Barcelona Comes to Sarasota

By staff March 17, 2008

Hot and happening Ceviche and a new look for Sangria.


 By Judi Gallagher


You can’t help but be drawn into the remodeled building, the long-ago headquarters of the Sarasota Times, that is now home to Ceviche on First Street. The Spanish-influenced architecture is now adorned with massive wooden doors and bold colors that just seem to call you in. Once you enter this newest hot spot in town, your eyes wander to an amusement of more color, energy, cat walks, and patios—and that is just the first floor.



Scenes from Ceviche.


Ceviche, (well known in St. Pete, Tampa and Orlando) has the word out, with a completely packed restaurant and bar by 6:00 p.m. And it has just been a week since first turning on the paella pan. It is the “see and be seen” place already, very noisy and full of life. The rooftop bar and lounge is amazing, offering a little different menu and lots of cool breezes and views.


 I have great hopes for the spot, and promise a more in-depth review when things settle down. It was chaotic, as to be expected in the beginning, and although we were fortunate to have a wonderful bartender serve us, nearby guests were a bit aghast with their bartender who seemed indifferent to her mistakes on their food orders. Do not miss the duck with chocolate sauce—it’s moist and flavorful—and the simple spinach lightly wilted with honey and figs worked as a beautiful pair. The papas fritas were a crisp homemade potato chip, but the blue cheese in a ramekin didn’t work. I suggest they try the Gorgonzola sauce that Cosimo’s erves with their waffle fries—now that would be comfort food made tapas style.


Back on Main Street: Sangria tapas restaurant has reopened, doubling their space and adding a full bar with fruity new martinis, mojitos and of course, delicious sangria. I’m a longtime fan of their beer-battered chicken wings and duck confit, not to mention the roasted peppers and manchego cheese assortment, Sangria now offers a private dining area and a clean confident look.


Bottom line: Ceviche for a fast-paced, happening place and amazing outdoor space and Sangria offers warm atmosphere and great service—both Barcelona-comes-to-Sarasota winners!


Please post your review of these two--or any other Sarasota restaurant--below.

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