Florida’s Sun Coast: restaurants

by | Mar 23, 2024 | Food & Drink, Travel, USA Travel

During our two week stay we tried lots of restaurants, ranging from classic breakfasts to a beach cocktail spot, and from in-restaurant to take-away.

Breakfast

Original Word of Mouth – Quite busy on a weekend morning, we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table. I got the Country Benedict, a split biscuit with sausage smothered in sausage gravy with home fries – I ate half. Eric ordered an omelet with ham, pepper jack cheese and roasted peppers. Parking can be a bit of a pain but the tables turn over fast so it’s worth a visit.

Millie’s – I got the corned beef hash with over medium eggs, hashbrowns and rye toast – everything was cooked perfectly, not greasy at all. Eric had the country breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon and a waffle. We both cleaned our plates. The inside is quite spacious and the decor is charming. Service was fast and friendly, we would definitely return.

Snacks / Drinks

Mandeville Beer Garden – We drove to downtown Sarasota one rainy afternoon for a beer. I tried the Snow Birds hot cocoa porter and Eric had the Lollipop Style Pineapple. We decided to stay a bit longer and keep watching sports so we split a basket of fries and a Cherry Duchess. Unfortunately the bartender said there was no way to ring up a half pour, which was a bit disappointing. We found it a bit pricey for the surroundings.

Our condo location meant an easy walk to the beach for sunset, so twice we stopped at the Daiquiri Deck for drinks beforehand. On our first visit, I got the Tropical Sangria and Eric had the Electric Lemonade. Great views and $4.50 for a 16oz drink! Second visit: an Electric Lemonade (Eric again) and a Banana Slider for me.

I had heard great things about the Siesta Key Oyster Bar’s daily $12/dozen oyster special and it was… meh. We waited about 20 minutes for a table at 4:30pm and then got seated at the smallest high top table ever. The condiment basket and giant water glasses took up most of the table real estate and we hadn’t even ordered food or drinks yet! Eric’s mom and I each got a dozen of the ‘house’ oysters which were from Texas – a first for me. They came out insanely fast but my first complaint is that they had no flavor. Mild would be an understatement for these oysters. Thankfully some horseradish and lemon helped. My second complaint is due to my massive stomach ache about an hour or so later. My MIL was fine so I think I just got unlucky with a bad oyster :( I really wanted to like this place with its Chicago decor but I wouldn’t go back.

Dinner

Thailand Restaurant Gulf Gate –  I got the papaya salad with beef (yummy!); Eric had the panang curry with chicken – medium was the perfect amount of spice. Easy online ordering, this was a solid takeout spot.

Heidi’s Schnitzel Kitchen – this inviting restaurant was covered in German tchotchkes – the cuckoo clocks were a highlight! I had the bratwurst with cold potato salad and soft pretzel (homemade honey mustard was delish) and Eric had the veal schnitzel with spaetzle and cucumber salad. We each got a 500ml doppelbock (Aventinus and Kloster Andechs) and split the black forest cake which was surprisingly light. Tasty but pricey. Servers (and owner) were very friendly, chatting with every table.

 

We enjoyed the early bird dinner at Miguel’s Restaurant twice, once at the beginning of the trip and again to celebrate E’s Dad’s birthday. The first time I got the garlic soup, steak frites and strawberry dessert while Eric got the carrot soup, Steak Diane and chocolate mousse. We all loved our meals and it was a great deal for ~ $28 pp. The by-the-glass wine menu was disappointing – very inexpensive labels for $12/glass. Their bottle list was a bit better, so we opted for a red on the first visit. We later learned that their corkage was a reasonable $18 so we brought a rosé on the second visit.

On our second visit our experience wasn’t quite as good – our waiter was all over the place, and the food was just messier. I got the garlic soup again and Eric’s soup du jour was eggplant / tomato (weird combo) – both arrived sloshed over the sides of the bowl. My filet was cooked as ordered but lacked the mushrooms listed on the menu description. Why bother to list three wild mushroom varieties if it’s delivered with three small sliced mushrooms on top? Eric’s chicken cordon bleu was also mixed – the bottom piece was rubbery and the rice accompaniment was bland. Thankfully the top piece was crispy and cooked properly. We both got the chocolate mousse for dessert which was delicious. It seems like entrees are hit and miss here. The duck ordered by other family members was said to be very good.

Tony’s Chicago Beef Company – turn down a chance to eat an authentic Chicago beef? Never! Eric and I both got beef sandwiches, his dry with cheese and mine with extra gravy and hot peppers. The sandwich was difficult to eat but delicious and the hot peppers were so spicy! I went back the day before we left for another beef sandwich, this time at lunch. Super busy and the sandwich was still great.

Stoneybrook Golf and Country Club – per Eric’s aunt’s request, we met another couple here for dinner in the bar area. The service was friendly but very slow, dinner took nearly three hours. I got the strip steak which was closer to medium by the time it came out – the flavor was good though. Eric had the blackened chicken with asian-style salad. Also good but his request for extra dressing never materialized. We split a chocolate creme brulee that was mostly pudding but still good. Overall a pretty typical Florida golf club lounge experience.

Royal Peacock Indian Kitchen – we stopped in for dinner here on our way back from the outlet mall on a Tuesday. The dining room was empty when we arrived but a few people walked in after we got seated. Eric got the chicken biryani and I got the tikka masala and the garlic naan. We both ordered our food medium but mine felt hotter! I feel like we left with more food than we ate on-site but everything was tasty.

We were excited to check out St. Petersburg on a Friday evening, but our initial options failed us. First we tried to go to Webb’s City Cellar by Green Bench Brewery but they were closed for a private event. Next we walked to Italy Bottega for dinner and realized why I couldn’t get through on the phone for reservations – the place was shut down! Paper on the windows and everything. Eesh. After a furious search on our phone we decided to try Lolita’s once we saw the make-your-own cheese plate and wine choices. We opted to sit in the charming courtyard and ordered chevre, gorgonzola and grana padano with rosemary ham, maple-honey walnuts, paprika marcona almonds and bread/crackers. It was the perfect amount of food for both of us and my only knock was that the cheese was served too cold. Eric ordered the Angels and Cowboys rose and then a vinho verde while I had a malbec. Thankfully, they have their own parking lot as street parking in this area is scarce.

Capo Pazzo – feeling like pizza, ordered takeout from this South Sarasota spot, and it was busy when the guys picked up or order! The first of the two margherita’s was best with a more charred crust but the tomato sauce was the highlight. The caesar salad and dressing were also good.

There are so many options in this area, we left with many more places marked as “to-go” on a future trip!

Tagged with: FL 2024 | Florida | restaurants

Our Itinerary

2024 Trips

San Diego, CA (Jan)
Sarasota, FL (Feb)
Madrid, Spain (Mar)
Valencia, Spain (Mar+Apr)
Palma, Mallorca (Apr)
Croatia (May)
Faroe Islands (Aug)
London, UK (Sept)
Bari, Italy (Sept)
Rome, Italy (Oct)
Frankfurt, Germany (Oct)

2022 Trips

Florida (Feb)
NC Mountains (Apr)
Washington DC (Apr)
Valencia, Spain (May)
Hilton Head, SC (May)
Pacific NW (Jun)
Long Island (Jul)
Florida (Sept)
Chicago (Sept)
Poland (Sept)
NC Mountains (Nov)
Euro Xmas Markets (Dec)