Originally published in The Observer
Date: April 16, 2014
by: June LeBell | Contributing Columnist
+ Café Americano Offers La Prima Colazione (aka breakfast)
Café Americano, located at 1409 Main St., has long been a great place for lunch and dinner — inside for quiet and good food and outside for good food and people watching. Recently, owner Ambrish Piare added some new items to his extremely successful breakfasts.
According to Piare, “Too much of a good thing is the right approach to take when creating the ideal breakfast menu.”
So, in addition to all the great frittatas he’s been serving, he’s added a “Meat Lovers” frittata with sausage, prosciutto, mushrooms, roasted red peppers and provolone cheese.
Not satisfied with simple pancakes, Americano has four varieties of them, three kinds of Belgian waffles, French toast and at least five different omelets a day. Sound like too much for your diet? Americano is now offering a Paleo-power breakfast with grilled sirloin steak, tomato, avocado and two egg whites.
There’s even a way to dream up your own custom breakfast with a choice of 11 different sides and lots and lots of lattes.
Inside or out, diet or too much, prima colazione, colazione or pranzo, Americano has it all in a fun, cosmopolitan atmosphere within walking distance of just about everything downtown Sarasota has to offer.
+ Pre-theater Dining
Mattison’s on the Bay is the restaurant in the Van Wezel. Offering spectacular views, sunsets to write home about and a buffet you can always count on to get you through the performance, this is the most logical, most convenient and best deal you can find for a pre-concert dinner. (You can even get a parking space up close and within steps of the front doors.)
We enjoy a drink before dinner and the wait staff is always eager to accommodate our orders. For an 8 p.m. curtain, we usually make a 6 p.m. dinner reservation so we may have a drink and sample the great variety of cheeses, veggies and salads before we start our dinner.
The buffet’s main table always includes one of the most tender cuts of beef we’ve had. We like ours rare, but the ends are seared medium-well for all tastes. There’s also always a chicken, fish and pasta dish with lots of vegetables and sides.
Going downtown to FST or the Gompertz for an evening of theater? Make a reservation for dinner in The Green Room. The simple pub setting offers great drinks and a menu of well-prepared salads, sandwiches and heartier dishes in a calm, unrushed atmosphere that reminds me a little of a quiet version of Sardi’s in New York. Photos and posters set the scene for the scenes you’ll see inside the theaters. Wood-paneled windows look out onto a porch that’s straight out of the Berkshires. It’s a simple, straightforward, fun way to go to theater downtown without the hassle of parking twice and rushing to your seat.
+ The Easter Bunny is confused by too many choices
Easter brunch has become so popular, it has expanded to an Easter weekend brunch at several restaurants. Want to celebrate Sunday at home? Great. Go to either Libby’s or Louies Modern for an a la carte brunch on Easter Saturday. Or, take advantage of dining out on the holiday with Libby’s special holiday buffet. You could never have a groaning board like its at home. Prime rib, omelets, yogurts, boatloads of fruit, bacon, sausage, gravy, pancakes, waffles, fried chicken, hash browns, salads, pastas, deviled eggs, quiche … I’m getting too full to type and I haven’t even mentioned the desserts.
Meanwhile, The Francis is going to be open to the public for a special Easter Brunch with seatings available by reservation. As you know, The Francis is adjacent to Louies Modern but is usually open only for special events: parties, receptions, weddings, meetings and other affairs for large groups. This is a great chance to see and sample The Francis and make Easter your special occasion. It’s going to present a variety of stations featuring salads (from artichokes and couscous to pasta and sweet potatoes), seafood (oysters, shrimp, ceviche, crab and salmon), carved meats (rib roast, baked ham, leg of lamb), pancakes and waffles (fruit pancakes and pecan wild rice waffles), eggs (benedicts, omelets, scrambled) and desserts (OMG!).
The Table Creekside combines one of the best brunch opportunities in town with a view you won’t want to leave. Sit inside and be surrounded by glass walls looking over the water. Outside, you’re on a dock hanging over the creek with envious pelicans and duck families celebrating their own harvest from the water.
From delicate trios of seafood to caviar amuse bouche, The Table always manages to come up with something different, delicate and delicious. I’m particularly fond of the swoop of the bar as you walk in.
Love the colors and the lightness of it all.
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