10 Best Restaurants in Sarasota

Discover the 10 best restaurants in Sarasota, from fresh seafood shacks to elegant fine dining. Your perfect meal awaits!


Dan Z

4/25/202413 min read

cooked dish on white ceramic plate at Sarasota restaurant
cooked dish on white ceramic plate at Sarasota restaurant

Sarasota, Florida, isn't just about beaches and sunshine. It's a hidden foodie paradise! From fresh seafood served with a side of ocean views to upscale spots perfect for special occasions, we've found the best restaurants in Sarasota to satisfy every craving. Ready to dig in?

Here's a List and Our Opinion of the Best Restaurants in Sarasota:

Indigenous Restaurant: Way More Than Just Fancy Food

Okay, if you're serious about eating amazing food in Sarasota, you gotta check out Indigenous. This place is always popping up on those "best restaurant" lists, and trust me, it's not just hype. Here's the deal:

  • Forget About Stuffy: Think of that really cool old house turned into a cozy restaurant – that's Indigenous. It's fancy-ish, but in a way that makes you feel welcome, not intimidated.

  • Fresh, Local, and YUM: They're all about using what's grown nearby and in season. Their menu is always changing, so you get the tastiest stuff, cooked up with some seriously creative ideas.

  • Waitstaff That Knows Their Stuff: The people working at Indigenous really care. They can tell you where your fish came from, what wine goes perfectly with your dish... you'll feel like a VIP.

  • It's a Whole Experience: Indigenous isn't one of those "eat and run" places. Their cocktails are awesome, the atmosphere is chill – it's the kind of place you go for a special night out or when you just want the best.

Tips From Someone Who's Been:

  • Reservations, Please! Seriously, this place gets booked up, especially in the busy season. Plan ahead!

  • Try Something New: They have tasting menus where the chef surprises you, or specials featuring the freshest seafood around. Be adventurous, it's worth it!

  • Lunch is Cool Too: If you want a fancy lunch that's less pricey, they've got a lighter menu for daytime.

Indigenous is proof that Sarasota knows good food. It's not just about the ingredients (though those are awesome), it's the whole experience that makes it special.

Owen's Fish Camp: Where "Old Florida" Meets Awesome Seafood

If you want that classic Florida seafood shack vibe, but with food that'll seriously impress you, Owen's Fish Camp is your spot. This place is a Sarasota institution, and there's a reason everyone loves it.

  • The Atmosphere: Imagine old fishing photos on the walls, picnic tables, maybe a live band playing some Jimmy Buffett...that's Owen's. It's relaxed, fun, and the perfect place to roll in with some sandy toes.

  • Seafood Straight From the Source: Fresh is the name of the game here. Their fish is caught locally, and you can taste the difference. Think fried grouper sandwiches, peel-and-eat shrimp, and the kind of hushpuppies you dream about.

  • More Than Just Fried Stuff: Sure, they do fried seafood perfectly, but don't sleep on the rest of the menu. They've got blackened fish options, creative salads, and even some Southern-style sides that are surprisingly delicious.

  • Drinks That Make You Smile: Owen's has a killer bar with all those tropical cocktails you crave on vacation. Their margaritas are dangerously good, and they've got a solid beer selection too.

  • It's a Whole Scene: Owen's isn't just about the food (though that's important!). They often have live music, a buzzing crowd, and the kind of laid-back energy that makes you want to stay way past dessert.

Tips for the Perfect Owen's Experience:

  • Get There Early! This place fills up fast, especially on weekends and nice evenings. Plan ahead or be prepared to chill with a drink while you wait for a table.

  • Embrace the Casual: Don't overdress – shorts and flip-flops are totally fine at Owen's. It's all about feeling relaxed and enjoying yourself.

  • Bring the Crew: Owen's has big tables perfect for groups. It's a fun spot for birthdays, family gatherings, or just a night out with a bunch of friends.

Owen's Fish Camp is like taking a little vacation to old-school Florida with the bonus of incredible food and drinks. It's a must-try if you want to experience the fun side of Sarasota dining.

Shore: Beach Views & Food You'll Actually Crave

Okay, if you want to feel like you're on the set of a fancy beach movie, Shore is the place. It's located right on St. Armands Circle, which is this super cute shopping area near the water. Imagine big windows, cool light fixtures, and the prettiest view of the shops and the beach.

  • More Than Just Looks: Shore isn't just about the fancy atmosphere. The food is seriously legit too. We're talking fresh seafood, creative plates, and stuff that looks almost too pretty to eat (but trust me, you will).

  • Upscale But Not Uptight: You can dress up for a special occasion at Shore, or just come in after a long day at the beach. They have this chill-yet-elegant vibe that makes everyone feel welcome.

  • Cocktails Worth Talking About: If you like trying new drinks, Shore is your happy place. They have mixologists who make crazy good cocktails with interesting ingredients.

  • Not Just For Dinner: Brunch at Shore is a thing, and it's fancy! Think fancy pancakes, big seafood platters to share, and mimosas that make you feel like you're on vacation.

Things to Know about Shore:

  • Reservations Matter: Shore gets busy, especially during peak season and weekends. Book a table in advance, especially if you want one with a view.

  • Pricey, But Worth It: This isn't your everyday cheap eats place. But if you want quality food, a nice atmosphere, and a memorable experience, Shore delivers.

  • St. Armands Scene: After your meal, take a walk around St. Armands Circle. It's packed with shops, cute cafes, and sometimes even street performers. It's a perfect place to keep the good vibes going.

Shore is the kind of place you go when you want to treat yourself to the Sarasota "good life." It's got those postcard-perfect beach views, incredible food, and an overall experience that will make your vacation even better.

Euphemia Haye: Where Fancy Food Meets Old-School Charm

If you're looking for that special occasion restaurant with a touch of history, Euphemia Haye is a Sarasota classic. This place has been around for ages, and it's known for its romantic setting, huge wine list, and that feeling of stepping back in time a little.

  • The Atmosphere: Imagine a cozy old cottage with multiple dining rooms, each decorated in a slightly different style. Think candlelight, white tablecloths, and a sense of old-fashioned elegance.

  • Food Fit for Foodies: Euphemia Haye serves up classic dishes with fancy twists. They're big on fresh ingredients, creative combinations, and beautiful presentation. Expect lots of steak and seafood options.

  • Dessert is a Big Deal: They're famous for tableside preparations – like crepes made right next to you with flambé and all that good stuff. It's a show and delicious too!

  • Wine Lovers Rejoice: If you're into wine, Euphemia Haye is like heaven. Their wine list is enormous, and they have knowledgeable staff who can help you find the perfect pairing.

  • It's a Whole Experience: This isn't the "eat and run" kind of place. It's all about taking your time, enjoying the service, and feeling a little fancy.

Tips for the Full Euphemia Haye Experience:

  • Reservations, Please!: Especially during peak season, you'll need to snag a table in advance.

  • Embrace the Dress Code: While not super formal, leave your beach shorts at home. Euphemia Haye has a slightly more polished dress code.

  • Save Room for Dessert!: Seriously, even if you're stuffed, those tableside desserts are legendary for a reason.

  • Explore Upstairs: Euphemia Haye has a casual upstairs called the Haye Loft with a separate menu. It's great for a lighter meal or cocktails with a more relaxed vibe.

Euphemia Haye is a Sarasota tradition. It's the perfect spot for a romantic date night, a milestone celebration, or when you want to experience a piece of Sarasota culinary history.

Ophelia's on the Bay: Dinner with a View You Won't Forget

If your idea of a perfect night includes a killer sunset, amazing food, and waterfront views, put Ophelia's on the Bay at the top of your Sarasota list. This place is all about the location – it's perched right on the water of Little Sarasota Bay on Siesta Key.

  • The Setting: Picture big windows, a fancy-but-not-stuffy dining room, and a huge outdoor patio where you can watch the sun dip into the water. It's romantic with a capital R.

  • Seafood Stars Here: They're known for super fresh seafood dishes cooked with a modern flair. Think beautifully plated fish, creative sauces, and the kind of food that makes you want to slow down and savor each bite.

  • More Than Just Fish: Even if seafood isn't your jam, Ophelia's has other options like steaks, pasta, and some seriously mouthwatering desserts.

  • It's a Siesta Key Icon: Ophelia's has been a Siesta Key favorite for years. It's got that perfect blend of timeless and trendy.

  • Dress to Impress (or Not): You can dress up for date night at Ophelia's, or go a little more casual if you've been out on the beach all day. The vibe is elegant but relaxed.

Insider Tips for Ophelia's:

  • Book a Sunset Table: To snag the best seats with a view, make a reservation and specifically request a waterside table at sunset.

  • Take Your Time: Ophelia's is perfect for lingering – enjoy cocktails before dinner, watch the sky change colors, and order dessert even if you think you're full.

  • Get Social: Their social media often has previews of their special menus or events. Check it out for inspiration before you go.

Ophelia's on the Bay is the kind of place you go for a truly special meal. It's where you take out-of-town guests to impress them, where you celebrate anniversaries, or where you simply treat yourself to a taste of the good life in Sarasota.

Selva Grill: Sarasota's Spiciest Secret (in the Best Way)

If you like food with a kick and flavors that make you go "wow," Selva Grill needs to be on your foodie radar. This place brings Latin American flavors, especially Peruvian-inspired dishes, to Sarasota's dining scene with a whole lot of personality.

  • The Vibe: Selva Grill is cool and vibrant. Imagine colorful artwork, upbeat music, and a lively atmosphere. It's the kind of place where you start the night feeling happy and leave even happier.

  • Bold Flavors Take Center Stage: Forget bland. They're all about spicy sauces, bright citrus notes, and interesting combinations that will wake up your taste buds.

  • Cocktails That Pack a Punch: Their cocktail menu is just as adventurous as their food. Think pisco sours, lots of fresh fruit flavors, and the kind of drinks that make you want to try them all.

  • Great for Sharing: Selva Grill encourages sharing plates and trying a bit of everything. It's the perfect place to go with a group who loves to try new things.

  • Not Your Typical Night Out: Selva Grill is a bit louder and livelier than some of the other spots on this list. It's a great option for a fun celebration or when you need some extra energy in your night.

Tips for the Best Selva Grill Experience:

  • Don't Fear the Spice: They can adjust heat levels, but even a little kick is part of the Selva experience. Embrace it!

  • Make Reservations: This place gets busy, especially on weekends. Book in advance to avoid disappointment.

  • Room for Dessert?: Their desserts are often just as bold and surprising as the savory dishes. Leave a little room for something sweet.

  • Check Out Their Events: Selva sometimes has live music or themed nights, which amps up the fun even more.

Selva Grill is the place to go when you're craving a night out that's both delicious and exciting. Their flavors are unforgettable, and the lively atmosphere will bring a boost of energy to your Sarasota trip.

Michael's on East: Where Classic Fine Dining Shines

If you're looking for that old-school, upscale dining experience where every detail is perfect, Michael's on East is THE Sarasota institution. This place has been serving up classic elegance for decades, and it shows.

  • The Setting: Think white tablecloths, polished silverware, and a hushed, sophisticated atmosphere. It's the perfect place for those special occasions when you want to dress up and feel a little fancy.

  • Food Focused on Quality: Michael's is all about classic steakhouse and seafood dishes done to perfection. Expect top-notch ingredients, beautiful presentations, and flavors that rely on expert technique rather than crazy trends.

  • Wine Cellar of Dreams: If you're a wine lover, buckle up. Michael's On East has a legendary wine cellar with a vast selection. Their knowledgeable sommeliers can help you find the perfect pairing for your meal.

  • Service is Their Superpower: The staff at Michael's on East are pros. They're attentive without being intrusive, and they have that knack for making you feel like a VIP.

  • It's a Sarasota Landmark: Michael's on East isn't just a restaurant, it's part of Sarasota's history. You're likely to see locals celebrating milestones and visitors who've made it a must-try tradition.

Things to Know About Michael's on East:

  • Reservations are Essential: Especially in peak season, you'll absolutely need to book a table in advance.

  • Dress to Impress: Leave the flip-flops at home. Michael's has a dress code that leans on the dressier side.

  • It's an Investment: Michael's on East is one of Sarasota's pricier restaurants. However, if you're looking for impeccable food, top-notch service, and a special occasion experience, it's worth the splurge.

Michael's on East is the go-to for when you want a classic fine dining experience with all the bells and whistles. Whether it's a romantic anniversary, a milestone birthday, or simply a craving for the best steak in town, Michael's delivers.

Mozaic Restaurant: Mediterranean Flavors with a Modern Touch

If you love those bright, fresh flavors of Mediterranean cooking, Mozaic Restaurant is going to be your new Sarasota favorite. This place takes inspiration from the cuisines of Greece, Turkey, and around the Mediterranean, but adds creative touches to keep things interesting.

  • The Atmosphere: Mozaic feels upscale but not overly formal. It's got warm colors, interesting artwork, and a welcoming vibe. You could dress up for a date night or go more casual and still feel right at home.

  • Focus on Fresh: They're big on using seasonal ingredients, and you can taste that freshness in everything from their salads to their seafood dishes.

  • Flavors That Transport You: Get ready for fragrant spices, bright herbs, and dishes that make you feel like you're on a sunny Mediterranean vacation. Think grilled octopus, lamb prepared perfectly, and vegetarian options that are just as exciting.

  • Perfect for Sharing: Mozaic encourages ordering multiple plates to try a bit of everything. This makes it a great choice for a group who loves good food and trying new things.

  • Room for Celebration: While it's great for any occasion, Mozaic shines for special nights out. The beautiful food presentation and interesting flavors make it feel extra special.

Tips for Your Mozaic Experience:

  • Embrace the Adventure: If you're not familiar with Mediterranean cuisine, let the staff guide you. They're happy to explain dishes and help you find something you'll love.

  • Make Reservations: Mozaic gets busy, especially during peak season, so it's smart to snag a table in advance.

  • Consider the Tasting Menu: If you really want to explore their flavors, they offer a tasting menu that's a great way to sample a variety.

Mozaic is the kind of restaurant that makes you excited about food again. Their flavors are vibrant, their dishes are prepared with care, and the overall experience is a lovely escape from the ordinary.

Columbia Restaurant: A Taste of Florida History (With Amazing Cuban Food)

If you want to experience a Sarasota institution, Columbia Restaurant on St. Armands Circle is an absolute must. It's the oldest restaurant in Florida and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world! It's not just about the food (though that's great too); it's about the history and the lively atmosphere.

  • Step Back in Time: With its tiled floors, ornate décor, and old-school charm, Columbia feels like it's from another era. It's got a beautiful enclosed courtyard and multiple dining rooms, each with its own vibe.

  • Cuban Classics Done Right: Columbia is famous for its Cuban dishes like Paella, roast pork, plantains, and their legendary "1905 Salad" prepared tableside with a bit of flair.

  • It's a Lively Scene: Columbia isn't the quiet, romantic type of spot. Expect a bit of a buzz, especially during peak times, but that's part of its charm. It's a great place for people-watching and feeling the energy of St. Armands.

  • Drinks Are Part of the Deal: Their sangria is a classic, and the mojitos are strong and tasty. The perfect pairing to your Cuban feast!

  • Embrace the St. Armands Stroll: After your meal, the fun isn't over. St. Armands Circle is full of shops, cafes, and sometimes even street performers. It's the ideal place to walk off your meal and enjoy the atmosphere.

Tips for the Best Columbia Experience:

  • Expect a Wait: Especially on weekends and during peak season, be prepared to wait for a table. Go early, or relax with a drink at their bar while you wait.

  • Share the 1905 Salad: It's made tableside and meant to be shared. A fun part of the Columbia ritual!

  • Price Point: Columbia is surprisingly affordable given its historic location. It's perfect for families or groups who want good food without breaking the bank.

Columbia is more than a restaurant; it's a slice of Florida history served with a side of deliciousness. Whether you're a local or a visitor, it's definitely an experience worth having in Sarasota.

Bijou Cafe: French Charm in the Heart of Sarasota

For a taste of classic French cuisine in an intimate setting, Bijou Cafe is a Sarasota gem. This place has been serving up delicious food and European ambiance for years, making it a favorite for romantic evenings and special occasions.

  • The Setting: Picture a small, cozy dining room with candlelight, warm colors, and a touch of French bistro charm. It's the perfect place for a date night or a quiet meal with close friends.

  • Classic French Favorites: Think rich sauces, perfectly cooked meats, and the kind of dishes that make you say, "oh la la!". Expect steak frites, escargot, duck confit, and all the French classics you crave.

  • Impressive Wine List: Bijou Cafe takes its wine seriously. Their list is thoughtfully curated with a great selection of French wines, perfect for pairing with your meal.

  • It's About the Details: The service at Bijou is attentive and knowledgeable, adding to the overall fine dining experience. They take pride in delivering those small touches that make a meal feel special.

  • Special Occasions Shine Here: Bijou is ideal for those moments you want to celebrate. The romantic atmosphere and focus on quality ingredients make it a place where every meal feels memorable.

Insider Tips for Bijou Cafe:

  • Reservations are a Must: This place is cozy and fills up quickly, especially on weekends. Book your table well in advance.

  • Let Them Guide You: If you're unsure what to order, the staff is fantastic with recommendations for both food and wine.

  • Save Room for Dessert: Their chocolate mousse is legendary, and the other dessert options are equally tempting.

  • Linger a Little Longer: Bijou isn't the place to rush through a meal. Take your time, enjoy a bottle of wine, and savor the experience.

Bijou Cafe is a little slice of France tucked away in Sarasota. If you're craving those classic French flavors, an intimate atmosphere, and a meal that feels like a treat, this is your spot.

This list of awesome restaurants is just the beginning of your Sarasota food adventure. Whether you want fancy seafood on the beach, crazy creative dishes with Latin flair, or a classic Cuban meal at a place packed with history – Sarasota has it all. There's something for everyone's taste and budget.

The best part? You're bound to find even more hidden gems while you're exploring! Chat with locals, try those hole-in-the-wall places that look interesting, and don't be afraid to order something totally new. That's how you make the best food memories on vacation. So get out there and start eating!