Best Sarasota Restaurants on the Waterfront: A Food-Lovers Guide

by | Dec 11, 2023 | 0 comments

Sarasota, Florida is famous for Siesta Key’s white-sand beach and circus history, but what’s often overlooked is the serene, oceanfront dining available all across Sarasota county. I’ve created a list of the best Sarasota restaurants on the waterfront that you don’t want to miss during your time in sunny Sarasota!

sarasota restaurants on the waterfront on siesta key

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Sarasota Restaurants on the Waterfront

Whether you’re an ocean lover or committed foodie, you won’t be disappointed in the waterfront restaurants in Sarasota.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Ophelia’s On The Bay (@opheliasonthebay)

Ophelia’s on the Bay

9105 Midnight Pass Rd, Sarasota, FL 34242 | Website | $$$$

If you’re looking for an exceptional waterfront dining Sarasota Florida experience, make a reservation at Ophelia’s on the Bay.

This Sarasota fine dining restaurant has been around since 1988 and will blow you away from start to finish with amazing craft cocktails, perfectly cooked seafood and homemade desserts! While the menu changes daily, you can expect dishes like Surf & Turf, Ahi Tuna, Wild Salmon and more. You’ll want to savor every moment of your meal here as you overlook Little Sarasota Bay and see dolphins or mullet jump from the water.

turtles saraota restaurant on the waterfront
sarasota restaurants on the waterfront siesta key

Turtle’s Restaurant on Little Sarasota Bay

8875 Midnight Pass Rd, Sarasota, FL 34242 | Website | $$

You will be pleasantly surprised with Turtle’s Restaurant on Little Sarasota Bay. It doesn’t look like anything special tucked next to a large marina just across from Turtle Beach on Siesta Key, but it’s a true gem.

The inside dining area is covered with colorful, tropical murals that make it a picturesque Florida dinner spot. And outside? You can sit right along the water surrounded by beautiful palm trees and string lights.

At this family-owned restaurant, almost every single menu item is made in-house. There’s no Sysco frozen foods here—even the coconut shrimp is homemade!

Make sure you pull into Turtle’s Restaurant on Little Sarasota Bay, because right before it is Turtle’s Grill, which is not on the water.

RELATED POST: Hands Down Best Restaurants in Sarasota, FL (A Local’s Guide)

sarasota restaurants on the waterfront olearys at marina jack
Me with a margarita at Oleary’s Tiki Bar.

O’Leary’s Tiki Bar

5 Bayfront Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236 | Website | $$

O’Leary’s Tiki Bar in downtown Sarasota is one of my favorite Sarasota restaurants on the waterfront for grabbing a margarita and watching the sunset. It’s located right in Marina Jack park so you can get in a walk around the park while you’re there.

The restaurant and tiki bar has a full food menu as well as solid cocktails like margaritas, mojitos and mudslides. It’s a causal place with picnic tables in the sand right on the Sarasota Bay where you seat yourself. There’s regularly live music and it stays busy, so be prepared for a good time!

Marina Jack

2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, FL 34236 | Website | $$$

Similar to O’Leary’s, Marina Jack restaurant is in Marina Jack Park right on the Sarasota Bay. It’s located in the actual marina so you’ll mainly see boats and yachts beyond the windows, as well as the bay.

The seafood-forward lunch and dinner menus have everything you could want like coconut shrimp, lump crab cakes, filet mignon and more. Plus, there’s a great happy hour on the patio on weekdays!

RELATED POST: 8 Best Restaurants in Downtown Sarasota for Every Taste & Budget

old salty dog restaurant on the water in sarasota
View of Old Salty Dog from the water.
waterfront view from old salty dog restaurant sarasota
Sunset view from the dock at Old Salty Dog.

Old Salty Dog

1601 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236 | Website | $$

If you love fish and chips, a salty ocean breeze and open-air dining, you’ll love Old Salty Dog on City Island. This waterfront dining Sarasota Florida staple has Old Florida vibes and a prime spot on the water right before the bridge to Longboat Key after St. Armand’s Circle.

They have something for everyone on the menu, from burgers and tacos to peel-and-eat shrimp and chicken sandwiches. You can even pull your boat up to the dock to dine!

It’s an ideal spot to bring your family (dog included!) or a big group. However, they don’t take reservations, so be prepared to wait or go when it’s not peak hours.

new pass grill old florida waterfront restaurant
View of New Pass Grill from the water.

New Pass Grill & Bait Shop

1505 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236 | Website | $

New Pass Grill & Bait Shop is a true hidden gem in Sarasota that’s been around since 1929! There’s rarely a wait, the freshest seafood and stunning views with classic Old Florida vibes.

This casual, low-key restaurant is perfect for grabbing a quick bite or sticking around for the views. You order at the window and they call your name when it’s ready, making it an easy way to pick up lunch and bait before a day of boating. Between breakfast sandwiches, burgers and fresh grouper sandwiches—there’s something for everyone no matter the time of day. Not to mention ice cold beers!

It’s located right before Old Salty Dog Restaurant & Mote Marine on Ken Thompson Parkway near St. Armand’s Circle.

chart house sarasota restaurants on the water
View of Chart House from the water.

Chart House

201 Gulf of Mexico Dr, Longboat Key, FL 34228 | Website | $$$

Located just over the bridge that connects Lido Key to Longboat Key on a little crescent-shaped inlet, Chart House is a classy, high-end restaurant perfect for a nice dinner or special occasion.

Prices are on the higher end but you’ll find everything you could want on their menu. It’s mainly seafood and steak dishes, but they are anything but ordinary. Key West Spiced Grouper, Slow-Roasted Prime Rib and dishes like Macadamia Nut Mahi await you!

Most people in town don’t think of Chart House when happy hour comes to mind, but Chart House has an AWESOME happy hour at the bar. There are actually *craft* cocktails and delicious small plates on the happy hour menu. Chart House happy hour is Sunday-Friday from 4:30-6:30 pm.

The Boat Yard

1500 Stickney Point Rd, Sarasota, FL 34231 | Website | $$

Located on the left just before you go over the South Bridge to Siesta Key, the Boat Yard offers both indoor and outdoor seating on the water. This causal restaurant is an excellent spot to stop on your boat for dockside takeout, dine with the fam or grab beers.

You can’t go wrong here with dishes like coconut shrimp, fish tacos, baby back ribs and even a Greek pita! You’ll love the friendly service and boat/dive-themed decor, along with the perfect sunset views!

dry dock waterfront restaurant sarasota

Dry Dock

412 Gulf of Mexico Dr, Longboat Key, FL 34228 | Website | $$

Dry Dock is a casual and hip restaurant just over the bridge that takes you from Lido Key to Longboat Key.

There’s a beautiful open-air patio with string lights for dining outside, as well as an upstairs dining room. You’ll love the bar atmosphere and excellent cocktails, as well as how smooth everything runs service-wise. With 4.7 stars on Google, this Sarasota waterfront restaurant is a local favorite for a reason!

Their seafood-forward menu leaves you wanting nothing. Between grouper bites and bacon-wrapped scallops for starters, and dishes like Citrus Grouper, Crab Cakes or fish tacos for entrees, you’re sure to walk out of here perfectly content.

mar vista waterfront restaurant
mar vista sarasota waterfront restaurant

Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub

760 Broadway St, Longboat Key, FL 34228 | Website | $$

Of all the Sarasota restaurants on the waterfront, Mar Vista is one of the coolest. With a sea grape tunnel out front, a hip on-site boutique and a beautiful outdoor dining area, there’s so much to love. And that’s before you’ve even tried the food!

You can ride up by boat or drive here, but if you don’t come by boat, be sure to explore the views at the dock and small beach before you leave!

Fresh-caught seafood is the name of the game and you’ll appreciate the daily catch specials along with the main menu that has dishes like the Pub Steak, Tuna Poke Bowl, Brisket Tacos and more. Plus, you can trust you’re eating the freshest seafood and ingredients at Mar Vista because they partner with local farms to ensure as many ingredients are locally-sourced as possible.

Finally, the casual yet romantic atmosphere makes Mar Vista a great place to eat after a day at the beach or a perfect spot to get dressed up and celebrate.

Shore Longboat Key

800 Broadway St, Longboat Key, FL 34228 | Website | $$$

Located right next to Mar Vista, Shore on Longboat Key has stunning views right on the water and plenty of space for you to dock your boat or park.

This fancy, modern restaurant is ideal for special occasions or for getting dressed up.

The varied menu has Asian-inspired dishes like Som Tom Colossal Blue Lump Crab Salad and Miso Marinated Black Grouper, as well as more familiar favorites like crab cakes, filet mignon and burgers. And to top it all off, Shore has Truffle Fries and Truffle Mac N’ Cheese in their list of sides. I’m drooling just thinking about it!

Enjoy Dining on the Waterfront in Sarasota

That’s a wrap on the best Sarasota restaurants on the waterfront! Whether you’re a visitor or local, I hope you enjoy your meals and experiences at these highly-rated oceanfront restaurants. Bon Appétit!

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

sarasotas best waterfront restaurants

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