Sarasota County is blessed with some fantastic dining options, from steakhouses to fresh seafood and salads. Whether in Downtown Sarasota, Siesta Key, St Armand’s Circle, or Venice, Florida there are some wonderful places to eat. Here are some of the best restaurants in Sarasota that are a treat for your taste buds.

The Best Restaurants in Sarasota County

Sarasota County is spread over 725 miles, with 35 miles of coastline. Several of these popular restaurants have waterfront views. What they all have in common is consistently great food.

The best restaurants in Sarasota Florida
The best restaurants in Sarasota Florida

12. Bijou Garden Cafe

Since opening in 1986, Bijou Garden Cafe Sarasota has been wowing diners with its Continental-American food. Chef Jean-Pierre Knaggs and his wife Shay have received many accolades including the Open Table Diner’s Choice Award 2017.

This popular Sarasota restaurant has an elegant feel with two courtyards for al fresco dining. There are also several dining rooms inside, giving Bijou Cafe an intimate ambiance.

Try the shrimp and crab bisque soup or the pepper steak with a secret spicy sauce.

1287 First Street, Sarasota, FL 34236

Bijou Cafe Sarasota - located in Downtown Sarasota, Florida
The terrace at Bijou Cafe

11. Boca Kitchen Bar & Market

A staple on the Sarasota dining scene, Boca is very popular for casual dining. They focus on farm to table dining and you can buy some of the local produce to take home.

Speaking of which, there are some great Sarasota farmers markets open weekly. All the ingredients at Boca are fresh and there are some great market specials like the Tecumseh Farms smoked cachaca chicken with brussels hash and crushed chimichurri.

Much of the seating is communal in order to encourage a sense of community. This is a fun place to come with friends.

There is another branch of Boca at 358 North Park Ave., Winter Park.

19 S. Lemon Avenue, Sarasota, FL  34236

Boca Kitchen Bar Market, Sarasota, Florida
Boca Kitchen Bar & Market – best restaurants in Sarasota

10. Clasico Italian Chophouse

One of the best places for drinks and contemporary Italian cuisine, Clasico Cafe Bar is an all day eatery with a lovely location on Main Street in Downtown Sarasota. Relax in the comfy outdoor seating and tuck into menu items such as lobster Benedict or Chef Guillaume’s beef Bourguignon, a family recipe.

Clasico Cafe Bar, Sarasota, Florida
Lobster Benedict at Clasico Italian Chophouse Sarasota

On several nights there’s live music, such as a one man Cuban band on Wednesdays, a DJ on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and an open mic night on Sundays. Clasico Sarasota happy hour is Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 pm.

Diners at this Italian restaurant can also try their hand at playing the piano decorated by artist Viktorija Bulava. One of several placed around the city by Sarasota Keys and the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, it became an internet sensation when a passerby filmed a homeless man, Donald Gould, playing it.

Donald is a classically trained pianist and since starring in the YouTube video, he’s played the National Anthem for the San Francisco 49ers season opener and got a recording contract.

1341 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236

Viktoria piano outside Clasico Cafe in Sarasota, Florida
The piano at Clasico restaurant, Sarasota

9. Venice Avenue Creamery

This historic ice cream store isn’t a restaurant per se but is somewhere you won’t want to miss if visiting Venice, Florida. Family-owned and operated since 1967, their friendly staff serve handmade ice-cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt and waffle cones.

The Key Lime Pie yogurt, Cookie Monster and Chunky Salted caramel ice creams are worth writing home about ;-).

249 W Venice Avenue, Venice, FL 34285

Venice Avenue Creamery

8. Fins at Sharky’s

Renowned as a “steakhouse with a serious seafood side”, Fins at Sharky’s has an incomparable location on the beach. With direct views of Venice Fishing Pier, it has a stylish coastal decor.

There’s even a giant fin on the roof! Serving up fresh fish and seasonal ingredients from South Florida, they do delicious salads, sushi and oysters.

The Surf and Turf Sushi Roll is a real treat, with asparagus, Maine lobster, tempura shrimp and avocado topped with sweet soy sauce, sriracha mayo and a hoisin glaze.

1600 Harbor Drive South, Venice, FL 34285

Fin's at Sharkys beachside restaurant, Florida, USA
The Surf and Turf Sushi Roll at Fin’s at Sharkys

7. Island Organics

Not strictly a restaurant but more of a cafe, Island Organics is nonetheless one of our favorite places for juices, smoothies and healthy food in Venice, Florida. Owner Alexa Dippolito spotted a gap in the market for juices made from organic fruit and vegetables and since opening in 2013, Island Organics has been popular for its healthy breakfast and lunch menu.

There are options for gluten free, vegan and vegetarian diets.

231 Miami Avenue W, Venice, FL 34285

Island Organics, Venice, Florida
Island Organics in Venice Florida

6. Jack Dusty

The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota is known for its chic decor and impeccable service and its new restaurant, Jack Dusty, is one of the best restaurants in Downtown Sarasota. With a relaxed atmosphere, superb bayside views and a large outdoor terrace, this Sarasota hotspot is popular with locals and visitors alike for its fresh coastal cuisine.

If you’re wondering who Jack Dusty was, it’s an 18th century term for a naval store clerk. Try a Sandy Bottom cocktail for sharing with a group, or a craft microbrew.

One of their signature dishes is Sarasota Cioppino with gulf shrimp, grouper, bay scallops, clams and mussels in a tomato and orange peel broth.

1111 Ritz Carlton Drive, Sarasota, FL 34236

Jack Dusty, a great casual restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, Florida, USA
Food at Jack Dusty Sarasota

5. Le Colonne Restaurant

A family affair, Le Colonne Restaurant specializes in authentic Italian cooking. It’s located at St Armands Circle, a charming retail and dining destination.

Their pizzas are prepared daily with a low-calorie dough and cooked in a wood-fired oven. The handmade pasta is also prepared fresh every day and is particularly tasty.

Save some room for the traditional tiramisu, also homemade daily.

2 S Boulevard of the Presidents, Sarasota, FL 34236

Le Colonne at St Armands Circle, one of the best Italian restaurants in Sarasota County, Florida
Homemade tiramisu at Le Colonne restaurant

4. Lido Key Tiki Bar

For sundowners on the beach, Lido Key Tiki Bar is the place to come. This fun Sarasota bar is part of The Ritz-Carlton Residences but open to all.

The rustic, open-air beach bar is a great place to watch the sun set whilst sipping a Lido Key Mai Tai or Margarita. They also offer handhelds like burgers, wraps and tacos, with ice-cream sandwiches for dessert.

1234 Benjamin Franklin Drive, Sarasota, FL 34242

The Tiki Bar at the Ritz Carlton Residences, Lido Key Beach, Sarasota, Florida
The Lido Key Tiki Bar – best restaurants in Sarasota

3. Michael’s on East

The only AAA Four Diamond Award restaurant in Sarasota, Michael’s on East is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Michael Klauber and his business partner Phil Mancini are founding members of the Eat Like a Local movement which gathers together locally owned restaurants sharing a passion for food.

He is also Co-Chair of Forks & Corks, a renowned Florida food and wine festival, held at The Ringling Museum in January each year. In addition to the award-winning restaurant, there’s a contemporary wine cellar which can be rented for private events.

For larger events, there’s the Michael’s on East Ballroom in Midtown Plaza. Back at Michael’s on East, diners can enjoy healthy dishes such as chimichurri tenderloin, Southwestern mahi-mahi and butter-roasted flounder.

The signature Chocolate Blackout Cake has layer upon layer of chocolate custard cake covered with chocolate Jimmies.

1212 S. East Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34239

Michael's on East, Sarasota, Florida
Chocolate Blackout Cake at Michael’s on East

2. Shore Restaurant

Cool beach lifestyle store Shore also has an al-fresco eatery serving signature dishes such as Key West shrimp and scallop risotto and pan-fried red snapper with wilted spinach, arancini cake, caponata and citrus butter. Why not try the truffle fries with parmesan and chives on the side.

Shore St. Armands Circle is a vibrant place by night and also popular for its brunch dishes like marinated steak and eggs.

Shore Longboat Key on Broadway Street is another popular Sarasota dining destination for relaxed dining and beautiful views on the docks.

465 John Ringling Boulevard #100, Sarasota, FL 34236

Shore restaurant at St Armand's Circle, Sarasota, Florida
Dinner at Shore Restaurant on St. Armand’s Circle

1. Ophelia’s on the Bay

Siesta Beach was voted Best Beach in North America 2020 in the TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards and Best Beach in America 2017 by Dr. Beach. After spending some time on the magnificent white sand beach, why not head to one of the great Siesta Key restaurants nearby.

Ophelia’s on the Bay is one of the best restaurants in Siesta Key, with a magical setting on the waterfront. It’s an elegant place with a bayside patio and floor-to-ceiling windows and a hit since opening in 1988.

Executive chef Daniel Olson has created superb fine dining dishes such as New England diver scallops with beurre noisette, bacon jam, sweet potato purée and smokey dill scented Champagne beurre blanc. Service is really friendly and if you’re lucky you may spot blue herons and dolphins from your patio table.

9105 Midnight Pass Road, Sarasota, FL 34242

Ophelia's on the Bay, Sarasota, Florida
Food at Ophelia’s on the Bay

These are the best restaurants in Sarasota that we’ve personally tried. Many of you also suggested your favorite restaurant in Sarasota, including Duval’s, Indigenous, Selva Grill, Owen’s Fish Camp, First Watch and Antoine’s on Tuttle Avenue.

Take a video tour of Sarasota County here – there are so many things to do in Sarasota, FL including world-class museums, natural attractions and family-friendly activities.

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The best restaurants in Sarasota

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Best restaurants in Sarasota County – in association with Visit Florida and Hertz

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