Take the time you’d spend doing the dishes and checking on the turkey to reconnect with loved ones and enjoy the flavors of the season while dining out this Thanksgiving. Or maybe you just need a neutral, public place to gather in case uncle Harry brings up politics or aunt Esther broaches religion. Either way, put the apron away, because these local restaurants have you covered.
5353 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 925-4444, creekseafood.com
In addition to its full menu, this Sarasota mainstay is adding specials to the menu like fresh stone crabs, baked stuffed seafood, Alaskan King crab and fresh oysters steamed or on the half shell. For those who want to stay traditional, order the turkey dinner served with a croissant sage andouille stuffing, sweet potato cobbler, broccoli au gratin, cranberry sauce sautéd with Grand Marnier, sage gravy and freshly baked cornbread. Order an apple mojito to add a seasonal twist to a classic. Open 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
23 N. Lemon Ave., Sarasota, (941) 365-1020, salutesarasota.com
Enjoy a homemade, traditional Thanksgiving with Italian flair. Start with butternut squash bisque or a holiday spinach salad with caramelized walnuts. Move on to a roasted traditional turkey dinner served with a chef-made sausage, wild mushroom, vegetable and herb stuffing. And dress it with string beans Almandine, roasted honey-glazed sweet potatoes, gravy and a Chianti cranberry sauce. Finish with pumpkin pie or apple pie à la mode. The regular menu will also be available. Open 3-8:30 p.m.
1 North Lemon Ave., Sarasota, 941 330-0440, mattisons.com
Located in the heart of downtown Sarasota, with prime people watching, Mattison's is serving oven-roasted turkey with apple walnut stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, a maple-ginger roasted vegetable medley (green beans, baby carrots, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts), giblet gravy and fresh cranberries. The regular menu will also be available. Open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Live music starts at 7:30 p.m.
1413 Main St. Sarasota, (941) 724-8585, elementsrq.com
Enjoy oven-roasted turkey breast, house-made pan gravy, sausage and sage stuffing, roasted acorn squash, a sweet potato and walnut gratin, cranberry sauce, mashed potatos and a truffled green bean casserole. If turkey isn't your thing, choose from a rack of lamb with roasted potatoes and grilled asparagus, or halibut or salmon entrées. A limited version of the regular menu will also be available. Open noon-9 p.m.
5350 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key, (941) 383-0440, lazylobsteroflongboat.com
The homemade turkey dinner includes roasted turkey, homestyle stuffing, mashed regular and sweet potatoes, green beans topped with fried onions and cranberry sauce. Start it off with a seasonal pecan salad and finish it with a pecan or pumpkin pie dessert. The restaurant will also be serving its full, regular menu. Open noon-9 p.m.
100 Central Ave., Suite 1022, Sarasota, (941) 36-1033, tsunami-sarasota.com
Want to veer off the traditional Thanksgiving path and hop onto a sushi boat instead? Tsunami has you covered. Choose from a king lobster specialty roll or classics like General Tso’s chicken. A dedicated vegan menu has creative rolls with ingredients like purple rice, tofu and tempura banana. Centrally located for great people watching and an after-dinner stroll among the holiday lights. Open 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 4:30-9:30 p.m.