A growing favorite among locals and visitors alike, Fresh Start Café is located at 630 S. Orange Ave., just south of Burns Square. With a simple décor inside and a wonderful shaded patio outside, the setting is quiet, pleasant and squarely puts the focus on the food, which is outstanding.
Fresh Start’s menu is large, but not overwhelming, and well balanced, offering familiar and unique breakfast and lunch fare (eggs, frittatas, baked goods, soup, salads and sandwiches) with a Fresh Start Café signature touch. With so many homemade, fresh-baked and specialty items from which to choose, making a singular choice often poses a challenge. For our meals we chose the following:
- Pumpkin muffin: Fresh baked and covered in powdered sugar.$2.50 Very fresh, subtle flavor, great with morning coffee.
- Apple muffin: Fresh-baked with chunks of apple. $2.50
Very light and flavorful, sweet but not overdone, another great accompaniment to coffee.
- Burekas: Flaky puff pastry filled with salted cheese. A popular Israeli way to eat burekas is by adding slices of hardboiled egg, tomatoes and black pepper. Cheese: $4.00; add $1.50 for the "Israeli Way" Very interesting pastry, a non-sweet baked good alternative, simple, yet flavorful.
- Poached eggs over spinach: Topped with hollandaise sauce and served on rye toast with a side of chopped salad or fresh fruit. $8.45 A very nice presentation, eggs perfectly poached, colorful, flavorful, and the bread/toast was great.
- Poached eggs over prosciutto: Topped with hollandaise sauce and served on rye toast with a side of chopped salad or fresh fruit. $8.95 A very nice presentation; perfectly prepared poached eggs, creamy and runny, served over a slightly salty prosciutto — a great combination.
- La Greca frittata: Three eggs, spinach and feta baked (not fried) to order in a deep skillet, served with toast, strawberry butter and a choice of chopped salad or fresh fruit. $8.50 A very filling, flavorful alternative to the omelet, nice presentation, delicious.
- Going green frittata: Three eggs, zucchini, broccoli and chives, baked (not fried) to order in a deep skillet, served with toast, strawberry butter and a choice of chopped salad or fresh fruit. $8.50 Fresh and full of subtle flavors and texture. Nice presentation.
- Tuna salad sandwich: Choice of Italian ciabatta, black Russian rye, wheat grain or white bread served with lettuce, tomato and onion. $8.25 I chose the Black Russian rye. A well prepared and presented sandwich served with a side of couscous. One of the best tuna sandwiches around.
- Thanksgiving day: Choice of breads, turkey, cheddar, cranberries and horseradish mayo. $9.00
Very flavorful and filling; served with a side of pasta salad. Simply delicious.
- Mediterranean styled salad: Feta cheese, tomato, bell pepper, garbanzo beans, kalamata olives and stuffed grape leaves with olive oil and lemon dressing. $9.25 A great mix of colors, textures and flavors in this remarkably fresh salad.
- Chopped salad: Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, pickles and hard boiled eggs with tahini dressing. $7.50 Add chicken $3.00 The salad was fresh and colorful; the baguette was fresh and crusty; the add-on chicken was a tad too salty for me.
- Ahi-tuna salad: Over a garden salad served with wasabi dressing. $11.50 A very nice piece of tuna served over greens with a piquant dressing, which was just right.
The Fresh Start Café offers a limited selection of beer and wine to accompany your meal, while offering a good selection of coffee, tea and soft drinks. The wait staff is very friendly, accommodating fast and efficient.
It is difficult to keep things a secret, especially when it involves food. Everyone wants to know where they can get a really good meal at a reasonable price. At the risk of alienating those who like to keep good things quiet, dare I say? The word is out, Fresh Start Café is becoming Sarasota’s worst kept secret.
If you give it a try, I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised. Who knows — you might even become a regular.
Fresh Start Café 630 South Orange Avenue Sarasota, FL 34236 941-373-1242
Hours: Daily 8:00am-3:00pm
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