Breakfast/lunch

What better way to start the day than breakfast at sunrise… right on the beach! Café on the Beach at Manatee Beach offers all you can eat pancakes and sausages while Gulf Drive Café on the shore of Bradenton Beach offering bountiful breakfasts inside or on the covered patio.

Other breakfast/lunch establishments include the Island Creperie in Bradeton Beach, Joe’s Eats and Sweets or Melinda’s on Gulf Drive, Paradise Café in Holmes Beach and the Village Café @ Rosedale on Coquina Beach.

Dinner

At the north end of Anna Maria is the legendary family friendly, reasonably priced Sandbar Restaurant; where indoor/outdoor beachside seating is perfect for sunset watching.

With picturesque views and good casual eats, the Rod and Reel is a great local favorite.

Housed in a 1913 cottage is the Sign of the Mermaid offering fresh local ingredients and fabulous homemade desserts. The Waterfront Café is another excellent choice with delightful selections and patio seating for a glimpse of the bay.

Beach Bistro is probably one to reserve for “special” occasions and arriving before sunset is highly recommended as you’ll be dining right on the sands of Holmes Beach. Just be prepared for a price tag that reflects their Culinary Awards.

Other dining options off island include Lazy Lobster and Euphemia Haye on Longboat Key and the Cortez Fish Market, Old Brick’s, Pier 22 and Mattison’s City Grille in Bradenton.

St. Armand’s Circle

Plan to spend an evening at St. Armand’s Circle on Lido Key.  It’s fun safe and shops stay open for that after a good meal…stroll.  Enjoy a cocktail and listen to piano tunes at Crab and Fins patio lounge.  An established landmark for years, the Crab and Fin and Cafe L’Europe excel in food, service and ambiance.  The Columbia with comfortable outdoor seating offers excellent Spanish cuisine as does Le Colonne’s northern Italian offerings. Shore, located one flight up, offers southern comfort muchies and great views of St. Armands Circle.

Sarasota is also at your disposal… offering a picturesque drive down Longboat Key and across the Ringling Bridge. This is where you can eat greet and enjoy the Action Downtown. Marina Jacks features a huge open air bar, covered patio dining and dance area while jazz and contemporary tunes can be found at the inside piano lounge.

O’Leary’s Tiki Bar at the southern end of Centennial Park, shares the same parking as Marina Jack’s. The comfort food and friendly staff attracts a crowd at sunset with live Reggae and beach music. This is also a great place to bring your four legged bud.

Also docked at Centennial Park is Le Barge, a giant houseboat with full bar and dance floor on the top deck and cocktail tables inside. Entertainment is usually a solo guitar player/singer performing island style music and Jimmy Buffett tunes. Le Barge sails several times a day around Sarasota Bay and offers great views of waterfront mansions and spectacular sunsets.

Downtown Main, Sarasota

Main Street has plenty of action with eateries, bars and nightlife.  Places like Mattison’s City Grille and The Blue Rooster offer great food and live entertainment while The Social Eatery and Award winning Bijou Cafe continue the trend on …. First Street.  Other good eating downtown establishments are Mediterraneo, Selva Grill, Caragiulo’s, Barnacle Bill’s, Cafe Epicure, Patrick’s and C’est La Vie.

Looking for water views?

Marina Jack’s is right on Sarasota’s bay front with a spectacular second floor view.  The Ritz Carlton features a less expansive view at Jack Dusty’s patio lounge.