Recently ranked the ninth best place to live in the country by U.S. News & World Report, our Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice metro area contains internationally acclaimed beaches, great parks and nature preserves and lots of fun things to do each weekend including a vibrant arts scene. For many of us, though, the robust selection of restaurants and bars is also a key reason we love this particular waterfront corner of sunny Florida.
Maison Blanche has also been inducted to Florida Trend magazine’s venerable Golden Spoon Hall of Fame alongside standouts including the recently sold Beach Bistro on Anna Maria Island and Euphemia Haye on Longboat Key, also now with a new owner.
Michael’s On East in Sarasota and Selva Grill in downtown Sarasota, which recently opened a second location, in the University Town Center shopping district, are also Golden Spoon hall of famers.
Other renowned chefs creating brilliant cuisine in the area include Darwin Santa Maria at his Almazónica Cervecería & Peruvian Eatery on South Tamiami Trail and Lan Bradeen at Melange in downtown Sarasota. There’s also Natalia Levey, whose Hi Hospitality Group operates the popular Speaks Clam Bars on St. Armands Circle and in Lakewood Ranch and now the exciting Asian dining experience Kojo in downtown Sarasota.
Summer fun guide: The best things to do and places to visit in Sarasota and Manatee
But that’s just the beginning of outstanding options in the area, which is why in addition to all of our restaurant news stories, we regularly run a Best Things to Eat column of restaurant reviews and publish various dining guides tied to holidays, neighborhoods, foods and trends. Now, they’re all again in one place for our annual guide to the best restaurants and bars in Sarasota and Manatee counties.
Best waterfront restaurants and bars in Sarasota, Manatee and all of Florida
With many Sarasota and Manatee communities located right on the Gulf of Mexico – and with Bradenton, Palmetto and Ellenton featuring the mile-wide Manatee River flowing into the Gulf – we have a whole lot of prime waterfront property with commendable restaurants and bars peppering plenty of it. Here’s our annual series of guides to the best ones in the area offering outdoor dining right on the water plus a link to the best waterfront restaurants and bars in all of Florida, which we wrote with our USA Today Network teammates.
Restaurant reviews: Best things to eat in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte
Our “Best things to eat” column features favorite items eaten recently at restaurants in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties with occasional inclusion of places in Tampa Bay. Each column typically includes two or three restaurants with several dishes from each establishment. Here are several of our recent editions of “Best things to eat.”
Best rooftop restaurants and bars in Sarasota-Manatee and all of Florida
We also compiled a list of our favorite rooftop restaurants and bars followed by a story on the best elevated dining experience across the Sunshine State. More recently, we had another rooftop destination open in Sarasota.
Best burgers, pizza and sandwiches in Sarasota-Manatee and Florida
In addition to “Best things to eat,” we also run lists of our favorite restaurants for popular foods such as burgers, pizza and various sandwiches in Sarasota-Manatee. For our beloved Cuban sandwiches, we also did a statewide story.
Neighborhood restaurant guides for Siesta Key, Sarasota and Bradenton
In addition to featuring our favorite waterfront restaurants, we also write neighborhood guides. Here are three we published in the past two years.
Romantic, dog-friendly and soul food restaurants plus best bars
Some of our most popular lists are more random, like these ones.
Wade Tatangelo is the Herald-Tribune’s dining and entertainment editor overseeing the weekly Ticket publication. He’s also co-leader of USA Today Network’s Uniquely Florida team creating statewide content. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. He may be reached by email at [email protected] Support local journalism by subscribing.
This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Best restaurants, bars Sarasota Bradenton Venice Siesta Key Beach