Foodie film fans have been eagerly awaiting this month’s opening of CinéBistro in the space formerly occupied by Saks Fifth Avenue at Westfield Siesta Key (aka Westfield Southgate). CinéBistro is billed as a place to watch a movie while enjoying upscale cuisine. Takes the anxiety out of date-night planning, doesn’t it? Sarasota is not unique in having a CinéBistro; there are already such wine-dine-watch palaces in Tampa and Miami and in 21 locations throughout the country.
The centerpiece of the 35,000-square-foot Southgate space includes a modernist bar and dining area (with mood lighting) where you can enjoy a casually elegant dining experience or just sip a cocktail or glass of wine from the full bar. Guests don’t have to buy a movie ticket to experience the lobby restaurant.
The menu is American bistro, with offerings such as New York strip steak ($26), seared salmon, shrimp mac ’n’ cheese ($17), braised short ribs ($22) or kimchi fried rice ($9). Appetizers like tacos, Korean chicken wings or various flatbreads range from $10 to $13. A burger is about $13, and a mahi sandwich is $15. There’s an executive chef on site.
Inside the seven screening rooms, there’s seat-side service where you order from the menu and a server brings your meal to a small table at your comfy leather seat. Sort of like an airplane experience, only lots nicer, and with better food. You order and are served before the movie starts. But you can enjoy popcorn and other traditional movie snacks from the concession area throughout the film.