Take a trip around the world with the numerous eclectic and authentic restaurants in the Gulf Gate area. The area is so chock-full of great eateries, making a decision can be overwhelming. But the myriad of choice offerings proved to be perfect for our monthly Observer progressive dinner.
Editor’s note: We will return to the Gulf Gate area again to continue the culinary tour and hit the restaurants we didn’t profile this time.
1 DRINK & APPETIZER: Sarasota Brewing Company
Welcome to the “Cheers” of the Gulf Gate area. Everyone that walked in seemed to know someone, and they all definitely knew bartender Tim Maloney. He poured us two of the restaurant’s own Sarasota Gold and Sunset Red beers ($3.75 each) — and, to go along with our hops, we ordered the shark bites ($7.59).
The bite-sized fresh Mako shark in tangy Polynesian beer marinade was tasty and a nice change of pace from typical bar offerings.
2 ENTRÉE: Déjà Vu
Déjà Vu’s fresh menu is impressive in that it changes weekly and everything is homemade, even the pasta.
The restaurant receives whole, fresh fish daily, which is filleted in-house. My meal included Mediterranean gazpacho — which was so flavorful that my bowl was quickly empty. I, then, had the chicken alfredo ($24.95), and my companion tried the chef’s choice of pan-seared hog snapper ($31.95). Although the meals were on the expensive side, the atmosphere is comfortable and intimate and perfect for a date or catching up with friends.
3 DESSERT: Paris to Budapest
At Paris to Budapest, we felt instantly comfortable and were warmly welcomed by co-owner Susan Joo (she’s the Hungarian half; her partner, Anthony Delphin, is the French half).
On to dessert: The Gundel pancakes ($6.50) were an explosion of many different flavors. The white-chocolate-amaretto crème brulee ($6.95) was delectable and one of the best we have tasted. The cake/tart of the day, an apple parfait ($6.25), was the perfect ending with its combination of tart and sweet. A perfect ending to dinner.
4 DRINK & ENTERTAINMENT: Irish Rover Pub
You know you’ve arrived at the Irish Rover Pub when the parking lot is full and rockin’ tunes are coming from inside. The smoke-free pub offers Irish fare and live music nightly (until 10 p.m.). We enjoyed a Strongbow cider on tap and a soft drink ($6.50) while listening to Paul Duffy’s band, which had everyone in the place tapping their feet. You just can’t help but enjoy yourself. We are looking forward to returning on a Sunday night to hear the talents of Jazz Juvenocracy, a band of six musicians with an average age of 15.
IF YOU GO
Sarasota Brewing Co.
6607 Gateway Ave., Sarasota. 925-2337.
Open 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to midnight Sunday.
2164 Gulf Gate Drive, Sarasota. 926-2994.
Summer hours: Open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Paris to Budapest
6551 Gateway Ave., Sarasota. 552-9707.
Summer hours: Open 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday and Sunday until Labor Day.
Irish Rover Pub
6514 Gateway Ave., Sarasota. 926-1060.
Summer hours: Open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 4:30 to 10 p.m. Sunday.
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