Sarasota residents are always looking for the “next place to go” — A destination restaurant or bar that rewards them with a memorable dining experience. What makes a restaurant in downtown Sarasota great?

Of course, every guest has their own personal preferences, but there are common qualities shared by all notable eateries.

It’s Gotta Start with the Food

Consistently great food is the single most important factor in how customers feel about a restaurant. If the food is good enough, customers will keep coming back again and again for their favorite dishes.
If it’s bad, they’ll tell everyone they know.

The best restaurant dishes and menus are:

Made with quality, fresh ingredients – Those ingredients should be locally sourced wherever possible.
Inventive – Look for unique “signature” dishes and cocktails.
Attractive –Proper presentation makes food taste better.

All the best restaurants on Main Street in Sarasota have carefully curated menus that define who they are and reflect the personality and passion of the owners.

Sensational Service

After food quality, service is the second-biggest factor determining the overall dining and drinking experience. Guests want to feel as if they are welcome and appreciated. Even better, they want that service to be personalized, especially if they are regulars.

There’s science behind this.

A 2006 study found that hearing one’s own name activates areas in the brain associated with social behavior and memory. In other words, it trains the brain to associate that establishment with happiness and belonging.

All the hottest downtown Sarasota bars have knowledgeable and attentive servers who make guests feel as if they’ve arrived just in time for the party. They are trained to be friendly, energetic, and genuinely happy to see every guest that walks in the door.

An Unforgettable Atmosphere

Did you hear about the restaurant on the moon?
The food was OK, but there was no atmosphere.

Jokes aside, the best reason to go out and spend money at a restaurant or bar is to have a pleasant experience, whether it’s enjoying a Michelin dinner at a three-star restaurant or relaxing with a casual Sunday brunch in Sarasota.

That corny old joke serves as a reminder of how important a restaurant’s commitment to authenticity and aesthetics really is. Every aspect of the interior works together to create the desired atmosphere — decor, color scheme, lighting, furnishings, and even the music — it is the atmosphere that creates the emotion.

A restaurant or bar that looks fun or romantic is more likely to be perceived as actually being fun or romantic.

Reactions on social media are also important. For example, 60% of Instagram’s 800 million followers discover new businesses on their social media accounts. If a bar or restaurant in Sarasota is generating a lot of buzz online in the form of posts, comments, likes, and shares, that “social proof” is a good sign that the place might be worth checking out.

Find Your New Favorite Restaurant in Sarasota

Paying attention to the effort that an establishment makes goes a long way toward having a great meal or an unforgettable night out with friends and loved ones. This is just as true for a weekday lunch in Sarasota as it is for a casual meeting over drinks.

With a little research and some delicious samples, it’s possible for anyone to find new favorite restaurants in Sarasota. Often it’s a good idea to make downtown Sarasota restaurant reservations to ensure you get a table.