Local Favorites

The Best Restaurants in Gulf Gate

Our top picks for where the locals hang in this distinct Sarasota neighborhood.

By Lauren Jackson

Screaming Goat Taqueria

6566 Gateway Ave., Sarasota, (941) 201-3992, screaming-goat.com

Creativity is key at Screaming Goat (pictured at top). We recommend selecting several tacos from its collection of inventive and delicious offerings. You can keep it traditional with cochinita pibil or barbacoa, but be sure to try one (or three) of the vegetarian/vegan tacos as well. We love the "Latin falafel," topped with bright cilantro chimichurri and pico de gallo. Yum.

Monk’s Steamer Bar

6690 Superior Ave., Sarasota, (941) 927-3388, monkssteamerbar.com

It’s a dive and it has oysters, two things that typically wouldn’t go together. But at Monk’s, the ambiance—or lack thereof—is all part of the charm. Pull up a seat at the bar so you can talk to your shucker while he works over a squeaky-clean icy oyster chamber. The drinks are far from fussy; we recommend a cold beer to accompany your plump Gulf oysters. Not a fan of raw oysters? Try the oysters “Monkafellers,” broiled with Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs, for a simple treat that will somehow blow your mind. 

Opus Restaurant & Lounge

6644 Gateway Ave., (941) 925-2313, opus-srq.com

Floor-to-ceiling windows set the mood at this upscale establishment, and fresh Mediterranean flavors abound on the simple and well-executed menu. The Kataifi shrimp are cradled in thinly shredded filo and accompanied by a cherry chili sauce that nicely rounds out the generous za’atar seasoning. Smoky eggplant, zucchini and red peppers shine in the caponata, our new favorite way to get our daily serving of vegetables.

A sandwich at Piccolo Italian Market & Deli.

A sandwich at Piccolo Italian Market & Deli.

Image: Chad Spencer

Piccolo Italian Market & Deli

6518 Gateway Ave., Sarasota (941) 923-2202, piccolomarket.com

Unassuming is the name of the game in Gulf Gate, and Piccolo Italian Market fits right in. This quiet Italian market has tons of specialty treats to select from, but we come specifically for the sandwiches. They menu is extensive (more than 30 to choose from!), and they are huge and, most importantly, delicious.

RomanSQ's fra diavolo pizza.

RomanSQ's fra diavolo pizza.

Image: Chad Spencer

Roman SQ

6670 Superior Ave., Sarasota, (941) 237-8742, romansq.com

When we say this pizza is so good, we mean it: think thick, Roman-style slices made from pillowy-soft focaccia that can stand up to a generous assortment of traditional toppings. We love the potato and sausage for carbs on carbs on carbs, but try it with fresh mozzarella and prosciutto to feel like you’ve been transported to Roma.

The "combo" at Tony's Chicago Beef.

The "combo" at Tony's Chicago Beef.

Tony’s Chicago Beef

6569 Superior Ave., Sarasota, (941) 922-7979, tonyschicagobeef.com

Step one foot inside Tony’s and you’ll be instantly transported to Chicago—by smell, of course. One of the few places you can get a true Chicago dog, this spot is an instant hit. Whet your appetite with a namesake Italian beef dipped in plenty of gravy, or take it one step further with a “combo"—beef and Italian sausage in perfect harmony. No matter what you choose, you’ll never leave hungry.

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