Neighborhood Guide

The Best Restaurants Near University Town Center

Our top picks to whet your appetite during a day of shopping in this fast-growing part of town.

By Lauren Jackson

Dim Sum King

8194 Tourist Center Drive, Bradenton, (941) 306-5848,

Bring your sense of adventure with you to dine on “dim sum all day.” With its mind-blowing variety, Dim Sum King (pictured at top) will keep your palate guessing. If you’re new to the dim sum game, rely on your server to be your guide. We love the shu mai and delicate Shanghai-style dumplings. They also offer an extensive menu of larger Chinese meals which are sure to hit the spot, that is if you can tear yourself away from the tempting and colorful dim sum menu.

The Capital Grille.

Image: Tim Robison

The Capital Grille

180 University Town Center Drive, Sarasota, (941) 256-3647,

The embodiment of a classic American steakhouse, The Capital Grille offers a myriad of steaks like New York strip, bone-in ribeye and tender filet mignon. The expansive dining room is made cozy by overstuffed banquets perfect for date night. Open for lunch and dinner, it’s always the right time for their signature Stoli Doli, a refreshing martini made with pineapple-infused vodka.

Jersey Girl Bagels.

Jersey Girl Bagels

5275 University Parkway, Bradenton, (941) 388-8910,

Chewy, fluffy and warm bagels are the star at Jersey Girl. Churning out thousands of bagels per day, Jersey Girl never sacrifices quality in favor of quantity. You can’t go wrong with a simple sesame bagel with cream cheese, but why stop there? Jersey Girl Bagels offers bagel sandwiches, a pizza bagel and, our favorite, the classic lox with cream cheese and accoutrements.

JPan Sushi & Grill

229 N. Cattleman Road, Sarasota, (941) 960-3997,

Jpan is a Sarasota staple, and with good reason. The sushi menu is extensive, with rolls that are sure to appease everyone at the table, including riceless rolls wrapped in cool cucumber where fresh fish is truly the star of the show. We also love their tender steamed pork buns, packed with flavor and perfect for sharing. They even offer an excellent kids' menu, making JPan a great place for the whole family.

Poppo's Taqueria

8471 Cooper Creek Blvd., Bradenton, (941) 359-3720,

Counter service may not scream "best restaurant," but we don't care. We come to Poppo's for one thing and one thing only: their epic burritos. Poppo’s puts national chain burritos to shame with their housemade steamed-then-griddled tortillas to make for a true Mission-style dish. Choose your protein and accompanying fillings, but be sure to top it all off with their spicy jalapeño relish. Don’t forget to order the chips, which are made to order and served piping hot out of the fryer.

Selva Grill

67 N. Cattleman Road, Sarasota, (941) 358-6272,

Peruvian-inspired cuisine abounds at Selva Grill. Fresh and bright ceviches dominate the menu, with eight different styles to choose from. The dining room is sleek and cool, the ideal place to catch happy hour or even enjoy late-night offerings like short rib spring rolls and Chilean sea bass croquettes. Be sure to try their beloved Spanish Caesar salad, which replaces croutons with crisp plantains for a unique twist on a classic.

Tandoor Fine Indian Cuisine

8453 Cooper Creek Blvd., Bradenton, (941) 926-3077,

Tucked away in the Cooper Creek plaza is the Indian restaurant Tandoor. Their menu hits all the right notes with crisp samosa, creamy saag paneer and spiced biryani. The service is excellent and you are always welcomed as though you are part of their family. Be sure to try the traditional chai tea, which you can order cold on a hot Florida day.

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