Rendez-Vous Bakery, on Clark Road, offers a wide variety of delicious French delicacies, but the chocolate croissant ($3.50) takes the, ahem, cake. Made fresh and generously drizzled with melted chocolate, this treat is excellent paired with the bakery’s delicious coffee. If you're in search of a flaky, sweet treat, look no further.
It’s summertime and the eating is easy thanks to Savor Sarasota's fixed-price menus blooming all over town. We loved the Land & Sea (above) at The Table Creekside, a creative dish composed of delicately seared Florida snapper over an arrangement veal agnolotti (stuffed pasta) that's paired with a Mediterranean stir fry, asparagus and organic spinach. So many flavors competing for attention and all of them divine. Three courses are $29. The Table will extend its Savor Sarasota menu right through August.
We wouldn't send you out of town if the meal wasn't worthy--and the burgers at Engine No. 9 are worth heading over the Skyway to downtown St. Pete. Each 8-oz. burger is made with prime Black Angus beef and accessorized with a variety of creative toppings, from bacon to peanut butter (!) to foie gras (!!). We're partial to the classic bacon cheeseburger ($11.95), which is topped with sharp cheddar cheese and salty crisp bacon. Get it with a side of tater tots and you're guaranteed a full and happy belly.
Best known for top-shelf Italian salumi, cheeses and pantry items, Casa Italia secretly constructs some of the city’s most bodacious sandwiches. But don’t expect enormous Italian-American hoagies. These artful sandwiches typically highlight one or two ingredients, allowing their full flavor to shine through. A favorite: the $6.99 mortadella and cheese. Even with the provolone, the lettuce, oil and vinegar, the crusty bread, it’s the ultra-porky flavor of the pistachio-flecked mortadella—the pride of Bologna—that shines.
Just over the bridge at Rivera Dunes in Palmetto is Blu Mangrove Grill, a gem right on the marina. And the menu is even tasier now on Saturdays and Sundays, when the restaurant serves up giant smokehouse-style giant turkey legs. The seasoning pops and the sauce is slightly sweet and perfectly balanced. The whole thing is moist and flavorful, and it's delicious served with potato salad and coleslaw.