Cosimo’s Trattoria & Bar blends the charm of Old World bistros with more modern international flavors. In keeping with tradition, the chefs hand-toss each 12-inch pizza before topping the pies with everything from ground Italian sausage and roasted red peppers to grilled chicken and sundried tomatoes. Classic pies are then baked to a toothsome crisp inside a wood-burning brick oven.
Homemade pasta dishes, ciabatta sandwiches, and grilled salmon with polenta exemplify bistro-style Italian cuisine. But the chefs push the boundaries with wasabi aioli and sweet Thai chili sauce on tempura-fried shrimp, and hoisin sauce and sesame seeds can top surprising specialty pizzas. Gluten-free items also accommodate diners with special diets.
Tan walls, diner-style booths, large plate-glass windows all lend a homespun charm to the airy, high-ceilinged dining room at Cosimo’s Trattoria & Bar. For a splash of color amid the space’s earth-toned palette, the eatery also features a colorful portrait as well as planters brimming with leafy green ferns. The covered veranda allows diners to enjoy their meals in the open air while avoiding the prying eyes of passing jetliner pilots.
You'll never find a packet of dry spaghetti noodles, nor a bag of frozen ravioli, in the kitchen at Giuseppe's Ristorante. That's because the restaurant's Italian-born chef, Eduardo, insists on making every piece of pasta from scratch. He rolls out thin layers of eggy dough to make fresh ravioli, butterfly-shaped farfalle, and long, flat fettuccine noodles perfect for sopping up sauce or lassoing morsels from your date's dinner plate.
After Eduardo has cut and shaped these pastas, he serves them up with proteins such as calamari, salmon, or tender veal, and sauces such as marsala or creamy b?chamel. Just-baked pizzas, salads, and a selection of gluten-free pasta dishes round out the menu. Servers prepare coffee drinks, pour wine, and serve beer?including Italian imports such as Moretti La Rossa. For dessert, try the made-from-scratch zeppole pastry or the affogato, which pairs rich espresso with creamy ice cream.
The chefs at Veg follow a simple philosophy: with each dish, they hope to expand diners' enjoyment of healthy, fresh, and seasonal foods. Their efforts have won praise from Sarasota Magazine, which has ranked Veg number one on their list of the area's best vegetarian-friendly restaurants three years in a row. HappyCow reviewers and every chicken who's ever gone into hiding are also fans of Veg's creative take on meat-free dining.
Vegetarians aren't the only ones who frequent Veg, though. Pescatarians, vegans, raw-foodists, and gluten-free diners can happily eat together, thanks to menus that make ordering easy rather than restrictive. Plates of raw "quiche" and vegan sweet-and-sour "brisket" share table space with sumptuous wild-caught seafood and salads heaped with proteins such as rare ahi tuna or non-GMO organic tofu.
Despite the nonchalance of its name, meals at the Blasé Café & Martini Bar are anything but expected. The casual retreat serves up seafood favorites with uniquely flavorful touches, from towers of crab cakes with up-to-date permits to New Orleans-style salmon and shrimp in a spicy marinara sauce. Land-sourced selections go beyond the average burger with unique proteins such as roast duckling, racks of New Zealand lamb, and flame-grilled filet mignon.
Of course, no self-respecting martini bar would be complete without a bar menu full of martinis. Mixing specialists shake up their signature drinks in three styles: traditional, sweet and sour, and dessert. Options such as the Ruby Red martini—a blend of Ruby Red vodka, Ruby Red schnapps, grapefruit juice, and a splash of pomegranate—and the decadent graham cracker-rimmed Key Lime martini provide empty hands with the ideal toasting and sipping accessory.
In October, 2011, Audrey shared with Focus Magazine a snapshot of her childhood in Jamaica—her grandmother moving swiftly through her outdoor kitchen, preparing Caribbean specialties on a cast-iron stove. Comforting memories like this are what inspired the homestyle chef to open her own eatery after 21 years split between careers in nursing and marketing. Today, celebrating her culinary roots, Audrey bakes rum cakes year-round and cooks authentic, savory entrees using recipes that date back to her family's days of using brick ovens, wood-burning stoves, and the power of a really good glare.
Diners can sit at a small handful of tables, though most choose to take dishes to go. Meals include oxtail in brown sauce, curry chicken, and flaky Jamaican patties filled with spicy beef or chicken.
The robust menu at Javier's Restaurant puts a Peruvian spin on Latin American staples. Corvina lima is a popular dish that takes Peruvian Pacific whitefish and sautées it with extra virgin olive oil and garlic and finishes it with fresh cilantro and lime. Other dishes include Conchitas a la Parmesana, which are large, sweet sea scallops quickly broiled with a crisp topping of lemon, butter and Parmesan cheese, and a tapas sampler with chargrilled bacon wrapped scallops, locally made spicy chorizo sausage, marinated Peruvian black olives and fresh Kasseri cheese. The wine bar offers a selection of flavorful South American vintages and Peruvian beers. Both the dining room and bar feature lush plant life, giving the place a jungle-like feeling.