No matter where you dine in Sarasota and throughout the Gulf Coast, you’ll find surprises and immense satisfaction at any one of hundreds of locally owned restaurants and locally-sourced dishes that embody the flavors, color and culture of Florida’s west coast, including a plethora of ethnic foods. Whether you’re a newcomer to Sarasota, a long-time resident, or snowbird, this Thanksgiving is a good opportunity to explore many of the restaurants that will keep their doors open for the holiday, but reservations are limited as we approach the holiday week.

Sarasota Events Calendar culled by phone and web search as many area restaurants from the north to the south of Sarasota that will be opened (see listing below), but thought readers would be interested in learning that many of these restaurants listed below are independently-owned  restaurants who are  members of the “Originals.” These restaurateurs are famous for making Sarasota a true “local” place to eat, that blends culture, flavors, voices and ideas so special.

“Eat Like a Local” is the mantra of The Sarasota-Manatee Originals – now in their 20th year – consisting of over 60 locally owned restaurants throughout Florida’s Suncoast, from the tip of Anna Maria Island to the southern beaches of Venice. Their owners and operators share a passion for dining excellence and commitment to our community while celebrating our rich Gulf-coastal lifestyle.

The Originals are the same group of folks who bring us the wildly successful yearly festival, “Forks & Corks,” designed as a fun and engaging showcase of the enormous talents of our area’s locally-owned restaurants, highlighted by an esteemed cast of visiting winery owners and winemakers from literally all over the world. It is considered one of the area’s biggest social celebrations of the year and is held in April.

Five days away from Thanksgiving, Day, it’s not too late to pick up the phone and call the restaurants listed below, some of whom are members of the “Originals,” and others who are not, but are still a major part of making our coastal culinary reputation stellar.

Café Gabbiano, 5104 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key, 2 to 8 p.m.
Café L’Europe, 431 Saint Armands Circle, Sarasota, noon to 8 p.m.
Der Dutchman, 3713 Bahia Vista Street, Sarasota, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Duval’s Fresh. Local. Seafood., 1435 Main Street, Sarasota, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Libby’s Neighborhood Brasserie, 1917 S Osprey Ave., noon to 9 p.m.
Mattison’s City Grille, 1 N. Lemon Ave., Sarasota, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

7275 S. Tamiami Trl., Sarasota or 101 Riverfront Blvd., Bradenton, (941) 921-3400,

Phillippi Creek Village Restaurant & Oyster Bar
5353 S. Tamiami Trl., Sarasota, (941) 925-4444,

Rosebuds Steak & Seafood House

2215 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey (941) 918-8771

10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch, (941) 893-4321,

Bijou Garden Café
1287 1st St., Sarasota, (941) 366-1111,

Café Venice
101 W. Venice Ave., Venice, (941) 484-1855,

Overture Restaurant & Gallery Lounge | 941.316.0808

Stottlemyer’s Smokehouse | 941.312.5969 |

Longboat Key
Euphemia Haye | 941.383.3633 |

Harry’s Continental Kitchen
525 St. Jude St., Longboat Key, (941) 383-0777,

Mean Dean’s Local Kitchen | 941.251.5435 |

Anna Maria Island
Blue Marlin Seafood, Bradenton Beach | 941.896.9737 |

Gulf Drive Café & Kokonut Hut, Bradenton Beach | 941.778.1919 |

Pop’s Sunset Grill, Nokomis | 941.488.3177 |

Giving Thanks & Food for the Needy

Let’s not forget the meaning of Thanksgiving, and the gratitude we give for our health, our housing and our food. There are many families who are not as fortunate, and while we are privileged to make reservations at restaurants, others cannot even afford to buy a Thanksgiving meal at grocery stores for their loved ones. Sarasota Events Calendar commends the ongoing work of the nonprofits and their volunteers who provide meals for families to prepare at home for Thanksgiving Dinner: Meals on Wheels  and All Faiths Food Bank, Sarasota, and The Salvation Army. 

On Nov. 25, Downtown Ministries will also be hosting a Thanksgiving day community breakfast from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.