Great Restaurants and Our Favorite Dishes Along the Gulf Coast

In every destination there are just some dishes you have to try. Whether at a new restaurant or one with a long-standing tradition, Bradenton and the surrounding islands have more than their share of fabulous dining establishments with the freshest meat, fish and vegetables provided by extraordinary chefs. Here are a few “don’t miss” dishes.

Take in the magnificent view at Pier 22 while your Wasabi Crusted Tuna is prepared. It starts with top grade of tuna, is seared on all sides then topped with a soy glaze, top-secret peanut sauce and serve with fried rice and fresh vegetables.

Tater tots are just one of the dishes on the eclectic and creative menu at SOMA Creek Side. “Some how the chef figured out a way to raise tater tots to amazing heights,” said Christopher S. of Bradenton on Yelp. The SOMA tots are tossed in parmesan and white truffle oil and served with a spicy Russian dressing,

The Floribbean Grouper is a tradition at the award-winning Beach Bistroon Anna Maria Island. Just imagine line-caught Gulf Coast Grouper fresh from the water with a toasted coconut and cashew crust. A red pepper-papaya jam is added as a mouthwatering accent.

The salad at Arts and Eats with homemade pickled golden beets, kalamata olives, roasted red pepper and herb green goddess vinaigrette is made with the freshest local produce available. Gwenny52 of Grand Rapids, Michigan said about her salad: “… (it) was delicious, particularly due to the dressing made from freshly picked local herbs de provence.”

Crisp roasted duck, partially boned, filled with bread stuffing and served with tangy, sweet seasonal fruit sauce is a crowd favorite at Euphemia Haye. The duck has long been a tradition on the menu.

On the veggie side, order the Raging Breakfast Burrito with black bean chili, onions, peppers, eggs, cheddar cheese and roasted corn wrapped in a sun-dried tomato tortilla and topped with homemade salsa, sour cream and guacamole at the Sage Biscuit Café.

Nothing much has changed since 1959 at The Shake Pit including the thick, creamy, handmade milk shakes. Order the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Spooner where the candy topping goes all the way to the bottom of the cup.

Grab the LBK Sub with ham, salami, provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion with vinaigrette or mayonnaise on your choice of breads or wraps at Harry’s Continental Kitchen on Longboat Key and head for a beachside picnic.

The famous Grouper Sandwich at The Sandbar Restaurant on Anna Maria Island is grilled, blackened or fried, and only available when it is fresh from the water. Thick slice of tomato, perfect bun, lettuce, onion and pickle with a side of fries. With your toes in the sand, there is no better eating.

The Paris Bistrot in Lakewood Ranch has a mouthwatering selection of paper thin crepes filled with ice cream, chocolate, fruits and other delectable treats. What a great way to finish a meal!

Written by Franci Edgerly of
With over 40 years in the travel industry, lived in Africa, Europe and now the United States, Franci and her team of travel writers enjoy discovering and sharing insider tips eat and shop like a local is their motto. From the charm of small communities

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