Most Famous Restaurants in Downtown Sarasota

While you’re vacationing in Lido Key, you’re likely going to want to sample some of the best cuisine in the area. No matter what you’re in the mood for or how much you’d like to spend, your ideal restaurant is right around the corner!

Head to nearby downtown Sarasota for some of Florida’s finest food.

If you really want to get a taste (pun intended) of the history and culture of the area, you won’t want to miss out on these best restaurants in Sarasota. Best of all, they’re all just minutes away from our Lido Key rentals!


Indigenous was opened in 2011 and has been voted Sarasota’s Best Restaurant for multiple years. The owners and staff put an emphasis on seasonal cuisine made with sustainable seafood and ingredients. They put an equal amount of attention into the sophisticated atmosphere, making for a truly unique dining experience. Their dinner selections provide something for everyone, from the baked scallops to the parmesan beignets. Indigenous is perfect if you’re looking for a unique and memorable date night. They are located at 239 South Links Avenue.

salmon from selva

Selva Grill

Selva is easily one of the most well of restaurants in Sarasota, having won Diners Choice Awards in 2020 for the Best Food, Most Booked, Best Service, and Best Overall. This restaurant presents Latin Fusion cuisine with an emphasis on Peruvian dishes. The chef and staff have carefully crafted a menu combining classic Peruvian flavors with unique Florida twists. Popular dishes include the Andean rack of lamb, salmon Chileno, and mirin roasted sea bass. Finish with the mango key lime tart for the perfect dessert! Selva is located at 1345 Main Street.

Nancy’s Bar-B-Q

At Nancy’s Bar-B-Q, Nancy Krohngold serves up her signature pork shoulder that has been drawing crowds for the past six years. Visitors flock for miles around to experience her secret recipe 14 ingredient dry rub, cooked low and slow for more than 15 hours! Grab a sampling of pork, brisket, ribs, or sausage, or if you’re not in the mood for barbecue, there are chicken and seafood offerings as well. Can’t decide? Go for a combo tray! No matter what you pick, you’ll dine in a casual and welcoming atmosphere with some of the friendliest staff around. Nancy’s is located at 301 South Pineapple Avenue.



Mediterraneo opened in 1996 and is credited with being the first restaurant to provide authentic contemporary Italian cuisine to the Sarasota area. Proprietors Giovanni Migliorini, Alessandro Rossi, and Daniele Baroni are passionate about bringing their favorite Italian flavors to the locals and visitors of the area. You’ll walk into an upscale yet welcoming atmosphere to dine on Italian favorites like minestrone soup, lasagna Bolognese, Pollo Milanese, and more. This eatery proves you don’t have to go across the pond to get a great Italian meal! Mediterraneo is located at 1970 Main Street.

New Pass Grill and Bait Shop

New Pass Grill and Bait Shop has been a staple in Sarasota for almost 100 years. Since 1929, New Pass has been bringing its Old Florida charm to the Sarasota shores, solidifying itself as a mainstay for locals and visitors alike. The welcoming staff will bring you in and help you feel right at home in the casual and family-friendly atmosphere. Be sure to sample the New Pass Burger, one of their menu staples. You can also try a classic sandwich, hot dog, or seafood or chicken special. After your meal, grab some bait, rent your equipment, and try to catch a fish off the dock! New Pass Grill and Bait Shop is located at 1505 Ken Thompson Parkway.

The Bijou Cafe

The tagline says it all: “French-Forward Global Cuisine.” The Bijou Cafe began in 1986 when the Knaggs family opened a 50-seat restaurant inside a restored 1920s era gas station. Today, the restaurant has gotten incredible ratings from local publications and national web services and has been a favorite of locals for decades. The sophisticated atmosphere pairs perfectly with the mouth-watering cuisine on the dinner menu, including classics like the lamb shank, roast duckling, and crab cakes. The Bijou Cafe is located at 1287 1st Street.

Ophelia’s on the Bay

Ophelia’s on the Bay opened in 1988 and has been drawing crowds with the promise of unique and flavorful food with a stunning view of little Sarasota Bay. The atmosphere of the restaurant takes advantage of the natural Florida splendor, and the food has been elevated to unbelievable heights. Executive Chef Daniel Olson has created mouth-watering dinner selections like classic seafood jambalaya, double rack chop of cervena venison, and breast of duckling. Ophelia’s on the Bay is perfect for Sunday brunch, date night, or anything in between. They’re located at 9105 Midnight Pass Road.

The Main Bar Sandwich Shop

The Main Bar Sandwich Shop traces its roots back to 1958 when it was opened by retiring circus performers Antonio and Thea Borza. Today, guests can visit to experience the classic sandwich shop atmosphere, complete with welcoming staff and delectable sandwich combinations. You can sample the Famous Italian or the Main Bar Special, or go for a classic like the New Yorker or Big Dipper. There’s everything from chicken to ham to turkey and anything in between, always made fresh just the way you like it. The Main Bar Sandwich Shop is located at 1944 Main Street.


Caragiulos has been serving Italian American cuisine to the Sarasota area for more than 30 years now. The restaurant staff prides itself on providing homemade ingredients daily, including fresh mozzarella, warm bread, and authentic biscotti baked by Mrs. Caragiulo herself. This restaurant is the epitome of comfort, as the atmosphere is welcoming and casual. Popular menu options include lasagna al forno, linguine fra diavolo, and eggplant parmigiana. If you’re not in the mood for pasta, there are plenty of pizza selections and other Italian entrees as well. Caragiulos is located at 69 South Palm Avenue.

Walt’s Fish Market Restaurant and Tiki Bar

Walt’s Fish Market found its beginnings in the early 1900s when Claus Wallin immigrated to America from Sweden. Claus’s son Walt Sr. opened the first Walt’s Fish Market after he returned from World War II. To this day, Walt’s is the only market and restaurant in Sarasota. Chef Rigo takes the freshest seafood in the area to create mouth-watering entrees like peel and eat shrimp, mahi-mahi sandwich, soft shell crabs, seafood scampi, and more. There’s also an extensive kids’ menu, so the whole family can enjoy dining in this casual and welcoming restaurant. Walt’s is located at 4144 South Tamiami Trail.

french onion soup

C’est La Vie

C’est La Vie has been presenting authentic French cafe cuisine to the Sarasota area since 1997. Christophe Coutelle developed his passion for French cuisine from his parents, who ran their own restaurant in Paris when Christophe was a child. Today, he runs C’est La Vie with his wife Geraldine and has created most of the recipes on the menu. The atmosphere is casual and family-friendly, so you can enjoy your meal in peace, whether you choose a crepe, toasted panini sandwich, or oven selection. If you want something in a hurry, grab a treat like bread pudding, beignets, macarons, or baguettes from the bakery! C’est La Vie is located at 1553 Main Street.

If you are looking for Lido Key things to do, any of these incredible restaurants is a solid bet that’s just down the road.

Lido Key Vacation Homes

Once you’re full and ready to drift off to sleep, head back to our Lido Key vacation rentals for the ultimate combination of comfort and luxury, perfect for gearing up for another day of sightseeing. Contact us today to start planning your getaway!