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

Downtown:

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. https://www.bijoucafe.net/

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. http://www.shoogieboogies.com/

Midtown:

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. http://www.ricksfrenchbistro.com/

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. http://bakerwife.com/

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. http://lascarpettasarasota.com/

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. http://marcellosarasota.com/

Uptown:

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. https://www.antoinessarasota.com/

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. http://www.isanthairestaurant.com/

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. https://www.cafegabbiano.com/