8 Best Restaurants in Downtown Sarasota for Every Taste & Budget

by | Apr 11, 2024 | 0 comments

Make the most of your time in downtown Sarasota by eating at the best Downtown Sarasota restaurants. Whether you’re looking for Italian, sushi, a fine dining experience or something in between, this list of Sarasota’s best restaurants downtown will give you the intel you need.

Sarasota Best Restaurants Downtown

kojo sarasota downtown restaurant bao bun
kojo asian restaurant sarasota downtown

Kojo – Asian Fusion

1289 N Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236 | Website | $$

Dining at Kojo is a delight from start to finish. From the beautiful decor to the hip playlist, and top-notch cocktails and meals—you’ll love eating at this downtown Sarasota restaurant! The plates are designed to be shared, so plan on getting multiple and trying all different menu items. Or, better yet, go with a big group and order TONS of plates so you can try everything without spending too much!

downtown sarasota asian restaurant

Plus, the designers of Kojo really paid attention to the little details.

  1. You get a warm towel to cleanse your hands before dining.
  2. Your chopsticks rest on a miniature duck.
  3. The lighting is low for maximum ambiance
  4. And so much more!

Go For: Craft Cocktails, Sushi, Unique Asian Dishes, Hip Ambiance, Bar Seating

My Favorites: Tuna Pizza, Pork Belly Bao Buns, Chocolate Bar Dessert (like HOLY sh*t this is the best thing ever!)

best italian restaurants in sarasota
Seafood pasta at La Mucca Ballerina (was a special that night!).

La Mucca Ballerina – Italian

1668 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236 | Website | $

Run by a Rome, Italy >>> Sarasota Italian family, La Mucca Ballerina has to be one of the busiest and most authentic Italian restaurants in Downtown Sarasota. From the charming interior and white tablecloths out front, to the fresh focaccia in a paper bag, it doesn’t get more authentic than this!

La Mucca Ballerina has the perfect menu with something for everyone in the family. Choose from classic starters, homemade pastas, pizzas and classic Italian dishes like lasagne, spaghetti and chicken parmesan.

It’s not the biggest space, so definitely make a reservation!

Go For: Authentic Italian Fare, Homemade Pasta, Focaccia Bread

My Favorites: Rollatini de Mellanzane, Lobster Ravioli (Daily Special), Papardelle alla Bolognese

RELATED POST: Best Sarasota Restaurants on the Waterfront (A Food-Lover’s Guide)

flavios restaurant bar in downtown sarasota

Flavio’s – Italian

1766 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236 | Website | $$

Flavio’s is a higher-end Italian restaurant on Main Street with a beautiful bar and back porch seating area, plus indoor dining. It’s a great spot for special occasions or a nice lunch or dinner. I love sitting at the bar here and trying their amazing craft cocktails with apps or a full dinner. The staff are very friendly and professional, too.

Go For: Craft Cocktails, Wood-Oven Pizza, Handmade Pasta, Classic Italian Dishes, Happy Hour 4-6pm at the bar

My Favorites: Poached Pear Salad, Burrata Pizza and Pappardelle Al Brasato

selva restaurant in downtown sarasota
caesar at selva restaurant sarasota
The most amazing caesar salad you’ll ever eat!

Selva – Peruvian Fusion

1345 Main St f4, Sarasota, FL 34236 | Website | $$$

Selva is a very popular modern restaurant on Main Street in Downtown Sarasota. With high prices and a fine dining atmosphere, it’s ideal for dates, special occasions and big spenders. Though, you can easily enjoy yourself with apps and drinks at the bar with a normal budget!

Go For: Bar Seating, Happy Hour & Late Night Menu, Upscale Dining, Ceviche, Craft Cocktails

My Favorites: Selva Caesar, Short Rib Spring Roll, Skirt Steak, Lomo Saltado

1592 mediterannean restaurant downtown sarasota
Open-face pita with chicken at 1592.
burger downtown sarasota at 1592 restaurant
Burger with swiss at 1592.

1592 – Mediterranean

1592 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236 | Website | $$

This is definitely one of the Sarasota best restaurants downtown. With friendly staff, fresh mediterranean food, amazing cocktails and a range of prices that work for most budgets, it’s my go-to Downtown Sarasota restaurant for lunch or dinner.

When the weather’s nice, I love sitting outside with an Aperol Spritz in hand. And when it’s packed, the bar is a great place to wait or eat, too.

It’s a popular spot that’s often packed so be sure to make a reservation for bigger parties!

Go For: Pizza, Classic Mediterranean Dishes, Craft Cocktails

My Favorites: Fried Calamari & Greens, Chicken Open-Face Pita, Burrata à la Forestière Pizza

tsunami sushi sarasota

Tsunami Sushi & Hibachi – Sushi

100 Central Ave Suite 1022, Sarasota, FL 34236 | Website | $$

Tsunami is a hip, reliable sushi restaurant in Downtown Sarasota, right near Whole Foods. This is a great spot for lunch with a friend, date night or even a large group (with reservations). Their rolls never disappoint and there’s nice decor and mood lighting for ambiance.

Go For: Sushi, Hibachi, Craft Cocktails

My Favorites: Lychee Martini, One Night Stand Roll, Tiger Roll, Climax Roll, Shrimp & Chicken Hibachi

Owen’s Fish Camp – Seafood, Live Music

516 Burns Ct, Sarasota, FL 34236 | Website | $$

Tucked back in Burn’s Court, Owen’s Fish Camp is one of the most happening restaurants in Downtown Sarasota. They don’t take reservations so it’s best to arrive early or plan to wait, because this place get’s PACKED.

Fortunately, waiting is fun on the back patio where you can order drinks and small bites while listening to live music. Once seated, you’ll love the straightforward menu with plenty of fresh fish specials to choose from!

Go For: Live Music, Laid Back Atmosphere, Fresh Fish & Seafood, Southern Dishes, Great Drinks

My Favorites: Market Fish, Fish Tacos, Key Lime Pie

Indigenous – Fine Dining, Wine, Seafood

239 S Links Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236 | Website | $$$

If you love fresh ingredients, amazing presentation and a curated atmosphere, book a table at Indigenous in downtown Sarasota. This award-winning, seasonal menu restaurant is located in a cozy, restored cottage in Towles Court District.

With friendly, knowledgable staff and an impressive wine list, you’re sure to have a memorable meal here. Every week is a fresh, new menu with a focus on locally-sourced ingredients and seafood, so you’re in for a real treat! Just be sure to make a reservation because this popular spot fills up.

Go For: Wine, Indoor & Outdoor Seating, Seasonal Menu, Seafood

My Favorites: Anything—the menu changes weekly!

Have you read my other posts on Siesta Key and Sarasota, Florida?

downtown sarasota florida pinterest


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I’m Tara Weber—a Sarasota, Florida based travel blogger and copywriter. On She Needs Less, I share my adventures across our beautiful planet and inspire women to build self confidence and independence so they can live the life they dream of. No matter how unconventional!
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