Anna Maria- If you’re looking for exceptional seafood, you’re at the right place! With water surrounding almost all of Anna Maria, it’s no doubt our restaurants have access to the best seafood. All within 20 minutes of the island, here are four restaurants that you’re sure to love!
1. The Ugly Grouper Bar & Grill
Located on the island, The Ugly Grouper is right across the street from our Marina Drive office. They serve delicious food such as grouper sandwiches and mahi fish tacos along with meals for people who don’t care as much for seafood. Also, all of their fish is fresh off the coast of Anna Maria, so you’re sure to get fresh fish. The Ugly Grouper has a history here on Anna Maria Island, as it was previously The Barefoot Tiki Bar and even before that a gas station! Take a look at the menu here.
Found on Manatee Avenue, Derek’s is prided on its ever-changing menu and good food. They serve wild pink shrimp pasta, blackened salmon and much more. Whether you want to have a causal luncheon or a fancy dinner, Derek’s is the perfect place to go. They do accept reservations and are open from 5am-10pm Monday-Saturday.
3. Mar Vista
Mar Vista resides in Longboat Key and is casual place to get great seafood. Some of their best dishes are a Grouper sandwich and Scallops Mar Vista. Another cool aspect of Mar Vista is its history on Longboat Key. It was one of the first structures built by Rufus Jordan in 1912 and has withstood hurricanes and erosion. Still in the original building, Mar Vista is an extremely interesting place to visit that has tasty food!
4. Starfish Company Market
If you’re wanting to cook your own or buy already cooked seafood Starfish Company is the perfect place to go. Located off Cortez, they sell locally caught seafood such as fish, scallops, and shrimp. Starfish Co. was started in the 1920’s and sits on one of the few remaining working waterfronts. With an absolutely gorgeous view, Starfish Co. is a must visit when vacationing here on Anna Maria.
Cortez – Just over the bridge from Anna Maria Island is the little town of Cortez. A fishing village to this day, it’s home to the Coast Guard, Starfish Food Co. and more. Once a year in February, this tiny piece of Florida history is home to the Cortez Fishing Festival.
Featuring great live music, nautical arts and crafts, children’s activities, environmental exhibits, more seafood than imaginable and, of course, beer, the Cortez Fishing Festival is an event unlike few others in Manatee County. Admission is $3 at the door , children 12 and under are free.
Saturday February 15th
10:00 – 10:20 am: Shanty Singers 10:45 – 12:00 pm: Passerine 12:00 – 12:15 pm: Awards and Introductions 12:30 – 2:00 pm: Doug Deming & the Jewel Tones 2:30 – 4:00 pm: Eric von Hahmann 4:30 – 6:00 pm: Razing Cane
Sunday February 16th
10:30 – 12:00 am: Soupy Davis and his Band 12:30 – 2:00 pm: Eric von Hahmann 2:30 – 4:00 pm: Soul R Coaster 4:30 – 6:00 pm: Shotgun Justice
Parking and Directions
The Cortez Fishing Village is just over the Desoto Bridge in Bradenton Beaach. Head over and veer to the right. You can’t miss it. There is a remote parking area in west Bradenton. You can avoid the traffic and enjoy the bus ride with your friends to the Festival ($2.50 round trip). The new parking site is located at G. T. Bray Park (5502 33rd Ave. Dr. W., Bradenton, 34209). Just turn east off of 59th St. onto 33rd Ave. W. This same shuttle service is being provided from the remote parking area located at Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island. Island folks can take the free trolley to the parking site. You might even be able to find a parking spot in the surrounding neighborhoods, but they property owners may charge a price.
The Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival is organized entirely by a volunteer committee of the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage (F.I.S.H.), a Florida not-for-profit corporation.
The Cortez Fishing Village goes back a long way in history and today it’s of the last working waterfronts in Florida. Each year the historic Cortez fishing area holds an annual fishing festival. Shop at the fresh fish market, eat at local restaurants like the Starfish Company and watch the fishing boats along the shoreline. If you’re interested in Cortez history you can learn all about it at the Florida Maritime Museum. Click the link below to watch a short video featured on Fox 13.