The Ultimate Foodies Guide to Anna Maria Island

Here is the ultimate foodies guide to Anna Maria Island! While the area has tons of fantastic spots to eat, this list highlights some real treats. From high-end to toes in the sand casual, you’ll find something delicious with our handy guide.

Foodies Guide to Anna Maria Island

This list isn’t just another selection of places for you to visit, but rather some specific menu suggestions designed to allow you to taste your way across the island.

Bacon at The Doctor’s Office

The Doctor’s Office is one of Anna Maria Island’s newest spots. Here you’ll find hand crafted cocktails and a fantastic small plates menu. The maple bacon is absolutely delicious. Thick cut and both sweet and smokey. Don’t plan on splitting a piece either! In addition to the maple bacon EVERYTHING on the menu is amazing. A fun and sophisticated watering hole in Holmes Beach, You NEED a trip to the Doctor!

Shrimp and Grits at Blue Marlin

Blue Marlin is the spot to go for Southern style seafood. You’ll find tons of those comfort foods that Floridians love like hush puppies, grits, corn bread and mac and cheese. One thing they are know for is Shrimp and Grits. Shrimp is dusted in Cajun seasoning and placed over cheesy grits with bacon crumbles and scallions. Delicious!

Blue Marlin
Blue Marlin Shrimp and grits.

Burritos at Poppo’s

Poppo’s Taqueria has amazing food, and the burritos are no exception. While the burrito and burrito bowls are super popular, we also suggest trying the Poppo’s Tacos.

Build your own burrito or burrito bowl! Any toppings you pick will be amazing as Poppo’s offers organic produce and meats! Be sure to grab a local craft beer or Kombucha too!

Seasonal Seafood at Starfish Co. Market

Starfish Market offers seafood so fresh you can literally watch it coming off the boat! Everything here is good, but we recommend the seasonal specialties like Stone Crab, Spiny Lobster and Smoked Mullet. Bring Cash!

 

Local Seasonal Seafood at Starfish Co Market
Stone Crab Season is from Oct. 15 to May 15 in Florida!

Bread from Vinny and Cheryl’s

If you love authentic homemade Italian breads as much as we do, then stop by Vinny and Cheryl’s! Offering a wide variety of specialties beyond bread, this is the spot for Italian on the island. They don’t offer dine-in services, but you can pick up an entire meal to take to the beach!

Bouillabaisse at The Beach Bistro

The Beach Bistro is an award winning find dining experience with amazing gulf views. While you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, the Bouillabaisse here is a true classic which the chefs have been perfecting for decades. Homemade broth, fresh to order Nova Scotia Lobster, fresh fish, calamari and more!

The Beach Bistro
Bouillabaisse at the Beach Bistro is out of this world!

Specialty Cheese at Olive Oil Outpost

Once you pick up some bread from Vinny and Cheryl’s wander down the street to Anna Maria Olive Oil Outpost for some cheese to go with! They have a fantastic little shop with specialty items. This is a definite must stop for foodies.

Fish Tacos and Grouper at Tide Tables

Tide Tables is the sister restaurant of the famous Starfish Market, so you know you’re in for great seafood! When you ask locals and vacationers what is their favorite menu item at Tide Tables, they’ll likely tell you everything. However, the most popular suggestions are always the Grouper and Fish Tacos! The Grouper comes fried, grilled or blackened… the traditional Florida options. The Fish Tacos are blackened Mahi with slaw, cheddar-jack and sesame ginger sauce on flour tortillas.

Tide Tables
Tide Tables for casual and tasty seafood.

Key lime Donut from The Donut Experiment

The Donut Experiment is a must stop! Donut are freshly fried and you pick exactly what you’d like from a large selection of toppings. Kids and adults both love eating here, and their coffee/espresso drinks are some of the best on the island. While they offer endless flavor combinations we suggest the Key Lime house special. Vanilla icing dusted with graham cracker and drizzled with lime syrup. Just the right amount of sweet, sour and salty to make your entire palate happy.

Crab Cakes at The Waterfront

It is EXTREMELY difficult to pick just one thing at The Waterfront. Everything is exceptional. The chefs here offer a unique spin on many of the classics. They always seem to give you familiar items that are just elevated to a higher level.

Many folks will tell you to try the crab cakes. They are Maryland style lump Blue Crab seared in an iron skillet and served with creole Mustard. For lunch you’ll find the Crab Cake Sandwich served on a Kaiser roll with lettuce and tomato. For Dinner you’ll find the Crab Cake with the potato of the day. Both are excellent.

The Waterfront
Crab Cakes The Waterfront

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the best of the best with the ultimate foodies guide to Anna Maria Island. We’re confident that you won’t be disappointed as all of these items have been tested by the Island Real Estate foodies!

Before you get to tasting your way around Anna Maria Island, be sure to book your accommodations with Island Real Estate! From gulf front luxury to laid back beach cottages, we have the perfect beach rental for your group!

6 Things to Know About Bradenton Beach

Traveling to the southern portion of Anna Maria Island brings you into the quiet bustling city of Bradenton Beach. This area of the island offers miles of public beaches with parking, Historic Bridge Street for sightseeing and shopping, and great dining opportunities with both family fun and a nightlife. Read on to learn six things you might not know about Bradenton Beach.

6 Things to know about Bradenton Beach

While all of Anna Maria Island has a special charm, Bradenton Beach has a unique culture and history all of it’s own.

1. History

Originally called Cortez Beach for its proximity to the fishing village of Cortez, the area became Bradenton Beach during the 1920’s land boom. It’s believed that inland developers gave it the name Bradenton Beach, so potential buyers would think the Beach and the city of Bradenton were next to each other rather than seperated by Cortez Fishing Village and Palma Sola. The city was incorporated in 1953.

Bradenton Beach’s Historic Bridge Street Pier is the site of the original, and first bridge connecting the island to the mainland. The first Bridge was wooden, and built in 1922. By the 1940’s the Bridge became rickety with wind and waves making the structure sway. It’s said that when cars went over the old bridge the wooden boards would bounce making a banging noise like a shot gun (Norwood 181). A new bridge was built in 1957 making access to the island much safer and easier.

The Historic Bridge Street Pier, now a days, offers excellent fishing, sightseeing over Sarasota Bay, a delicious restaurant with a view, shops and public day docks.

Historic Bridge
The First Bridge to Anna Maria Island built in 1922.

2. Sightseeing and Activities

There are also many beautiful places to sight see on Bradenton Beach including the Bradenton Beach City Pier, quaint Bridge Street, Coquina Beach bike path and Leffis Key. Rent a segway from Bridge Street rental company Segs by the Sea, and cruise around the city with ease.

When looking for activities on Bradenton Beach enjoy miniature golf on Bridge Street, or head over to the Tingley Memorial Library. This unique library is independent of the Manatee County Library system, and offers annual memberships for $4.

When visiting the island, especially during high season, you may want to consider using the free trolley to get around. Parking is limited in busy areas of the island, and battling traffic does not lend to a relaxing paradise getaway. The free trolley runs usually every 20 minutes taking you along almost the entire island.

Sarasota Bay sightseeing
There are great sightseeing opportunities in Bradenton Beach like this view of Sarasota Bay and the Cortez Bridge seen from Leffis Key.

3. Beaches

Bradenton Beach offers approximately a three mile strip of public beach with parking along the Gulf of Mexico. Public parking makes it a popular place for enjoying the shore on Anna Maria Island. To the far south is Coquina Beach with restrooms, concessions, showers, parking, picnic tables, walking path, playground, and life guards. Heading north through Bradenton Beach along the gulf brings you to Cortez Beach. Cortez Beach does not offer the same amenities, but does have plenty of parking, and an old Florida beach feel. There are three erosion groins located in an area locals call “Three Piers” this area separates Coquina and Cortez Beach, and is said to be a great surfing spot.

Coquina Beach
Coquina Beach is the southern most gulf beach on Anna Maria Island. In the background of this image you can see the 2015/2016 construction of the new erosion groins to keep south end beaches intact.

4. Events and Markets

Bradenton Beach offers one seasonal market perfect for finding local made items, art, gifts and produce. Happening on Sunday, The Coquina Beach Market is a great way to enjoy the island on a Sunday Funday Morning.

Bradenton Beach Markets
Coquina Beach Market

5. Shopping

In addition to the fabulous Seasonal Markets there are great little shops in Bradenton beach offering swim wear, beach gear, home items, art, jewelry, gifts and more. Find out about Shopping on Anna Maria Island here.

Back Alley
There are great shops on Bridge Street like Back Alley where you can find local made and hand made art, jewelry, gifts and refreshments. Photo Credit: Back Alley Facebook Page.

6. Dining

On the south end of Anna Maria Island you’ll find some really fabulous Restaurants. While visiting you’ll have many types of dining experiences for all meals of the day. From casual to fine dining, and restaurants with a beach or bay view. You’ll even find a few places open late on Bridge Street if you are looking for night life. Click on the links below for suggestions.

Bradenton Beach Bridge Tender Inn
The Bridge Tender restaurant offers great food with a beautiful view of Sarasota Bay and the Bradenton Beach City Pier.

 

Blue Marlin
Wicked Cantina
The Island Spice
Bridge Tender Inn
Beach House Restaurant
Anna Maria Oyster Bar
French Table
Island Time
Joe’s Eats and Sweets
Sharky’s

Bradenton Beach Pier
Bradenton Beach City Pier 2016.

Now that you know these six tips, enjoy Bradenton Beach like a local!

 

Bradenton Beach Properties

Looking for the perfect Anna Maria Island home on south end? Island Real Estate Agents can help you find your next paradise beach house!

Bradenton Beach Vacation Rental

 

Works Cited:

Norwood, Carolyne. Anna Maria Island 1940-1970 Tales of Three Cities from Bean Point to Bridge Street. Anna Maria Island: Anna Maria Island Historical Society. 2010.

 

Bridge Street Merchants offering Savings Passport

Bradenton Beach – The Bridge Street Merchants are now offering a savings passport giving discounts on select shopping, dining and lodging benefiting locals, visitors and charity.

With 15 different deals currently available between now and February, the Merchants passport is a great way to shop local with a purpose. The $25 passport gives up to $500 in discounts and is available for purchase at Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center, the Bridge Street Bazaar, Anna Maria Community Center, Island Mail and More, and online at www.BridgeStreet.com.

The passport is designed to bring more traffic to participating businesses, and raise funds for The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce Scholarship fund and the Moonracer No Kill Animal Shelter. $10 of each $25 passport sold will be donated to charity.

Bridge Street Savings Passport
Bridge Street Savings Passport Participants

Participating businesses include:
Back Alley
Bridge Street Interiors
The Hive
The Uptown Lot
Sea-renity Boutique
Blue Marlin
Bridge Street Bistro
Freckled Fin
BridgeWalk Resort
Island Time Inn
Drift In
Fish Hole Adventure Golf
Paradise Boat Tours
Sea-renity Beach Spa
Segs by the Sea

Purchase a passport today, and save on local shopping with a purpose!

Restaurants open for Christmas and New Year 2014

Anna Maria Island – While the holidays may bring everybody together, it doesn’t mean you want to cook for everybody, so Here is our list of Restaurants open Christmas on and around Anna Maria Island. The list shows openings for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day.

Restaurants open Christmas and New Years

Restaurants Open Christmas and New Year 2014christmas new years key

Choose causal or a more fine dining atmosphere while visiting Anna Maria Island during the holidays. Some of the restaurants open can be found on Anna Maria Island, and some are in Longboat Key, Bradenton and St. Armands Circle near Sarasota. From the graph above you’ll notice most places are closed on Christmas Day, so you’ll want to make reservations ahead of time.

Enjoy the holidays on Anna Maria Island!

Anna Maria Island Thanksgiving 2014 Restaurants Open

Anna Maria Island – Visiting during Anna Maria Island Thanksgiving 2014, but don’t feel like cooking a big meal? Here is the list of restaurants that will be open so you can take it easy.

Anna Maria Island Thanksgiving 2014 Restaurants

The list below is mostly Anna Maria Island restaurants, but Longboat Key, Bradenton, Sarasota and Saint Armands Circle as well. You’ll find a great selection of places to dine with both fine dining and casual options.

Anna Maria Island Thanksgiving 2014
Thanksgiving 2014 Restaurants, what’s open

It’s a good idea to make reservations at the restaurant of your choice to ensure you have a place to gather.

Have a happy holiday, and enjoy a tropical Thanksgiving on Anna Maria Island!

Best Desserts on our sweet little island!

Anna Maria Island – You can buy a t-shirt that says “Life is sweeter on vacation” and I totally agree, but vacation is the best time to relax your regular diet a little and enjoy a treat after a delicious island meal. Anna Maria Island has some of the best dessert offerings around and here are a few of my personal favorites that I hope you can try.

Eat Here: Sean Murphy was mixing salty and sweet before it was trendy! The “pot de crème” is what I always order – a delicious thick decadent chocolate pudding served in a cute little glass jar with a sprinkling of sea salt on top. The combination of creamy, sweet and salty is just perfect. Kind of reminds me of the salt from the gulf.

Blue Marlin on Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria IslandBlue Marlin: Bring a friend so you can each order one of my favorites and taste – best of both worlds! The tropical bread pudding puts a fruity spin on a southern classic. The pineapple and orange sauce is amazing all on its own. Blue Marlin also makes a Guinness Chocolate cake with real Guinness stout beer in the mix! The chocolate is rich and the cake perfectly moist yet the hint of stout at the end of a bite is what makes this cake so different. Of course you should wash it down with a cold Guinness instead of milk!

Island Gourmet: They make a “grown up” s’mores sundae that I hate to admit you should share. I’m all about having my own dessert, yet this one is just too much for one person unless you made it your full meal (which is a good idea, actually!). They take the most delicious warm brownie ever made and on top goes delicious vanilla bean ice cream which has been rolled in graham crackers. The s’mores part kicks in with a marshmallow topping that is toasted to be just like a campfire treat. Caramel and chocolate sauce is drizzled on top and of course more graham crackers. Begin the sugar coma!

Sign of the Mermaid: Basically my suggestion for a delicious dessert here is to walk in, order ANYTHING on the dessert menu or in the pastry case and dig in. You’re welcome