Banyan Tree Chocolate & Cafe

5170 Palmer Plaza Blvd., Sarasota, (941) 923-2462, banyantreechocolate.com

In addition to selling addictive chocolate truffles and bonbons, Banyan Tree is also a daytime meal destination, with a selection of soups, salads and sandwiches, plus a variety of teas and coffee drinks. On your way out, pick up some of Banyan's single-origin chocolate bars, which are made from scratch with cacao beans from all over the world.

Cafe Barbosso

Cafe Barbosso

Image: Chad Spencer

Cafe Barbosso

5501 Palmer Crossing Circle, Sarasota, (941) 922-7999, cafebarbosso.com

This popular Italian-American hangout serves a range of entrées, pasta dishes and pizzas that range from the traditional to the creative. For an example of the latter, try the lamb kofta pizza, which comes flavored with a coconut curry sauce, cardamom, yogurt, a mint oil and mozzarella. The "Ultimate Eggplant," a 10-layer torte made with paper-thin slices of eggplant, béchamel sauce, cheese and tomato sauce, is a winner.

Gecko's Grill and Pub's Boom Boom tacos

Gecko's Grill and Pub's Boom Boom tacos

Gecko's Grill & Pub

5585 Palmer Crossing Circle, Sarasota, (941) 923-6061, geckosgrill.com

A Sarasota institution, Gecko's has a Palmer Ranch outpost that is a great spot for lunch or dinner or to catch a game. The blue cheese chips are a justly famous way to start a hang session, and the burgers, sandwiches and salads are perennial hits.

Phở 99

5191 Clark Road, Sarasota, (941) 922-1888, pho99sarasota.com

As its name indicates, Phở 99 specializes in phở, the iconic Vietnamese soup, but the restaurant also serves quality bún platters and broken rice dishes. You'll also find a creative mix of boba teas and smoothies, plus ultra-strong, ultra-sweet Vietnamese coffee served with condensed milk.

Rendez-Vous' almond croissant.

Rendez-Vous

5336 Clark Road, Sarasota, (941) 924-1234, rendezvoussarasota.com

An excellent stop for traditional French breads and pastries, Rendez-Vous is also a great breakfast and lunch destination, with omelets, salads and sandwiches. The sandwiches made with Rendez-Vous' spectacular baguettes are exceptional. Don't leave without at least one of the shop's croissants.

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