by Nan Kavanaugh | May 20, 2021

The Best Places to Chow Down in Sarasota

Savor Sarasota returns with big flavor, endless offerings and a chance to test your palate.

Two diners, a man and woman, enjoy a beachfront meal in Savor Sarasota.
During Savor Sarasota, you can taste test all that this Gulf Coast gem has to offer without breaking the bank. Photography courtesy of Visit Sarasota.

The phrase “Restaurant Week” should make anyone’s heart sing after a year of quarantine. With the return of Savor Sarasota, indulging in a long leisurely lunch on a café patio or an intimate dinner conversation over the Friday night din of a bustling restaurant is no longer a distant memory of a life once well lived. From June 1 to June 14, locals and visitors alike can dive into two weeks of delicious prix fixe menus for both lunch and dinner at premiere restaurants throughout the region.

There is no better way to explore a city than through its restaurant culture. Restaurants are lively gathering spaces that tell their own stories about the communities they serve. Celebrating its 16th year, Savor Sarasota provides an opportunity to enjoy the nuances of neighborhood cafes as well as the sophisticated thrill of fine dining, all at an incredible price point. Participating restaurants offer a multicourse lunch for $16, dinner for $32 per person and takeout options. Whether dining in or taking out, every dollar supports local business owners as they rebuild after a devastating year.

Restaurants are lively gathering spaces that tell their own stories about the communities they serve.

This year’s event includes more than 40 restaurants, ranging from iconic establishments like Sardinia’s and Michaels on East to notable newcomers like Circo, Reef Cakes and Libby’s at Lakewood Ranch. With so many exceptional choices, it’s difficult to know where to dig in first. For a curated experience, consider these three culinary itineraries to explore Savor Sarasota.

For the Global Palate

Over the two-week dining extravaganza, wine and dine like a globetrotter with these delicious options:

Lunch or Brunch at C’est La Vie for a French bistro experience complete with fresh baked croissants, perfect salade niçoise, delicate sole meuniere and endless people watching from your streetside café table.

For authentic Italian fare, Chef Andrea Bozzolo of Andrea’s Restaurant turns out a beautiful menu featuring both bright Mediterranean dishes like octopus and potato salad as well as hearty classics like veal Milanese or his famous lasagna with bechamel Bolognese and parmesan.

Go hungry to Rodizio Grill. This Brazilian steakhouse Savor Sarasota menu boasts all you can eat appetizers and salads, including Brazilian polenta and salada queijo fresco. But make sure to save room for the churrasco-style rotisserie-grilled meats course served up tableside by gauchos.

Seafood Sensations

Chef Troy Torman in the kitchen holding a fish over a pan.
Chef Troy Torman of Crab & Fin serves up fresh, flavorful seafood at his St. Armands Circle eatery. Photography courtesy of Crab & Fin.

When on the coast, seafood is always a great choice. Savor Sarasota spotlights a variety of seafood restaurants to enjoy some of the freshest fish in the city. Here are a few to get your toes wet:

Looking for a fresh catch? Off the Hook is your best bet. Its offerings depend on what came in off the boat that day, and diners select the preparation from an eclectic list of options including blackened orange butter or cashew crusted.

Hit St. Armands Circle for a day of shopping topped off with a fabulous meal at Crab & Fin. Start with the yellowfin tuna tartare and move on to the Gulf shrimp scampi with a Key lime pie finish. While not included, a bottle of crisp white wine would be a perfect pairing.

Captain Brian’s is known for its smoked fish dip, which is on deck as an appetizer on the lunch menu. For dinner, choose between the local grouper or red snapper. Both are excellent options for a taste of the bounty of Gulf Coast living.

Date Night Darlings

A Savor Sarasota dish
From international-inspired dishes to shareable tapas, Savor Sarasota will help you plan the perfect date night at the right price point. Photography by Adam Cellini.

Savor Sarasota is the perfect way to impress a date or three for that matter. There are two weeks to take advantage of fantastic dining savings, so dress to impress and hit the town.

Chef Lan at Mélange always dishes up something sure to impress, and restaurant week is no exception. Duck brie crepes with currants, almonds and brandy cream sauce or the roasted beet risotto with orange supremes, parmesan and toasted cashews will spark conversation and your palate.

Tapas are the perfect date night meal, and Bohemios Wine and Beer Tapas Bar provides a romantic backdrop for an intimate evening of sharing. A glass of wine is included with the prix fixe menu, which is always a plus.

The Ringling Grillroom at John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and the Bistro at the Sarasota Art Museum boast a two-for-one date night experience.  Each restaurant offers a fabulous prix fixe menu and includes a romantic museum gallery stroll. If you prefer the traditional dinner-and-a-movie date night, CMX CinéBistro is serving up chef-crafted cuisine in their state-of-the-art theater. Don’t have time for a two-hour movie? Swing by for a cocktail or an appetizer; the restaurant and bar are open to the public, movie ticket or not.

Element: Steak. Seafood. Pasta. offers a wide-ranging menu and a trendy atmosphere. Go surf and turf style with the Chimichurri mussels followed by the shaved prime sirloin “French dip” sandwich. With a full bar, it is an inspired choice for kicking off a night downtown.

For a full listing of restaurants and featured menus go to: