15 SOUTH RISTORANTE
15 S. Boulevard of Presidents, St. Armands Circle, Sarasota, 388-1555; 15southristorante.com
High-end Italian cuisine along with excellent pizzas out of a blazing brick oven. 15 South also has a nice bar area up front and a music venue/nightclub upstairs.
Market Snapshot: St. Armands Key
431 St. Armands Circle, St. Armands Circle, 388-4415; cafeleurope.net
Sarasota’s — and St. Armands’ — grande dame of fine dining is still chugging along with its repertoire of classic dishes. You can find the potato-crusted grouper and brandied duckling the restaurant has served for decades, along with a host of other straightforward fine dining standards.
CHA CHA COCONUTS
417 St. Armands Circle, St. Armands Circle, 388-3300; chacha-coconuts.com
Tourist food and boat drinks, featuring fried shrimp and cold daiquiris served in plastic cups.
411 St. Armands Circle, St. Armands Circle, 388-3987; columbiarestaurant.com
The Sarasota outpost of this family-owned Florida chain still serves the Spanish/Cuban food that made their headquarters in Ybor famous. The black bean soup and 1905 salad are almost required eating, especially the one day a year they roll back the prices almost a hundred years.
CRAB & FIN
420 St. Armands Circle, St. Armands Circle, 388-3964; crabfinrestaurant.com
Although there’s nothing terribly fancy about the preparations, Crab & Fin has one of the most extensive selections of fresh fish and raw oysters in the greater Sarasota area. Order the Mote Marine locally farmed sturgeon for a truly Sarasota treat.
325 John Ringling Blvd., St. Armands Circle, 388-3325; daiquirideck.com
The Siesta Key fixture has opened an outpost in the former Hemmingway's space, serving the same Deck Diesel and other frozen treats that made them famous, along with good bar food and a large raw bar.
40 Blvd. Of The Presidents, St. Armands Circle, 388-4444; lamalincherestaurant.com
Mexican cuisine that’s a slight step above the usual Tex-Mex restaurants.
LYNCHES PUB & GRUB
19B N. Boulevard of Presidents, St. Armands Circle, 388-5550; lynchespub.com
Lynches is a great place to hide from the unceasingly resort qualities of the rest of the circle, thanks to the deliciously casual pubby atmosphere, decent beer, and inexpensive Irish/American bar food.
NEW PASS GRILL ON THE CIRCLE
19 N. Blvd. Of The Presidents, St. Armands Circle, 388-3119; newpass.com
This waterfront fan-favorite from the other side of Lido Key is opening a spot on the circle, with the burgers and fish sandwiches that have made it famous.
RISTORANTE LE COLONNE
22 S. Boulevard of the Presidents, St. Armands Circle, 388-4348; lecolonneristorante.com
Le Colonne serves classic Italian fare -- from antipasti to, well, pasta -- in an elegant setting, along with a beautiful outdoor
465 John Ringling Boulevard, St. Armands Circle, 296-0301, facebook.com/shorediner
Making a bold architectural statement with its blend of inside and outside dining experience – a retractable roof brings the outside in – Shore Diner represents the newest venture for the inventive Mark Cargiulo. But it's not just the good looks that attract diners. The American Bistro approach gives St Armands a casual but imaginative style of cooking it has lacked up to now. The menu revolves, so return visits will bring new surprises.
TANGO STEAKHOUSE & SUSHI
326 John Ringling Blvd, Sarasota, 554-4916, tangosteakandsushi.com
Meat, cooked the Argentinean way, along with maki and sashimi, largely not cooked at all. Two great tastes that taste great together.
TERRACE ON THE CIRCLE
419 St. Armands Circle, St. Armands Circle, 388-2222, facebook.com/terraceonthecircle
Formerly Cafe Galante, Terrace on the Circle serves three square meals a day, largely focused on Middle Eastern cuisine, with a smattering of Italian and American standards thrown in to appeal to the masses. It's on the second floor, so keep an eye out for the stairs and prepare for a nice view overlooking the park in the Circle.
TOKYO JAPANESE STEAKHOUSE, SUSHI & LOUNGE
29 N. Boulevard of the Presidents, St. Armands Circle, 556-9758, tokyosteakhousesarasota.com
In the two-story former home of Cork, Tokyo dishes up steamy teppanyaki and plenty of sushi, either at the bar or in front of chefs who chop-socky their way through steak and veggies.
TOMMY BAHAMA TROPICAL CAFÉ
300 John Ringling Blvd., St. Armands Circle, 388-2888, tommybahama.com/TBG/Stores_Restaurants/Sarasota.jsp
Don’t knock this touristy spot just because it’s touristy. The burgers and drinks are tasty, the décor is islandy (and admittedly contrived), and the second-story balcony tables offer a great view of the teeming hordes and swaying palm trees.