Sarasota is a city with many charms; and yes, obviously the sparkling clear water and glorious climate are high on the list. But what many “foodies” are discovering are the fabulous options among the array of restaurants on Main Street in downtown Sarasota.

Many are perfect for a leisurely Sunday brunch; offering local favorites and new delicacies. Just consider choosing between crisp Beignets with strawberry honey butter and whipped topping from a local dairy, piping hot chicken fried chicken with biscuits and gravy, or the “Elvis,” a fresh brioche French toast stuffed with billionaire bacon, peanut butter, caramelized banana, strawberry preserves, and a fried egg! And no need to say no to desserts—many restaurants offer delicious fresh local fruits in combination with cheesecakes, chocolate molten lava cake and more.

Known for its art and entertainment, the Sarasota downtown area is full of charming shops and restaurants. Brick sidewalks flank unique and colorful architectural gems, while huge outdoor murals on buildings showcase local artists’ work in a big way. What better way to spend a beautiful day with friends and family than to meet for Sunday brunch in Sarasota and then explore the downtown area with its hidden charms?

Check Out the Famous Farmer’s Market

One not-so-hidden charm is Sarasota’s famous Farmer’s Market, which has been a staple on the downtown scene for over thirty-five years, boasting seventy vendors with an array of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other locally grown produce (so visitors can try to replicate some of the fabulous restaurant meals at home!) In addition, they may be attracted to local favorites such as Sea Salt Florida, offering salts made from the nearby ocean to complement freshly caught fish. Custom, handmade jewelry and other home décor items are also favorites with locals and tourists alike.

After a leisurely brunch, lunch or dinner, it’s time to truly experience the history of the iconic Sarasota Opera House–visitors have to tour the inside of the building, which has been the home of performances since 1960 and annually hosts over forty thousand guests. One of their most famous performances was by Elvis Presley himself! This year, they are hosting a popular Curtain Raiser Dinner and Moonlight and Melodies Dinner Series.

Food Festivals

Downtown Sarasota plays host to a number of food festivals, including Savor Sarasota Restaurant Week, Forks & Corks Food and Wine Festival, and the Whiskey Obsession Festival. Of course, locals and visitors alike can celebrate their own food festival by choosing one of Sarasota’s finest downtown restaurants. (Not to mention sampling some of the libations at downtown Sarasota’s bars!)

For those seeking ways to work off calories after a delicious meal, Payne Skate Park offers a thrilling spot for skateboarders, BMX bikers, and in-line skaters. For an easier way, visitors might wish to visit McCurdy’s Comedy Theater, where fifteen minutes of laughing can burn up to forty calories!

Dining and strolling the “Cultural Coast”

There is truly nothing better than strolling and stopping by the restaurants on main street in Sarasota, with its multitude of upscale eateries; some featuring locally sourced fish, cheeses, and more. Surrounded by public art, botanical gardens, bookstores and other boutiques, Sarasota’s “Cultural Coast” gives off positive vibes—and fabulous food–to all who visit!