Eating at Bimini Bar & Grill is an immersive experience. The waterfront restaurant overlooks Casey Key, and guests sitting in the restaurant's second level—The Overlook Grill—are well equipped to view it. The water serves as obvious inspiration for the restaurant's menu, which features locally-sourced, seasonal seafood. Starters of hot crab dip or New England clam chowder lead to pan-seared ahi tuna, its halves encrusted in wasabi and garlic ginger. Fish tacos champion filets of grilled fish and fresh cabbage slaw, while friend shrimp rest atop a 10" hoagie roll for a po-boy.
Downstairs, a casual, nautically-themed space called Bimini Bar pours libations. Draft beers accompany bites sourced from the full menu, available in regular and small-plate portions. The bar hosts live music several nights a week, and on other nights revelers might find karaoke, televised sports, or a paper-airplane relay.
On any given day, you might see Big Water Fish Market's seafood specialists on the docks dotting Little Sarasota Bay and the Gulf Coast, buying catches straight from the boat. They haul these bounties back to their chilled display cases, then scrawl the day's selection across the store's blackboard. Big Water's staffers concentrate on local fresh fish and shellfish, taking a special interest in grouper, snapper, and mahi-mahi. Besides these catches, they keep freezers full of imported shipments, from sushi-grade yellowfin tuna to snow crab that, ironically, has never actually seen snow. For those who don’t want to wait until they get home for a tasty seafood meal, the shop’s deli fries, grills, and blackens various fish.
Nina Lakatos and Lynn Morris, two actual girls, wanted to live healthier lifestyles. They tried combining juices and raw, plant-based vegan foods and discovered that they "made them feel fantastic." Their friends took notice of the duo's improved health and energy and became curious about how to live such a lifestyle. Being a professional chef and professional photographer, the two knew how to make good food and how to make their good food look good, too. So, they started Two Girls Food, making fresh juices and vegan entrees each morning from scratch and delivering them to customers around town. They also offer pickup service in the morning at two locations.
The colorful crystals of snow cones. Cold beer and the rosy cumulus of cotton candy. The foods and drinks at Beach Bites call to mind a beachside carnival. Sandwiches there range from a Chicago-style italian beef with giardiniera to a pulled-pork construction that wouldn’t be out of place in Memphis or on a list of things it is funny to throw on a butler. Along with the eatery’s specialties, customers can build their own sandwiches, filling out a checklist of desired meats, cheese, and toppings. Fruit smoothies with a splash of wine or snow cones topped off with Yuengling lager or one of the other beers on tap add a twist to standard icy treats.
In Miguel's Restaurant's bustling kitchen, chef Gabe prepares delectable French and continental recipes. Cool vichyssoise soup primes appetites for USDA prime filet mignon with béarnaise sauce or a roasted duck with raspberry sauce. Ornamented with toile vases and copper kettles, a stone fireplace fills a corner of the dining room, while vivid, cobalt-blue tablecloths stand in stark contrast with runaway sprigs of parsley.
“I believe that if you’re not cooking with all five senses, you’re not cooking,” declares Derek Barnes in his feature for Sarasota’s Hot Chefs. It’s this maxim that earned him a lifetime of culinary achievement, starting with a four-year stint under the expertise of Emeril Lagasse and leading to a Zagat rating for his own restaurant and the title of semifinalist in the 2009 James Beard Awards. Derek channels these achievements into the innovative dishes he creates at his eponymous restaurant, which specializes in what he calls progressive American cuisine. That “progressive” moniker can mean a lot of things, whether it’s anointing a dish of foie gras with hazelnut honey and walnut streusel or braising a savory lamb shank in the tart flavors of lime and cilantro. Unlike a time-traveling Byzantine explorer, the chef doesn’t obsess over his plentiful spice cabinet, as the menu’s simple-grill selection serves up fresh cuts of steak, fish, and poultry in a simple, unadulterated form. Each flavor note finds its ideal complement in a wine list that features 100 bottles, many of which are available by the glass.