip wine while taking it all in.
Blossmcart is a floral design studio based in Sarasota, know for carrying the most unique flowers in the area. I have had so much success working with the owner Jane on all kinds of arrangements. I had been hunting for a local florist that creates beautiful arrangements that feel modern, yet still feminine, and Blossmcart nails it every time.
Whitney’s is located on the northern tip of Longboat Key and is one of my favorite spots to recommend! What was a vacant gas/service station had been completely repurposed and reimagined into a stylish indoor/outdoor roadside diner featuring large garage bay door, an outdoor fire pit, and incredible landscaping. The look and feel of this restaurant is hard to beat – and it is directly across the street from the beach! I love to be there with friends for cocktails on a Friday evening at sunset, listening to Akiem play live jazz guitar.
Shore has two locations in town, one in St. Armand’s and the other on LBK (right near Whitney’s). While both are lovely, I prefer the Long Boat Key location as it is located right on the water and much of the seating is open air. There are so many yummy dishes but the Miso Black Grouper just may be my personal favorite.
Located near the south bridge on Siesta Key, Spearfish is a great hang if you are looking for fresh, local caught seafood in a super casual atmosphere. Spearfish always has interesting specials, but the grouper bites are never to be missed. This is a great place for small groups!
FLORENCE AND THE SPICE BOYS
Florence and The Spice Boys was originally a wildly popular food truck that operated mostly in downtown Sarasota. They recently traded in their truck for a permeant spot in The Landings and have transformed the space and truly made it their own. The fried artichoke hearts and tumeric fried chicken sandwich are my go-to items, but honestly, everything on the menu is delicious. Don’t skip dessert!
Founded in 2012, Camilyn Beth’s pieces are designed here in Sarasota and made in NYC. This feminine and beautifully made line is created by Cami, who I am lucky to call a friend. After years of selling online, Cami and her team opened a storefront right here in Sarasota in the historic Mira Mar Plaza. The boutique also serves as the design HQ and is always buzzing with excitement. Stop in to see all of Cami’s latest designs.
I have so many more favorites such as Mediterraneo downtown for Italian, Napulé for wood burning oven pizza, Baker and Wife for a cozy artisan meal, State Street for great cocktails, and Indigenous for a romantic date night. I also consistently find myself at the bar at both Libby’s Brasserie and Veronica’s Fish & Oyster Bar in Southside Village. If you have any *must try* spots, please feel free to email or DM me. I am always looking for new Sarasota places to try!
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