The Waterfront Restaurant will make you a believer. While it serves up classic items recognizable to most, the dishes are always made with fresh ingredients that transform the familiar into the extraordinary. For more adventurous eaters, the chefs flex their creativity for a specials menu that takes advantage of seasonal ingredients. And don’t miss out on the inventive bar menu–look for the smoked margarita with fresh lime and ginger or the bay cooler with cucumber and mint.
A popular spot for fresh seafood is Eat Here on Anna Maria Island. Launched by the same couple that made Beach Bistro one of the area’s go-to restaurants for fine dining and special occasions, Eat Here is stripped down when it comes to ambience—think clipboard menus and kitchen-towel napkins—but devoted to culinary excellence. If the fish aren’t biting, the chefs pivot, too, staying committed to local ingredients.
Another choice eatery where locals and visitors feast on the freshest catch is Pinchers Crab Shack in Lakewood Ranch. Its mouthwatering seafood, served in a down-to-earth space full of “upcycled” finds by the owner, is only a few hours out of the Gulf when it lands on diners’ plates.
Pro tip: Local blue crab shipments come in on Tuesdays and Fridays.