A February 2005 trip
to Sarasota by figgy0223
Quote: A friend was closing on his new house in Florida, so my friends and I decided to spend the weekend with him and check our his new hometown of Sarasota!
Restaurant | "Columbia Restaurant"
The restaurant is huge and boasts an open-air atmosphere with large windows and many tables partially inside and outside. The decor is somewhat tropical and historic, since the restaurant itself dates back to 1905.
The menu is very large, with everything from red meat dishes to pastas, chicken, and lots of seafood. Florida is known for its grouper, and the restaurant showcases many different grouper entrées.
You'll find an extensive wine list bound in a heavy book, with prices all over the board, from $28 a bottle to over $800 a bottle. We enjoyed the Cakebread Cabernet at $80, and I also had a glass of Carmen Souvignon Blanc (private label) for only $6 that was very good.
I enjoyed the mahimahi that came with fried plantains (plantos) and yuca potatoes (many might not like these if they are used to regular mashed potatoes, as these are much more dense). It also came with what the restaurant calls "good rice," served with almost every entrée. It's a type of wild rice with a soy-tasting flavor. It is, in fact, very good. The fish was a large filet with a citrus dipping sauce similar to lemon juice.
The Syngria seemed to be a tradition, along with the 1905 salad that is made at the table.
The restaurant is able to accompany large groups, although a reservation is highly suggested.
Give yourself time to see the shops around the restaurant. St. Armands is a very nice area.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 28, 2005
Columbia Restaurant Retail & Cigars
411 Saint Armands Circle
Sarasota, Florida 34236
Attraction | "The Gator Club"
It was a sophisticated but not at all stuffy bar. The prices were higher than what I'm used to (Guinness was $5.50 for a can and Harp was $5 a bottle), but the atmosphere made up for it. They had a nice selection of cigars in the upstairs bar, and cigar smoking is allowed throughout the bar.
The music was great and was performed by a group of men in their 40’s and 50’s who sounded very professional and were able to fill up the bar.
We didn't spend anytime downstairs because of the crowd but were able to take the beautiful open staircase up to the second floor, where we could still hear the music while we enjoyed a cigar and Guinness.
There were no other bars around this part of town. Across the street is a great outdoor-only restaurant called Mattison's that makes for a great evening of dining and nightlife.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 28, 2005
1490 Main St.
Sarasota, Florida 34236