Best Lunches

Where to Eat Lunch in Downtown Sarasota

From vibrant veggies to perfect pho, here's where to grab your midday meal downtown.

By Cooper Levey-Baker October 26, 2018 Published in the November 2018 issue of Sarasota Magazine

Prepping for the lunch crowd at Lila

Image: Chad Spencer

For your daily dose of vegetables


You don’t have to be vegetarian to crave lunch at Lila, where the menu changes often but where you’ll always find something tasty, whether it’s a Greek salad, grilled tofu, a black bean burrito or a trendy quinoa bowl laced with squash, yams, kale and more. Not sure about an all-vegetable lunch? Add a side of house-made bacon for $4.50. 

When you’re not counting calories


You’ll find one of Sarasota’s best burgers here, but the other handhelds are fantastic, too. The Nashville hot chicken sandwich has just enough heat to get you sweating, while the braised collard greens, melted cheese and homemade pickles take the whole package to the next level. Not for the faint of heart. 

Getting down to business


A staple of east Main Street for decades, Mediterraneo is a great spot for a business lunch, with a range of salads, sandwiches and beloved pizzas fired up in the restaurant’s wood-burning oven. We like the bufalina pizza, made with creamy fresh mozzarella, and the vongole, which is flavored with clams. You’ll come out ahead even if you don’t land that big account. 

Streetside dining at Mediterraneo

Image: Chad Spencer

For oodles of noodles

Pho Cali

Pho Cali is packed at midday for a reason. The portions are generous, but not overwhelming, the ingredients are always bright and fresh, and the servers will have you in and out in no time without ever rushing you. You probably already have your own favorite order. We dig 111C, coconut lemongrass tofu with chilies and onions, and 76, a vermicelli bowl with all the fixings. 

Food is good but cocktails rock

State Street Eating House + Cocktails

The lunch menu here is small, but focused, with top-shelf salads (the house-cured wild salmon salad is a winner), a great burger and an assortment of tempting sides. And everything works as a capable counterpoint to State Street’s cocktails, which are just as creative (and delicious) as they are at nighttime. 

Filed under
Show Comments