128 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota. 330-2662: surfersandwich.comANNA'S RESTAURANT & DELI
Big deli sandwiches at this third location of the local Anna’s Deli chain.
1287 First St., Sarasota, 366-8111; bijoucafe.netBIJOU CAFE
Bijou Cafe has earned its reputation over the past 20 years, with patrons who appreciate its shrimp Piri Piri, crab cakes, pommes gratin Dauphinois, braised lamb shanks and other Bijou standards that have evolved into local classics.
1817 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, 366-6860BREAKFAST HOUSE
This pioneer of north-of-Fruitville dining is in a beautifully restored cottage, with a large outdoor courtyard and well-made breakfast dishes -- including some surprising takes on classic morning recipes.
- 401 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, 312-6633, burnscourtcafe.comBURNS COURT CAFE
Burns Court Café, has continued to impress, with their sandwiches and their daily quiche specials blowing me away each time I stop in for what is, forgive the hyperbole, hands down the best espresso in town. The owners and staff are the sweetest people you’ll ever meet, the space is as delicate and beautiful as any European-style café I’ve ever been in, and the corner of Dolphin and Pineapple might be the most tranquil street corner in Sarasota. (Read the review.)
1001 Cocoanut Ave., Sarasota, 953-4343; broadwaybar.comBROADWAY BAR
Established in 1925 and now in its new location, the Broadway Bar has become famous for its thin, crisp pizza and as being a place where the locals meet. The menu is inexpensive and has plenty of variety and includes favorites such as the Big Tony Sub, the Ringling Reuben and the 1001 Antipasto. The restaurant features a full bar, a selection of fine wines and a second-floor special function room.
1813 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, 343-2280, cantaranarestaurant.comCANTA RANA
One of several new openings that made the trek north of Fruitville in downtown Sarasota, Canta Rana opened in a small restored cottage in the newly gentrified Gillepsie Village area. The focus here falls on indigenous Peruvian fusion cooking – Peru being a cultural melting pot – like the Chinese-inspired Arroz Chaufa, better known as fried rice; a variation on Puerto Rican mofongo, Mofongo con Camarones al Aijillo and Lasagna de Quinoa, with the Peruvian grain standing in for the traditional noodle. (Read the review.)
69 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota, 951-0866; caragiulos.comCARAGIULOS
The Caragiulo brothers serve up simple Italian-American food in a charming atmosphere. Right out of Grandma’s kitchen, the menu includes favorites like Artichoke-Crusted Corvina, Pork Porterhouse, Crab & Lobster Mac ‘n’ Cheese and Veal-Pork Ragu.
1216 First St., Sarasota, 952-1036; ceviche.comCEVICHE
Ceviche is located in the historic Sarasota Times building, originally constructed in 1925. The four-story restaurant includes a rooftop bar with water views. The Ceviche menu has more than 100 different hot and cold tapas, as well as paellas and cazuelas.
1525 4th St., Sarasota, 343-2165; darwinson4th.comDARWIN'S ON 4TH
Chef/owner Darwin Santa Maria serves his trademark South American and global fusion cuisine alongside expert beer brewed in house, in a gorgeous old-Sarasota building.
514 Central Ave., Sarasota, 366-6565; dereks-sarasota.comDEREK’S CULINARY CASUAL
Derek’s menu blends the traditional and the trendy, humble comfort food and elegant fusion in an engaging way — each dish crafted with skill and culinary imagination.
35 S. Lemon Ave., Sarasota, 366-7788; hydeparkrestaurants.comHYDE PARK PRIME STEAKHOUSE
The high-end menu features a variety of steaks, chops, seafood and fresh fish. Choose from filet mignon with garlic, cracked pepper and roasted shallot cabernet butter; 18-ounce bone-in Kansas City strip steak; or fresh rainbow trout. Sides include steamed asparagus Bearnaise and wild mushroom saute.
239 S. Links Ave., Sarasota, 706-4740; indigenoussarasota.comINDIGENOUS
Chef Stephen Phelps brings a focus on local ingredients — and a beautifully designed restaurant using reclaimed products — to downtown’s Towles Court.
1938 Adams Lane, Sarasota, 366-0070; lavandasarasota.comLAVANDA
At Lavanda, dine al fresco on the wraparound porch, or enjoy the eclectic artwork indoors. Main courses include a grilled rib-eye, veal scallopini, shrimp pasta and a salmon fillet roasted and served with olive oil, garlic and herbs. Save room for one of Lavanda’s house-made desserts.
2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, 365-4232; marinajacks.comMARINA JACK
With spectacular views extending over the marina, downtown and Sarasota Bay, Marina Jack has been a perennial favorite among locals and visitors alike. The dining room serves lunch and dinner daily,featuring market-fresh fish,pan-seared diver scallops, steaks, lobster, rack of lamb and a variety of pasta dishes.
516 Burns Lane, Sarasota. 951-6936; owensfishcamp.comOWEN’S FISH CAMP
Owen’s serves casual but smart food that features seafood and southern delicacies like exquisite grits, edamame succotash, and many other wonderful dishes, all at mid-range prices.
1923 Ringling Blvd. 706-1524; shanerspizzeria.comSHANER'S PIZZA
Taking over the Horse Feathers location, this sports bar boasts traditional pasta, pizza along with sandwiches, burgers and an extensive beverage menu. Owned by a former Major League Baseball pitcher, the restaurant touts itself as family friendly, and regularly hosts game day events.
- 1734 Bamboo Lane, Sarasota, 955-9434, starkeepercafe.comSTARKEEPER CAFE
We came upon this hidden downtown cafe after a friend tipped us off late in the year. Occupying a picturesque Old Florida home hidden on an alley between Ringling and Main downtown, the Star Keeper Cafe has quickly become a weekend staple for EC and me. We’re a little obsessed with the Warm Mini Donuts, and on balmy afternoons there is very little we’d rather do than sip strawberry basil lemonade in the garden out back. (Read the review.)
1533 State St., Sarasota, 951-1533; statestreetsrq.comSTATE STREET EATING HOUSE
This modern but cozy restaurant features interesting dishes created by chef/owner Christian Hershman alongside a vibrant bar scene driven by expertly mixed mod cocktails.
400 N. Lemon Ave., Sarasota, 906-1400; station400.comSTATION 400
A railroad depot station is the unique home of Station 400, formerly Sierra Station. Freshly baked muffins, omelettes, waffles, french toast and more will tempt you at breakfast, while for lunch you can choose from soups, salads, sandwiches and wraps.
Where to eat: Downtown Sarasota, off Main Street
/ Friday, December 28, 2012