Meal Deals

By staff January 26, 2009

The upside of Sarasota’s down economy: serious culinary bargains.


By Judi Gallagher


When we moved down here 12-plus years ago, summers were so slow we began to refer to them as the “THREE for ONE days of summer.” The restaurants were practically giving meals away, and there were not enough nights in the week to try all the prix fixe deals and all-you- can-eats. We were also culinary challenged in those days, with only a few Italian restaurants and almost no ethnic dining spots to speak of. Times have changed, as we all know too well with this new economy, so I have been scoping the scene for meal deals, with some flavorful results.

 Ophelia's million-dollar view for Sunday brunch.

Ophelia’s on the Bay is offering a Sunday brunch buffet for $24 per person that includes a Mimosa or Bloody Mary (the latter is excellent with just the right kick). While the buffet is limited in selections and I would prefer Eggs Benedict or a Frittata instead of scrambled eggs, the carving station had wonderful prime rib and roast leg of lamb, and chef Dan’s sausage gravy and biscuits were delicious for this non-sausage gravy eater. The view and service is beyond magical; and at $24 per person, I cannot afford to even attempt to find something better.

 Ophelia's shrimp cocktail.

Magnum Wines, (in shared space with C’est Cheese) just past Best Buy has what I consider a wine deal indeed. This wine drinks like a $40 wine but is only $12.99. Monte Volpe Primo Rosso from Mendocino County is an approachable red for sipping on its own or with food. I served the Primo Rosso with grilled pork on top of pumpkin ravioli. For $12.99 you won’t mind opening a third bottle for guests so plan to buy at least six when you are over at Magnum; this is seriously enjoyable wine.


Stay tuned, I have a crisp $20 bill, pen and paper for the next blog- let’s see what I can find!


If you know of a delicious meal deal, please post below!
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