“Innovative dining” and Tapas = Masterpieces!

If a book were to be written about the intersection of art and food, the name would be “How to Build a Masterpiece,” and authored by the new owners of Sarasota’s newest, tapas restaurant, Meliora.

Located at 1920 Hillview St. across from Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Meliora (pronounced “MEH-LEE-OR-ah) derives its name from the Latin adjective meaning “better” and its name compliments the skills and experience by its chef who worked at Michelin-starred Washington, D.C., restaurants like Rose’s Luxury, The Dabney, and Plume. Executive Chef Drew Adams partnered with co-owner General Manager/Owner Bruce Pike, two long-time friends who eyed several cities to open their restaurant and fell in love with Sarasota. They renovated space and transformed the place into an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere with an open kitchen (in the rear with views of the back dining room) and ample tables for small and large groups. A multiple-seating bar is another plus for those who might have to wait to be seated or want to just chill at the bar.

Here you’ll find masterfully blended food art and fresh, fine food. Bring your smartphone as you’ll be snapping photos of every delicacy that comes to your table as the presentation of the food is as splendid as the explosion of tastes you’ll experience after you take your first bite.

Don’t expect large portions of food here. Their menu is ambitious, but the focus is on hot and cold small plates or “Tapas” that are meticulously designed in presentation. There are eighteen choices of cold and hot tapas ranging from a garlic/honey/olive oil-infused smoked mussels’ plate; short-rib/fennel/tomato/oregano with egg noodles; and an assortment of other mouth-watering meat, fish and vegetable combinations. Perhaps the most fascinating dish is their Raw Scallop, served with scallop cream/chive/basil and served in a glass container that the server pours broth over and patrons eat with a small expresso spoon. See video here.

The menu is enhanced with a full page of wines, beer, and signature cocktails. Beverage Director Topher is an animated, knowledgeable wine connoisseur who assembled this outstanding wine and spirits list to accompany the food choices. Ask him anything about the wine list and you’ll get a great education.

Top off your culinary experience with dessert. Our favorite was the Sungold Tomato Sorbet (tomato sorbet?!) Yes, tomato sorbet paired with watermelon radish/lime. It cleanses the palate and is the finishing touch on a “designer dinner” that can be found nowhere else.

Perhaps the most appealing reason to visit Meliora is to experience the many textures, tastes and layers that are crafted. Picture in your mind Michelangelo in the kitchen with a chef knife. “Food is BUILT here, not just cooked and served,” says Bruce.

In addition to duck, pork, foie gras, steak and fish, Meliora’s menu choices also include Gluten Free, Vegetarian and Vegan for those with diet restrictions.

Meliora is open during season from October: hours Tuesday through Saturday, 5pm-9pm.

Summer hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 5 – 9.

1920 Hillview Street, Sarasota



~ Andrea Martone, Executive Editor, Sarasota Events Calendar, andrea@sarasotaeventscalendar.com