The Cortez Stone Crab Festival is back in it’s fifth year of tasty fresh seafood and family fun. Join in this claw cracking good time November 5th and 6th in the old Fishing Village of Cortez.
Cortez Stone Crab Festival
Hosted by Swordfish Grill and Tiki Bar, the Stone Crab Festival is the best time to enjoy this local delicacy. Find the festivities in the fishing village at 4628, 119th Street West. The event starts at 9am and ends at 6pm on Saturday and Sunday.
In addition to Stone Crabs, there will be live music, kids activities, arts and crafts vendors, and a beer tent. There will also be a large tent for shade, and you may bring your own folding chairs.
Parking will be available at 116th Street at the F.I.S.H. Preserve with shuttles going back and forth through both days.
Live music will be happening on three different stages around the event.
For Stone Crab claws that are so fresh they never travel by land, head over to the Cortez Stone Crab Festival!
There’s no shortage of Cortez Fishing Village seafood restaurants to try out while visiting the area. This is one of the oldest working fishing villages in the United States. So therefore, the large selection of seafood restaurants is no surprise.
7 Cortez Fishing Village Seafood Restaurants
Here is the list of all the seafood restaurants in Cortez. Try one, or try them all!
Starfish Company might be the most popular choice among locals. This is both a restaurant and market serving fresh off the boat seafood. Starfish Company began in the 1920’s, and is now owned by the Bell family of A.P. Bell Fish Company. You’ll find simply prepared old Florida style seafood dishes. The menu here really allows the seafood to speak for itself. Starfish is cash only! Order at the counter, and wait at one of the dockside tables looking over Sarasota Bay. You’ll also enjoy views of the docked fishing boats for an authentic seafood restaurant experience.
12306 46th Ave W
Cortez Fl, 34215
This is the sister restaurant to Starfish. Here you’ll find the same great quality seafood and a similarly charming atmosphere. The menu at Tide Tables is a bit more modern, and has a different selection of offerings than Starfish. Enjoy views of the Intracoastal Waterway along with outdoor dining. 12507 Cortez Rd W Cortez, Florida
Another great option for fresh seafood, you’ll love Swordfish Grill. In addition to seafood, you’ll find chicken, ribs and a little something for everyone. The restaurant is casual, but the menu does also have some nicer items. Swordfish offers dock side dining, live music and a full service bar. You can come by car or dock your boat too!
4628 119th St W.
Cortez, FL 34215
Right next door to Swordfish Grill you’ll find Cortez Kitchen. The menu here has old fashioned Florida favorites with shrimp, scallops, grouper and mahi. Find southern favorites like grits, hush puppies and fried okra. This is a laid back restaurant that offers outdoor dining on the water in addition to live music.
4528 119th Street W,
Cortez, FL 34215
The Seafood Shack has been operating since the 1970’s, but in the past few years has upgraded their facility and menu. Not only is the Seafood Shack a great restaurant, but they offer a nice marina too. Seafood Shack has fish, scallops, salads and also an option to bring in your own fresh catch. Enjoy indoor or outdoor dining, boat docks, catering and banquet facilities. You could even host a wedding here.
4110 127th St W
Cortez, FL 34215
Further inland you’ll come upon O’Shucks. Here you’ll find a raw oyster bar along with many local seafood favorites such as smoked mullet. In addition to raw oysters they have Rockefeller and fried options. O’Shucks has a nice selection of beers and some outdoor seating is also available. 12012 Cortez Rd W Cortez, Florida
Anna Maria Oyster Bar
On the far inland edge of Cortez Village you’ll find the always popular Anna Maria Oyster Bar. They have a large menu with just about anything you could want. The prices here are very reasonable. Enjoy quality service and a consistent quality of food every time you dine. Anna Maria Oyster Bar also offers early bird specials.
6696 Cortez Road,
Bradenton, FL 34210
For a fantastic Florida dining experience try out one of these great Cortez Fishing Village Seafood Restaurants!
Anna Maria Island vacation rental cooking is easy and delicious if you know how. Home chefs with even the most basic of cooking skills can create fresh, convenient and enjoyable meals. Anna Maria Island is a great vacation spot for beach fun, but also offers great local ingredients for meal time. While visiting the island you’ll find fresh seafood, local produce and local made craft beers.
Anna Maria Island Vacation Rental Cooking Guide
Follow these easy tips, and you will have a week worth of creative easy meals you won’t forget!
Before making your way to an Anna Maria Island vacation rental, get an idea of what is in season. Food can be a factor when picking a vacation destination. Every region of the world is known for a unique seasonal food, so if you plan to cook, plan on enjoying what is readily available. Picking foods at their seasons peak is the best way to enjoy eating.
Popular Seasons on Anna Maria Island
Spiny Lobster – Begining of August through March. Stone Crab Claws – Mid October through mid May.
Mullet – Peaks in the Fall; Thanksgiving through January.
Tomatoes – Year round except July, August and September.
Strawberries – December – April.
Citrus – All year with the exception of summer months.
Learn more about when and what is growing in Manatee County here.
Go Local with Anna Maria Island vacation rental cooking
Eating seasonally is only part of what makes a great vacation rental cooking experience. You must also shop local. Anna Maria Island is home to several specialty shops run by locals. Check out Anna Maria Olive Oil Outpost, The Island Fresh Market and Starfish Market to find a variety of specialty items. From fresh off the boat seafood to fresh baked bread these locals run specialty shops are a big hit.
Keeping it Simple and One Pot Meals
Save fancy fussy meals for dining out when staying in an Anna Maria Island vacation rental. Keep meal time easy, so you don’t become stressed out. Fight the urge to try out a new complicated recipe, and let professionals wow you instead. Complicated and messy meal preparation doesn’t lend to the laid back style of the island.
Preparing large dishes that can last through the week is a smart option.
For breakfast try make ahead options like quiche using a store bought pie crust. Make quiche ahead of time, and simply re-heat in the morning. A large batch of chicken salad can create beautiful sandwiches, or simply sit on top of a bowl of dressed greens for easy lunch options.
Try one pot meals for dinner time.
There is nothing easier than throwing some fresh local ingredients all in one pot. You can create many delicious meals, and have little to clean up when you try out these great one pot meals from Martha Stewart.
Take a kitchen equipment inventory
When you get to your Anna Maria Island vacation rental take an inventory of what kitchen equipment is available. You may want to inquire what is available ahead of time if you decide to bring food with you. Some dishes require special equipment. Inquiring is also a good idea if you have a particular dish you’ll be making. This way you won’t have to buy special equipment for your stay.
Splurge on Quality
You’re on vacation, so treat yourself like it! Splurge on buying quality ingredients, and not just the generic or less expensive versions of items. Vacations are about relaxing and enjoying things you don’t usually experience, so go all out.
Avoid bargain bulk buys
Often when shopping for groceries, shoppers will buy the items with a great bang for buck ratio. Doing so leads you to buying large portions of individual items. This practice may not be appropriate for a vacation rental kitchen. After your week long vacation you probably don’t want to transport food home, so consider buying smaller portions from the grocery store. Only what you need during your stay. The exception to this rule would be for those vacationing with very large groups.
Grill out with your fresh catch
Anna Maria Island is the perfect Florida vacation destination for a fishing excursion. With access to the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay and Intracoastal Waterways, fishing is great on Anna Maria Island. Many of the Island Real Estate vacation rentals offer propane or charcoal grills. A Florida style backyard barbecue with your fresh catch is a vacation tradition for many. If fish isn’t really your forte, then try grilling up some nice steaks for dinner.
Local Craft Beer
There are many craft beer breweries within an hours drive from Anna Maria Island, but you don’t have travel to find great beer. Find beers from Tampa, St. Petersburg, Bradenton and Sarasota on Anna Maria Island. Visit Publix shopping center, Walgreens liquor store, or Hurricane Hanks liquor store to find local craft beers. All these retailers are in Holmes Beach, but restaurants along the entire island offer local brews.
Recipes for Anna Maria Island vacation rental cooking
Anna Maria Island vacation rental homes with gorgeous kitchens
Island Real Estate offers Anna Maria Island vacation rentals and beach houses with great kitchens! Whether you just need a small kitchen for a few guests, or you need to accommodate a large group with a big kitchen. Island Real Estate has the perfect Florida vacation rental to fit your needs. Reserve your Anna Maria Island today with Island Real Estate!
Find the perfect Anna Maria Island vacation rental, and enjoy eating during your Florida vacation! You may not be the worlds most creative chef, but follow this guide for Anna Maria Island vacation rental cooking ideas!
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.
Restaurants Anna Maria – Boating is a hugely popular recreational activity in Florida, and Anna Maria Island is no exception to this rule. With the island situated on the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa Bay and Sarasota Bay there are plenty of fun spots on the water to explore. If you get hungry during your boating excursion many waterfront restaurants offer boat parking so you can dock and dine.
Below is a list of the top 15 restaurants to visit by boat in Anna Maria Island, Cortez Fishing Village, Longboat Key and Bradenton. Click on the links to learn more about these great dock and dine destinations.
Anna Maria Island – Bradenton Beach
1. Bridge Tender Inn – Located in Bradenton Beach just south of the City Pier, the Bridge Tender Inn is located right on Sarasota Bay for beautiful views of the Intracoastal and Cortez Fishing Village. The Bridge Tender Inn offers both indoor and outdoor dining along with a full service bar. Enjoy live music, delicious food and great views from this old Florida style locals favorite hangout. Pull your boat up to the dingy dock right out front, or you could even step right out of a kayak into the outdoor dining area! Coordinates: 27°27’55.2″N 82°41’48.0″W
2. Anna Maria Oyster Bar (AMOB) – AMOB is located at the base of the Bradenton Beach City Pier south of the Cortez Bridge. The pier offers a public day dock for anyone looking to visit both the pier and Bridge Street. Day dock space can sometimes be crowded with boats, but is convenient for those looking to dock and dine or sight see on Bradenton Beach. Find great views, delicious fresh seafood, a full service bar and friendly service at AMOB. Bonus stops: after you park your boat, you can walk down Bridge Street to many restaurants including The Bridge Tender Inn, Island Creperie, The Blue Marlin, Island Time Bar and Grill, Freckled Fin, The Bridge Street Bistro, or the Beach House Restaurant right on the gulf. Coordinates: 27°27’59.1″N 82°41’39.9″W
Anna Maria Island – Anna Maria
3. Anna Maria City Pier – located on the north end of Anna Maria Island, the city pier overlooks Tampa Bay and the Skyway Bridge. The Pier offers a little of something for everyone to eat, and also offers a jewelry shop to peruse. Toward the end of the pier, near the restauarnt, there is a spot for boats to dock and dine. Coordinates: 27°32’04.2″N 82°43’49.7″W
4. Rod and Reel Pier – A favorite spot of Anna Maria locals for a cold beer and fresh seafood, the Rod and Reel Pier has great food serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. You’ll enjoy gorgeous views of Tampa Bay and the northern end of the island. Come by boat, and take a load off at this great old Florida restaurant perfect for a dock and dine excursion. Coordinates: 27°32’18.2″N 82°44’21.5″W
5. Ocean Star – Ocean Star is an excellent Japanese restaurant in the city of Anna Maria offering both sushi and hibachi grills. Located at the Galati Marina, Ocean Star has both indoor seating and covered patio seating looking over the Marina and Bimini Bay. To get to Ocean Star by boat you’ll have to enter into Bimini Bay from Tampa Bay. Coordinates: 27°31’35.0″N 82°43’15.4″W
Cortez Fishing Village – Intracoastal
6. Tide Tables – One of the newest restaurants to Cortez Fishing Village, Tide Tables is operated by the same owners as the infamous Starfish market and restaurant. Tide Tables is located at the base of the mainland side of the Cortez Bridge at Intracoastal Waterway Marker 48. Enjoy fresh seafood and amazing views at Tide Tables when you dock and dine at this great spot! Coordinates: 27°28’09.0″N 82°41’21.0″W
7. Seafood Shack – The Seafood Shack has been an iconic restaurant to the coastline of Cortez since the 1970’s. Seafood Shack offers both indoor and outdoor dock side seating in addition to their great banquet space. The Seafood Shack offers temporary dock space or slips for overnight stays. In the past few years the Seafood Shack has made a great deal of updates both to the restaurant and Marina. The Seafood Shack is located on the northern side of the Cortez Bridge at ICW marker 49. Coordinates: 27°28’13.5″N 82°41’23.7″W
Cortez Fishing Village – South Shore
8. Starfish Market and Restaurant – One of the most popular eateries in Cortez Fishing Village, Starfish offers a glimpse into the world of the local fisherpeople who bring Florida fresh seafood to our tables. Starfish has outdoor seating only with the dining area right on the docks used by fishing boats. When you dock and dine tie up to any free spot you can find and don’t forget to bring cash as cards are not accepted. To get to Starfish you’ll have to head east along the southern shoreline past the Coast Guard station and the large building labeled A.P Bell. Coordinates: 27°27’57.2″N 82°41’07.2″W
9. Swordfish Grill and Tiki Bar – heading farther along the southern shore of Cortez Fishing Village you’ll find both Swordfish Grill and our #10 stop Cortez Kitchen. Swordfish has been in business since 2011 and offers great views of Sarasota Bay, live music everyday, cold drinks and fresh off the boat seafood. Swordfish offers plenty of dock and dine spaces for those coming by boat! Coordinates: 27°27’56.8″N 82°40’54.3″W
10. Cortez Kitchen – Just like Starfish and Swordfish Grill, Cortez kitchen offers great fresh seafood with beautiful views of Sarasota Bay. Enjoy covered outdoor seating weathered fishing boats, and live music! Coordinates: 27°27’57.5″N 82°40’53.1″W
11. Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant and Pub – Owned by the Chiles group, Mar Vista is the Longboat key sister restaurant to the Beach House and Sandbar on Anna Maria Island. Just as the Beach House and Sandbar, Mar Vista offers fresh food with great service. Enjoy great bay side views along with several spaces for those looking to dock and dine. Mar Vista is located on the northern bay side of Longboat Key. Coordinates: 27°26’17.0″N 82°40’54.7″W
12. Dry Dock Grill – Located on the southern end of Longboat Key in the Boathouse Marina, Dry Dock Grill is just a short drive north of St. Armands Circle. To get to Dry Dock by boat you’ll have to leave Sarasota Bay heading south past quick point and into Zwick’s channel near marker 6. Dry Dock offers three wet slips for those coming to dock and dine. Coordinates: 27°20’20.5″N 82°35’24.0″W
13. Pier 22 – Located on the Manatee River in downtown Bradenton, the Pier 22 restaurant offers a casual upscale dining experience with an extensive menu. Pier 22 offers dining indoors, covered outdoor dining or outdoor dining right along the riverfront. Pier 22 offers a 180 foot courtesy dock perfect for boaters looking to stop along the river for a convenient dock and dine. The Marina offers a great place for overnight or extended stays. To get to Pier 22 you’ll exit lower Tampa Bay at marker #2 into the Manatee River. Follow the river about six miles to marker 22. Coordinates: 27°30’02.2″N 82°34’24.9″W
14. Riverhouse Reef and Grill – Across the river from Pier 22 you’ll find Riverhouse Reef and Grill in Palmetto. Located in one of the most luxurious marinas on the west coast of Florida, Riverhouse Reef and Grill offers plenty of space for boats to dock and dine. Coordinates: 27°30’42.2″N 82°34’32.5″W
15. YachtSea Grille – heading further down the Manatee River you’ll find the public day docks at the Bradenton Riverwalk. Park your boat enjoy the beautiful riverfront, and experience a great meal. Head east from the day docks to find YachtSea Grille for great food and service in downtown Bradenton. YachtSea is just west of the Desoto Bridge and nearby to the downtown skate park. YachtSea is not directly on the riverfront, but is just across the street from the water. Coordinates: 27°29’58.0″N 82°33’49.7″W
There are tons of great places to explore for a fun dock and dine experience around Anna Maria Island.
Anna Maria Island Accommodations and Vacation Rentals
The 35th Annual Cortez Fishing Festival will be Saturday and Sunday February 18th and 19th 10am-6pm. In the fishing village of Cortez this event is a fund raiser for the Cortez village and wetlands.
35th Annual Cortez Fishing Festival
About 20,000+ people will visit the festival across Saturday and Sunday. Admission of $4 for adults and children under 12 are free. Parking will be available east of Cortez Fishing Village about a five minute walk from the event. Additionally, park at G.T Bray recreational facility and pay for the $3 round trip shuttle service. G.T Bray is at 5502 33rd Avenue in West Bradenton. Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island, will also offer parking and shuttle service.
Seafood is the star!
The seafood comes from the local boats and hard working people fishing the gulf and bay. While offering a large selection of seafood, vendors will be cooking it to order! Additionally, enjoy live music, dancing, arts and crafts fair, marine life touch tank, and exhibits about local commercial fishing and marine life.
Funds raised are for local non-profit organization FISH also called, Florida Institute of Saltwater Heritage. Proceeds will go toward maintenance of 95 acres of Mangrove wetlands just east of Cortez Village. This area is called the FISH Preserve. It is some of the only undeveloped land on Sarasota Bay.
Mangrove wetland is also vital to the success of a healthy marine environment. They function as a nursery to countless numbers of species, in addition to filtering pollutants and protecting against erosion.
Enjoy our list of off Anna Maria Island activities. While lazing on the beach with a cold drink is an amazing way to vacation, visit off island too.
Off Anna Maria Island
Beyond the powder sand and crisp blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico find things to do. There’s a ton of activities to experience on Anna Maria Island. However, if feeling adventurous, here’s a list of 40 activities less than a two hour drive from the island.
The city of Cortez is located just over the Cortez Bridge when leaving Anna Maria Island. One of the countries oldest fishing villages, Cortez is a place to explore old Florida charm, shops, and seafood. Be sure to visit Starfish Company restaurant for dockside views, and the best Florida seafood you’ll taste. If you visit in February be sure to check out the annual Cotez Fishing Festival. Find some of the areas most delicious sweets at Tylers Ice Cream. Learn all about the history of Cortez Fishing Village at the Maritime Museum.
Heading 45 minutes East into Manatee county brings you to Lakewood Ranch. This area offers an outdoors shopping area along Main Street with a few other activities surrounding. Visit the Lakewood Ranch cinema followed by a great meal at Polo Grill and Bar. Play a round of Golf at the prestigious Legacy Golf Club.
St. Petersburg is a 45 minute drive north over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Here find a growing art scene with ton’s of galleries, studios, boutiques and entertainment. Check out the Sundial shopping district along with the great waterfront restaurants. Enjoy fine works by artist Salvador Dali at the Dali Museum.
Myakka State Park has many activities including boat tours, nature watching and bike trails. The city of Myakka is just a little over an hour drive from Anna Maria Island. It also offers one of the nicest State parks in Florida. While in Myakka support your local farmers with a tour of Dakin Dairy.
Tampa offers many fun attractions perfect for a day trip from Anna Maria Island. Just about an hour drive brings you to the famous Florida attraction Busch Gardens. The Car Museum of Tampa is a fun stop for old car enthusiasts.
Orlando is a two hour drive from Anna Maria Island, but offers tons of family friendly activities. Check out our list of fun things to do in Orlando below:
Westfield Mall has all the big name retailers you are looking for. Brandon is also only an hour drive east of Anna Maria Island toward the Tampa area.
Ruskin is a quiet small Florida town with a fabulous old Drive in Theater. Just under an hour drive from the Island, Ruskin Drive also provides hours of inexpensive entertainment.
If you visit the Island during spring months, you may be lucky to catch the Florida Strawberry Festival. The Strawberry Festival has been celebrated since the 1930’s. This 10 day event provides tons of fun too!
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.
contact us today
How To Find Island Real Estate
Office LocationsIsland Real Estate 6101 Marina Drive Holmes Beach, FL 34217