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Sarasota Dining


ldenney
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I have an old friend who lives in Sarasota, Florida and I usually get a chance to visit once or twice a year. I love the area, but I especially enjoy trying different restaurants. Do you have any favorite spots , from casual to upscale, you suggest I try?

I have experienced these places, some more than once: Marina Jack's, Phillippi Creek, Siesta Key Oyster Bar, Barnacle Bill's, Columbia Restaurant, Sam Seltzer's Steakhouse, Bellagio Ristorante, Leverock's and Salty Dog.

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When I lived there several years ago, I used to love C'est la Vie, a French bakery and cafe on the downtown main street. If it's still there (and it's hard to imagine it going out of business), I'd recommend it for a leisurely lunch or light dinner.

Rebecca Hassell

Cookin' in Brookland

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One of my favorite restaurants in the world, Maison Blanche on Longboat Key, is a 20-minute drive.

Dacquiri Deck is fun, and I love their grouper bites.

Stay away from Ophelia's. Overpriced dreck. Lots of cockroaches outside add a crunchy ambience.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I have an old friend who lives in Sarasota, Florida and I usually get a chance to visit once or twice a year.  I love the area, but I especially enjoy trying different restaurants.  Do you have any favorite spots , from casual to upscale, you suggest I try?

I have experienced these places, some more than once:  Marina Jack's, Phillippi Creek, Siesta Key Oyster Bar, Barnacle Bill's, Columbia Restaurant, Sam Seltzer's Steakhouse, Bellagio Ristorante, Leverock's and Salty Dog.

Leverocks is out of business......

Salty Dog is terrible.

Columbia is very dirty...

Phillippi is where my friends got sick from the clams.

Try the following:

New Pass Grill = for the best hamburgers

Zoria = for excellent food and service

Divino = for very good italian

Dometrio's = for the best Pizza

Cafe on the Bay = for the best potato crusted grouper

Blue Dolphin = wow-for breakfast

Flemings = wow-the best steaks and pork chops

Ivo's = the best dover sole

Bijou = the best Rack of Lamb

Yoders = "a must any meal plus the best pies-everything is homemade

Cafe Epicure = low keyed italian and very good

:raz::wacko::wacko: Enjoy-you now know the best there is offered

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Try the Selva Grill for excellent ceviche and fresh fish...well worth a visit!

Selva Grill

Sam Seltzer's is ok but nothing too exciting...

Sam Seltzer's

I agree the Salty Dog stinks.

Yoder's is all right but nothing fancy.

Columbia is terrible and overpriced.

Fleming's is a chain (yuk!).

The Broken Egg on Siesta Key has good breakfasts.

The Broken Egg

Cosimo's Brick Oven in the mall is ok for more casual fare including pasta and seafood.

Cosimo's Brick Oven

Captain Brian's has good, simply prepared seafood and key lime pie.

Captain Brian's

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Just returned a few days ago from the area. I hear that Cosimo's went downhill so we did no go there. We tried Chutney's and it was very good as was Ray's BBQ in Ellenton. I'd pass on Barnacle Bills. It was pretty bad! The Selva Grill and Captain Brian's were as good as ever.

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  • 2 months later...

I haven't been, but my parents who live in Sarasota have been raving about Madison's. I'm going to be down there in two weeks, so I'll check it out for myself. I would also second Captain Brian's. I've also had very good meals at Euphemia Hay over on Longboat Key.

“The secret of good cooking is, first, having a love of it… If you’re convinced that cooking is drudgery, you’re never going to be good at it, and you might as well warm up something frozen.”

~ James Beard

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I agree. There are lots of other great choices besides Euphemia. If you want to make that long ride up Longboat and beyond, check out Beach Bistro. Sean Murphy does a fantastic job with just about everything. I think Derek's also has a great upscale "big city" menu. He really does nice work. Cru Bistro downtown offers some interesting choices and a large and varied wine list. - LJH

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Viejo,

Thanks for the update! That's what happens when you don't visit your family enough! Have you been to Madison's? Like I said, I'm planning on trying it next weekend. I'm also looking for a good place to have a good "girls night" with my sister and some friends. Is Burns Court still good?

“The secret of good cooking is, first, having a love of it… If you’re convinced that cooking is drudgery, you’re never going to be good at it, and you might as well warm up something frozen.”

~ James Beard

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Viejo,

Thanks for the update! That's what happens when you don't visit your family enough! Have you been to Madison's? Like I said, I'm planning on trying it next weekend. I'm also looking for a good place to have a good "girls night" with my sister and some friends. Is Burns Court still good?

I'm in an out of Sarasota 2-3 times a month and, while I'm pretty familiar with the dining scene there, I've never heard of Madison's. I think that you may be referring to Mattison's. If that is the case, you need to narrow it done to which restaurant your parents are referring to. The owner, Paul Mattison, has 3 of them in the area.

Downtown, at the corner of Lemon and Main (across from the Gator Club), is Mattiison's City Grill. Basically, it's a large open bar and covered outside dining area. Though I have never had a full meal there, I've been there a number of times for apps and cocktails. They have live entertainment most evenings. Bottom line - The food's OK (apps at least). Nothing to rave about. Nice place to meet your friends for drinks and snacks.

On Longboat Key is Mattison's Steakhouse. I've been there once and it was pretty much what it is advertised to be - a steakhouse. Think Morton's or Ruth Chris.

On Siesta Key, near the base of the South bridge, is Mattison's Siesta Grill. Similar to the downtown location with the exception most of the dining is inside. I've been there a number of times for cocktails, apps, and also dinner. As before, it's OK. And, for me at least, it's a decent choice if I don't feel like driving much since my house is nearby.

Re: Burn's Court - The only places that I recall are El Haberno and Uva Rara. I enjoyed both early on, but over time they have gone downhill in as far as quality and service are concerned. I might give El Habanero another shot but you won't catch near Uva Rara anytime soon.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I had heard that Euphemia Haye had closed or gone out of business. I was hoping this isn't true.

I'm a bit shocked to read such poor reviews of the place. I only dined there once, but I had my finest duck meal of all time there. I wonder if it's gone completely downhill...

Blessed are those who engage in lively conversation with the helplessly mute, for they shall be called, "Dentists." (anonymous)

Life is too short for bad Caesar Salad. (Me)

Why would you poison yourself by eating a non-organic apple? (HL)

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I had heard that Euphemia Haye had closed or gone out of business.  I was hoping this isn't true.

I'm a bit shocked to read such poor reviews of the place.  I only dined there once, but I had my finest duck meal of all time there.  I wonder if it's gone completely downhill...

Hit

Funny thing is Duck is what I ordered. It was like Confit still on the bone, but over done, dry, tasteless, and thankfully the skin was crispy. Food was from the 50's and 60's.

Viejo

"A dry crust of bread eaten in peace and quiet is better than a feast eaten where everyone argues" Proverbs (17:1).

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Viejo,

Thanks for the update! That's what happens when you don't visit your family enough! Have you been to Madison's? Like I said, I'm planning on trying it next weekend. I'm also looking for a good place to have a good "girls night" with my sister and some friends. Is Burns Court still good?

I'm in an out of Sarasota 2-3 times a month and, while I'm pretty familiar with the dining scene there, I've never heard of Madison's. I think that you may be referring to Mattison's. If that is the case, you need to narrow it done to which restaurant your parents are referring to. The owner, Paul Mattison, has 3 of them in the area.

Downtown, at the corner of Lemon and Main (across from the Gator Club), is Mattiison's City Grill. Basically, it's a large open bar and covered outside dining area. Though I have never had a full meal there, I've been there a number of times for apps and cocktails. They have live entertainment most evenings. Bottom line - The food's OK (apps at least). Nothing to rave about. Nice place to meet your friends for drinks and snacks.

On Longboat Key is Mattison's Steakhouse. I've been there once and it was pretty much what it is advertised to be - a steakhouse. Think Morton's or Ruth Chris.

On Siesta Key, near the base of the South bridge, is Mattison's Siesta Grill. Similar to the downtown location with the exception most of the dining is inside. I've been there a number of times for cocktails, apps, and also dinner. As before, it's OK. And, for me at least, it's a decent choice if I don't feel like driving much since my house is nearby.

Re: Burn's Court - The only places that I recall are El Haberno and Uva Rara. I enjoyed both early on, but over time they have gone downhill in as far as quality and service are concerned. I might give El Habanero another shot but you won't catch near Uva Rara anytime soon.

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Euphemia has been around for a really long time here. Sometimes those kinds of place are in need of an update, both from the menu side and the service side. There is a lot of competition here in Sarasota, so I think place that don't keep up, eventually get weeded out. We're working on printing the 2007 edition of our annual dining guide and it's amazing how many Sarasota "institutions" are no longer operating. - LJH

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  • 5 months later...

Euphemia Haye has not gone out of business. The two best things on the menu are the duck and peppered steak, as well as his ceazer salad. Otherwise, everything else is just ok including his desserts. They look better then they taste. :rolleyes:

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Hi Rebo,

I'm a former Sarasotan who lives in DC now as well. I grew up there, actually. I graduated from Cardinal Mooney in.... well, a WHILE ago!

My high school French class had a field trip to C'est la Vie, so I have a very fond memory of that place. I remember we had a choice of croissants filled with ham and cheese, or with ratatouille. I think I was the only one in the class that chose ratatouille . It was very exotic for Sarasota in the 80's (oops, I slipped) and it turned me into a ratatouille fan for life.

When I go home I stick close to my parents' home so I don't eat out very often in Sarasota anymore (except Cosimos, just because it is the best thing when shopping at Southgate). But there used to be a restaurant called Turtles on Siesta Key that I used to go to with my old friends from high school and from Burdine's (where I worked part-time in high school and college) when I came home for a visit. I think Turtles is still there, and it was a nice place. Not really fancy, but a great atmosphere and view of the bay.

There is also a great restaurant in Gulf Gate called Going Bistro. It's quite excellent, and I'd give it a plug even if the owner and chef was not the little brother of my best friend from high school. :raz:

When  I lived there several years ago, I used to love C'est la Vie, a French bakery and cafe on the downtown main street. If it's still there (and it's hard to imagine it going out of business), I'd recommend it for a leisurely lunch or light dinner.

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