Many vacationers headed to Florida choose to visit bigger cities like Orlando or Panama City Beach. While these destinations have their advantages, they don’t maintain the small-town feeling that can help you truly relax on your getaway. For that, you’ll need to head to Anna Maria Island, just a short distance off the Gulf Coast near Sarasota. This vacation spot has kept that “Old Florida” feeling and is full of beautiful surroundings, welcoming locals, and tons of activities for you and your family.
Once you browse our Anna Maria Island vacation rentals and choose where to stay, you’ll need to plan your itinerary. That makes it the perfect time to check out some mouthwatering restaurants!
There’s only one thing better than experiencing delicious seafood here on AMI: enjoying it at the best waterfront restaurants near Anna Maria Island! You’ll be able to soak up the sun, dine on a fantastic meal, and enjoy the company of your loved ones.
While you’re in town, visit at least a couple of these eateries!
The Waterfront Restaurant Anna Maria Island
You know you’ll get a great view when you dine at The Waterfront Restaurant! Advertising itself as “Anna Maria’s premier island dining and craft bar,” this eatery stands out for its attention to detail and its unique preparations of local seafood and ingredients. The welcoming staff will guide you to a table with an incredible view of the water, where you can then start your meal with appetizer selections like grouper tacos, baked brie, or Kung Pao Calamari.
Your main course selections offer something for everyone, from pasta primavera for your vegetarian friends to shrimp and grits or Frutti di Mare for that craving seafood. Other popular menu options include wasabi-crusted tuna, Scottish salmon, pork tenderloin, and the Fresh Catch entrée, which varies daily. You can also indulge in side dishes like maple-glazed bacon-friend brussels or truffled gouda macaroni and cheese. Be sure to finish your meal with an order of crème Brulee, Key Lime Pie, or a chocolate tort!
The Waterfront Restaurant can be found at 111 South Bay Boulevard on Anna Maria Island. Dine here Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. or Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Mar Vista Dockside
The history of Mar Vista and the surrounding area dates back more than 100 years, and you can feel that authentic charm as soon as you approach this restaurant. This destination is more than just a place to eat, however. It also offers two dozen private boat slips for boaters in the area and can double as an event space, perfect for weddings and other special occasions. You can rest assured that Chef Seth Kondor and Head Baker Teddy Louloudes have prepared your meal with care and dedication if you’re simply coming to dine.
The menu has been carefully crafted to utilize the most sustainable ingredients from local farmers and fishers. Begin with fish dip, crispy fried calamari, or oysters on the half shell. Then, choose specialties like the Kung Pao Avocado (a delicious vegan option!), shrimp scampi, grilled cobia risotto, or pork belly tacos. To finish your meal, order a slice of Key Lime Pie or sample the Trio of Tyler’s Ice Cream, featuring blueberry, vanilla, and chocolate flavors!
Mar Vista Dockside can be found at 760 Broadway Street in North Longboat Key, just a short drive from our Anna Maria Island rentals. They welcome guests daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
We couldn’t list the best restaurants near Anna Maria Island without mentioning Swordfish Grill. Located in the quaint fishing community of Cortez, this restaurant opened in 2011 and has been beloved by visitors and locals ever since. When you enter the restaurant, you’ll find the best aspects of the fishing village within, from the breathtaking view of the water to the carefully selected beach-themed décor throughout.
When it’s time to eat, begin your meal with firecracker shrimp, New England clam chowder, bacon-wrapped scallops, or smoked fish spread. They also offer a wide range of oysters to sample, including garlic parmesan and bacon jalapeño varieties. The entrée options are truly impressive, ranging from luxurious choices like lobster mac and cheese and the Chef’s Choice Steak to more laid-back selections like Florida Crab Cakes and shrimp and grits. You’ll also find handheld selections like fish tacos, po’boys, and The Grouper Reuben. Finally, for dessert, choose from the chocolate cake, peanut butter pie, or Key Lime Pie.
Enjoy a meal at Swordfish Grill at 4628 119th Street West in Cortez. They are open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
If you’re searching for Anna Maria Island restaurants that strike the perfect balance between upscale and casual, look no further than Pier 22. Opened in 1976 as “The Pier,” this establishment has seen quite a bit of history over the years and now stands as one of the top eateries in the area. In addition to the picturesque view of the water, you’ll also find a welcoming staff and a laid-back atmosphere where you can relax with a cocktail and enjoy an incredible view as you dine.
The menu at Pier 22 is truly unique, beginning with appetizer selections like poutine, grilled artichoke gratin, sesame seared tuna, and others. You can then enjoy flatbreads like the pepperoni or Margherita varieties (ask for the cauliflower crust for a gluten-free option!), or move on to entrées like blacked cod alfredo, shrimp tempura, sea scallops, Steak Diane, or pork Osso Bucco. Save room for dessert to experience the apple cobbler, chocolate banana bread pudding, or Key Lime Meringue Pie.
You can find Pier 22 at 1200 1st Avenue West in Bradenton (on the mainland, not confused with Bradenton Beach on Anna Maria Island). Enjoy a meal Monday through Thursday to 10 p.m., Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., or Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Plan Your Stay
Our rentals always feature impressive amenities such as high-speed internet, fully stocked kitchens, flat-screen TVs, spacious living and dining areas, and more. In addition to these features, you’ll find a convenient location near the island’s best attractions and a friendly and helpful staff who is always available to you throughout your stay.
Book Your Anna Maria Island Rental
Once you’ve had your fill at one of these fabulous restaurants, you can head back to one of our Anna Maria Island beachfront rentals, allowing you to relax and rest without ever missing the view of the water! A Paradise Rentals proudly offers a wide range of vacation rentals here on AMI, including popular specialty properties like our Anna Maria Island rentals with a pool.
Come experience the “Old Florida” charm of Anna Maria Island for your next trip. Contact our staff today to learn more about our rentals!