Country Pancake House More than 100 varieties of plate-sized pancakes—practically any flavor combination you can imagine—are the big draw at this bustling eatery. 8205 Natures Way, (941) 361-1117; countrypancakehouse.net.
Full Belly Stuffed Burgers You’ll see everyone from young families to seniors at this popular family-run burger joint known for such unusual items as patties stuffed with peanut butter and maple bacon to tater tots with white truffle oil. 8742 S.R. 70 E., (941) 727-7111; fullbellystuffedburgers.com.
Hana Sushi Lounge The draw is the artfully prepared sushi at this chic Main Street eatery. 8126 Lakewood Main Street, #102, (941) 907-1290; hanasushilounge.com.
L’il Nancy’s at the Ranch Chef-owner Nancy Krohngold has opened an outpost on Main Street, with the same smoked chicken and bone-in ribs that make her flagship downtown Sarasota restaurant, Nancy’s Bar-B-Q, a hit. Lakewood Main Street, #104; nancysbarbq.com. (Moving soon to larger quarters at 14475 E. State Rd. 70.)
MacAllisters Grill & Tavern This golf-themed restaurant serves casual American cuisine with a Scottish twist, plus traditional Scottish beers on draft, and is a popular spot to grab a bite after a film at the Lakewood Ranch Cinemas. Specialties include the Braveheart burger with blue cheese, caramelized onions and Portobello mushroom, bangers and mash, and curry chicken. 8110 Lakewood Main Street, (941) 359-2424; macallisters.com.
Main Street Trattoria An elegant Italian ristorante with live music and lots of diners Wednesday through Sunday nights on its outdoor patio. 8131 Lakewood Main Street, #101, (941) 907-1518; mstrattoria.com.
Paris Bistrot A French-influenced breakfast, lunch and dinner spot; think crepes, omelets and boeuf bourguignon. 8131 Lakewood Main Street, #103, (941) 388-0564; parisbistrotlwr.com.
Polo Grill and Bar This big destination restaurant serves casual American cuisine with global influences, a hopping lounge area, and live entertainment Friday and Saturday nights. A recent menu revamp has added an intriguing selection of small plates, many of them with fusion flair. Themed dinners are also popular, like the annual Spyder Broussard shrimp boil and fish fry. 10670 Boardwalk Loop, (941) 782-0899; pologrillandbar.com.
Sea Star Café A charming husband-and-wife-owned eatery specializing in breakfast and lunch. 11544 Palmbrush Trail, (941) 753-6016; seastarcafe.com.
Truman’s Tap & Grill Ranchers tout the casual family atmosphere and the ambitious menu, everything from jambalaya to shrimp pasta with basil pesto. 11161 S.R. 70 E., #100, (941) 755-1800; trumanstap.com.
The Lucky Pelican This locally owned restaurant earns rave reviews for its raw bar and seafood. Get there before 5 p.m. to avoid a wait. 6239 Osprey Drive, (941) 907-0589; luckypelicanbistro.com.
Wolves Head Pizza & Wings The name says it all, plus 19 craft beers on stock, 10 flat-screen TVs, a Wednesday night trivia contest and craft beer tastings. 1837 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., (941) 251-4028; wolvesheadpizza.com.