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Boca's smoked fish dip platter.

Image: Jennifer Soos

Caragiulo's Chicken Liver Mousse

At Caragiulo’s Italian-American restaurant, the chicken liver mousse comes in a mini-glass jar and is ingeniously topped with an aromatic layer of brown-sugar caramelized shallots. You’ve got Tuscan toast for spreading. Make a meal of this delicious spread—it’s that satisfying with a glass of red wine. $8.50. 

Walt's Fish Market Smoked Mullet Dip

The smoked mullet dip at Walt’s Fish Market Restaurant is locally famous. People enjoy it in the restaurant, where it’s served as a four-ounce complimentary starter with saltines; then they stop at the fish counter and take home a container. The spread has the right balance of texture and creaminess, but that unique smoked mullet flavor is bold and forward. A pound container to go is $12, but you can get as little as a quarter pound. 

Fins Lobster Potato Nachos

At Fins at Sharky’s, the Lobster Potato Nachos started out as a big dip but may have morphed its way into a meal. Either way, it’s insanely good, made with morsels of Maine lobster, imported smoked melted Gouda cheese, crispy prosciutto bits and Yukon Gold chips for scooping. Offered as a small plate for $21; you might need a fork. 

Boca Kitchen Bar Market Smoked Fish Dip Platter

Boca Kitchen Bar Market’s lavish smoked fish dip platter starts with a luxurious dip made with a combination amberjack, wahoo and mahi-mahi fish, served with fresh lavash bread given a hint of brine with Old Bay seasoning. For extra munching the plate includes pickled tangy vegetables such as green tomato, onion, okra, pickles and peppers. $10. 

Brick's Smoked Meats Lone Star Caviar

At Brick’s Smoked Meats, the Lone Star Caviar combines black beans, black-eyed peas, corn, peppadew, jalapeño, onion and a lime vinaigrette. Pile this spicy concoction high on a tortilla chip or just eat it with a spoon. $3.99. 

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Brick's Smoked Meats

$$ American, Barbecue, Mexican 1528 E. State St.

Brick's pays homage to the food of central Texas, referencing the smoked meat traditions of Central European immigrants, as well as the influence of Mexican cooking.

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Boca Kitchen Bar Market

$$$ New American 19 S. Lemon Ave.

Boca Kitchen Bar Market, a small Tampa-based chain, opened a fourth location this summer in downtown Sarasota on Lemon Avenue, just south of Main Street. Boc...

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Fins

$$$ Seafood 1600 S. Harbor Drive

Eating on the second-story deck at Fins on Caspersen Beach in Venice will reward you with one of the best sand and Gulf views anywhere in Florida.

Walt's Fish Market and Restaurant

$ Seafood 4144 Tamiami Trail

A Sarasota tradition for more than 30 years.

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Caragiulos

$$ Italian 69 S. Palm Ave.

At Caragiulos, which is the ideal neighborhood pizza-pasta place where Italian vintage movie posters are the theme, mama still makes her own small-batch lemo...

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