Florida Travel Guide: Best restaurants & bars on Longboat Key, Anna Maria Island & St. Armands


Are you planning a beach vacation on Florida’s Gulf Coast? Wondering where to eat in Longboat Key, Anna Maria Island and St. Armands? Harry and I went on a Florida road trip this May and we spent five days in Longboat Key. We tried a bunch of different places for food and drinks. This is the list of our favourite restaurants, cafes and bars of the area. 

Our favourite restaurants in West Florida

Being basically right in the sea you’ll find seafood dishes on pretty much any menu – paradise for any seafood lover! While I didn’t see too many vegan options, vegetarians and meat lovers both have good choices. These are our favourite places to eat in Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria Island and St. Armands Circle.


Lazy Lobster


I think the Lazy Lobster may be taking the pole position in our list of best restaurants in Longboat Key. Reserve a table for a romantic dinner outside in their garden which is lit with fairy lights and candles.

What to eat: They serve the most delicious Lobster Bisque I have ever tasted! We shared the Coconut Shrimp Salad – which was a bit too sweet for Harry but I loved it – and the Bar Harbour Combo. The combo is great because you get to taste three different seafoods: Lobster, shrimp and scallops. Also the Ceasar salad with blackened shrimp.

Opening times: 4-9pm


Mar Vista


Go here for a Bay side lunch and be seated right by the pier. Start off with a cocktail before enjoying a Fresh catch of the day dish. It’s also a good spot if you just fancy a cold glass of wine or a refreshing cocktail. Mar Vista definitely makes the top three best places to eat in Longboat Key!


What to eat: The Catch of the Day sandwich with sweet potato fries and a Passion Fruit Pina Colada.

Opening times: 11.30am to 10pm


Blue Dolphin Cafe


How could I have left the States without having a proper American breakfast in an old-fashioned diner-style place? Colourful booths, unlimited coffee, creaky-voiced waitresses,… The Blue Dolphin Cafe in St. Armands Circle is a popular place with waiting times so be mindful of that. Well worth the wait though! They also have a branch in Longboat Key.



What to eat: Blueberry Pancakes, French Toast or Eggs Benedict

Opening times: 7am to 2pm


The Seafood Shack


We had lunch here on the last day of our Florida trip. Get a table outside on the pier which has a lovely atmosphere. The place is beautifully decorated and the food was delicious with big portions. Amazing service as well and a great happy hour with $5 pina coladas and half price on their house wine from 2-5pm.



What to eat: Loaded crab nachos for starters and the Seaman’s Platter as a main – both to share! The platter comes with crab cakes, shrimp, catch of the day (I recommend blackened), hush puppies and sweet potato fries.

Opening times: 11am to 9/10pm


The Terrace at Surf Shack

The Terrace at Surf Shack in St. Armands Circle is a good spot to grab a bite to eat. Their $4 tacos make it an affordable one, too. These tacos are quite big so you’ll have enough with two or three.

What to eat: $4 tacos – Longboard Fish, Tiger Shrimp, Tuna Poke, Shrimp Ceviche

Opening times: noon until about 10.30pm


Green Zebra Cafe

I’m gutted we didn’t actually find the time to come here for breakfast or lunch. But I did have the chance to peak into the Green Zebra Cafe in St. Armands Circle and every single dish I saw on other people’s tables looked so delicious. I’d have had a hard time picking something from their healthy menu which includes plenty of veggie and vegan options. Next time!

What to eat: I think I would have gone for their “Famous Pancakes”

Opening times: 9am to 7pm


AMOB on the Pier

Anna Maria Oyster Bar is a chain of restaurants. We went to the one on the pier in Bradenton Beach where you have to order at the counter and will then be served. We were told the menu in that branch is more limited than that in their other restaurants. The Bloody Mary’s were disappointing and we had mixed feelings about the food but eating on the pier was nice. The oysters were great at $8 for six but the Lobster Bisque not very good. The rest of the food was decent.

What to eat: Oysters and Mahi Mahi Caribbean style

Opening times: 8am to 9/10pm


Joe’s Eats and Sweets

This is the place to go for homemade ice cream! Always looks super busy and the crowds don’t lie, do they?

What to eat: Key Lime Cheesecake ice cream

Opening times: 11am to 10pm



You’ll be eating your seafood right on the beach at Sandbar. Beautiful location.

What to eat: Blackened Shrimp Tacos and Islander Scallops

Opening times: 11.30am to 10pm


Columbia Restaurant

This has been warmly recommended by friends and reader of my blog but we didn’t manage to eat here. I wanted to mention it anyway as we walked past it and the dishes looked and smelled tasty.

What to eat: A bunch of tapas to share

Opening times: 11am to 10pm


Our favourite bars


In terms of going out, don’t expect any crazy nightlife. But you will be able to find some fun bars, many with live music and a big selection of cocktails. We normally went for a few drinks to watch the sunset and then we were tired enough to head back home. I guess it’s all the sun and beach salty air that makes you sleepy (and not the fact, I’m approaching 30…). What are the best bars in Longboat Key and Bradenton Beach?


The Kokonut Hut at Gulf Drive Cafe


Our go-to beach bar in Bradenton Beach on our Florida vacation… It’s busy but service is still fairly quick. Tables outside are reserved for those who want to eat and to snatch up a seat at the counter with beach views, you need to be early or lucky. But you can order drinks in plastic cups and sit on the beach. They seem to have a lot of weddings on the beach here – hardly surprising with that sunset view.

What to drink: The Bloody Mary’s are class. Other cocktails can be a bit disappointing as they’re too sweet.

Opening times: 7am to 9.30pm


The Beach House

It’s both restaurant and beach bar and looks real fancy from the outside. But inside it’s more relaxed  and the prices are very decent too. It’s definitely a popular sunset watching spot – expect rows of chairs to be lined up and come early to grab front row seats. Tables are reserved for dining only but on a quiet day you can move there with your drink which you have to order at the bar.

What to drink: Their classic Bloody Mary is delicious and comes with a strip of bacon.

Opening times: 11.30am to 10pm

Happy hour: 2-4pm


Island Time Bar & Grill

Island Time is one of the places that’s open longer than 10pm and it always looks quite busy. They have live music and outside seating.

Opening times: 11.30am to midnight


Sports Lounge

Quite the American sports bar with pool tables, TV screens, jukebox and cheap drinks. The only downside is that it’s a smoking place so be prepared to smell of cigarette smoke…


All in all: Don’t go to Longboat Key if you’re looking for a party holiday. But it’s an awesome place for couples and families and those appreciating a good sunset. Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key and St. Armands are definitely paradise for seafood lovers! Have a look at what things you can do around Longboat Key & Anna Maria Island.

Let me know your favourite places to eat in Longboat Key in the comments 🙂

Burn off all those calories during half a day of standup paddle boarding with Happy Paddler!


6 Comment

  1. Love this, such a yummy post. I’m all for anywhere I can sit and sip and just watch the water. I’ve got to save this for future trip. 🙂

  2. Great blog post! ??

  3. Great blog post ! ?

  4. Thanks forwarding this post to a friend leaving for Florida soon

  5. We have been coming to AMI for 6 years. The oyster bar on the pier was equally disappointing for us for sure, we even got food poisoning there last year! We love Cortez kitchen, which is absolutely a dive, but food and atmosphere is great! Also The Salty Dog is on Sarasota Bay… great food and beee and the view is to die for!!! Honorable mention is Rod and Reel Pier, whichbis traditional fried seafood and bottled beer, but it’s good with amazing views!!!

    1. Thanks for your tips Rachael! We’ll try these places next time we’re there! All the best

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