Best of Sarasota 2020

Readers' Choice: Best Neighborhood Joints

From Lakewood Ranch to Venice, here are our readers' votes for their favorite neighborhood restaurants.

April 21, 2020

Side Of Ranch (Best Lakewood Ranch Restaurant)

Grove Restaurant ·  Patio · Ballroom

10670 Boardwalk Loop., Lakewood Ranch, (941) 893-4321, 

Head to Grove with family and friends and enjoy the beautiful ambiance, great food and plenty of outdoor seating. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but the ahi tuna nachos and the “Heights” chicken spiedie are two of our faves for lunch.

Lucky Pelican Bistro

6239 Lake Osprey Dr., Lakewood Ranch, (941) 907-0589, 

The Lucky Pelican is a Lakewood Ranch staple. The restaurant has an ever-changing menu featuring the freshest catches of the day. Try the ocean burrito or the fish tacos and, if you’re craving a burger, Lucky Pelican has got you covered.

Station 400

8215 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch, (941) 907-0648,

A Lakewood Ranch breakfast and lunch favorite, this is the perfect spot for a meal with your mom or a casual business meeting. Sit outside and do some people watching as you enjoy a delicious omelet or satisfy your sweet tooth with banana and brown sugar pancakes. Is your mouth watering yet?

Speaks Clam Bar

8764 E State Rd 70, Lakewood Ranch,  (941) 232-7646, 

If you’re craving traditional Italian and fresh seafood, head to Speaks and put in your order for fresh, house-made pasta, sauces and fresh fish. And if you want a chuckle, check out Speaks’ latest commercial, which went viral during the pandemic. 

North by Northwest (Best Manatee Restaurant)

Sandbar Seafood & Spirits

100 Spring Ave., Anna Maria, (941) 778-0444, sandbardining.comFacebookInstagram

Head to Anna Maria Island for one of the best views of the Gulf. Get a table outside and relax with a cocktail with your toes in the sand as you get ready for the fresh flavors of local seafood and produce.

Beach House Waterfront Restaurant

200 Gulf Drive North, Bradenton Beach, (941) 779-2222, 

Enjoy the wide-open sea air, waterfront views and incredible food at Sandbar’s sister restaurant, Beach House. The menu includes only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients. It’s the perfect place for out-of-towners or locals who want to sit back, relax and enjoy a mini-vacation.

Anna Maria Oyster Bar

6906 14th St W, Bradenton, (941) 758-7880; 6696 Cortez Road, Bradenton, (941) 792-0077; 200 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach, (941) 778-AMOB (2662); oysterbar.netFacebook

With four convenient locations, it’s easier than ever to get your seafood fix. Anna Maria’s dedication to keeping its restaurants fresh and fun for all who dine with them stems from a desire to make your experience memorable. From managers and servers, cooks and kitchen staff, you’ll get pleasant service at a great value.

Beach Bistro

6600 Gulf Drive., Holmes Beach, (941) 778-6444, beachbistro.comFacebook

This award-winning restaurant has had the honor of creating memorable dining experiences with their guests for the past 35 years. Great for special occasions, Beach Bistro is a gem on the water and a must-try.


From the Land Down Under (Best Venice Restaurant)

Sharky's on the Pier

1600 Harbor Dr S, Venice, (941) 488-1456, sharkysonthepier.comFacebook

Head to the beach and make sure that Sharky’s is on the agenda. They’ve got all your favorite island delights, from sushi to conch fritters to mahi tacos. Add a Berry Naked Punch cocktail if you’re feeling frisky. Check Facebook for updates about live entertainment.

Crow's Nest Restaurant & Marina

1968 Tarpon Ctr Dr., Venice, (941) 484-9551, 

A waterfront favorite for over 40 years, Crow’s Nest is open and misses you. Drive over or pull your boat up to the dock for some crispy sole tacos or a Gulf grouper sandwich. The cool marina breeze is calling your name.

Fins at Sharky’s 

1600 Harbor Dr S., Venice, (941) 999-3467,

A beachfront steakhouse with a serious seafood side, Fin’s is the perfect spot for special occasions or happy hour sunset cocktails. Reservations are recommended.

Luna Ristorante

200 Nokomis Ave N., Venice, (941) 412-9898

Known for big hearty meals full of Italian love. Luna is a wonderful, casual Venice restaurant where you’ll get great food and outstanding service and have lots of fun with the locals. To see their menu, best bet is their Trip Advisor page.

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