Today in Sarasota, FL, it was 65F and sunny. This is my third visit and this is the warmest weather I’ve ever experienced here. Normally, 65F is not the kind of weather you celebrate in Florida. But when the sun was beating down on my bare arms at Bradenton Beach (pictured above) this afternoon, I definitely felt like cheering.
Siesta Key is our closest beach, but my parents had heard about a good restaurant on Anna Maria Island called The BeachHouse (pictured left). It takes at least 40 minutes to get there, but since the skies were just starting to clear up, I welcomed the drive with hopes that the weather would continue to improve. (If the sun had already been blazing, I might have begged for a closer beach.)
Anna Maria Island is just past Longboat Key and adjacent to the city of Bradenton. This part of Anna Maria Island feels like a laid-back beach town, with no condo buildings to spoil the tropical mood.
When we arrived at The Beachhouse for lunch, we found ourselves with a 30-minute wait. I’m sure that on a perfect beach day, the wait would be much longer. Anyway, we certainly didn’t mind the wait because it gave us a chance to walk along the beach. This stretch of Brandeton Beach is gorgeous, as you can see in the top photo.
With such a great location, this restaurant has also become a popular spot for weddings. We saw one being set up (pictured right), but we didn’t stay long enough to see the bride. That was a bummer because A) I never want to leave the beach on a sunny day and B) seeing the bride is good luck. But then again I think I saw enough brides last year when I was in Sarasota and went to the Mass Vow Renewal on Valentine’s Day at the “Unconditional Surrender” statue.
Before we knew it, our table at The Beachhouse was ready. The food turned out to be quite good! That was a pleasant surprise because often beachfront restaurants don’t serve good food because they don’t have to — they can get by on location alone. My mom and I loved the coconut shrimp salad, which was coconut-crusted shrimp, mango, walnuts, gorgonzola and mixed greens with passion fruit dressing.
If you go to The Beachhouse and it’s too cold to sit outside, you can dine inside at The Sandbar, which is located next door and owned by the same people. It has an old-fashioned nautical feel and seems like it would be a great choice at night because they often have live music. The restaurateurs also own MarVista in Longboat Key, which is closer to Sarasota. I want to check it out next time I’m here.