Archive for March, 2011

03/18/2011

The Cottage On The Key

(2011) Chef Darwin Santa Maria, former proprietor of perennial downtown favorite Selva Grill, has moved his considerable culinary prowess to Siesta Key, where his makeover of the menu at The Cottage On The Key has turned an agreeable watering hole into a destination for beachgoing foodies, especially for those of us addicted to grazing. The […]

Read More >>
03/18/2011

Square 1 Burgers & Bar

(2011) Square 1 Burgers & Bar has moved into and refitted the space once occupied by Lonjevity across the South Trail from Sarasota Memorial Hospital. With a design motif blending cowhide with brushed aluminum and black lacquer, it’s an agreeable midtown destination for a burger and a beer. We’re fond of grazing at the bar, […]

Read More >>
03/18/2011

Salute!

(2011) Salute!, a traditional white tablecloth Italian restaurant, bar and café with Tuscan roots, has moved into and significantly upgraded the space briefly occupied by Café & Restaurant Suzette next door to Mattison’s City Grille downtown. It’s a promising newcomer. For starters, the place looks smarter and fresher inside and out. An inviting wine room […]

Read More >>
03/18/2011

Retropolitan

(2011) The Italian restaurant Galileo in Burns Court has opened a sidekick called Retropolitan in the Mission-style cottage next door. They call it a gastro pub, but it’s more a casual purveyor of Southern favorites, with an agreeable but modest wine and beer list and a dessert menu inherited from its parent. It also offers […]

Read More >>
03/18/2011

Owen’s Fish Camp

(2010) A lot of thought went into the Caragiulo brothers’ latest venture, a casual restaurant under the big banyan tree next door to Burns Court Cinema called Owen’s Fish Camp. From the clever menu placemats to the equally amusing wine and beer list to the fishing shack decor to the food itself, the new restaurant […]

Read More >>
03/18/2011

Morel

(2010) Our favorite small hotel in Paris sits on a leafy avenue between l’École Militaire and Napoleon’s Tomb. Morel, an intimate little restaurant tucked into a Sarasota strip center, would be right at home in that affluent neighborhood of diplomats in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. It has the look and the feel, right […]

Read More >>
03/18/2011

Pomona

My wife Colette and I briefly entertained the notion of buying the apartment above Pomona Bistro & Wine Bar in Citrus Square, imagining ourselves lowering a basket, as Colette’s French namesake did when she lived above Le Grand Vefour in Paris, and pulling up dinner—or at least a soufflé for dessert—whenever the craving seized us. […]

Read More >>
03/17/2011

Treviso

(2006) The completion of the visitor’s pavilion at the Ringling Museum of Art has an added benefit few of us were expecting: Treviso, which might just be the best restaurant in town. This place is so terrific that by the time the Venetian-style shrimp and polenta arrived, I started pinching myself. Treviso is a nod […]

Read More >>
03/17/2011

Tommy Bahama’s

(2011) I have a confession. For too long and on no evidence I considered Tommy Bahama’s Restaurant & Bar on the west spoke off St. Armands Circle as just another way to cash in on the Tommy Bahama brand. Then my sister-in-law, Anita, set me straight. “Their Loki-Loki Tuna Poke is really good,” she informed […]

Read More >>
03/16/2011

The Columbia Restaurant

Now that the seasonal visitors have had their fill of the Columbia Restaurant, it’s time for you and me to reclaim this St. Armands institution, prized for a premier comfort-food lunch of a Cuban sandwich and the 1905 salad, or the black bean soup and the sandwich, or the salad and the garbanzo bean and […]

Read More >>
03/16/2011

Taste of Asia

Taste of Asia, newly reloctaed to Siesta Key, is multicultural. Elements of Thai, Vietnamese and Laotian cuisines are deliciously mingled in the intimate restaurant, decorated on a modest scale with some lovely Asian artwork, including the symbol of the business, the three-headed elephant. The appetizers are wonderful. The satay is authentically Thai, with the chicken […]

Read More >>
03/16/2011

Selva Grill

Selva Grill (selva means jungle in Peruvian) has earned cheers from his faithful fans in downtown Sarasota. "Ceviche for everyone" could be its new motto, because on any given weekend night it’s not unusual for the bustling open kitchen to turn out 300 of these gorgeous marinated raw seafood and lightly seared meat appetizers. Ceviches […]

Read More >>
03/16/2011

Saltwater Cafe

The Saltwater Cafe has lots of things going for it-comfort, variety, value and size. It also has a nautical theme, including a long, colorful aquarium that parallels a line of booths. A dark, handsome bar (complete with old-fashioned black-and-white tile floor and brass boot rail) separates the two main dining areas from a private, glass-enclosed […]

Read More >>
03/16/2011

Roy’s

(2007) “Aloha. Welcome to Roy’s.” The hostesses, servers, bartenders—you name it—everyone utters Roy’s Restaurant’s signature greeting about a zillion times a night. Extending hospitality is one big part of the carefully crafted Roy’s experience. Hawaiian fusion cuisine is the other. And since Roy’s may well be the only Hawaiian-fusion eatery outside of the 50th state, […]

Read More >>
03/16/2011

Polo Grill and Bar

(2008) Polo Grill and Bar, chef Tommy Klauber’s latest venture, has moved into the space briefly occupied by the ill-fated Fred’s at Lakewood Ranch. Despite a wait staff that’s stretched a bit thin, Polo Grill is up and running and full of promise. The main dining room looks much as it did in the space’s […]

Read More >>
03/16/2011

Pho Cali

Pho Cali is composed of a big room accommodating a range of seating arrangements, and it’s devoted exclusively to Vietnamese dishes. As with downtown’s Taste of Asia, you’ll find multitudes of items from which to choose. We began with the pancake appetizer, banh xeo tom thjt, a mix of shrimp, pork and vegetables folded into […]

Read More >>
03/16/2011

Pattigeorge’s

Owner/chef Tommy Klauber has made Pattigeorge’s not only a Sarasota institution, but a gathering place for the area’s young and restless, with fun special events (including interactive dinners where the guests take a turn at tableside cooking) and a menu with plenty of small-plate foods for nibbling and sharing over fancy cocktails and gossip. They […]

Read More >>
03/16/2011

Ortygia

(2009) On 13th Street West near 13th Avenue West in Bradenton’s still nascent Village of the Arts, look for a brightly painted cottage under a big shade tree and a hand-lettered sign at the curb: EAT HERE. Heed the sign. You have found Ortygia, a hidden treasure. Chef Gaetano Cannata, who presides over both his […]

Read More >>
03/16/2011

Ophelia’s On The Bay

(2004) High standards continue to be expertly fulfilled at Ophelia’s on the Bay, along-running Sarasota classic. Ophelia’s seats 150, and the inside dining areas has windows overlooking Little Sarasota Bay. Outside, a covered terrace and a stone patio offer even closer proximity to the pretty view, while a weathered wooden deck almost puts diners in […]

Read More >>
03/16/2011

Ocean Star Japanese Restaurant

(2008) This little storefront restaurant’s extensive menu places a strong emphasis on fish, as you would expect, but beef, chicken, tofu and a variety of vegetables also have roles to play. Ocean Star Japanese Restaurant‘s styles of preparation range from sushi and sashimi through tataki, tempura and teriyaki to noodle dishes and straight-up frying. My […]

Read More >>