Best of Sarasota

The Best of Sarasota 2023: Readers' Choice

We polled our readers and asked them to name their favorites in dozens of categories. Here’s what they had to say.

May 3, 2023 Published in the May-June 2023 issue of Sarasota Magazine

Food & Drink

Best New Restaurant


St. Armands Oyster Bar; Prime Serious Steak

Best Waterfront Dining

Ophelia’s on the Bay

Dry Dock Waterfront Grill; Shore (Longboat Key location)

Best Outdoor Dining

Café Epicure

Dry Dock Waterfront Grill; Ophelia’s on the Bay

Best Special Occasion Restaurant

Ophelia’s on the Bay

Michael’s on East; Siesta Key Summer House Steak & Seafood

Best Breakfast

First Watch

Station 400; Millie’s

Best Brunch

First Watch

Cask & Ale; Libby’s Neighborhood Brasserie

Best Lunch

Gecko’s Grill & Pub

Connors Steak & Seafood; Boca Kitchen Bar Market

Best Kids’ Menu

Gecko’s Grill & Pub

First Watch; Ford’s Garage

Best Deli

Southside Deli

Anna’s Deli; The Corkscrew Deli

Best Seafood

Owen’s Fish Camp

Walt’s Fish Market Restaurant & Tiki Bar; Brine Seafood & Raw Bar

Best Sushi

Ichiban Restaurant & Sushi Bar/JPan (Tie)

Pacific Rim; Tsunami Sushi & Hibachi Grill

Best Italian

Cafe Amici

Mediterraneo; Cafe Barbosso

Best Pizza


Valentino Pizzeria Trattoria; Origin Craft Beer & Pizza Cafe

Best Burger

Patricks 1481

Gecko’s Grill & Pub; Ford’s Garage

Best Tacos


El Toro Bravo; Mi Pueblo (University Parkway location)

Best Barbecue

Stottlemyer’s Smokehouse

Brick’s Smoked Meats; Nancy’s Bar-B-Q

Best Amish Food

Der Dutchman

Yoder’s Restaurant; Yoder’s Deli Market

Best Steakhouse

Connors Steak & Seafood

Michael John’s Restaurant; Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse

Best Vegan Food

Hamlet’s Eatery

Lila; Green Zebra

Best Gluten-Free Menu

Gecko’s Grill & Pub

Café Evergreen; Green Zebra

Best Venice Restaurant

Fins at Sharky’s

Dockside Waterfront Grill; The Crow’s Nest

Best Bradenton Restaurant

Michael John’s Restaurant

Gecko’s Grill & Pub; Pier 22

Best Lakewood Ranch Restaurant


Lucky Pelican Bistro; Gecko’s Grill & Pub

Best Bakery

Rendez-Vous French Bakery and Bistro

Cakes by Ron; Paisano’s Italian Bakery

Best Dessert

Floribbean Flo’s Caribbean Pie Company/Parise’s (Tie)

Euphemia Haye and The Haye Loft

Best Chef

Teylor Bouchard, Hamlet’s Eatery

Steve Phelps, Indigenous; Christopher Covelli, Sage

Best Food Truck

Hamlet’s Eatery

The Maine Line; Fire Tacos

Best Non-Alcoholic Drinks


Elixir Tea House; The Doctor’s Office/ Euphemia Haye and The Haye Loft/Rise & Nye’s (Tie)

Best Cocktail Menu

Cask & Ale

State Street Eating House + Cocktails; Pangea Alchemy Lab

Best Drinks

State Street Eating House + Cocktails

Cask & Ale; Meliora/Sage (Tie)

Best Rooftop Bar

Art Ovation Hotel

The Westin; Sage

Best Place to Grab a Beer

Gecko’s Grill & Pub

Brewster’s; 99 Bottles

Best Mixologist

Shannon Illch, Cornerstone and Company

Staff, Cask & Ale; Staff, Pangea Alchemy Lab

Best Wine List

Michael’s on East

Cooper’s Hawk; Marcello Ristorante Italiano

Best Brewery

Big Top Brewing Co.

Calusa Brewing; Sun King Brewery

Best Distillery

Siesta Key Rum

Loaded Cannon Distillery

Best Coffee Shop

Rise & Nye’s

Simon’s Coffee House; Perq

Best Place to Sip Some Wine

Michael’s on East

Mattison’s Forty-One; Cooper’s Hawk

Best Specialty Grocery Store

Morton’s Gourmet Market

Detwiler’s Farm Market; Two Chefs on Hillview

Best Chocolate Shop


Norman Love Confections; Läderach Chocolatier Suisse

Best Wine Shop

Total Wine & More

Seagrape Wine Co.; Norman’s Liquors

Best Butcher Shop

The Butcher’s Block

Detwiler’s Farm Market; Alpine Steakhouse

Shops & Services

Best Fine Furniture Store

Robb & Stucky

Copenhagen Imports; Blu Home

Best Home Decor Store


Blu Home; Epic Home Décor

Best Lighting Store


Franklin Lighting; Bee Ridge Lighting

Best Contemporary Furniture Store

Copenhagen Imports

Robb & Stucky; Soft Square

Best Textiles Store

Boca Bargoons Fabrics

Blu Home; Cotton Patch Quilt Shop

Best Window Covering Store

Beach Life Blinds & Design

Budget Blinds; AIH Custom Window Treatments/M & M Wallcoverings & Blinds (Tie)

Best Closet Organization System Store

California Closets

Closet Tec; Carefree Design Center

Best Rug Store

Rugs as Art

Art to Walk On; DutchCrafters

Best Flooring Store

Floor & Decor

Flooring Options by Carpet One; Brewer Carpet One Floor & Home

Best Window and Door Store

All Glass & Windows

Shutter-Vue; PGT Innovations

Best Custom Homebuilder

John Cannon Homes

Trinity Construction & Design; Lee Wetherington Homes

Best Interior Designer

Blu Interiors

Distinctive Interiors; Chic on the Cheap/Trinity Design (Tie)

Best Women’s Clothing Store

Eyecatcher by P.J.’s Boutique

Foxy Lady (Siesta Key location); L. Boutique

Best Men’s Clothing Store

Tweeds Custom Suits

The Met; Captain’s Landing/Shore (St.Armands Circle location)/Compound Boardshop/Greiner’s Fine Men’s Clothing (Tie)

Best Swimwear Store

Swim City

Beach Bazaar/Swim Mart (Tie); Shore (St. Armands Circle location)/Swimwear
Boutique (Tie)

Best Consignment Shop

The Exchange

Fifi’s Fine Resale Apparel; PEL Consignments

Best Vintage Shop

Creative Hands of Sarasota

Canned Ham Vintage; Sarasota Architectural Salvage

Best Jeweler

Diamond Vault Jewelers

Coffrin Diamond Jewelers; Classic Creations in Diamonds & Gold

Best Gift Shop

The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime

Elysian Fields; The Giving Tree Gallery

Best Place to Buy Art

Creative Liberties

The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime; The Artful Giraffe

Best Boat Dealer

Tracker Boating Center

MarineMax; Erickson Marine/Galati Yacht Sales/Ingman Marine/Viage Group (Tie)

Best Florist

Beneva Flowers & Plantscapes

Victoria Blooms; Flowers by Fudgie

Best Bike Shop

Village Bikes

Sarasota Cycle; Trek

Best Eyewear Store

Eyeglass World

Center for Sight; Warby Parker

Best Running Shoe Store

Fleet Feet

Fit2Run; New Balance

Best Place to Buy a Kayak or Paddleboard

Economy Tackle/Dolphin Paddlesports

Compound Boardshop; Silent Sports Outfitters

Best Spa

Sirius Day Spa & Med Spa

L. Spa; Nuovo Salons

Best Hair Salon

Nuovo Salons

Cutting Loose Salon; Yellow Strawberry

Best Barbershop

American Shave

Modern Gents Premier Barbershop & Bar; ManCave for Men

Best Place for a Women’s Haircut

Nuovo Salons

Cutting Loose Salon; Sirius Day Spa & Med Spa

Best Hair Color Services

Nuovo Salons

Cutting Loose Salon; Sirius Day Spa & Med Spa

Best Med Spa

Elite Medical Spa

Sirius Day Spa & Med Spa; L. Spa

Best Tattoo Shop

Oddity Tattoo

Mockingbird Tattoo Co.; Z-Edge

Best Manicure, Pedicure Provider

Paint Nail Bar

Lavish Nails & Spa; American Shave

Best Massage Parlor

Sirius Day Spa & Med Spa

American Shave; Massage Envy

Best Waxing Services

American Shave/Sirius Day Spa & Med Spa (Tie)

Blue Door Spa & Salon/Waxing the City (Tie); European Wax Center

Best Facial Provider

Sirius Day Spa & Med Spa

L. Spa; Blue Door Spa & Salon

Best Lash Services

OMG Lashes

Sirius Day Spa & Med Spa; Blue Door Spa & Salon

Best Pet Boarding Services

AAA Pet Resort

Bayside Pet Resort; Ace Pet Resort/Doggy Resort (Tie)

Best Pet Daycare

AAA Pet Resort

The Mutt Hutt Grooming Salon; Bayside Pet Resort

Best Retirement Community

The Glenridge on Palmer Ranch

Tuscan Gardens; Grand Living at Lakewood Ranch

Best Home Health Care Provider

Take Care Home Health

Nursing Styles; A Daughter’s Touch Home Health Agency

Best Home Concierge Services

Castle Concierge

Key Concierge/Take Care Home Health (Tie); Welcome Home Concierge- The Home Watch Experts

Best Financial Planner

Mariner Wealth Advisors

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management; RBC Wealth Management

Things to Do

Best Golf Course

University Park Country Club

Laurel Oak Country Club; Serenoa Golf Club

Best Yoga Studio

Bhavana Yoga Studio

The Yoga Shack; Pineapple Yoga + Cycling Studio

Best Place to Take the Kids

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

Sarasota Jungle Gardens; The Ringling

Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Visitors

The Ringling

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens; Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

Best Kayaking

Lido Key Mangrove Tours

Kayaking SRQ; SURFit USA

Best Fitness Studio


CycleBar; Asgard Training Center

Best Place to Hike or Run

Legacy Trail

Celery Fields; Myakka River State Park

Best Place to Bike

Legacy Trail

Rothenbach Park; Nathan Benderson Park

Best Place to Play Pickleball

Pompano Trailhead

The Bay/G.T. Bray Recreation Center (Tie); The Meadows Country
Club/University Park Country Club (Tie)

Filed under
Show Comments