The Experience of Dining Intimately

Sarasota’s food scene has long been known to residents and vacationers as pretty top-notch. With a wide variety of types of cuisine AND a wide variety of price point and dining experience, it seems there is something for everyone. But as new restaurants replace old or get added to our growing cityscape, I find myself craving the intimate dining experiences of old. Where can we go in Sarasota to enjoy a quiet hour or so of leisurely dining where we can actually hear ourselves talk? How can we keep intimacy in our dining experiences?

And while I know the benefits to my age group (yes… peace and quiet!), do other demographics need these respite restaurants? I say yes! Reconnect with your spouse while the kids are with a sitter over a glass of wine and carefully prepared, spectacular food. Provide younger children with crayons and quiet instead of screens at every turn. Enjoy a first date without having to stretch your voice over the din of a cavernous dining room.

Where Can I Find an Intimate Dining Experience in Sarasota?

Here are a few places you might consider trying if you, too, are craving a restaurant with more intimacy:

Garden Café at Shoogie Boogies

Garden Café at Shoogie Boogies


Bijou Café - 1287 First Street. Nostalgic elegance and modern European cuisine right in the theater district of Downtown Sarasota. They have an incredible wine list and outstanding service, ensuring a special experience for every guest.

Shoogie Boogies - 1919 Morrill Street. Experience tranquility and serenity with a touch of European elegance from the Garden Room of Shoogie Boogies in the Towles Court district of downtown.


Rick’s French Bistro - 2177 Siesta Drive. Refreshing and wholesome French cuisine in a fine dining experience. Located conveniently shortly off the north bridge to Siesta, just south of downtown.

Table-side salad at Marcello

Table-side salad at Marcello

Baker & Wife - 2157 Siesta Drive. Another gem right off of Siesta Drive in South Gate is Baker & Wife is a casual café with a passion for artisan, locally-crafted but globally-inspired cuisince.

La Scarpetta - 3809 South Tuttle Avenue. A short jog south of downtown is La Scarpetta. The small restaurant is owned by a couple from Parma, Italy, and provides an intimate, rustic Italian experience.

Marcello Ristorante Italiano - 4155 South Tamiami Trail. Lovingly designed for an intimate experience with everything fresh-made including many table-side preparations, of authentic (and delectable) Italian cuisine.


Antoine’s - 1100 North Tuttle Avenue. A cozy and sophisticated environment featuring an elegant continental menu can be found just north of downtown by Ed Smith Stadium, specializing in seafood.

South Sarasota:

Isan Thai - 5758 South Tamiami Trail. Each booth is literally draped in intimacy. This small Thai establishment focuses on cuisine from the Northeastern region of Thailand, called Isan.

Wine room at Café Gabbiano

Wine room at Café Gabbiano

Siesta Key:

Café Gabianno - 5104 Ocean Boulevard. Complementing the surrounding paradise of Siesta Key is the serene, casual ambiance of Café Gabbiano. Looking for the most secluded dining? Take a table in one of their wine rooms.