As the initial time of the year when vacationers begin to descend upon our little bit of paradise, one of the biggest questions is always about where to eat on Anna Maria Island. There were only a handful of restaurants at which to dine in the not too distant past, but over the past few years, more eateries have begun to pop up. If you are planning to come to our fair island or are trying to come with an idea for where to eat, here are some of the Anna Maria Island restaurants that we love the best (although there are so many others) wants:
Of course, there are several considerations for places where you can have delectable seafood. The good thing is that there are seven days in a week so you can try different ones. Here are a couple of ideas for different restaurants in different categories:
One of our favorites is Island Gourmet Grill on Marina Drive (just across from the fire station). Scott and Lynne, the owners, not only prepare unbelievable dishes with seafood as the main ingredient, they often hit the offshore and inland waters to catch the fish themselves. On top of their extensive seafood fare, they also have traditional favorites that kids and land lovers want – steak, pasta and, yes, pizza. Their latest feature to the restaurant is a liquor license so now there is a fully stocked bar.
Blue Marlin, Bradenton Beach
Located on Bridge Street, Blue Marlin is a cozy little bistro-type restaurant that features excellent seafood dishes and, of course, an extensive wine list. Adam Ellis opened Blue Marlin several years ago in a quaint house built in the 1920s on Bridge Street where the original Cortez Bridge linked the island to the mainland. From traditional favorites like shrimp and grits to various creations using the freshest catch of the day, everyone who eats at Blue Marlin comes away wanting to go back. This is definitely one of the top must-try Anna Maria Island restaurants.
No matter what you eat on vacation, at some point you are going to want a good burger. There are several places to go but here are a couple of favorites:
When it comes to burgers, there are two well-known Anna Maria Island burger joints that stand out from the pack. One is Skinny’s, located at the SE corner of the intersection of Gulf Drive and Manatee Avenue (at the stoplight by the Public Beach across from West Coast Surf Shop). The burgers are best with a cold beer after some time in the sun. If you stop there, there are two things to keep in mind: 1) bring cash; and 2) order two beers at a time because you order at the bar and typically have a bit of a wait – no need to get thirsty. Oh, and order the kids two drinks too – it keeps them happy so you can relax.
The other renowned spot for a burger is Duffy’s Tavern. Duffy’s has been around for a long time. It is truly an Anna Maria institution. The burgers are delicious and the drinks are cold – maybe the coldest on the island. Keep in mind they don’t take credit cards and they don’t serve fries with their burgers but the chips are good.
There are tons of Anna Maria Island restaurants serving up breakfast so no one has to worry. Depending on what you want, there are lots of options.
Ginny and Jane E’s
We featured Ginny and Jane E’s awhile back. This is the spot if you want to please everyone. You can get different coffee drinks as well as smoothies in addition to breakfast treats like the most divine cinnamon rolls and pastries, omelets, breakfast sandwiches, and other traditional offerings. The best part is that there is typically a long line of people but the time passes because of all of the trinkets and what not’s at in the shop. This is a fun place to eat.
Minnie’s (on Gulf Drive just west of stop light at Marina Drive) serves up one of the best traditional breakfasts – eggs, bacon, pancakes, sausage, omelets and more. Oh, and, if you love S.O.S. (more commonly known as chipped beef on toast), you need to go to Minnie’s. FYI – this is another spot that doesn’t take credit cards. Also, you may have a bit of a wait unless the “big table” has availability. This is the table where strangers can have breakfast together and enjoy conversation.
Many More Options
These Anna Maria Island restaurants are just a few of the places you may want to stop in for a bite to eat; however, there are many more options to consider. Head down to Pine Avenue, over to the Holmes Beach business district, or down to Bradenton Beach and you can have your pick on just about any type of food you want. Long Boat Key has some great places too! The main thing is to venture out and dig in!