When you visit a gorgeous city on Florida’s Gulf Coast, like Sarasota, you’ll be greeted with an unimaginable amount of fun attractions and picturesque scenery that will blow you away.
The white, sugar sand beaches and clear, pristine waterways make outdoor activities a delight, while the abundance of shopping malls and the Ringling Brothers Circus provide endless entertainment indoors, but those are just the beginning.
The real attractions, in my opinion, are the restaurants, particularly the ones with scenic waterfront views.
As I mentioned already, the crystal clear waters of the Gulf are a huge factor that attracts people to Sarasota, so why wouldn’t you want to spend as much time enjoying them as possible?
Well, one way to do that is by visiting all the greatest waterfront restaurants around the city. If that sounds like something you’d enjoy, then I’ve got a treat for you.
Right down below, you’ll find a list ranking all the best waterfront restaurants Sarasota has to offer so that you can know exactly where to go the next time you want to eat dinner by the water in this spectacular city.
Ophelia’s On the Bay
9105 Midnight Pass Rd, Sarasota, FL 34242
Coming away with the first-place spot on my list of best waterfront restaurants in Sarasota is Ophelia’s On The Bay.
This place is a charming little restaurant that looks out over Little Sarasota Bay and sits between the Turtle Beach Resort & Inn and Coastal Breeze Siesta.
When you get to Ophelia’s, I recommend trying one of their craft cocktails because they have a wonderful variety of refreshing drinks. As for food, you should definitely try Gulf Black Grouper or the Gulf Red Snapper.
There’s nothing quite like fresh-caught fish from Ophelia’s. You can literally taste the Gulf in every bite.
Dry Dock Waterfront Grill
412 Gulf of Mexico Dr, Longboat Key, FL 34228
Up next, we have a wonderful place to eat called Dry Dock Waterfront Grill. This place is located off of Gulf of Mexico Drive, just over the John Ringling Parkway Bridge in Longboat Key.
I absolutely love coming here to eat on their dockside outdoor patio where I can watch the boats pass by.
Of course, seafood is the specialty here at Dry Dock Waterfront Grill, but they have so many other delectable options, including land-based delicacies like filet mignon, premium ribeye, and even a tasty chicken marsala dish. My favorite dish is the sea scallops dinner.
2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, FL 34236
Marina Jacks sits smack-dab in the middle of a massive marina and affords guests absolutely spectacular views of the water right from their dinner table.
Check them out right near the Unconditional Surrender statue and LeBarge Tropical Cruises by Bayfront Park.
What I think everyone should try from Marina Jacks is their Maui Margarita, but they’ve also got 6 other margarita variations that are equally delicious and refreshing in the brutal Florida heat.
Be sure to grab one of the lobster and seafood rolls or a Cuban sandwich, both of them are out of this world.
The Old Salty Dog
Up next is a family-friendly, waterfront restaurant with multiple convenient locations scattered about Sarasota called The Old Salty Dog.
This place is perfect for all your waterfront dining needs, and they even have live music all the time.
What sets The Old Salty Dog apart from the other waterfront restaurants on this list is the fact that they serve up some of the absolute best beer-battered hot dogs that I’ve ever tasted in all my travels.
It’s really the best thing to order from here and it goes perfectly with a nice, cold beer on a hot, sunny day.
New Pass Grill & Bait Shop
1505 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236,
Right off of Ken Thompson Parkway, just down the street from City Island park and the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is a waterfront restaurant called New Pass Grill & Bait shop.
They’ve got you covered when it comes to delicious food as well as all the tackle for your next fishing trip.
I usually come to New Pass Grill & Bait Shop before a day out on the water and I grab a few cold sandwiches as well as whatever bait I may need.
They also serve really amazing hot food, too, like burgers, fried chicken, and fried fish.
Phillippi Creek Village Oyster Bar
5353 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34231
Phillippi Creek Village Oyster Bar is the next Sarasota waterfront restaurant I want to mention and this one is not one you’re going to want to pass up, especially if you love oysters and other shellfish.
I always start with some oysters on the half shell, but they also serve clams on the half shell, too, which is not something you’ll see at every seafood restaurant.
Phillippi Creek Village Oyster Bar is also a great place to stop by for lunch because they have different lunch specials all the time, so come on by and check this place out!
O’Leary’s Tiki Bar & Grill
5 Bayfront Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236
The next time you’re enjoying a day in the beautiful Bayfront Park, be sure to make the day absolutely perfect by stopping in at O’Leary’s Tiki Bar & Grill.
This place is right on the water with outside seating that’s literally right in the sand. You can’t get much more waterfront than this without actually getting wet while you eat!
What I love about O’Leary’s is their selection of delicious tropical cocktails that will cool you right down after being in the hot Florida sun all day. Not to mention, they pack quite a punch.
When it comes to food, I recommend trying one of their reuben sandwiches or a slow-cooked roast beef sandwich.
1111 Ritz Carlton Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236
Right inside of The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota hotel is a place called Jack Dusty that has one of the nicest outdoor dining patios overlooking the water in all of Sarasota, and the rest of the establishment is exactly the high-quality experience that you might expect from the famous Ritz-Carlton resorts.
Jack Dusty is primarily a seafood restaurant, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a juicy steak or a wonderful braised pork shank for dinner.
However, I do recommend trying one of their classic, hand-crafted cocktails or a craft beer to really take the edge off and unwind.
201 Gulf of Mexico Dr, Longboat Key, FL 34228
Chart House is up next and this waterfront restaurant is actually another one of my favorite restaurants near Sarasota because it’s just over the bridge in Longboat Key, but for this view and this food, it is absolutely worth any drive you might have to make to get here.
The wine selection is the first thing that caught my attention when I went to Chart House.
They have hundreds of bottles of all different kinds of wine, not to mention tons of cocktails and beers to choose from, so there’s something for every pretty much, especially if you come in during happy hour.
1234 Benjamin Franklin Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236
This next place, Ridley’s Porch, is conveniently located inside of The Ritz-Carlton Beach Club, one of my favorite places to stay in Sarasota, by far.
This restaurant has some of the most incredible views of the Gulf of Mexico that you can find in the whole city.
I enjoy coming to Ridley’s Porch for dinner most of the time, but they are open for lunch as well.
My favorite thing to order from here is the grilled swordfish, but they have a menu option called Ridley’s Porch Daily Inspiration consisting of the catch of the day fresh fish that’s always a good choice.
Lido Beach Grille
8th Floor Lido Beach Resort, 700 Benjamin Franklin Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236
Last, but not least, is Lido Beach Grille. This restaurant sits right on the sandy shores of the Gulf of Mexico, inside of the luxurious Lido Beach Resort off of Benjamin Franklin Drive.
When you come to Lido Beach Grille, be sure to try their New England clam chowder to start with.
After that, I recommend either the grilled dry rub rack of lamb or the pan-roasted Atlantic salmon. Either one of these entrees is sure to leave you satisfied.
This is also a great place to come for Sunday brunch in Sarasota from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm.
Best Waterfront Restaurants in Sarasota
- Ophelia’s On the Bay
- Dry Dock Waterfront Grill
- Marina Jacks
- The Old Salty Dog
- New Pass Grill & Bait Shop
- Phillippi Creek Village Oyster Bar
- O’Leary’s Tiki Bar & Grill
- Jack Dusty
- Chart House
- Ridley’s Porch
- Lido Beach Grill
Sarasota is a little slice of tropical paradise that you can find along Florida’s Gulf Coast that’s completely filled with amazing places to eat by the water. Just use this guide the next time you’re trying to decide which restaurant you want to eat at that has waterfront views and you’ll know exactly where to go.
If you’re not looking for waterfront restaurants, you might like this list of Sarasota’s best restaurants overall.
Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment and we’ll check it out!