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Rec`s for Sarasota!

My list, for what its worth...
Mexican (authentic, I think)....El Adobe on 41
Crabcakes....Bijou Cafe, Zoria's or Marina Jack's were also pretty good
Italian....Ophelia's Pasta House....a bit south toward Venice. I also like Cafe Bacci.
Middle eastern?.....Chutney's on Hillview...very creative cuisine...always fabulous soups.
I'd avoid Columbia.
Grouper sandwich....Starfish at Cortez or Anna Maria Oyster Bar
Seafood....Barnacle Bill's Main Street location....outstanding blackened salmon provencal
FWIW...ymmv....

Jul 01, 2009
hibeta in Florida

SEAFOOD - BARBEQCUE IN SARASOTA

Agree on HH...and try the grilled tilapia platter....excellent!

May 12, 2009
hibeta in Florida

Good Eats Around Sarasota/Bradenton

For authentic Mexican...at least I think it might be authentic....try El Adobe on 41 in Sarasota. Some really like it...others seemingly despise it. We enjoy it. For Chinese....try Mrs. Chen's buffet, also on 41 in Sarasota. Might not be authentic, but good reputation for quality and very tasty.

Jan 14, 2009
hibeta in Florida

Good Eats Around Sarasota/Bradenton

I've been a regular at Hickory Hollow for a few years. They do a great job with their grilled/blackened tilapia of all things. Very casual, fairly inexpensive and an abundant selection of side dishes. Not a fancy dinner place...but great for lunch.

Jan 12, 2009
hibeta in Florida

Dinner in Sarasota?

Salmon provencal at Barnacle Bill's downtown is one of the better salmon dishes in town...ambiance is great too. Crabcakes at Marina Jack's are quite good...and the ambiance and views from the main dining room cannot be beat. "Ugh", while descriptive, would hardly be a suitable adjective. Perhaps every dish at every restaurant is not up to your expectations, but both of these places offer some very good choices.

Nov 20, 2008
hibeta in Florida

Best Sarasota Pizza... Dometrio's, El Greco, Valentino's or...?

Not a fan of Panificio....prefer a tastier/zestier sauce and find their's too bland. Fillipo's at University and Lockwood Ridge is good if you like a thinner crust. Honeycrust Pizza on 17th Street not bad if you like a very thick layer of cheese.

Oct 28, 2008
hibeta in Florida

Dinner in Sarasota?

No problem...after all, varied opinions are to be expected. I've found that many restaurants do certain things particularly well and others maybe not quite as well. I've become a fan of crab cakes over the years and find that those from Bijou, along with those from Barnacle Bill's and Zoriah's among others, are excellent. While perhaps crabcakes are "dull", they are certainly done well at these establishments. I do agree that Michael's is way overrated and overpriced...and I don't care for Columbia at all.

Jan 22, 2008
hibeta in Florida

Dinner in Sarasota?

Which Bijou have you been going to....certainly not the one in downtown Sarasota? On what basis would you define it as awful? Unless they've recently changed ownership (which I haven't heard but hey, anything's possible), the food is really excellent...particularly the crabcakes and lobster bisque. I've been there numerous times taking clients to lunch and have never had a bad meal...and everyone I know holds the place in very high regard as well. I guess it's possible anyone can have a bad meal anywhere, but I've not heard anyone before apply the word awful to the Bijou.

Jan 19, 2008
hibeta in Florida

restaurants near Lakewood Ranch

Not sure what you like, but your research may have missed a few things. LR has some very good 'casual' dining at McAllisters on Main Street, with an excellent Japanese/sushi restaurant next door. Fred's (also in LR) is very upscale, although it is coming under new ownership. The new owners have a great reputation from restaurants that they run in Sarasota as I understand it. Just nearby on University Parkway some very good chains have moved in including Outback, Carrabba's, Bonefish Grill, Stonewood Grill and Leroy Selmons (although I don't care for Selmon's much, others seem to like it). Island Time Grill is nicely upscale dining (also located just off University Parkway), and there is a newer Italian place near it that is also not bad (just been there once so far, the chicken was a bit tough but the overall taste was excellent). Just a few miles more and there is a very nice tex-mex place (Mi Pueblo). With the construction/development of a huge shopping/residential complex (a bit like Int'l Mall in Tampa in terms of stores like Nordstrom's, etc.) to occur just off University Parkway and the interstate, and restaurants like Cheesecake Factory supposedly going to move in, there's no doubt that you'll be just a few minutes away from a great many more restaurants over the next year. There's been a huge increase in dining options just over the past couple years and it looks like it's going to continue.

Jan 13, 2008
hibeta in Florida

Dinner in Sarasota?

Barnacle Bill's downtown Sarasota has great ambiance and excellent crabcakes. For the best view of the water it's hard to beat Marina Jack's...a beautiful place with good crabcakes as well. Second the recommendation on Bijou Cafe...awesome lobster bisque and crabcakes. For a truly unique food experience try Chutney's on Hillview near downtown....amazing curry dishes and blend of Indian/Greek/mediterranean food.

Jan 11, 2008
hibeta in Florida

Venice,Nokomis,Osprey, Fl suggestions

Ophelia's Pasta House on 41 in Nokomis/Osprey is excellent...they have a bread pudding dessert that will knock your sox off....it's enough for two and inexpensive to boot.

Jan 11, 2008
hibeta in Florida

TOP MEXICAN IN FLA

El Adobe on U.S. 41 near Bee Ridge has been there forever....excellent chips, salsa and guacamole...and the best chicken tacos I've had. Casa Del Sol on Cortez in Bradenton is not bad...they've got a very good mole sauce.

Jan 11, 2008
hibeta in Florida

Best Restaurants in Bradenton area?

Bradenton is lacking in quality restaurants in comparison to Sarasota (imho). Ezra's on Manatee Ave. is very good...higher end, very diverse menu. East Bradenton has some new places...McAllister's in Lakewood Ranch is good...good mix of seafood, pasta, sandwiches. In Bradenton it's hard to beat Carrabba's for Italian (unfortunately). Primo's (on 41 near the airport) is fairly good Italian, although it can be hit or miss (a bit inconsistent). The ambiance is just Ok as the building appears to be quite old and often has a funky smell inside...not too charming unfortunately. A diamond in the rough is Hickory Hollow in Palmetto...outstanding pork/chicken barbeque...and a surprisingly good grilled tilapia entree for a bbque joint.

Jan 11, 2008
hibeta in Florida

St. Armands Circle Lunch recs for a Boston CH

Tommy Bahamas is not bad....it's a fun place...very tropical atmosphere. Some very creative dishes.

Edit: just noticed that it's after the fact. Never mind!

Jan 11, 2008
hibeta in Florida

Mexicali Border Cafe-Bradenton

Agree it's a fun atmosphere...but I'd call it average Tex Mex food. If you like Mexicali you might want to try El Adobe on U.S. 41 in Sarasota...excellent tacos...burritos, and some of the tastiest chips and salsa you'll find....the guacamole is also outstanding. Casa Del Sol on Cortez has a good mole sauce/chicken dish. It's worth a visit too.

Jan 11, 2008
hibeta in Florida