Sarasota, FL —One of America’s Best Food Cities?


One only needs to read my blog, I live in a Culinary Food Desert to know that I laughed out loud when I saw Sarasota included in the Conde Nast ranking of the fifteen best American Food Cities. Or maybe I cried with frustration, always looking forward to going on a trip so I can experience more satisfying restaurants and farmers markets than we have in my ole’ hometown.

Granted, we are ranked 14 out of 15 and even our weekly entertainment rag, the Ticket seemed surprised:

Of course, it was Conde Nast’s annual Reader’s Choice survey, so we get a leg up on many spots since so many people from so many different places visit our area and might be inclined to vote for their favorite vacation spot after enjoying a piece of fresh fish on the sunny, waterfront docks of Cortez or a farm-to-fork feast on the courtyard of Indigenous in Towles Court.

And by the way, Cortez isn’t even in Sarasota, it’s in Bradenton, and my husband and I drive all the way out there too to enjoy fresh seafood since most of the seafood served in Sarasota’s restaurants is from somewhere else, and/or, is so insanely priced  and offered with mediocre service and on tepid plates, so  it’s worth a little extra gas to get the real deal. Oh, we love your fresh, local seafood, Captain Brians, and you’re technically in Sarasota, but almost to Bradenton and if we’re going to take a drive, we may as well be on the docks.



As far as Indigenous, I tried it out the other night and it was wonderful, but this quote from the Conde Nast rankings scares me:

…beloved for its aromatic mushroom bisque garnished with truffled rye croutons

I’m sorry, any serious food publication should not cow-tow to misnamed foods. The definition of bisque is:

“a rich, creamy soup typically made with shellfish, especially lobster.”

Just because Publix’s soup bar calls their mushroom soup “bisque”, doesn’t mean one of Sarasota’s best restaurants should.

So either Indigenous makes their mushroom soup with lobster shells, or the culinary standards of this city are so low, no one is going to call them out on the faulty name. I don’t blame Indigenous, really, they know what makes their clientele excited, and they go with it. Mushroom bisque it is.


I guess there’s only one Food Bitch in this city.

So the standards of this city’s dining public get to me, and the restaurants are simply catering to a clientele mostly comprised of snow birds who are so hungry for warm weather and beach you could probably feed them anything and make them happy, as long as there are twinkling lights and hot servers instead of hot plates.

Perhaps we should enter our visitors into a culinary training program before their visits, to sharpen their eating skills and raise their dining expectations. Then our local restaurants will have to play along, and Sarasota can really rise up to be one of America’s best food cities.




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