What are the top things to do in Sarasota?

It’s one of the most exciting things to do anytime you travel: find and dine at some of the best local restaurants wherever you go. There’s just something about experience tasty, local food anytime you travel somewhere that just enhances the quality and memories of your trip. Travelling to Sarasota is no different, so we’ve compiled a wide-range list of the Top 10 Best Restaurants that you can visit on your next trip to Sarasota!

1. Walt’s Fish Market & Restaurant
It’s always a good sign to me personally when a restaurant sells cooked food as well as raw product. The market/restaurant combination suggests to me that the food will be fresh and as locally-based as possible.
Walt’s Fish Market & Restaurant is a Sarasota institution. Located off of the South Tamiami Trail, the market has been around for over 100 years. The restaurants feature is the newer aspect of the dual businesses, but only furthered Walt’s legacy and reputation. The menu features a wide variety of seafood dishes and you can kick off your meal with complementary smoked fish and cracker spread.

2. Green Zebra Cafe
This cafe is great for anyone searching for a casual, vegan-friendly dining experience in Sarasota. It is a family owned restaurant located in St. Armands Circle. The menu features your expected cafe options like sandwiches and salads but also offers smoothies, pressed juices, and all kinds of wellness blends. We wanted to include this cafe on our favorite Sarasota restaurants because the menu is designed for special diets like gluten free, dairy free, or vegans. Bonus: the restaurant’s menu is based on organic and local ingredients and the interior is designed from environmentally-conscious furniture.

3. Mediterraneo Italiano
This restaurant serves contemporary Northern Italian style Italian cuisine. It is still under the original ownership and remains one of the highest rated restaurants in the area. It has received lots of rewards and accommodations if that’s something you look for in restaurants too. White tablecloths and candles make this an ideal restaurant for a date night out in Sarasota. The menu, which is primarily in Italian, features authentic Italian cuisine, really making it a unique and delicious food destination. The Hollywood Theater is across the street, so consider making it a dinner reservation after a movie.

4. Duvel’s Freah. Local. Seafood
The name of the restaurant says it all. Duvel’s is one of the Sarasota restaurants regarded as the ‘best seafood’ around. Of course, that’s a debate that may never be settled, but if you’re determined to find the answer for yourself then Duvel’s has to be a stop in your quest. This restaurant is a little more upscale, so if you’re hoping to put on those nice clothes you packed for some occasion, make this your occasion! The menu features delicate cuisine that is flavorful, well-prepared, and fresh. The decor of the restaurant is beautiful, and the food is presented in a way that really seals the deal of a fancy, upscale night out.

5. The Capital Grille
If you’re travelling to Sarasota or looking for a great restaurant to celebrate special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries, the Capital Grille is a great date and romantic destination. While ‘Grille’ may suggest a more casual joint, the Capital Grille is actually a finer dining option in Sarasota, though it is a noisier and a little more crowded than a typical ‘romantic’ restaurant. The dress is more business casual and the menu features more upscale foods, like their award winning steaks and of course seafood. If you and your significant other are okay with a louder and bustling restaurant, then you can enjoy high quality shrimp cocktail, filet mignon, and an amazing selection of desserts while sipping on wine from an extensive selection for a great evening out on the town.

6. Selva Grill
Any foodies travelling to or living in Sarasota have to check out the Selva Grill! This food is plated for perfection and HAS to be photographed and appreciated. These dishes will make the perfect post or photo of your vacation or night out. Selva’s menu features Peruvian and Latin cuisine. A lot of the dishes feature spices and chili’s to give the local seafood a Latin twist. Ceviche is of course a popular dish at this restaurant. The bar in the restaurant is a popular destination for many locals, so the restaurant is almost always buzzing and lively!

7. Seasons 52
Season 52’s menu is based off of the available produce of the local farmers markets. It doesn’t get more truly Sarasota than that! A true farm-to-table or even market-to-table experience that is unique crafted and creatively designed recipes is what sets Seasons 52 apart from other restaurants in the area. This restaurant boosts of using rustic cooking techniques, like using an open-fire grill over oak wood and a brick-oven to really enhance the natural flavors of food. The menu features over 100 types of wine and contemporary American food, though the menu leans a little towards Italian. These creative and unique dishes are plated beautifully, so you can add your dish to your vacation photo album!

We wanted to add JPAN to this list in case anyone is craving a Japanese spin on the fresh, local fish of Sarasota. JPAN embraces the traditional Japanese style in their dishes, and serves up some of the best sushi in Sarasota in a fun and contemporary atmosphere. If you’re looking for sushi, this is your place!

9. Indigenous Restaurant
This “hidden gem” of Sarasota is located in the heart of downtown! Their menu is a little smaller than other restaurants nearby, but what they are serving is high-quality and delicious. Their mushroom bisque is a local celebrity and leaves no one disappointed. The Parmesan beignets are also notoriously delicious. Parking near the restaurant can sometimes be tricky since it is located near the art district, but it can be an amazing food destination on a day exploring the downtown area.

10. MADE
MADE is an interesting and unique local feature. It is truly a different and upscale spin on classic American comfort food. At first glance of the food served, you may think “huh?”. It may look and sound a little different, but this restaurant is serving some great dishes. And they are embracing ‘American’ food. House-made grilled corn dogs, fried tomatoes, and double-dipped fried chicken, all unique dishes created to put a higher-end twist on beloved dishes your mom may have made you when you were younger. But this is not your mother’s cooking (sorry mom). MADE is an award-winning and creative restaurant that will make a fun and yummy lunch destination.

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