Best EATS on AMI
We love Anna Maria Island, beautiful beaches, soft sand, gorgeous turquoise Gulf views and so much to do. AMI offers so many fun, fabulous, casual dining spots too. Classic Florida tiki huts and beach bars with music, cool cafés, waterfront decks serving the freshest line-caught fish and delish shrimp, and frosty drinks!
Here are a few of our favorite places to dine on Anna Maria Island, Holmes Beach, Bradenton Beach, and Cortez:
Do not miss Ginny and Jane E’s Cafe in the morning for the most amazing (huge) cinnamon rolls baked inside this eclectic shabby chic beach gift shop, formerly a humble IGA island grocery store. Our Ana Maria Concierge Susanne clued us in on this sweet gem. At first bite you’ll know why it’s such a popular beach breakfast spot… also just steps to the beach, though after eating half a roll, I didn’t want to flaunt my swimsuit bod – lol. As Concierge Susanne, our Director of Contagious Enthusiasm at our Compass Hotel, says, “I can’t get you Broadway tickets in Manhattan, but I can reserve your delicious cinnamon rolls in advance freshly baked every morning!”
The Sand Bar is just as it sounds, a perfect beach spot, where you can relax and dine on delicious food with your toes in the sand, drinks in hand, enjoying spectacular views of the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve never had such succulent baked shrimp stuffed with creamy crabmeat. Wow! Fresh fish, delicious salads topped with seafood, so many good eats and treats. Sand Bar is also a choice spot for a beach-side Sunday Brunch!
Island Ocean Star out on eastern Bimini Bay is THE place for sushi on AMI. Overlooking a marina with western sunset views, at the water’s edge, sip drinks and admire yachts while you wait for your sushi or sashimi to be fresh prepared. The Dragon Roll is off the scales. Hibachi, Noodle bowls and curry rice grace the menu as well.
Beach Bistro is an exception to all the casual dining on Anna Maria. This romantic beachfront restaurant is fancier, with a stellar reputation for over three decades. Make resies well in advance and prepare for a culinary experience of specially-prepared multi-course prix fixe menu, accompanied with wine flights. The sunsets are spectacular here, on par with the Exotic and Food Heaven menu selections, located on Holmes Beach.
Tide Tables at Marker 48 makes the BEST fish tacos this side of the continent, just over the bridge in Cortez – Florida’s oldest working fishing village (since the 1880’s). The Bell family are proud of their fishing heritage and the fresh fish served daily, its a local favorite with a humble happy vibe! Sip a beer or wine (that’s all they offer for adult bevies) on the docks while you wait for your table with an amazing water of the ICW. Dinner at Tide Tables typically includes amazing sunsets.
Tiki Bar at Bridge Tender Inn on historic Bridge Street is a fun stop for a drink. Salty and sweet frosty drinks flow at this classic casual tiki spot on the ICW where live entertainment is frequent. Their specialty is the “Shrimpcargot”. The Cajun Grouper Fingers will also go well with your beverage at the Dockside Bar, before or after you stroll Bridge Street.
Blue Marlin on Bridge Street in Bradenton is legendary for delicious local fish too. Next trip to AMI we must try.
Floridays Grill and Bar is a Tiki Restaurant just off island, on the shores of Manatee Bridge at The Compass by Margaritaville. A giant tiki thatched roof allows shade and delightful breezes off Anna Maria Sound while you sip margaritas – like “Its 5 O’Clock Somewhere”, and dine on wood-fired entrees – Blackened grouper was great. Floridays has live music on weekends. This Compass Hotel has captured that legendary laid-back Margaritaville vibe, think flip flops and Jimmy Buffet music, if you are looking for a fun affordable place to stay in the Anna Maria area. You can also arrive at the resort and Floridays by boat.
We recommend you stay, and play, and enjoy as many of these great Anna Maria Island eateries and attractions as you can. If you imbibe, then catch a ride on the complimentary trolley, or the colorful Monkey Bus which runs solely on donations, “trips for tips”, and reduces traffic on already congested Anna Maria Island.
“Happiness is a siesta on Anna Maria Island”
More travel quotes…