5 Restaurants that will Transform your Anna Maria Island Vacation

Here are 5 restaurants that will transform your Anna Maria Island vacation! While the beautiful beaches, friendly people and luxury family beach rentals are plenty to rave about, the island has a few eateries that truly affect the way travelers feel about AMI.

5 Restaurants that will Transform your Anna Maria Island Vacation

Restaurants that will Transform your Anna Maria Island Vacation

There is one thing people all over the world have in common. Eating. Everyone requires nourishment. However, food isn’t just a requirement, it’s often an emotional experience that started before you were even born.

Many of us can think back on meals that effect us on an emotional level. Like that casserole your mother made every Sunday when you were a kid. The way your husband makes that secret barbecue sauce recipe before firing up the grill. Or even that special meal you had during your travels in Florida.

These Anna Maria Island restaurants are the exact place to go for that meal you’ll think of years from now. These are flavors and feelings you’ll take home and tell all your friends about. Not only are these restaurants full of fantastic menu items, but they offer a glimpse into the island life. Each has a culture all of it’s own, but still connects with those unique local island vibes.

Rod & Reel Pier – Seafood with a view.

Rod & Reel Pier
Rod & Reel Pier in the city of Anna Maria.

The Rod & Reel Pier has been serving up traditional Florida fare since 1947. Wonder up to the bay side of north Anna Maria, and you’ll find what looks like an old house on a small old fishing pier. There’s always people fishing and lounging outside enjoying the gorgeous views of Tampa bay, Egmont Key and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. This is a nice place to relax. The crowd is a mix of locals and tourists and everything is low key.

The menu at Rod & Reel is indicative of a typically simple and casual Florida eatery. Find basics like chicken wings, peel and eat shrimp and a Grouper sandwich. Each day you’ll find a different selection of fresh fish grilled, blackened or fried served with mango chutney or garlic butter.

This is the spot for a no frills meal with cold beers. Service moves at its own pace. The staff might be friendly, or they might be salty. Either way just relax and go with the flow. There is a bar downstairs and a dining room up top. Locals tend to prefer the bar seating. The beer selection is limited and mostly domestic, but this spot isn’t about fancy brews. Its about the experience of eating on beautiful blue waters, enjoying warm weather, doing a little lazy Florida fishing, and relaxing island style.

The Sandbar – Sunsets and Tourists

The Sandbar Restaurant in the city of Anna Maria.
The Sandbar Restaurant in the city of Anna Maria.

 

The Sandbar is the quintessential island dining experience. Toes in the sand dining room, sun burnt to a crisp tourists, fruity frozen cocktails and sunsets so pretty you just can’t even believe your eyes. This type of restaurant experience is why you decided on a Florida vacation!

The menu is more eclectic than one might expect from a touristy destination. A little bit of everything from southern home cooking to high-end seafood. Find things like shrimp and grits, sliders, fish tacos and even caviar too! The Seafood tower is a great option for tasting a variety of seafood including lobster tail, seasonal crab, shrimp, oysters, clams and smoked fish dip. Along with a lovely menu, The Sandbar offers a full service bar and a fantastic wine menu.

When you are looking for that fun beach bar vibe with a family friendly atmosphere, good food and accommodating service head over to The Sandbar in Anna Maria. There’s nothing like sitting in a crowd of happy vacationers all relaxing and watching the sunset while enjoying a great meal on the gulf.

Bridge Tender Inn – Salty characters and local culture.

Bridge Tender Inn
Bridge Tender Inn Bradenton Beach

The Bridge Tender Inn is where you’ll find a salty good time with funky local characters and some pretty decent food too. Finding those places that the locals frequent are what really makes a vacation feel authentic. Yes the touristy places are super fun. However, you have to find the local hangouts to really get a feel for an area, and this is one of them!

The Bridge Tender is nestled along north Sarasota Bay at the end of Historic Bridge Street. They offer both indoor and outdoor seating with a bar on the water and one inside too. There is nothing up-tight about this restaurant. Everyone is laid back and having a good time. The no frills staff are eager to please and have fun too, but not without a little of that salt life attitude only Floridians have.

The menu has something for everyone. Find crab cakes, burgers, Grouper and sandwiches. A lot of pub grub type of items, but with some nicer selections like roast duck and steaks.

The Bridge Tender Inn is extremely family friendly, but is open late to accommodate those looking for night life. From time to time you’ll find live music, and during Football season you’ll find a lot of Packers fans watching the games.

Grab a rum and coke and a crab cake and sit back with a view of the bay and the Anchorage. The Anchorage is the area in North Sarasota Bay where many year round residents anchor their various house boats. For many the Anchorage is not only home, but a way of life. If you hang out at the Bridge Tender long enough you’re sure to meet an Anchorage character.

Beach Bistro – Fancy fine dining and beach views.

The Beach Bistro in Holmes Beach.
The Beach Bistro in Holmes Beach.

The Beach Bistro is an award winning gulf front restaurant that will leave you amazed. Nestled in Resort 66 in Holmes Beach, the Bistro has been providing the island with fine dining since 1985. You won’t find anything else like it on Anna Maria Island and the locals will agree!

Here the menu offers only the finest ingredients. Find items like fresh caught seafood Bouillabaisse,  foie gras, steaks and lobster too. Everything is of the highest quality as owner Sean Murphy’s primary goal has always been the pursuit of perfection. Along with an award winning menu, you’ll find an outstanding wine selection and a lovely full service bar.

Not a large restaurant the dining room offers an intimate setting great for celebrations, romantic evenings and special occasions of all sorts. Service at the Beach Bistro is above average in every way. You’ll truly feel taken care of as your server and support staff guide you through an amazing dining experience. Because the Beach Bistro has been serving the island for decades, you’ll always find locals enjoying their evenings here. It’s not uncommon for Sean Murphy to stop by your table as he loves meeting his guests in person.

Anna Maria Island has such a laid back feel that even this fine dining establishment still feels warm and welcoming. This dining experience is truly one of a kind.

Star Fish Company Restaurant and Market – The “real” old Florida.

Star Fish Restaurant in Cortez Fishing Village.
Star Fish Restaurant in Cortez Fishing Village.

Located in one of the countries oldest fishing villages, Starfish Market is an absolute must when visiting Anna Maria Island. The Cortez Fishing Village is located just over the Cortez bridge from the island. Everyday boats hull in fresh caught fish and seafood to feed Florida and beyond.

As you make your way from the main road through the village you’ll find quaint old cottages, tons of boats and a quiet neighborhood setting. Generations of families have been fishing from the shores in this community and it’s apparent as you look around. Many of the fishermen working for the Starfish fleet live in the village. You’ll feel like you have been transported back in time while in Cortez.

Star Fish offers both a restaurant and market. All restaurant seating is outdoors along the water where the fishing boats are kept. You’ll literally watch the days catch coming to dock while dining here.

The Menu is simple, fresh and classic old Florida Seafood. Find Gulf Shrimp, Grouper, Smoked Mullet and clams. Seasonal favorites include Stone Crab claws and Spiny Lobster. The side dishes are nothing but southern with cole slaw, hush puppies and grits. Order at the bar, find a table and the staff will call your name when the order is ready. Food is served in crisp white paper boxes. Bring cash!

Dining at Star Fish is something special. Sitting on North Sarasota Bay eating local seafood, watching the salt beaten boats come in, and Pelicans looking for a handout. This is the essence of what Florida once was, and continues to live on at Starfish.

These are the restaurants that will transform your Anna Maria Island Vacation in ways you never thought!

From mingling with locals, to enjoying a sunset with a group of strangers, to an intimate fine dining experience. Enjoy the true authentic flavor of the island life on your next Anna Maria Island getaway!

 

 

 

The Ugly Grouper

The Ugly Grouper is a local Anna Maria spot where you can find fun for all ages.  They have a great menu that serves homemade salsa and chips to an array of other delicious items.

The Ugly Grouper

If you are looking for local seafood that is fresh and tasty look no further.  They serve the grouper sandwich, grouper nuggets, and grouper tacos too! They also have a cheeseburger, and a black bean burger, for those who prefer a seafood alternative.

The Ugly Grouper

Drinks and a full service bar!

If you are in the mood for a nice wine with your meal, they have a variety of wines, either by glass or bottle.  If you are looking for something a little more unique they also have some fun frozen cocktails! Enjoy the classic Strawberry Daiquiri, Pina Colada or you also have the non-alcoholic options as well!

For those who like a nice mixed drink you could try one of their many cocktails. Offerings include the Ugly Grouper Tea, or stick with the famous Long Island Ice Tea!

Kid Selections

Also find a great selection for your kids from classic items such as a grilled cheese and corndog to fish and chips, or shrimp. Something cool that the Ugly Grouper throws in is a frozen drink for all kids meals! They have many to choose from like an All American to a more tropical feel of an Orange Mango!

If you are feeling brave you can top off your meal with a Ugly Sundae, a bowl of soft serve piled on top of a brownie, covered in chocolate, caramel, sprinkles and a cherry!

Night Life and Live Music

The Ugly Grouper does host nightly live entertainment. You can find many local bands jamming from night to night. They do have open mic nights, where you can show off your skill with family or friends!  Cut loose on the dance floor, while enjoying the band!

They also have a corn hole league, that hosts weekly tournaments. They do have child friendly games such as ring toss, and ring on a string!  You can make many memories at the Ugly Grouper!

The Ugly Grouper is a family friendly environment that can provide a place to get together and have some fun.  They have a great menu, and games for the young and old alike!  This is a place where you can come and enjoy a night with the family, or a night with friends!

Find The Ugly Grouper in Holmes Beach on Marina Drive.

Anna Maria Island Ethnic Restaurants

Anna Maria Island Ethnic Restaurants are a great departure from everyday meals. While everyone loves a good burger, fries and the traditional “American” fare, why not try something different on your vacation?

Anna Maria Island Ethnic Restaurants

Anna Maria Island has more seafood and traditional American restaurants than you could try in just one vacation. However, there are a handful of eateries with international roots. This comes as no surprise since the island sees guests from all around the world.

Here are six restaurants to try if you are looking for something beyond the usual, yet still delicious.

French Cuisine at Island Creperie and French Table

Anna Maria Island has two French Restaurants to try! Visit Island Creperie for an out of this world French breakfast or French Table for a traditional south of France dinner.

The Island Creperie is open for breakfast and lunch until 2pm. You’ll find a extensive variety of crepes, french bread and Mimosas too. Find Island Creperie on Bridge Street in the purple store front.

The French table has a small menu of delicious cuisine focusing on fresh produce and baked bread.  They offer both seafood, duck and beef options. You’ll find them at 103 Gulf Drive in Bradenton Beach.

Anna Maria Island French Restaurant
Duck and Sausage Cassoulet at French Table.

Indian Cuisine at The Island Spice

If you have a craving for Indian food The Island Spice is sure to please. They offer all the traditional Indian favorites Americans have grown to love. You’ll find Curry, Tikka Masala, Dosas, Vindaloo and more. Visit them at 3608 East Bay Drive in Holmes Beach.

Japanese Cuisine at Island Ocean Star

Island Ocean Star has some of the best Sushi you will find in Manatee County. They offer a few Hibachi tables, a fully stocked bar and outdoor waterfront seating too. Find everything you would expect on the extensive menus. Island Ocean Star is in the Galatti Marina 902 South Bay Boulevard in the City of Anna Maria.

Anna Maria Island Sushi
A boat load of Sushi at Island Ocean Star.

German Cuisine at the Old Hamburg Schnitzel Haus

If you are looking for hearty comfort food, the Schnitzel Haus is for you. Here you’ll find great service, German beer and a relaxed cozy atmosphere. They offer both German and Austrian cuisine that is a mix of the traditional with new trends from back home. The Schnitzel Haus is in Holmes Beach at 3246 East Bay Drive.

Italian Cuisine at Vinny and Cheryl’s Italian Kitchen

While Vinny and Cheryl’s doesn’t offer a large dining room with the traditional restaurant service, they do offer authentic Italian Classics. Some of the best fresh baked Italian breads, rustic pizzas, family size meals and specialty items can be found at Vinny and Cheryl’s. Find Vinny and Cheryl on Pine Avenue in the city of Anna Maria.

Anna Maria Island Ethnic Restaurants
Fresh Baked Goods Daily

Anna Maria Oyster Bar – on the Pier

Bradenton Beach – Anna Maria Oyster Bar (AMOB) is the newest additions to the Bradenton Beach restaurant scene. However, it’s no new comer to the area. With locations in Ellenton and Bradenton, AMOB has been serving up fresh seafood to locals and visitors for years.

AMOB on the pier is located at the base of the old historic Bradenton Beach City Pier once occupied by Rotten Ralphs. A fabulous location, you can choose to dine inside or outside on the covered deck. Either way you’ll find gorgeous views of Sarasota Bay, the anchorage and the pier.

Bradenton Beach Anchorage
The Anchorage off Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach is a popular area for visitors and locals to drop anchor for extended periods when coming by boat.

Offering many of the same great dishes of other locations, AMOB on the pier is a slight departure from its original concept. The menu is smaller than the Ellenton and Bradenton locations, but still manages to offer a little of something for everyone.

How to Order

At AMOB on the pier you order your food and drink at the counter first instead of the traditional table service. You are assigned a funny celebrity name on a plastic table tent when you order. Then you seat yourself anywhere you would like. When it’s ready, a server will bring your food out matching the order with your celebrity name. All your condiments and soft drinks are self serve, so you can load up on the cocktail and tarter sauce while you wait. Adult beverages may be purchased at the same time as the food. Additional drinks can be purchased from the friendly bar staff.

The Menu

Anna Maria Oyster Bay is know for oysters, but also boasts a menu that has a little of something for everyone. The breakfast menu offers omelets, a burrito, pancakes, an egg sandwich and eggs your way. Cappuccino, juice and coffee are also offered for breakfast.

The lunch and dinner menu include appetizers, an oysters section, entrees, and sandwiches. From the appetizers menu you’ll find items like coconut shrimp, calamari and chicken wings. The oysters menu offers them fried, raw, Rockefeller, chipotle, garlic parmesan, or a sampler platter of four types. On the entree menu there is fresh fish options, fish and chips, shrimp, scallops, ribs and chicken. For sandwich offerings you’ll find a burger along with chicken or fish sandwiches. AMOB is truly a family friendly restaurant and offers a great kids menu!

AMOB on the pier offers a full service bar.  You can enjoy a cold cocktail or local beer while you take in views on the Intracoastal side of Anna Maria Island.

Bridge Street Pier
After a great meal at AMOB enjoy a leisurely stroll along the pier.

Anna Maria Oyster Bar is reasonably priced with entrees in the $9-$21 range; an amazing value for fresh seafood with a view!

There is limited parking at the base of the city pier. Often you can find parking along Bridge Street and the surrounding free public lots.

You are sure to enjoy Anna Maria Oyster Bar on the pier for a delicious Bradenton Beach seafood experience!

Bradenton Beach Accommodations and Vacation Rentals.

Island Real Estate offers almost 300 vacation rentals across Anna Maria Island, so be sure to call us first when looking for the perfect rental! Visit IslandReal.com or call 877-778-6066 today.

Bradenton Beach vacation rental
Katie’s Beach Bungalow is an adorable 2 bedroom old Florida style cottage just a few blocks from gulf beaches. Click on the image above to learn more about Katie’s Beach Bungalow!

 

Scott’s Deli – Holmes Beach Sandwich Shop

Holmes Beach – While there are several amazing Sandwich Shops on Anna Maria Island, Scott’s Deli is the area’s newest Holmes Beach spot for your meat, veggie and carb cravings.

Nestled into the plaza behind Lobstahs on Gulf Drive, Scott’s Deli is in the space formerly occupied by the 941 Deli. Open Monday through Wednesday 9:00am to 4:30pm, and Thursday through Sunday 8:00am to 4:00pm, Scott’s Deli serves up fresh made goodies for breakfast and lunch.

Scott’s Deli

Owner Scott Mason was inspired by food at a young age from the influence of his mother/business partner Trudy. Prior to opening his deli, Scott was the executive chef for a Country Club in Kansas. He always dreamed of opening a Sandwich shop and was fortunate to do so on beautiful Anna Maria Island.

Everything at Scott’s Deli is made fresh, and locally sourced to ensure the highest quality. Scott’s Deli guarantees fresh food at a great value in a happy atmosphere. Dine in, carry out or enjoy free delivery any where on the island including the beach! Scott’s Deli has a nice cozy outdoor seating area if you’d like to stroll over and relax with a hearty sandwich.

The Menu

Find something for everyone on the menu at Scott’s Deli. The breakfast menu offers six sandwiches to choose from like the Steak and Eggs sandwich with roast beef, Swiss cheese, fried egg, peppers and onions on a ciabatta bun.

On the lunch menu you’ll find create your own sandwiches, wraps and specialty hot and cold sandwiches. The create your own sandwich menu offers so many different items you’ll never make the same sandwich twice. On the cold sandwiches menu enjoy choices like the vegetarian or the chicken banh mi wrap. On the hot sandwiches menu find classics like a Ruben, tuna melt or a Cuban sandwich. Try the roast beef melt pilled high with meat, a gooey layer of Swiss, red onion and bacon marmalade and dill aioli on a ciabatta bun; it’s absolutely amazing! Have a side of one of Scott’s fresh made salads including tuna, chicken, chicken curry, potato or pasta salad.

Scott's Deli

NY Pastrami-pastrami piled high, Russian dressing and cole slaw served on marble swirl. Picture from the Scott’s Deli Facbook page.

Get your sweets fix too!

Scott loves to bake, so when you visit, be sure to check out his fresh made sweets such as cheese cake, brownies and creative pastries. To drink find assorted sodas, teas and coffee.

Enjoy an amazing breakfast or lunch at Scott’s Deli today, and tell them Island Real Estate sent you! Be sure to ask about daily specials and promotions!

Scott’s Deli
5337 Gulf Drive. Suite 300
Holmes Beach, FL 34217 USA
(941) 778-3000

Looking for other dining options on Anna Maria Island? Check out the IslandReal.com local scene page for more restaurants and eateries.

Holiday Restaurant Openings Anna Maria Island

Here’s our list of Holiday restaurant openings Anna Maria Island. All of the Island Real Estate vacation rentals offer well-appointed kitchens for meal time. However, preparing a feast may not be one of the activities you look forward to during a relaxing beach vacation. Let go of the hustle and bustle of the season! Let one of Anna Maria Island’s fabulous restaurants feed your family for the holidays.

Holiday Restaurant Openings Anna Maria Island

Below is a list of when Restaurants on and around Anna Maria Island will be serving Holiday meals. This includes Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day.

Holiday Restaurant Openings Anna Maria Island
2015 Holiday Restaurant Schedule

Still looking for the perfect rental for a holiday stay on Anna Maria Island.  No need to worry, visit our frequently asked question page about Island Real Estate Vacation Rentals.  All the information you ever wanted to know on Anna Maria Island Vacation Rentals.

anna maria island restaurants open for the 2015 holidays
Wishing you Beachy Holiday on Anna Maria Island!

If you are looking a before dinner drink see our top ten happy hours for Anna Maria Island. A perfect start to your celebration of Thanksgiving, Christmas, or the New Year!

Island Gourmet Grill | Anna Maria Island, FL

Island Gourmet Grill on Anna Maria Island, FL

Island Gourmet Grill on Anna Maria Island, FL

Located on Anna Maria Island in Florida, Island Gourmet Grill is within walking distance of beautiful white sand beaches. That doesn’t mean this is just some typical beach town restaurant though. You can expect exceptional service, great food, and a pleasant atmosphere from the restaurant staff.

Island Gourmet Grill is open Monday-Saturday. Lunch starts at 11:30AM from Tuesday-Saturday*; dinner at 5:00PM from Monday-Saturday.

Two lunch specials are regularly served. Choose between a juicy burger with a side of fries and a soft drink for $7.50 or 2 slices of pizza and a soft drink for $5.50. There is a full lunch menu as well.

Island Gourmet Grill specializes in American cuisine with Italian roots. You can feel safe ordering any of the entrees knowing the food will live up to the restaurant’s reputation.

* Island Gourmet Grill is open for lunch in season, starting in November.

Island Gourmet Grill
5910 Marina Drive
Holmes Beach, FL 34217
(941) 778-0333