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ljn Mar 6th, 2006 01:33 PM

Siesta Key FL: A request for info from Siesta key experts

Fiancee & I (no kids) will be visiting Siesta Key FL in a weeks time (last minute holiday) we have never been there before (have vistited Treasure Island / St Pete / orlando / Sanibel before) .
We are looking for a relaxing, low key holiday where we can spend the day at the beach & enjoy some good meals out.
I have visited the chamber & other tourist websites but would welcome some inside information

1: What is the situation regarding mosquitos, No see ums, Sand fleas - we visisted Sanibel in the summer a few years ago & fiancee got bitten badly.

2: Any personal recomendations for seafood / shellfish restaurants? - - also any ideas where to go for great stone crab?

3: We are staying at Tropical Shores - any dining recomendations within walking distance?

4: it will be fiances Birthday whilst we are there any suggestions for a nice dining experience? - price not an issue but would prefer somewhere that was not very formal - any suggestions for a restaurant with a view?

5: As this is our first visit to Siesta key any must see / do reccomendations?

Many thanks for your help

samschack Mar 7th, 2006 10:32 AM

Saw your post and thought I'd contribute what I could regarding your questions.
1. Winter time mosquito's aren't as bad as in summer (IMO). As far as the "no see um's" it's hard to say. My wife and I occasionally dine "al fresco" and she often says she is being bothered and I almost never am.
Maybe it's a chemical thing.
2+3. You will be within a very short walk (5 min perhaps) of many restaurants. There is a very casual seafood restaurant just to the north of you called "Capt. Curts" and at least a half dozen other places of varying types as well in the nearby area. As for stone crab claws I am sure you can get them at Capt Curts but I personally have enjoyed the ones that the Columbia Restaurant serves on St. Armands Circle. Crab and Fin, also on St. Armands also usually serves good stone crab claws.
4. As for fine dining you are about a five minute or less drive to a very good waterfront restaurant called "Ophelia's". It is directly on the bay and has a very nice view of the mainland from S. Siesta Key.
Also, Christopher's on Lido Key is a nice gulfront restaurant on the top floor of a hotel. Only problem with gulfront restaurants is that when it gets dark there really isn't much to see. Another place that may not be quite the equal as far as food quality but has a very nice view is Marina Jack on Sarasota Bay. While there you can view the sculptures that are positioned along US 41 by the bayfront.
5. As far as "must do's" I think mainly that Siesta Key is about the white sandy beaches. If you have a car to get around in I would suggest visiting the Ringling Museum of Art and the adjacent Ca d' Zan (John and Mabel Ringling residence) and circus museum. On the north tip of Lido Key is the Mote Marine facitlity and I think you would enjoy spending a few hours there as well.
Perhaps others familiar with the area will have other ideas but this is my recommendation.
This is a great time of the year to visit Sarasota. I hope you have a wonderful time.

cmscms Mar 12th, 2006 07:01 PM

Hi there,
Thought I would contribute as well...the person below has great ideas-Ophelias. We also headed to Phillippi Landing Rest. right off on the key on 41, however it's on the bay -great crab, very relaxing. My only must see is the sunset! and if you are there on a Sunday night, prior to Sunset, be sure and go to the public beach to listen to the drums. Enjoy! You could look at a cruise for dinner too-St. Armands Circle is great to visit and eat too.

sweetsailing Mar 15th, 2006 08:55 PM

Don't know if you have left already or not. But will comment anyway. We have been going to Siesta Key for 6-7 years now. Definitely check out the area known as Siesta Key Village. This is the more northern end of the island. Our absolute favorite restaurant is Cafe Gabiano (sp?). It is located in a small strip mall area on Ocean Blvd. Just aske where the post office is, because the restaurant is a few doors down. Fabulous italian chef from New York who can to Siesta Key to retire and pursue his hobby with this great restaurant. Very elegant atmosphere however you can still dress causually here.

Our other favorite ritual is to get an evening ice cream cone from Big Olaf's creamery.

Best sunset viewing is on the west side of the island, go west from Ocean Blvd on Columbus to the end of the road. Great rocks to sit on to watch the sunset.

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