2017 provided some big new tastes—and a few unsurprising closings. But along with those came some incredible openings, too. Here are a few notables.
Coming in with a strong opening right at the end of the year is Napulè, the new Italian restaurant on the South Trail, which has blown my socks off. It's the latest from the successful duo behind Venice's Made in Italy, who sold that space last year to build Napulè. The restaurant is chic, with two stories of glass walls, a salumi counter that just screams "Florence," and a sexy bar—plus, the golden dome of a wood-burning pizza oven. If you don’t have a reservation for dinner two weeks in advance, forget about it. (But don’t worry too much, Napulè also serves lunch.)
There are several new places at Westfield Siesta Key, of course, but the shopping center to watch in 2018 is The Landings. With Corkscrew Deli still filling the sandwich need, DaRuMa opens soon, along with Apollonia Grill (one of my favorites) sometime in 2018. Plus, Station 400 has a new outpost there, as well.
Gone (and maybe forgotten) this year is Square 1 Burgers & Bar. Square 1's burgers certainly had some influence on our burger scene, but in a sea of good competition, like S'macks and BurgerFi, the company—once a promising growing brand—has disappeared locally. (There are still other locations around the state.)
Daily Eats, out at UTC, also closed recently. While I initially liked some of the lunch offerings, service was not good—and just because it works in Tampa doesn’t always mean it works here.
And my 2018 wish: please send us good Chinese food—please! Haven’t been able to scratch that one off in 21 years.
As we coast into the New Year, a tip of the hat to all the chefs and restaurant folks that work so hard every day, and who have made Sarasota a culinary destination. Forks up to you!