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EDITORS' PICKS

 

 

Best New Reason to Eat a Sandwich: Anger’s Garden Deli

 

When the Harvest Tabernacle acquired its neighbor, Anger’s Deli, they didn’t change the menu of hearty, “two-handed” sandwiches that have made the deli a longtime lunchtime favorite, but they did change the business model. The deli now donates 100 percent of its profits to Restoration Ranch Children’s Home in the Dominican Republic. Eat well, feel good. 243 N. Lime Ave., Sarasota, (941) 365-2696.

 

Best New Coffee Shop: Buddy Brew Coffee

 

Buddy Brew Coffee, which sources and roasts its own beans, has an über-devoted following in Tampa. Now local coffee lovers are buzzing about our own Buddy Brew, which opened in March next to Louies Modern. There you’ll find Buddy Brew’s great coffee, expert baristas, and breakfast sandwiches and pastries. One more wonderful reason to wake up in Sarasota. 1289 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota, (813) 263-0990. buddybrewcoffee.com

 

Best New Pizza: Polpo Pizza Co.

 

Danni Bleil and Tom Baril share a passion for pizza, and it shows—in homemade dough that’s puffy and charred from the woodburning oven, from-scratch sauce and fresh, organic toppings. They even make their own cheese. The resulting Neapolitan-style pies are so divine that we won’t even whine about the long lines outside their cute little vintage truck. (941) 993-5263. polpopizzaco.com

 

Best New Place to Embrace Detente: The Russian House

 

Whatever your politics, it’s easy to embrace the Russian offerings at this new fast/casual spot. The hearty, tasty fare includes pelmeni (Siberian dumplings), vareniki, borscht and beef Stroganoff. Be sure to finish with the oreshki cookies stuffed with dulce de leche. And don’t be put off by the plastic utensils and paper plates; the food is what matters here. 6115 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 735-1151. russianhouse.net

 

Best New Vegetarian: Beauty of Sprouts

 

The year-old Beauty of Sprouts is a haven for foodies craving healthy, raw, vegan, organic fare. A one-woman show, run by restaurant veteran and chef/owner Rano Halikova, Beauty of Sprouts features signature dishes such as spring rolls stuffed with fresh veggies and herbs, lavender crème brûlèe made from cashew cream and coconut nectar and house-made kombuchas and teas. 1474 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, (941) 350-8449. beautyofsprouts.net

 

Best New Resurrection of a Chef: Pino’s in Paradise Plaza

 

Chef Pino Luongo has had a passionate following since he opened the late, great Gastronomia almost two decades ago; other stints followed, but now he has a new place in Paradise Plaza. His cooking, inspired by Italy’s island of Ischia (his homeland) and featuring many nightly specials, sends fans to foodie heaven—our food blogger visited five times in the first month. 3800 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 366-1440.

 

Best New Sweets: Argentinian Pastry

 

In a tiny strip mall storefront, the charming owners of Argentinian Pastry display an inviting array of authentic South American pastries. The menu includes empañadas as well as cakes, flan, arrollados, tres leches and traditional vigilantes, and it all looks like handmade art, with intriguing flavors—including sweet and tangy quince fillings—that you  won’t find elsewhere in town. 3608 Webber St., Sarasota, (941) 960-0069.

 

Best New Quick Trip to Africa: Queen of Sheba

 

Adventurous eaters rejoiced when the news that Queen of Sheba—a Tampa fave—was opening a location here. The food is Ethiopian, and bursting with flavor, featuring meat and vegetables stewed or sautéed with traditional herbs and spices, and served with injera, a spongelike bread that’s delectably sour. Be sure to end with the traditional coffee ceremony. 4195 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 359-8000. queenofshebasarasota.com

 

Best New Asian Fusion: Painter’s Palate

 

The North Trail is becoming a hotspot for ethnic restaurants, and Painter’s Palate is a welcome addition. The food at this offshoot of downtown’s Drunken Poet Café is delightfully global, from tongue-in-cheek appetizers like “Thaicos” (Thai tacos) to tartines, seafood and chicken dishes. Five stars for the curried panang salmon and spinach pizza. 2801 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 355-4620. painters-palate.com

 

Best New Intimate Italian: Adriatico

 

Fans of Italian food have lots of local options, and now there’s another one—Adriatico, a lovely little newcomer in Gulf Gate. The simple, authentic pasta and meat dishes and the wall of hand-picked Italian wines are excellent, but seafood plays the starring role, with fresh-caught fish, stuffed calamari, grilled octopus and more. Don’t miss the scallop tartare. Trust us. 6606 Superior Ave., Sarasota, (941) 922-3080. adriaticosrq.com

 

Best New Steakhouse: The Capital Grille

 

Steak lovers, prepare to swoon: The swanky new Capital Grille serves some of the best we’ve had, along with a well-edited wine list, signature side dishes (the lobster mac ’n’ cheese sets a new standard) and tasty desserts and specialty coffees. The contemporary décor is a nice change from the usual steakhouse, and the service is exemplary. 180 University Town Center Drive, Sarasota, (941) 256-3647. thecapitalgrille.com

 

Best New Barbecue: Brick’s BBQ

 

Barbecue master Mark Gabrick grew up in Kansas City, spent time in Texas and—when his ad agency moved him to Europe—shipped his own smoker overseas so he could make his beloved ’cue. These days, he’s serving his superb, slow-smoked meats (including award-winning brisket, ribs and pulled pork) every Saturday at the downtown Sarasota farmers market. Get there early—he sells out. bricks-bbq.com

 

Best New Shopping Break: Sophie’s at Saks Fifth Avenue

 

Sophie’s at the new Saks is as chic as you’d expect from this stylish retailer, and the well-thought-out menu serves equally chic and contemporary food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The bar offers excellent craft cocktails, beer and wine, and the patio is perfect for taking advantage of our sunny days. Put down your shopping bags and stay a while. 120 University Town Center Drive, Sarasota, (941) 444-3077. sophies.com/sarasota

 

Best New Indian Food: Curry Station

 

In a small shopping center along U.S. 301, you’ll find exemplary Indian food prepared by chef Narendra Singh Saud, who’s worked at Ritz-Carltons throughout the world and with chefs like Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert. There’s a lunch buffet and a dinner menu, but we just ask Saud for his recommendations and let him work his magic. 1303 Washington Blvd., Sarasota, (941) 312-6264. currystation.net

 

Best New Reason to Love Payne Park: Café in the Park

 

Payne Park is great for kids, sunbathing, and exercising—but now it’s a wonderful spot to grab a bite, too, thanks to the cheerful, sunlit Café in the Park. Anywhere you sit, you’ll get a fabulous view of the park, and you’ll also get delicious sandwiches (grilled cheese, Cubans and Café in the Park originals) and more than respectable coffee offerings. 2010 Adams Lane, Sarasota, (941) 361-3032.

 

Best New Seafood: Tide Tables

 

We’d make the drive to Cortez just for the food at cute and casual Tide Tables—the fish is as fresh as it gets—and the view from the southeast end of Cortez Bridge is gorgeous. Order a cold drink and then pick whatever seafood dish looks good to you from the menu; you can’t go wrong here. 12507 Cortez Road W. (marker 48 by water), Cortez, (941) 567-6206. tidetablesrestaurant.com

 

Best New Healthy Cuisine: Seasons 52

 

Our food critic says she could eat at Seasons 52 every single day, and no wonder: No item contains more than 475 calories, and every dish features fresh, seasonal ingredients with a menu that changes four times a year. Desserts—served in a shot glass—are attractive and delicious, and the extensive wine list offers something for every palate. 170 University Town Center Drive, Sarasota, (941) 702-9652. seasons52.com

 

Best New Lunchtime Menu: Brown Bag Provisions

 

Foodies mourned when Kelly Drost closed her Brown Bag Provisions, but now the creative sandwich maker is back, this time as a shop-within-a-shop at Artisan Cheese Company, offering a lunchtime selection of sensational sandwiches—including a banh mi with sambal mayo and a grilled cheese with curried cauliflower and cherry chutney—salads and soup. 1310 Main St., Sarasota, (941) 951-7860. artisancheesecompany.com

 

Best New French Flavor: Burns Court Café’s French Quarter Wine Bar

 

Stepping into Burns Court Café’s French Quarter Wine Bar feels like the next best thing to being in Paris. The menu offers perfect-for-sharing bites, including charcuterie, salads, pasta and dessert, and an extensive selection of wines by the glass and the bottle. Tip: Go on one of the café’s popular jazz nights and let the music transport you to Paris. 401 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, (941) 312-6633. burnscourtcafe.com

 

Best New Pleasure Garden: Mandeville Beer Garden

 

Rosemary District’s new indoor/outdoor gem pairs craft beers (local and Florida breweries are well represented) with a sophisticated pub menu from the culinary mind that brought you State Street Eating House. Expert ’tenders help you navigate the 30 offerings on tap—all the better for washing down bites like fried pickles or locally made venison sausage. 428 N. Lemon Ave., Sarasota, (941) 954-8688, mandevillebeergarden.com

 

Best New Addition to Longboat Key: Amore by Andrea

 

Longboat residents and visitors have a convenient new dinner option in Amore by Andrea. It opened in the former Plaza restaurant space last fall, and in its first week was already packing in crowds. The menu offers the topnotch contemporary Italian cuisine we’d expect from chef Andrea Bozzolo, and the ambiance is lovely, with a cozy bar and outdoor patio. 555 Bay Isles Parkway, Longboat Key, (941) 383-1111. amorerestaurantlbk.com

 

READERS' CHOICE

Best Amish Restaurant

 

Yoder’s

 

Der Dutchman, Miller’s Dutch Kitchen

 

Best Japanese Restaurant

 

DaRuMa Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Lounge

 

JPan, Pacific Rim

 

Best French Restaurant

 

C’est La Vie

 

Bijou Cafe, Maison Blanche

 

Best Latin-American Restaurant

 

Selva

 

Columbia Restaurant, Darwin’s on 4th

 

Best Italian Restaurant

 

Caragiulos

 

Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Mediterraneo

 

Best Mexican Restaurant

 

Mi Pueblo

 

El Toro Bravo, Two Senoritas

 

Best Seafood Restaurant

 

Walt’s Fish Market & Restaurant

 

Barnacle Bill’s, Owen’s Fish Camp

 

Best Sushi Restaurant

 

Pacific Rim

 

JPan, Yume Sushi

 

Best Vegetarian, Special Diet or Gluten-Free-Friendly Restaurant

 

Veg

 

Beauty of Sprouts, Simon’s Coffee House

 

Best Venice Restaurant

 

Sharky’s On the Pier

 

Crow’s Nest Marina Restaurant, Made in Italy

 

Best Manatee County Restaurant

 

Pier 22

 

Beach Bistro, Derek’s Rustic Coastal Cuisine

 

Best Nighttime Restaurant Hotspot

 

Social on First

 

Mattison’s City Grille, Selva

 

Best Restaurant for Breakfast

 

First Watch

 

The Broken Egg, Station 400

 

Best Restaurant for Brunch, Bloody Marys and Mimosas

 

Libby’s Café & Bar

 

Made, University Park Country Club

 

Best Romantic Restaurant

 

Ophelia’s on the Bay

 

Beach Bistro, Euphemia Haye

 

Best Thai Restaurant

 

Bangkok

 

Drunken Poet Cafe, Isan Thai Restaurant

 

Best Restaurant/Bar for Craft Beer

 

Darwin’s on 4th

 

Cock & Bull Pub, Mr. Beery’s

 

Best Waterfront Dining

 

Marina Jack

 

Old Salty Dog, Ophelia’s on the Bay

 

Best Restaurant for Steak (chain)

 

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

 

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse

 

Best Restaurant for Steak (non-chain)

 

Michael’s On East

 

Alpine Steakhouse, The Waterfront Restaurant

 

Best Restaurant Wine List

 

Michael’s On East

 

The Capital Grille, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

 

Best New Restaurant

 

Seasons 52

 

Brio Tuscan Grille, The Capital Grille

 

Best Burger

 

Patrick’s 1481

 

Five Guys, Square One Burgers & Bar

 

Best Barbecue

 

Nancy’s Bar-B-Q

 

Alday’s Bar-B-Que, Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q

 

Best Caterer

 

Michael’s On East

 

Mattison’s, Morton’s Gourmet Market

 

Best Coffee Shop (non-chain)

 

Perq

 

Pastry Art, Simon’s Coffee House

 

Best Special Occasion Restaurant

 

Michael’s On East

 

Beach Bistro, Ophelia’s on the Bay

 

Best Dessert

 

Yoder’s (pies)

 

Cheesecake Factory (cheesecakes), Morton’s Gourmet Market (tortes)

 

Best Pizza (non-chain)

 

Rico’s

 

Il Panificio, Valentino Pizzeria Trattoria

 

Best Sandwich

 

Anna’s Deli (Surfer)

 

Corkscrew Deli (Cuban), Mozzarella Fella (Eggplant parm)

 

Best Chef

 

Paul Mattison

 

Jeff Parson, Darwin Santa Maria

 

Best Specialty Food Market

 

Morton’s Gourmet Market

 

Fresh Market, Whole Foods

 

Best Gourmet Store

 

Morton’s Gourmet Market

 

As Good As It GetsFresh Market

 

Best Place to Buy Wine

 

Total Wine

 

Michael’s Wine Cellar, Trader Joe’s

 

Best Bakery

 

Publix

 

Jim’s Small Batch Bakery, Morton’s Gourmet Market

 

Best Sports Bar

 

Gecko’s Grill & Pub

 

Evie’s Tavern & Grill, Miller’s Sarasota Ale House

 

Best Cocktail

 

State Street Eating house (Bramble)

 

Jack Dusty (Siren), Social on First (Blueberry Smash Mule)

 

Best Happy Hour Menu

 

Libby’s Café & Bar

 

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, The Table Creekside

 

Best Mixologist

 

Michael Scalzi, Marina Jack

 

Ashley Bruce, Evie’s Tavern & Grill; Brad Coburn, Pangea

 

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