When the sunbathing hours draw to a sunset close, Sarasota County diners head to the bevy of beachfront restaurants nearby for a sip and some sustenance.
The Crow’s Nest Marina & Restaurant
The Crow’s Nest Marina & Restaurant has been a mainstay for four decades, overlooking a glistening marina along the Venice Inlet. Pull up the family boat and wander inside to imbibe tropical drinks and nosh on seafood entrées. The Famous Fish Sandwich has enticed patrons since 1976, the grilled Gulf red grouper is always a menu must, and the Pacific and North Atlantic oysters at the tavern’s raw bar are the freshest of waterside culinary delights.
Dockside Waterfront Grill
Not far away from the Crow’s Nest, located right on the Intracoastal Waterway at Fisherman’s Wharf Marina in Venice, is Dockside Waterfront Grill. Formerly known as Marker 4, this restaurant offers a bevy of seafood options, including peel & eat shrimp, seasonal oysters, grouper sandwiches, Maine lobster tails, Red Snapper and more.
Fins at Sharky's and Sharky's on the Pier
Venice’s posh upstairs restaurant, Fins at Sharky’s, treats patrons to a view of the Venice Fishing Pier, a big-city coastal vibe and a menu packed with sophisticated fare. The upscale sister restaurant to Sharky’s on the Pier, Fins is beloved for its premium steaks cooked to perfection in a high-grade Josper oven, as well as its handcrafted cocktails and coveted happy hour promotions.
The Old Salty Dog
With various locations throughout Venice and Sarasota, The Old Salty Dog is as casual as it comes and a primo hotspot for flip-flop-wearing beachgoers. The menu is rich with standard pub food, including platters of jerk-spiced Caribbean fish tacos, Fully Loaded Salty Dogs, traditional English fish and chips, oysters on the half shell, peel-and-eat shrimp plates and heaps of conch fritters.
Chart House and Dry Dock Waterfront Grill
Longboat Key’s Chart House lets visitors dine on the terrace while lapping up an infused cocktail and a Sarasota Bay backdrop. The menu beckons guests to sample gourmet dishes like the seared golden grouper with Parmesan risotto, the miso-maple-glazed cobia, and the chilled lobster and shrimp spring rolls. Also on Longboat Key is The Dry Dock Waterfront Grill, with its panoramic Sarasota Bay views from the second-story dining room. The domestic grouper sandwich on a kaiser roll is the house specialty, and the lobster bisque is as requested as the crab-and-corn chowder. Arrive by boat to Zwick’s Channel at Marker 6 and kick back.
Ophelia's On the Bay
Siesta Key boasts Ophelia’s on the Bay, which has been a classic dining landmark since 1988. Spoil the taste buds with a tender leg of duckling prepared with cardamom-spiced apples while soaking up the open-air patio views of Little Sarasota Bay. Finish off an otherworldly meal of fresh Gulf hog snapper with a dessert of white chocolate mousse.
Jack Dusty at The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota
For an unparalleled cocktail experience, with a dash of waterside ambiance and elevated cuisine, the not-to-miss spot in Sarasota is Jack Dusty at The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. The bartenders at this Sarasota Bay-side destination turn cocktail crafting into high art. Order the Sarasota cioppino with Gulf shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels and grouper, and ask the on-duty mixologist to whip up a signature “Sipper” libation.
Drink in the bay front beauty that only Sarasota County can provide.
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