The southwest Florida location of Sarasota County doubles as an award-winning beach destination and a haven for the arts.
It’s also home to a robust food scene, with chef-owned restaurants, artisan producers, epicurean events and cult-favorite desserts to prove it. Pick one or all six of these sumptuous Sarasota experiences to taste for yourself.
1. Savor Sarasota Restaurant Weeks
Summer tastes so good in Sarasota thanks to this annual event that spotlights locally owned restaurants. For two weeks in June, chefs at participating restaurants create three-course lunches and dinners, which are offered at a special price. It’s an ideal time to sample the variety of Sarasota dining, from waterfront classics serving fresh seafood to family-run bistros specializing in authentic Italian cuisine.
2. Guided Culinary Discoveries
Want to meet local farmers or spend time on Sarasota’s sunny farmlands? The Tour Sarasota Agriculture Guide maps nearly 40 farms, markets and you-pick fields to help you plan a fresh adventure. Consult the new Fishing Guide to learn what to catch and how on Sarasota’s sparkling waterways. Both guides are available (and complimentary) at the Sarasota County Visitor Information Center.
Fresh carrots at one of Sarasota's farmers markets
3. Craft Beer
For a taste of Sarasota craft beer, try a local brewery, such as JDubs Brewing, with visiting food trucks and a beer garden, or Big Top Brewing Company, where varieties such as Circus City IPA nod to Sarasota’s circus heritage.
Circus City IPA at Big Top Brewing
4. Amish Deliciousness
Don’t miss the area of Sarasota known as Pinecraft, an Amish community where you can shop for handcrafted gifts and enjoy home-style meals such as chicken and dumplings. Save room for dessert at Yoder’s Restaurant — the sweet and creamy peanut butter pie has its own following!
5. Spirits Worth Celebrating
In January, the Forks & Corks Food & Wine Festival pairs winemakers with Sarasota’s top chefs for tantalizing collaborations. The festival culminates in a Grand Tasting featuring 50 local restaurants, a collection of craft brewers and 80 international wineries.
Whiskey connoisseurs should visit in March, when the Whiskey Obsession Festival brings tastings and expert speakers to the city. In May, don’t miss the Venice Brew Bash to taste outstanding local, regional and international beers.
6. Unique Takeaways
Sarasota artisans craft unique tastes to savor here or take home. For premium olive oils and vinegars – even custom blends – shop Venice Olive Oil Co. For locally crafted spirits, tour Drum Circle Distilling and linger for a taste of the award-winning Siesta Key Spiced Rum, made with real spices and honey.