Featured Restaurant

Great Italian Restaurant in Sarasota

By | March 17, 2015

Mona Lisa portrait

Mona Lisa portraitHidden in The Meadows of Sarasota is a little gem of a restaurant call Mona Lisa. I had the occasion to dine there recently with family and will definitely return. This is a small, quaint spot in the Shopping Village within The Meadows neighborhood. There are about 12 tables with white tablecloths inside and several more on an outside patio overlooking a lake. It’s a very casual and comfortable setting.

Mona LisaThe food is not your run-of-the-mill Italian. I ordered one of the specials which was Seafood Sambuca which consisted of shrimp and scallops in a Sambuca cream sauce over linguini pasta…delish! All entrees come with your choice of house or ceasar salad , a side of pasta with your choice of sauce and fresh bread. Other dishes at our table were grilled salmon, tilapia with white wine and lemon and veal piccata and everyone was pleased with the quality of the food. The service was very attentive even though it was a busy night. They really do make you feel like they’re glad you’re there. Beer and wine are available.

Even though this is a small family operated restaurant they seem to be well known in the area. We were there on a Tuesday evening and it was busy with several groups waiting. I’d definitely suggest making a reservation if you go and I highly recommend that you try it next time you’re in the mood for an authentic Italian meal.

For reservations call 941-377-6562 or visit their website for menus and other information at www.monalisasrq.com.

 

Read more »

New Dining at the Mall at University Town Center

By | December 22, 2014

University Town Center Mall

University Town Center MallSarasota has a tremendous variety of dining options and now with the newly opened Mall at University Town Center we have quite a few more including: The Cheesecake Factory, Kona Grill, Seasons 52, Brio Tuscan Grille, The Capital Grill, Sophie’s, Mandarin Express, Antie Anne’s Pretzels, Rise Pies Handcrafted Pizza, Starbucks and Smoothie King. There are even more scheduled to open in the coming months: Burger & Beer Joint and Yo! Sushi.

If you’re looking for a fun outing…check out the new mall and try one of these new restaurants for lunch or dinner.

For their location and more information visit the mall’s website at http://www.mallatutc.com/dining_entertainment

 

 

Read more »

CineBistro Coming to Westfield Southgate Mall

By | November 24, 2014

CineBistro

Great Job Westfield Southgate Mall and Cobb Theaters!

CineBistro

Westfield Southgate Mall on Siesta Drive in Sarasota has announced they plan to open a new 7-screen movie theater in 2015. CineBistro is a luxury movie theater for adults 21 and older. If you have not been to one of the current locations (closest is Hyde Park Village in South Tampa), you are missing out. It is the perfect combination of “dinner and a movie” set all in one place!

They feature reclining leather chairs, a chef inspired menu, playing first-run and independent movies. The Sarasota location is also planning a bar with a dining lounge and patio. The food options are: appetizers, entrees, salads, sandwiches and desserts. You may also order from a full bar, beer and wine list.

If you choose to dine while watching the movie, the wait staff efficiently takes your drink and food orders just after being seated in the theater. Right before the movie begins, the staff delivers your order so as not to disturb you or the other guests in the theater. I initially thought it would be a good fit for the Lakewood Ranch area, but like this choice better. Southgate is a perfect place for those in all areas of Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice, but will also allow our residents and visitors to Siesta Key and Lido – Longboat areas to make a quick trip.

I’m looking forward to the Grand Opening! Here is the website to keep an eye on the new location opening and check out other locations… http://cobbcinebistro.com

Read more »

Rosa Fiorelli Winery

By | October 14, 2014

Rosa Fiorelli Winery

Rosa Fiorelli WineryLast weekend the weather was perfect for a convertible ride so we headed east from Lakewood Ranch to check out the Rosa Fiorelli Winery in east Manatee County. We tasted some really nice wines and enjoyed chatting with Heather and Rosa in their tasting room.

They have been in business for 16 years. The Winery has its own building for fermenting and bottling, and a separate building for tasting and sales and has recently expanded to 10 acres of vineyard and a 3000 sq. ft. winery. Mature grapevines allow for u-pick fresh grapes bronze or black Muscadine grapes in early August to September.

I always thought that muscadine grapes would just make a very sweet wine but found they have quite a variety from dry to sweet. The last sample was of a dessert wine that was to die for with a bite of chocolate!

Throughout the year they offer tours and Wine & Dine events so check out their website for dates and further information.

www.fiorelliwinery.com

 

Read more »

Happy Birthday Smacks Burgers & Shakes!

By | August 2, 2014

S'Macks Logo

S'Macks LogoS’macks Burgers & Shakes, the younger sibling of Gecko’s Grill & Pub, is celebrating a big birthday. Wednesday, August 6th marks the beginning of the Better Burger concept’s one year milestone at the corner of Bee Ridge & Shade in Sarasota.

S’macks is Polished Casual food with a conscience. With its 100% Hormone and Steroid free Bison Burgers, Choice Angus, and locally sourced Top Dogs, S’macks’ original menu evolved to honor the requests of our guests, and now includes Chicken and Vegetarian options, daily Chef Specials, specialty Iced Teas, and inspired Frozen Custard flavors. S’macks’ Fries, a tasty crinkle cut, immediately earned “Best Fries” distinction with SRQ Magazine.

Join S’macks to celebrate its Birthday with Frozen Chosen Happy Hour from 3-5pm Monday through Friday this week, where you can make a Birthday wish and enjoy your choice of Frozen Custard, Shakes, or Concretes for half price.

Smacks Burgers & Shakes
Compliments SRQ Daily

Read more »

The Hob Nob Drive-In in Sarasota

By | July 4, 2014

Hob Nob SignThe Hob Nob is an institution in Sarasota that has been around since the 50’s. Located at the corner of Highway 301 and 17th Street, this open air diner has retained its historical charm. Lots of black and white checkerd tile and chrome seats with red vinyl. It’s a casual, friendly atmosphere and almost always bustling with activity. Recent renovations included roll down shades for rainy days and heaters for our few winter days.

Hob Nob Drive In They have all the old fashioned diner food: burgers, fries, milkshakes, etc. plus alot more. We were in the mood for hot dogs and onion rings with a cold beer after a day at the beach. This was the perfect spot! We sat at the counter and were amazed at how much food was coming out of that little kitchen. The servers are friendly and efficient. There are no frills here but it’s a fun place to stop in for a bite. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Check out the menu at http://www.hobnobdrivein.com/menus.html

Read more »

Real Southern Style Cooking at Darrell’s Restaurant

By | June 6, 2014

Darrell's Restaurant Sign

Darrell's Restaurant SignDARRELL’S Restaurant is tucked away at the Brick Yard Plaza in Venice off Tamiami Trail. I had heard so many wonderful comments the last few months about the “Super Yummy” food so we decided to give it an honest try this past Sunday evening. Owner, Darrell came out personally to greet us at our table and and thanked us for coming. He really prides himself in running a great restaurant with his hands on attentive staff and it shows with his caring genuine nature to make sure every table leaves full, happy and content!

There are so many wonderful meal choices on the menu but we first started off with Sweet Teas served in Mason jars which was a nice presentation. Being that it was the first time, we chose Two of Darrell’s Signature Items: My pick was the “Andy Dandy”- a plentiful portion of delectable pulled pork and slices beef brisket seasoned to perfection along with homemade cheesy mac and cheese, coleslaw and a nice slice of cornbread. My husband chose “Down The Keys Mac & Cheese” with shrimp and crawfish tail along with a sweet potato with a slice of cornbread… not a morsel was left on his plate when he was done. To finish off the meal, we shared a “Jar of Dirt” which was chocolate pudding & oreo cookies with whipped topping which was fun to eat and brought out the kid in us again. This is now our Favorite Place for Real Homemade Cooking… next time it’ll be the Fried Chicken!

Menu: www.darrellsrestaurant.net

Read more »

First Watch Restaurant in Sarasota

By | May 27, 2014

First Watch Logo

First Watch LogoWay back when, in the 1980’s a trip to Sarasota was not complete without at least one stop at the quite novel First Watch Restaurant at 8383 S Tamiami Trail. In those days it was not common to find a breakfast, lunch or brunch restaurant with health minded food, what a fabulous concept! The smell of coffee and toast, so inviting. In those days the First Watch Restaurant was a family run, one of a kind spot. Though First Watch started in California in the early 80’s, it did not survive there but opened a few years later in Sarasota. In Sarasota it is was not only popular, but grew to hundreds of restaurants in 16 states!Sarasota has several locations but if you want to relax and feel like you’re on vacation and maybe you already are, you need to visit this location.

Waterfront Dining on the Patio

Waterfront Dining on the Patio

Don’t let it fool you that it’s in a small strip mall, the lakefront setting is peaceful with a choice of terrace dining or inside, still with lovely views from walls of French windows.. I’ve always been drawn to the Bacado omelet but love the Siesta Key Cocktail, a healthy choice with yogurt, fresh fruit and granola. One of my SearchForSarasotaHomes.com visitors has thoughts of moving back to Sarasota solely for their vegetable soup! Now that’s saying something!!!

Check out the menu at FirstWatch.com

Read more »

MONKS STEAMER BAR in Gulf Gate

By | April 24, 2014

Monk's Steamer Bar

Monk's Steamer BarOK, I’ve held off for a while now so as not to give away our favorite local hang-out and date-nite spot with my wife… But, here it is… Eat at Monk’s in Gulf Gate on Superior Drive! It is a local dive bar but full of energy, great staff, patrons, music and food! Monk’s serves up steamed oysters, raw oysters-the best in town, crab claws, shrimp, crawfish, clams, and more! They even sell wholesale. Don’t miss that famous laugh by one of our favorite bartenders, Pineapple! All the food is shucked and steamed right behind the bar as the guys (and gal) rush around like neutrons pleasing the crowd! Monk’s is smoke-free now but they just built a beautiful wood deck out front for the outside diners and smokers. If you want excellent seafood, DO NOT MISS MONK’S! Say ‘hi’ and tell ‘em we sent you!

Read more »

Polo Grill and Bar in Lakewood Ranch

By | February 28, 2014

Polo Grill

Polo GrillWe hadn’t been to the Polo Grill in awhile so last weekend my husband and I decided to check it out. We had heard that a new chef was hired and some remodeling had been done to the space so we were anxious to see it.

I would describe the atmosphere as casually elegant with the dining area divided by comfortable booths with tables inbetween. Ambient lighting and music was pleasant but the highlight of our evening there was definitely the food, although the drinks were good too. They have a special martini menu with some selections I had never seen before and their wine list is extensive.

The new chef, Stephane Pierre, has created a varied menu that uses locally sourced ingredients and all the sauces are made from scratch. We both ordered fish; I had the soy and honey laquered salmon and my husband had pan seared red snapper with a crabmeat and sundried tomato topping…both were outstanding! The presentation was what you would expect to find in an upscale restaurant.

According to Mark Resnick, the General Manager, they are having a good response to all the changes that have been made. There are quite a few special events that take place at the Polo Grill as well as Tuesday Night Trivia each week and live music every Friday and Saturday night. If you’re in need of catering or an event venue…they have that too!

If you haven’t been to the Polo Grill lately I encourage you to get reaquainted…you won’t regret it! It’s located on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch and open for lunch and dinner.

www.pologrillandbar.com

 

Read more »