15 Best Waterfront Restaurants in Sarasota, Florida

15 Best Waterfront Restaurants in Sarasota Florida

There’s nothing quite like relaxing by the water while enjoying a fantastic meal with the people you love. And if you’re planning on coming to visit Sarasota, FL, anytime soon, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to do just that! Considering that there are 40 miles of coastline in this town, there are many Sarasota restaurants on the water. But how can you choose which ones to visit when there are so many options?

Well, the team at Sarasota Helicopter Tours is here to help. We know this town through and through (and from a bird’s eye view) since we see this city from one of the most unique viewpoints every day!

Here are just a few of our personal favorite Sarasota restaurants on the water that you should check out during your vacation here:

1. Pop’s Sunset Grill

pop's sunset grill
Image source: popssunsetgrill.com

Looking for top-quality food, live music, and a chance to feel the warm breeze while you dine? Pop’s Sunset Grill is an incredible waterfront spot that will make you feel like you’re on a tropical island. Plus, they offer renowned chefs who can whip up a 6-course dinner with tropical-inspired cocktails and fantastic wine pairings. There’s a daily live music performance too, as well as fire pits and outdoor seating for a relaxing experience.

2. Ophelia’s on the Bay

ophelias on the bay
Image source: mustdo.com

Ophelia’s on the Bay is one of the top choices for a romantic date night or any other type of celebration – even if it’s just celebrating life! This sophisticated waterfront spot offers locally sourced seafood and some of the best wine in town. Highly recommend you book ahead of time as this popular spot fills up!

3. O’Leary’s Tiki Bar & Grill

olearys tiki bar and grill
Image source: olearystikibar.com

Brought your furry friend along for your trip? No worries, O’Leary’s Tiki Bar & Grill is dog friendly! This fun spot offers some of the best tropical cocktails in town along with classic food options like burgers, fried fish, and delicious sandwiches. Plus, it’s conveniently located nearby Bayfront Park in downtown, so you can go explore the city after your meal!

4. Dry Dock Waterfront Grill

dry dock waterfront grill
Image souce: drydockwaterfrontgrill.com

Stop by Dry Dock Waterfront Grill for one of the best views of the Sarasota waters, making it an ideal spot for a sunset dinner. The quality of the food and drinks here is unmatched – the menu is full of delicious options with seafood-forward options and scrumptious pasta dishes. Don’t miss out on their world-famous lobster roll either!

5. The Crow’s Nest

the crows nest fl
Image source: visitflorida.com

Want to get a feel for the local Sarasota life? Then you’ve got to experience some of the coastal cuisine offered at The Crow’s Nest. This spot has been open since 1976 and is a local favorite for yummy seafood and a laid-back, relaxed vibe. This restaurant is also a full-service Marina, so you can bring your boat right up to the dock and hop off for a good meal!

6. Old Salty Dog

the old salty dog
Image source: thatssotampa.com

Did you know that you can order an Old Salty Dog at the Old Salty Dog? Yup, this namesake menu item is a quarter-pound deep-fried hot dog that comes with fresh fries on the side. If this doesn’t appeal to you, no worries – there are plenty of other more traditional things to choose from on their menu!

7. New Pass Grill & Bait Shop

new pass grill and bait shop
Image source: tripadvisor.com

You might not think that fishing bait and food should necessarily go together, but they do at New Pass Grill & Bait Shop! Stop by to fill up on classic favorites like burgers and sandwiches before stocking up on live or frozen bait to hit the waters!

8. Lido Island Grille

lido island grill Sarasota
Image source: sarasotamagazine.com

Lido Beach is one of the most beautiful and popular beaches in Sarasota, so chances are you won’t want to leave once you get there! And thanks to Lido Island Grille, you can get a fabulous meal without traveling too far. They offer options from land and sea, as well as a kids’ menu, making it a true crowd-pleaser for the whole family.

9. Marina Jack

marina jacks by the bay sarasota
Image source: marinajacks.com

There’s nothing quite like the Marina Jack experience. First, you can opt to sit in their dining room which offers killer views of the Sarasota waters. But you can also book a sightseeing lunch or sunset dinner cruise for a waterfront dining experience like no other!

10. The Boatyard Waterfront Bar & Grill

the boatyard waterfront bar and grill
Image source: boatyardwaterfrontgrill.com

The Siesta Key South Bridge is an iconic spot in Sarasota and you can get the perfect view of it while dining at The Boatyard Waterfront Bar & Grill. You’ll be entertaining with live-performing artists every night, and you can choose to sit in their banquet hall, dining room, or a more casual spot in the reef bar.

11. Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar

phillippi creek oyster bar
Image source: Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar Facebook page

A local’s favorite for the past 35 years, Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar has some award-winning dishes that you won’t want to miss. This casual dining spot has a lot more than oysters, too. Check out the daily specials, craft cocktails, and steam pots while you overlook the boats coming in and out of the marina.

12. Turtles Restaurant

turtles restaurant sarasota
Image source: turtlesrestaurant.com

If brunch is calling your name, you’ve got to head over to Turtles Restaurant. Every Sunday they offer a brunch buffet with some of the best breakfast food in town! But be sure to come back for dinner or happy hour, too. You’ll be quite pleased with the affordable selection of seafood and other classic dishes.

13. Jack Dusty at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel

ritz-carlton hotel restaurant
Image source: ritzcarlton.com

Jack Dusty is without a doubt one of the most elegant Sarasota restaurants on the water. This spot carries a vast collection of wines, cocktails, and an extensive rum list with unique dishes to pair. You can’t beat the fresh-caught seafood dishes here, along with a raw bar and ice cream for dessert!

14. Ridley’s Porch

ridleys porch at ritz-carlton
Image source: ritz-carlton.com

Another option inside the Ritz-Carlton Hotel is Ridley’s Porch, a more laid-back, beachside spot that offers a perfect sunset view of the Gulf. You might even spot some sea turtles along the shore while you dine!

15. Sandbar Restaurant

the sandbar sarasota
Image source: sandbardining.com

Take a quick boat ride over to Anna Maria Island for a great meal at The Sandbar – we promise you won’t be disappointed! You know the food here is extra fresh as they also offer an indoor farmer’s market next door. Of course, you can’t miss out on the fresh seafood offerings here, but they also offer a mean steak if you’re in the mood for surf and turf.

 Ready to Book Your Next Trip?

As you can tell, there’s so much to see and do in Sarasota. And there’s no better way to take in all the sights that this city has to offer than from a helicopter! Sarasota Helicopter Tours will take you on a trip of a lifetime so you can see some of the most breathtaking sights around. You can pick and choose from our tour options where our pilots will show you around and give you some unique insight into popular places around town.

Reach out to us today to learn more or to book a helicopter tour for your next trip out to Sarasota! 

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