It’s easy to make a passable breakfast. It’s difficult to make an outstanding one.

That’s the first thing we learned when we set out to compile the definitive list of the best places to have breakfast in Sarasota-Manatee. We ever-famished editors ate everywhere we could, from gas stations with a reputation for global specialties to Gulf-front cafes with designer entrées. And we ate everything. Pancakes, waffles, flapjacks. Omelets, frittatas, crêpes. Sausage, bacon, gravy. We’d roll into work after 10, either over-caffeinated or sleepy from way too much fat and sugar. And frankly, we never want to even glimpse Hollandaise again.

So what makes breakfast great? Strong coffee. Crispy hash browns. Real maple syrup. Just-made biscuits dotted with golden flecks of butter. Crackling bacon. Eggs of impeccable freshness. Those are the essentials. But other details help. Servers who know you by name. A shady patio—or a funky retro vibe. A quick turnaround. And in a field in which comfortable culinary classics dominate, creativity stands out in a major way. Little adjustments, like adding sweet potatoes to pancakes or vanilla beans to syrup, make a big difference.

Pour yourself another cup of coffee and read on.

In This Feature:

Sarasota's Best Breakfasts

Whatever breakfast means to you, our area is rich with options. From humble diners to culinary temples, local eateries serve a stunning variety of morning meals.

05/17/2024 By Cooper Levey-Baker and Lauren Jackson

Five Local Diners We Love

In a hurry? These old-school breakfast spots will get you in and out in a jiffy.

09/14/2020 By Cooper Levey-Baker

How to Prepare a Breakfast Feast With Local Ingredients

Craving a big home-cooked breakfast? Here's how to stock up on local ingredients to make your morning meal sing.

09/23/2020 By Allison Forsyth

Sarasota's Best Coffee Shops

Get your caffeine fix at one of these top spots.

09/29/2021 By Megan McDonald

Nine Sarasota Doughnuts to Eat Before You Die

From mochi to red velvet to pork-stuffed, these local doughnuts are guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth.

06/01/2023 By Megan McDonald

Why We Love the Waffle House

While the world sleeps, breakfast—and an iconic American experience—await.

01/25/2016 Photography by Cooper Levey-Baker

The Coffee Carousel: Main Street's Most Affordable Eatery

The Coffee Carousel has barely changed since the restaurant opened in the 1960s.

05/31/2016 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Station 400's Blueberry Pancake Recipe

Make the blueberry pancakes from Station 400 that were featured on our February 2016 cover.

01/25/2016 By Megan McDonald