It’s easy to make a passable breakfast. It’s difficult to make an outstanding one.

That’s the first thing we learned when we set out to compile the definitive list of the best places to have breakfast in Sarasota-Manatee. We ever-famished editors ate everywhere we could, from gas stations with a reputation for global specialties to Gulf-front cafes with designer entrées. And we ate everything. Pancakes, waffles, flapjacks. Omelets, frittatas, crêpes. Sausage, bacon, gravy. We’d roll into work after 10, either over-caffeinated or sleepy from way too much fat and sugar. And frankly, we never want to even glimpse Hollandaise again.

So what makes breakfast great? Strong coffee. Crispy hash browns. Real maple syrup. Just-made biscuits dotted with golden flecks of butter. Crackling bacon. Eggs of impeccable freshness. Those are the essentials. But other details help. Servers who know you by name. A shady patio—or a funky retro vibe. A quick turnaround. And in a field in which comfortable culinary classics dominate, creativity stands out in a major way. Little adjustments, like adding sweet potatoes to pancakes or vanilla beans to syrup, make a big difference.

Pour yourself another cup of coffee and read on.

In This Feature:

The 23 Top Breakfast Spots in Sarasota-Manatee

Our guide to the region's finest breakfast spots.

01/25/2016 By Cooper Levey-Baker

5 Great Sarasota Coffee Shops

Five of our favorite caffeine-capable coffee counters and their bodacious bean-based beverages.

02/27/2017 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Eight Doughnuts to Eat Before You Die

From red velvet to pork-stuffed, here are eight local doughnuts guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth.

01/25/2016 By Megan McDonald

Midnight Breakfast at the Waffle House

While the world sleeps, breakfast—and an iconic American experience—await.

01/25/2016 Photography by Cooper Levey-Baker

The Coffee Carousel: Main Street's Most Affordable Eatery

The Coffee Carousel has barely changed since the restaurant opened in the 1960s.

05/31/2016 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Station 400's Blueberry Pancake Recipe

Make the blueberry pancakes from Station 400 that were featured on our February 2016 cover.

01/25/2016 By Megan McDonald

Deconstructing Eggs Benedict

A Ritz-Carlton chef breaks down the iconic indulgence.

01/25/2016 By Hannah Wallace

An Ode to Bacon

Noveliest Adam Davies pens an ode to the forbidden meat.

01/25/2016 By Adam Davies

Where to Eat Breakfast When You're on the Run

Where--and what--to eat when you're on the go.

01/25/2016 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Local Notables Share Their Favorite Breakfasts

Here's what a congressman, an imam, a gospel singer and more eat for breakfast.

01/25/2016 By Cooper Levey-Baker and Ilene Denton

Around the World in 5 Bites

Eat your way around the globe without leaving town.

01/25/2016 By Cooper Levey-Baker