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Star Fish Company's casual, waterfront dining is part of its appeal.

Image: Chad Spencer

Is there anything more quintessentially Sarasota than a grouper sandwich on a perfect sunny day? We don’t think so—so we made it our mission to find the best one in town. Here are the results.

Star Fish Company Market

This tiny Cortez restaurant has made the national news, and there’s good reason for that: The grouper sandwich here was insanely fresh, simply grilled and served no-frills style in an unassuming white box.

Dry Dock Restaurant

Just what you want in a grouper sandwich: a thick, flaky grouper fillet, blackened and served on a soft roll with a side of French fries. The kicker, though? The intensely flavorful sweet chili cilantro sauce that came on the side. Don’t miss it.

Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar

Yup, we were a little shocked ourselves, but this was by far the fanciest grouper sandwich of the bunch, served blackened and topped with Key lime mustard, avocado and fresh lettuce and tomato.

Walt's Fish Market

There’s nothing worse than a paper-thin piece of fish on your sandwich, is there? Luckily, you won’t have to worry about that at Walt’s, where the friendly staff will serve you a fresh piece of fish that’s thick and flaky—just what you think of when you hear the words “grouper sandwich.”

The Sandbar

We all raved about the blackening seasoning on The Sandbar’s grouper sandwich—it stood out from the first bite, but didn’t overpower the flavor of the fresh fish and was mild enough for kids to enjoy, too. Bonus? The view of the sparkling Gulf of Mexico as our backdrop.

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Editor’s Pick

The Sandbar

$$ Seafood 100 Spring Ave.

Unfussy Florida fare with an emphasis on fresh seafood.

Walt's Fish Market and Restaurant

$ Seafood 4144 Tamiami Trail

A Sarasota tradition for more than 30 years.

Editor’s Pick

Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar

$$ Seafood 5353 S. Tamiami Trail

Come by land or sea to this casual waterfront eatery and enjoy fresh seafood, burgers and sandwiches.

Dry Dock Waterfront Grill

$$ Seafood 412 Gulf of Mexico Drive

Enjoy casual waterfront dining on the dockside patio or in the recently expanded indoor dining room overlooking Sarasota Bay.

Editor’s Pick

Star Fish Company Market and Restaurant

$ Seafood 12306 46th Avenue West

At the exalted waterfront dive that is Star Fish Company, the food is served in white plastic containers the size of shoe boxes, unassuming packages that conceal the greatness within.