The promise of redevelopment in the Rosemary District seems eternally elusive to Sarasota commercial enterprises and residents alike. Although Derek’s Culinary Casual, a longstanding anchor in the Rosemary District, recently moved from its Central Avenue location, signs of change and increased activity in the area are prevalent.
In recent years, restaurants such as Savory Street, Pomona, Station 400, Darwin’s on 4th, and the Blue Rooster have established roots in the Rosemary District. Now, another new Rosemary District restaurant has opened. Lolita Tartine, the second restaurant from the owners of the ever popular downtown café and bakery, C’est La Vie, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner Tuesday through Saturday.
Located on 5th Street, between Central and Lemon avenues, the former art gallery is the new Lolita Tartine. As one might expect from a former art gallery, the space is bright and airy, projecting a contemporary feel with urban chic elements, such as high ceilings, exposed brick and concrete. The color scheme is a simple white and gray with some red highlights, and pictures of artists adorn the walls.
Just like the décor, simple and artistic, the French-café styled menu offers a range of culinary casual options such as soup, salads, paninis, tartines (open-faced sandwiches), plat du jour, quiche, and of course, pastries and desserts. For our meals, we chose the following:
- Apricot Croissant: $3.20 Flaky, buttery layers of goodness — delicious.
- Renoir Tartine: Avocado, shrimp, arugula, tomato and tzatziki sauce. Served with choice of side salad or potatoes $11.90 (We chose side salad) An artistic presentation, full of color, fresh, beautiful to look at, and even better to eat.
- Manet Tartine: Olive tapenade, feta, asparagus, tomato and prosciutto. $10.90
A briny blend of flavors, colors and textures. The asparagus and tomato were the perfect complements to the other ingredients.
- Tartine Dali: Onion marmalade, asparagus, smoked duck breast, tomato, walnuts and mesclun topped with vinaigrette. $11.00 A sweet, smoky, crunchy and slightly bitter sandwich full of contrasting flavors.
- Salad of Fresh Asparagus: Warm with bacon, pine nuts and shaved parmesan. $8.50 This is more of a side dish than a salad. If you love bacon, this is for you!
- Tuna Tartare: Raw tuna, avocado, pine nuts, onion and cilantro. $12.00
A very generously sized portion of fresh tuna, nicely chopped and mixed. A great balance on the flavors and textures, easily shared by two people.
- Quiche Smoked Salmon: With dill and cheese. (served with a side dish) $13.00 Personal quiche — creamy and fluffy. The right amount of salmon. We chose steamed veggies as the side. It is a complete meal.
- Plat du Jour: Seafood Pasta (served with a side dish). I chose the gratin Dauphinois $21.00 A good sized portion oftagliatelle (wide, flat) pasta with a creamy white seafood sauce; rich but not overfilling. Not the usual side selection for a pasta dish, however, I had to try the gratin. It was creamy; the potatoes were firm; and the cheese perfectly melted with a little bite.
- Manage Trois: Assortment of three of our plat du jour (served with a side dish). $26.00 We chose beef burgundy, lamb stew with figs and prunes and pork sausage in white wine and cabbage. Minimalist in presentation, this is the pick for those of us who want to try everything! The beef was dark, rich, tender and full of flavor. The sausage and cabbage are a classic combination. The lamb was sweet, tender and savory with a hint of crunch from the fig seeds. Definitely filling!
- Pistachio Crème Brulee: $7.50 Deliciously creamy, rich and green tinted from the pistachios, this crème brulee was a stand out!
- Fondant Chocolate: Warm vanilla ice cream, raspberry coulis and whipped cream. $8.50 Rich and flavorful and artistically plated, this is a chocolate lovers delight!
Even though at times there might be a short wait for service, the staff is very friendly, pleasant and attentive to your needs. There is a small selection of beer, wine and soft drinks to accompany your meal.
If one can judge the quality of a community’s evolution by its culinary options, then the Rosemary District has been steadily improving by offering a broadening array of restaurant options. The addition of Lolita Tartine is one more accelerant in the evolutionary process.
Lolita Tartine — 1419 5th St. / 952-3172 / Open from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday