Down South

The Best Restaurants in Osprey and Nokomis

Venture to south Sarasota County for a taste of one (or all) of these great spots.

By Lauren Jackson

Bay Leaf

1092 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, (941) 244-0310, bayleafosprey.com

Warm Indian spices abound at this cozy strip mall spot. Tuck into favorites like tikka masala or biryani, or try something new like Nirwana curry, a flavorful fish coconut stew. If you're suffering from choice paralysis, swing by on the weekend for the buffet, which is offered from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. You won't be disappointed.

The Breakfast Cottage

2301 N. Tamiami Trail, Nokomis, (941) 313-9529, thebreakfastcottage.com

The Breakfast Cottage is a longtime Nokomis staple. Located in a Florida bungalow, the menu features plenty of morning-time items like omelets and Benedicts, but it's the Monte Cristo that keeps us coming back. Honey-baked ham, roasted turkey and Swiss cheese nestled between two pieces of French toast? Yes, please.

Casey Key Fish House

801 Blackburn Point Road, Osprey, (941) 966-1901, caseykeyfishhouse.com

Perhaps the most iconic restaurant in Osprey and Nokomis, Casey Key Fish House brings the taste and ambiance of Old Florida to life. Pop in for a piña colada at the outdoor tiki bar, or relax on the patio with conch fritters and a grouper sandwich. Whatever you order, you'll be mesmerized as you watch the boats navigate through the historic Blackburn Point Bridge. If you're lucky, you may even catch a Stephen King sighting.

The "Super Vegan Wrap" at Café Evergreen.

The "Super Vegan Wrap" at Café Evergreen.

Café Evergreen

801 S. Tamiami Trail, Nokomis, (941) 412-4334, cafeevergreen.net

When you're in the mood for something healthy, Café Evergreen has you covered. This small eatery packs a big punch in the flavor department with options for vegans, vegetarians and omnivores. We love the cheesy quinoa cakes, which also come in a vegan iteration. Try them on their own, or order them in the "Super Vegan Wrap" for your daily dose of veggies.

Kiku Sushi & Grill has something for everyone.

Kiku Sushi & Grill has something for everyone.

Kiku Sushi & Grill

1254 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, (941) 918-0288, kikusushigrillosprey.com

This brand-new Japanese spot has all the locals raving thanks to its comprehensive menu and top-notch execution. Select a sushi roll from an extensive list of offerings and prepare for maximum satisfaction. If raw fish isn't your bag, never fear. Kiku also features hibachi-style options like chicken, steak, shrimp and more.

Local Pizza

66 N. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, (941) 909-0743, thelocal.pizza

Located in "downtown" Osprey, Local Pizza is serving up some seriously good pie. Ingredient combinations skew Italian-style, like the "Right in the Kisser," made with soppressata, fresh mozzarella and Calabrian chili honey. And while the pizza is fantastic, the salads steal the show. We love the roasted hearts of palm salad with roasted lemon vinaigrette for a light reprieve from a rich, cheesy pie.

Burgers are a must when visiting Mad Moe's.

Burgers are a must when visiting Mad Moe's.

Mad Moe's

106 N. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, (941) 966-9700, madmoes.com

If you only have a chance to visit Mad Moe's once, order a burger. Trust us. Generous, juicy patties are cooked to your preferred temperature and topped in a variety of ways. We like to keep it traditional with pickles, lettuce, tomatoes and cheddar cheese, but there are plenty of other options to make your burger dreams come true. If you have extra room, throw in an order of wings and prepare to be wowed.

MAX's Table

115 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, (941) 220-7463, maxstablesrq.com

This breakfast and lunch staple—named for the initials of the owners’ daughter—offers consistently delicious fare. The dining room is bright and cheerful and the food is fantastic, with choices that run the gamut from healthy to traditional to nap-inducing. We particularly love the corned beef hash with over-easy eggs for a satisfying weekend brunch. Don’t forget to order the French fries, which we argue are the best in town.

Shrimp ceviche at Pop's Sunset Grill.

Shrimp ceviche at Pop's Sunset Grill.

Pop's Sunset Grill

112 Circuit Road, Nokomis, (941) 488-3177, popssunsetgrill.com

Soak up the Intracoastal views at Pop's Sunset Grill (also pictured at top). This expansive waterfront stop has it all: live music, delicious food and the friendliest staff around. Pull up to the bar for a refreshing cocktail paired with fish tacos or shrimp ceviche for a taste of the good life. Before you head home, scoot over to Nokomis Beach, just across the bridge.

Roessler's

2033 Vamo Way, Sarasota, (941) 966-5688, roesslersrestaurant.com

We know this classic continental restaurant is technically in south Sarasota, but since it's less than a mile from the Osprey border, we think it deserves to be included. The beautiful property overlooks a pond setting complete with a gazebo and footbridge, for surroundings you would never believe is a stone's throw from U.S. 41. While we love everything on the menu, the wiener schnitzel is the star thanks to chef Klaus Roessler's German upbringing.

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