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.
Our celebrity chefs include James Beard nominees Steve Phelps of Indigenous in downtown Sarasota and José Martinez of Maison Blanche on Longboat Key.
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
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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.
Best waterfront restaurants for outdoor dining in Sarasota – and what to eat, drink there
The best waterfront restaurants for outdoor dining around Anna Maria Island
Best waterfront restaurants, bars in Venice, Osprey, Nokomis and what to eat, drink there
Best waterfront restaurants in Cortez Village on Sarasota Bay and what to eat, drink there
Best waterfront restaurants in Bradenton, Palmetto, Ellenton and what to eat, drink there
The best waterfront restaurants in Englewood – and what to eat and drink there
10 of our favorite beachfront restaurants from all across Florida
What are the best beach bars from all across Florida? Here are our favorites
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.”
Restaurant reviews: The best things to eat in Sarasota and Bradenton area: May 25-31
Restaurant reviews: The best things to eat in Sarasota and Bradenton area, April 27-May 3
Restaurant reviews: Best th
ings to eat in Sarasota and Manatee, Feb. 16-22
Restaurant reviews: Best things to eat in Sarasota-Manatee: Jan. 5-11
Restaurant reviews: Best things to eat in Sarasota-Manatee: Dec. 22-28
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.
The best rooftop bars and restaurants in Sarasota-Bradenton for drinks, food, amazing views
The best rooftop bars and restaurants in Florida for drinks, food and amazing views!
Ticket Editor: New rooftop bar, restaurant in Sarasota for drinks, food, golf course views
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.
Which restaurants make the best burgers in Sarasota County? Here are 25 of our favorites
Which restaurants make the best pizza in Sarasota, Bradenton? Here are 22 of our favorites
Best sandwich shops, delis in Sarasota for classics and signature items
12 best restaurants for fried chicken sandwiches in Sarasota-Bradenton
Eat at these restaurants for National Cuban Sandwich Day in Sarasota-Bradenton
Which restaurants make the best Cuban sandwiches in Florida? Here are 10 of ou
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.
Eat, drink and party in Siesta Key Village at these restaurants, bars and nightclubs
7 best downtown Sarasota restaurants, bars and hotels near Van Wezel, Mangrove Walkway and The Bay
Best restaurants in downtown Bradenton – and what to eat and drink when you get there
Romantic, dog-friendly and soul food restaurants plus best bars
Some of our most popular lists are more random, like these ones.
These are the 25 most romantic restaurants in Sarasota-Manatee for outdoor dining
12 of our favorite dog-friendly restaurants and bars in Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice
Cheers to that! Here are the best restaurants and bars for happy hour in downtown Sarasota
Craving soul food? These are 10 Florida restaurants you must try
10 great Sarasota-Bradenton craft beers
Sunshine suds: A 12-pack of our favorite Florida craft breweries
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