Restaurants

Bijou Cafe for Fine Dining in the Theater & Arts District of Sarasota

By | October 24, 2014

bijou

bijouThe Bijou Café is a charming Continental-American restaurant located in the heart of Sarasota’s downtown Theatre & Arts District. Over the years the cuisine, award-winning wine list and exemplary unobtrusive service have set the standard for dining on the Sun Coast and established the Bijou as one of Sarasota’s most sought after fine dining destinations.

Since 1986, Chef Jean-Pierre Knaggs and his wife Shay have owned and operated The Bijou Café. It has grown from a small 50-seat restaurant to a seating capacity of 140 people in three separate dining rooms. The enchanting décor you’d expect in a quaint, but modern European café surrounds you with French windows and doors throughout, sparkling glassware, bouquets of freshly-picked flowers and the soft glow of candlelight.

We recently visited the Bijou Café with our neighborhood dining group of 24 people. It’s great to have a place that has wonderful food, service and can easily accomodate large parties or be a perfect spot for a special dinner for two.

Check them out at http://www.bijoucafe.net/

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REALLY GOOD BARBECUE!

By | September 1, 2014

Hickory Hollow BBQ

Hickory Hollow BBQWell I couldn’t have said it better myself than this writer for Ticket Sarasota. My husband and I visited Hickory Hollow last week in search of barbecue that rivals that of his favorite in Atlanta, Fat Matt’s Rib Shack. Well we found it at Hickory Hollow. Very casual atmosphere, great service with friendly wait staff that help each other out when busy. We had a really pleasant time and a great meal. So, it’s in Ellenton. The next time you head to the outlet mall, plan a visit. I hear the crab cakes are exceptional. We are saving those for our next visit. Read more about it here… http://www.ticketsarasota.com/2014/08/25/hickory-hollow-bar-b-que/

For more information visit their website at http://www.hickoryhollowbbq.com/

They are located in Ellenton at 4705 US Highway 301 N.

 

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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

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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

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Blu Mangrove Grill in Palmetto

By | June 27, 2014

Blu Mangrove Grill

Blu Mangrove GrillBlu Mangrove Grill is located in the marina at Riviera Dunes in Palmetto just north of downtown Bradenton on the Manatee River. They are open for lunch and dinner and offer both indoor and outdoor patio seating. Even on the warmest of days the patio is comfortable with umbrella tables, fans and misters throughout.

Blu Mangrove Grill TableThe menu features smoked infused cuisine featuring hardwood grilled favorites cooked low and slow over hickory and apple wood with a selection of steak, chops, fowl and fresh seafood. In addition there is a wide variety of appetizers, soups, salads and sandwiches and even a kid’s menu. They have a full bar and regularly offer drink specials and happy hour. Service was prompt and attentive.

We are always on the lookout for a good waterfront dining spot and found this one to be really enjoyable so if you’re in the area check it out!

For more information visit their website http://www.blumangrovegrill.com/

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Star Fish Company in Cortez

By | June 20, 2014

Star Fish Company

Star Fish CompanyStar Fish Company is one of the best fresh fish and seafood markets in town. Located in the quaint fishing village of Cortez, they have not only the seafood market but a dockside restaurant which we had the good fortune to visit recently.

They serve fresh Florida seafood prepared in the simplest of ways. Most items are either fried, grilled, blackened or sauteed. Sides are kept simple, too. There’s cole slaw, cheese grits and french fries. Of course, don’t forget the hush puppies! My husband and I both ordered the grouper sandwich (mine grilled, his blackened). You can tell the fish is fresh and it’s served in a paper box with their own house made tartar sauce.

star-fish-company-docksideThe view from Star’s dock is incredible. It includes mangrove islands, Jewfish Key, Longboat Key and Bradenton Beach. Add to that the local commercial fishing fleet and you’ve got one of the most scenic places found on Florida’s Gulf coast.

 

 

If you’re looking for a taste of old Florida and a really great meal check out Star Fish Company’s Dockside Restaurant.

Check out their website for more information at http://starfishcompany.com/starfishcompany/index.html

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Seventh Annual Fish Fry and Shrimp Boil June 28th

By | June 18, 2014

Low Country Shrimp Boil

Low Country Shrimp BoilOysters to the left, shrimp to the right, savory aromas of spicy andouille sausages, hearty gumbo and fried catfish along with the musical sounds of the Gumbo Boogie Band fill the air. For one night only, Lakewood Ranch Polo Grill and Bar transforms into a Cajun celebration of fresh seafood, live music and New Orleans excitement.

The Seventh Annual Spyder Broussard Low Country, East County, Fish Fry and Shrimp Boil will be held June 28 at 6:30pm. Broussard, a Louisiana native, and Chef Tommy Klauber will join forces to create a sensational buffet featuring Cajun and Creole favorites such as: Zatarain’s Boiled Shrimp with Sweet Corn and Andouille Sausage, Central Grocery Style Muffulettas, Barbecue Brisket Sliders and Crawfish Corn Dogs with Honey Mustard. Reservations required and casual attire is expected in order to laissez le bon temps roulez—let the good times roll!

Courtesy of SRQDaily

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Gulf Drive Cafe on Anna Maria Island

By | June 13, 2014

Gulf Drive Cafe

The Gulf Drive Café has been in business on the beach in Bradenton since 1981. It sits directly on the spectacular sugar white sands and turquoise emerald views of the Gulf of Mexico on Anna Maria Island’s south end. Recently renovated they added a large outdoor patio and two tiki huts. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and we recently had breakfast on the patio and I have to say this is one of the best waterfront dining locations on the island.

We had perfect beach weather here on Saturday so this was a great start to a perfect beach day. The food was tasty and they have a good variety of things on the menu. There is plenty of parking in their lot across the street. We got there early so didn’t have to wait for a table. Once the vacationers are up in the later morning it gets busy but I think it’s worth the wait!

Visit their website for menus and more information at http://gulfdrivetiki.com/

 

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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

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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

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