For such a tiny place Anna Maria Island is home to a surprising amount of culinary jewels. Whether you’re looking for hearty food on the go for the family or an upmarket bistro for an intimate candle lit dinner you’ll find it on this jewel of the Gulf. Here are some that I return to time and again on each visit to Anna Maria.
Keeping things low key tonight?
If you want a relaxed environment that serves up good old American food with some modern twists then try Slim’s Place. The staff at this friendly sports bar and restaurant will be happy to rustle you up a hamburger or some pizza as well as fish dishes made with local fresh catch. With a good selection of beers and wines and a welcoming atmosphere don’t be surprised if Slim’s also becomes one of your regulars too.
Or perhaps a bit more formal?
Perhaps you’re looking for something a bit more formal, with some flair and pizzazz which also uses some of the more unusual local fish species? In that case you have to visit The Waterfront Restaurant. This gorgeous little restaurant is more than just a contender. In fact I’d rank it as one of the finest eateries on the island, and certainly one of my favorites. With a seasonally updated menu that focuses on local produce the chefs at The Waterfront also serve up underused local fish in a dazzling variety of meals that always aim for simplicity and natural flavours over fancy trimmings. With a welcoming atmosphere and children’s menu the Waterfront is great for families or couples.
If what you’re really after is upscale fine dining then I’d say you have to book a table at Beach Bistro in Holmes Beach. This gem of a restaurant is consistently awarded top ratings on the prestigious Zagat Survey which collates independent ratings of restaurants across the country. Florida residents come from far-afield to enjoy what Beach Bistro has to offer, and you’d be a fool to miss it during your vacation. Creating their menu from only the choicest ingredients you can expect to enjoy Foie Gras and butter poached lobster that rivals any Paris bistro. With an intimate atmosphere this isn’t for rowdy families, but despite the obvious high-quality of the food and surroundings there is no snobbery on display, just knowledgeable and friendly staff who want to make your dining experience the best you’ve ever had.
Or even out to sea!
Now what run down of my favourite restaurants on Anna Maria Island would be complete without mention of local institution the Rod And Reel Pier. Sat at the end of a pier that juts out into the sea you might mistake this unassuming place for a rundown fishing shack. As you make your way down the pier to the restaurant you’ll pass fishermen casting their lines. There’s even a bait shop on the pier, but don’t be deceived. The Rod and Reel offers hearty food at unbelievable prices. Sure, you won’t find fancy haute cuisine served up in tiny portions on delicate bone china, but what you will get is tasty, fresh cooked food and great service at a wallet-friendly price. Garlic grouper and fried scallops are dishes I find myself coming back to again and again, and for my money they serve one of the tastiest Key Lime pies around. Just typing this I can taste the zingy tang of those limes and the soft sweetness of the meringue.
People flock to Anna Maria Island for the stunning beaches and that ‘Old Florida’ charm, and to our mind they should also come for the great food.
Find out more information about Anna Maria Island in the articles below:
Three Beaches You Must Visit On Anna Maria Island
Anna Maria: A Slice Of Island Life
Ways to make your Anna Maria Summer Vacation Amazing