What Savvy Diners Society members say about Sarasota area restaurants
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Seltzer's Steak House, Sarasota
Reviewed by J.D.H. on 4/30/00 / meal: Dinner / party of: 7 / spent: $145. / Food: Fair / Service: Poor / Value: Poor / Cleanliness: Good / Ambience: Fair / Overall Rating: Poor / Return?: No/ Recommend: No
Bad Meal; bad experience. We had made a reservation (accepted for 6 or more), and were seated at the appointed time.The entire evening went downhill rapidly from that point. The waittress was snippy and unhelpful. The salad was undistinguished - at best (the greens were fresh, but the dressing tasted bottled). The Prime Rib was decent - no better; the steaks were simply tough and tasteless; the chicken on a skewer was the same. Two of my (teenage), grandchildren ordered desserts. They were large and pretty, but my kids found them most unsatisfying and wouldn't finish them. Four of us tried one or the other of them and reached the same conclusion. We didn't order a beverage. When our check was finally secured (our waitress had disappeared), it took almost half an hour for her to process and return with my credit card. A bummer!
Sam Seltzer's Steak House, Sarasota
Good value. Excellent, EXCELLENT steaks, but I thought I'd die of thirst waiting for my iced tea to be refilled! Empty salad plates sat and sat and sat. I guess our waiter was overused...he seemed to be very busy, but was always super-friendly and very cheerful...we were two adults with two pre-teens.
Sarasota Ale House, (Casual
My family of four went for dinner at 9:15 p.m.and were seated immediately; it went downhill from there. It was 15 minutes before our waiter acknowledged us. He took our order and we got our drinks and then did not see him again for 20 minutes.I ordered babyback ribs with a salad and a bowl of french onion soup. My daughter had chicken strips which were good, my son had a chicken sandwich and salad which he enjoyed. My husband had a reuben and a bowl of chowder which was fair. We received our salads and soup 20 minutes after our order was placed; food came not long after that. I did not have enough time to eat my soup or salad. My ribs were good but cold . The table ahead of us called for the manager because they had complaints. They were a party of ten (6 adults 4 children) and weren't too pleased either. After the manager was done with them I stopped him and asked if the kitchen was slow or was it our waiter and he said it was the waiter's second day on the floor and the party before us was large and he was having problems and he walked away. The manager went back to the other table and when he passed us I again had to stop him, as he made no attempt to ask if anything was better or to have the ribs warmed. I told him there were two other waiters sitting next to us running their mouths that made no effort to help him. He barely took time to nod his head and left. We asked for our bill and when we left there were two employees by the door, one was the hostess; they didn't stop their conversation to say good evening or anything. My husband was so annoyed he said we'd never eat there again. This was the second chance as the first experience was also bad there will not be a third.
Sarasota Seafood Company, Siesta Key,
Food and service were great. They give you good value for the price. We had about 9 different meals,plus drinks and appetizers and everyone thought they were excellent. Personally had Calamari and crab cakes. They were both top notch. Had 5 teenagers and they were treated very well and all cleaned there plates.
Sign of the Mermaid, (Continental) Anna Maria, FL
Excellent food and service! Wonderful bargain at "Early Bird". Because of local law, you must bring your bottle. This may change. Use of TransMedia card reduced the bill by 15%."Early Bird" specials are reduced almost 40%. Our six meals included 3 Herb Salmons @ $9.95, 2 crab cakes @ $9.95 and veal piccata @$10.50. Each couple shared a salad for $3.95. These ample small salads included eggless Caesar, Greek and walnut watercress.The"Early Bird Specials" are from 5:00 to 6:15 PM.( not available during Easter week. Suggest reservations.
Sign of the Mermaid, (Continental) Anna Maria, FL
This is our favorite restaurant on Anna Maria Island. Their menu is innovative and interesting. They do not have a liquor license but that should change shortly. For now bring your own which they handle most efficiently. Good service, good food, what more can you ask?
Something Fishy, (Seafood)
Can't wait to try some of their other menu items. And want more of the soups. Good value and good food. We went for their early bird special: all you can eat fish for $3.95, including iced tea and a small bowl of wonderful, tasty New England clam chowder, included in this special!! The fish batter was delicious, fish cooked perfectly; French fries HOT and generously served. The waiter attended to our needs flawlessly. He offered and delivered more fish with perfect timing. This has to be one of the best bargains in Florida!! Friends of ours also dined there and had the Shrimp Basket and Oyster basket and were delighted. They tried Seafood Gumbo and raved about it. They offer a diverse menu of appetizers, soup, sandwiches, baskets, and dinners. Decor is pleasant but their strength is GOOD FOOD and MORE than reasonable prices. The Early Bird special is served from 3:30 to 5:30 Monday through Friday. One visit will whet your appetite for more.
Stoneybrook Golf &
Counntry Club, (Continental), Sarasota
Sunset Dinners are fabulous. This is the first time my husband & I tried the Sunset Dinners at this Restaurant and were very very impressed with the Gourmet food and presentation for the special amount of $l0.95 for 5 entree's, Caesar or house salad, soup (made fresh that day which was New England Clam Chowder that had so many clams and flavor it was hard to believe at this price.) We had the Shrimp Portugese and Veal Oscar; both were outstanding and also included dessert, gourmet desserts that you get at more expensive restaurants. The chocolate brownie and the creme' brulee' were excellent! Can't believe we found this great early sunset bargain and will definitely return again and again.
Tandoor (Indian) Sarasota
My wife and I learned to love Indian food during our years in Buffalo, where an Indian restaurant opened almost every week. When we heard about the new TANDOOR ("Clay Pot") restaurant near our home, we stopped by and checked out the menu. They offer a Buffet lunch from 11:30 AM-2:30 PM Tues.-Sat. and dinner from their printed menu every night Tue.-Sun. We decided to sample the lunch buffet which offered a variety of dishes. (My own guide for Buffet meals, which I generally dislike, is whether or not different dishes taste alike.) TANDOOR's lunch buffet ($5.95 each) is a delight. The restaurant is not large, but it is spotlessly clean and bright. The Buffet table is well heated; dishes are labeled and easy to take. It included the usual basmati rice, tandoor chicken, chicken with curry, Saag (potato and vegetables in curry sauce, curried Dal (lentils), a dish of shredded carrots with vegetables I couldn't identify (which was superb, by ! the way; but my wife found it too sweet for her taste), and salad with Raita (yogurt-based sauce). Nothing was too spicy for my wife and most were spicy enough for me (a rare occurence). After two helpings of almost everything, I had no interest in looking for desserts. Each dish had its own, distinctive flavor. We'll return for dinner (I normally do not eat lunch) very soon, to see if the promise is fulfilled.
Tandoor (Indian) Sarasota
Outstanding Indian food has come to the shopping center at Beneva and Clark! We had dinner tonight at Tandoor, a new addition to the Sarasota dining scene. For a restaurant that has only been open a short time, they were doing a brisk business. The menu contained a wide selection of Indian dishes typical of what we have seen in Indian restaurants in other cities. There were several entrees under chicken, lamb, seafood, vegetarian, and biryadi rice specialties. Kingfisher beer from India was available, and there was a limited wine selection. Soft drinks, including lassi and spiced Indian tea, were also offered. When we were seated, an order of nan was put on the table along with three sauces. We had an order of Onion Kulcha bread, which was very good, in lieu of the several appetizers that were listed. I had the Mixed Tandoori Platter and my wife had Tandoori Shrimp. Both entrees were tasty, adequate in quantity, and well presented on sizzling platters. They were accompanied by rice and sauce and a salad to share.
The staff was attentive and concerned with the diners' satisfaction, although there was a short lag before a server initially appeared to take drink and appetizer orders.
Overall, Tandoor is a wonderful addition to the list of fine restaurants in Sarasota. We'll be there repeatedly to try other items on the menu--the lamb vindaloo test of the spicy food will come soon. On the basis of our first visit, we recommend it highly to those who enjoy Indian food.
TexMex Cafe & Saloon,
Service too slow and uninterested. The low rating I have given this restaurant is a result of the very poor service. We arrived about 7:15. A nice young man brought us water and a margarita for one of the party. No one took our order or acknowledged our presence until approximately 7:45. About 8:00, the couple next to us, who had been seated after us, received their dinners, one of which was fajitas. At 8:15 we told our waitress that we wanted a check and that we did not wish to wait any longer for our dinner. She told us that "fajitas" take longer. While the bar was filled, the restaurant was not. Our waitress never came by to tell us dinner was delayed or offer to get us anything else. I have eaten here before and found the service slow, but the food pretty good. Not again after this. I rated it poor on "kid friendly" because no one with children would want to wait an hour with no dinner. Just wish I had a Savvy Diners card to leave with them. Please send! Thanks.
To-Ho Cafe, (Japanese) Sarasota
Don't be put off by outside appearances! Restaurant is located in older plaza. Doesn't look like much from outside, but inside is very casual and cozy. Wife and I like "low-key," informal places like this. We like to pay for good food, rather than fancy atmosphere. If you're anything like us, you'll like To-Ho!
T.P. Hans (eclectic menu)
My husband and I were very pleased with our meal. Our waitperson, Rodney was topnotch. I had the Shang-hai Lettuce Wraps and a peanut Chicken Salad- both excellent. My husband had to help finish the salad which he was glad to do. He had a bowl of Seafood Bisque and the Seafood Del Mar: both excellent. We were there before 7 PM and had $2.glasses of wine. We had their house Merlot-very good. We both recommend it highly and will return.
Tudor Rose, (British Pub), Sarasota
Bad meal; bad experience My wife and I went to The Tudor Rose (under new management, now), despite bad experiences there in the past. Owners (husband & wife) and waitress/barmaid on duty. Our order was taken promptly. Salads when they came (slowly), were composed of fresh (and wet), greens and salad dressings which tasted as if they came from the "must sell" shelf of a local supermarket. We then awaited our main courses. My wife had ordered "Chicken and Mushroom Pie" and I had ordered "Beef and Mushroom Pie," both favorites of ours in other "pubs" in which we have eaten over the years. In this case, it took over 30 minutes for our meals to be served! During the first 20 minutes or so, our waitress managed to refrain from even looking at us, even though the bar was less than 6 yards from our table, and from there to the kitchen she had to pass our table whenever she went there. After 20 minutes or so, the (male) owner came over to our table and cleared the salad dishes away! Then the waitress appeared with the ominous word that the cook had just started to prepare our meals (through some misunderstanding - the standard excuse for utter incompetence). About ten minutes later our meals arrived. My wife's consisted of one small piece of chicken with many mushrooms in an utterly tasteless white sauce (really without any flavor at all, showing the absence of even common seasoning). My dish consisted of one little piece of mushroom accompanied by many pieces of tough and actually inedible meat, all in what was supposed to be a sauce including Guinness stout. The sauce tasted sour at least, with no other flavor. Now Guiness stout is one of my favorite drinks, but it doesn't taste like this in sauces. We each had mashed potatoes (undistinguished but edible), and green peas. The peas tasted like - well, green peas. There really isn't much one can do with green peas, but the British must love them (which tells me something about British taste), because every so-called "British Pub" serves them.
When the (male) owner saw us trying to avoid even looking at what remained on our dinner plates, he inquired if everything was all right. I told him what I thought of my meal especially, and he offered to bring me another dish, which I declined. As a consequence he did not charge us for my meal, so our total bill was (with tip) about $10.50, which was simply wasted.
Two Senorita's (Mexican), Sarasota
Good value, lunch served quickly; important when on a tight schedule affordable, food is authentic, service very good. Excellent for business lunches becuase of its central location and speedy service. Wait, bar and host staff are efficient, but do not rush clientele. Food is very good, affordable, and authenic Mexican. If the salsa is too spicy for your liking, add a touch of sour cream. Didn't have room for dessert, as the lunch was more than enough for 1, possibly enough for two.
(Seafood//steak) Anna Maria Island
The BEST Lobster I have had in a very long time. Reasonable prices and great food. We arrived a bit before 5:00 and the restaurant opens for dinner at 5:00. They are open for breakfast and lunch, but close between meals. The restaurant is on the beach with a lovely view. It is charming and intimate. It is obvious that your meal is prepared from scratch in their kitchen. Special dietary needs were not a problem and our server Brandy was delightful. There is outdoor dining on the porch or indoor dining. A somewhat varied menu with the usual fare of steaks, seafood and specialty dishes. It was their Lobsterfest the evening we were there and I had twin broiled lobster tails which were perfectly prepared and sumptuous. Accompanied with a nice baked potato and Caesar salad. My appetizer was wonderful escargot with crusty bread for dipping...very good. My friend had Gouper Oscar which was delicious. She does not eat potatoes or rice so they substituted extra asparagus ...no problem! She had the garden salad w/ sun-dried tomato/basil vinaigrette...she was not too crazy about the dressing, but it was a nice generous salad. They could use more dressing choices. Her appetizer was Lobster Bisque which she said was superb. The staff was very accommodating and pleasant. We also had my friend's 10 year old daughter with us. They have a limited chidren's menu which she was happy with the chicken fingers (they did not have ranch dressing which is what she likes to dip them in however). They gave her cocoa for a beverage rather than soda without any problem and even brought her extra placemats to draw on. We were too full for the deserts, which looked great. The coffee was fresh and well refilled. All-in-all an extremely satisfying dining experience.
Yoder's (Amish home-style)
It doesn't pay to make breakfast at home! Right now is their Pumpkin season until at least the 2nd. week in Dec We just love and rave about their Pumpkin Pancakes that are to die for and the only place in town to get them. Also, on our way out we purchased their Pumpkin Cheesecake which is the best we ever tasted and at $18. for the whole cheesecake, is a bargain. It is so rich, moist, not too sweet, not overdone with the pumpkin spices. They have this recipe down pat. It's a must try!
Yoder's (Amish home-style)
This was our second trip to Yoder's. If you like good home style cooking, it's great. My only complaint would be that the portions are too large. They offer 1/2 portions and if you want to eat their delicious homemade desserts, you'd better order the 1/2 portion or have a huge appetite. The meal is served with homemade grain bread and apple butter. The fare is what you'd expect at home. No gourmet cooking or wonderful atmosphere, just excellent tasting food and plenty of it for a great price.
Creative, excellent preparation and presentation. Certainly on a par with PattiGeorge, Euphemia Haye, even Beach Bistro in terms of food presentation and preparation...not only main course, but also salad, appetizer and dessert. Our only problem was in confirmation of a round table for 5...we were told this could be done only at 6:30 p.m. There were plenty of open tables when we left at 8:45 p.m.... they could have been more accommodating. The noise level, which was very high at an earlier visit has been significantly reduced.
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