Check out these new dining destinations in Sarasota
The new Viento Kitchen & Bar captures the essence of Longboat Key with its Gulf of Mexico views and sophisticated yet casual decor. Located in the Zota Beach Resort (where the Hilton once stood), the trendy restaurant features Italian and classic cuisine and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Viento seats 136 diners in elegant, contemporary surroundings showcasing a dramatic floating wine bottle wall, sleek fireplace, wooden walls and marble slate flooring. An open-air lounge offers splendid water-front dining.
Food and Beverages Director David Miller (from Sanibel Island Beach Resort) works with Executive Chef Jason Pellett from Brio restaurants in presenting Italian-inspired cuisine, seafood and traditional favorites. Among coveted appetizers are the calamari, crab cakes and carpaccio, while popular entrees range from lobster ravioli and bucatini carbonara to espresso-encrusted rib eye steak. Chocolate lava cake and a Nutella panini are among sweet conclusions.
Breakfast choices run the gamut from egg dishes (Benedict, bowls, omelets) to flatbreads, paninis, pancakes, pastries and fruit bowls. For lunch, guests may choose from several salads like salmon or lobster and sandwiches with seafood, beef or chicken.
Viento provides a wide array of hand-crafted cocktails as well as beer, wine and drinkable desserts. Happy Hour with small plates (sliders, flatbreads, wings) is from 4 to 6 p.m. with the restaurant open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Located at 4711 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Viento may be reached by phoning 855-335-1102.
Amy Sirirat has enjoyed such success with her Star Thai and Sushi restaurants in Venice and on North Beneva Road in Sarasota that she is planning to open another in Siesta Key Village in the fall. The new version will be named Star Thai and Sushi Izakaya, which is a Japanese version of an Irish pub or tapas bar. Located in the former Eat Here at 240 Avenida Madera, the eatery has been remodeled to include sushi and Japanese bars, Asian accents and seating for 150 diners.
Tony Fupharat, who has been involved in the Beneva Road restaurant, will manage the restaurant as well as handling chef duties. He says there will be more Japanese dishes at the new restaurant such as numerous variations of sushi rolls, hibachi grilled items (octopus) and noodle selections. The menu also will offer curries, teriyaki, stir-fry selections, tempura and katsu with options of beef, chicken and seafood.
There will be a special dessert bar featuring crepe cakes and fried ice cream, among others, plus a full bar providing cocktails, beer and wines. Star Thai and Sushi Izakaya will be open for dinner every day from 5 p.m. to midnight.
The new Evoq at the recently opened Westin Sarasota brings a coastal theme blended with a modern vibe to the downtown restaurant district. With seating for 86 on the lobby level, Evoq offers an eclectic menu with a “holistic” approach and a casual yet cosmopolitan ambiance. A wave/water theme is carried out through fabrics and a pale aqua color scheme.
Director of Operations Robert Crocker explained that, in addition to the main dining room, the Roof Bar & Eats on the 19th floor — with panoramic views of the city and bay waters — plus a lobby bar also provide tempting fare and favorite libations. Executive Chef Craig MacAvoy brings an impressive 20-year culinary background. His comfort foods are brought to a higher, healthier level and include a wide array of aged steaks and fresh seafood.
Guests may select such starters as yellowtail tuna, corvina ceviche, candied bacon and charcuterie while salads range from a stacked caesar to an avocado version and spinach and red quinoa. Entrees include lobster pot pie, beef tenderloin with crispy Brussels sprouts and blackened grouper with heirloom tomato ragout. For lunch, guests have a choice of “scratch” soups, salads, several sandwiches (snapper Reuben, sesame salmon burgers), or the chef’s special creations.
The other dining spaces offer small plates, salads and tapas as well an appealing selection of wines and cocktails like a bellini thyme, carrot ginger fizz or rosemary pineapple margarita available at all locations.
Evoq is open from Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., with the Roof Bar & Eats serving from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays; until midnight weekends. The restaurant is located in the new Westin Sarasota at 1175 Gulfstream Boulevard and may be reached by phoning 941-260-8255.