Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Eating with Emma

Shrimply the best shrimp dishes around town

AMOB's apricot-horseradish sauce pairs perfectly with their coconut shrimp dinner ($23.99).
AMOB's apricot-horseradish sauce pairs perfectly with their coconut shrimp dinner ($23.99).
Courtesy image
  • Arts + Entertainment
  • Eat + Drink
  • Share

My family was inundated with celebrations in the summer. It started with Mother's Day, Memorial Day, then my mom's birthday, Father's Day, my sister's birthday, Fourth of July, my husband and my sister's boyfriend's birthday (yep, same day), my birthday, followed by my father's, then Labor Day — all in 14 weeks. 

My Mimi (grandma) would bring shrimp cocktail with homemade cocktail sauce as an appetizer to every gathering that took place on the porch of the house that I was brought home to and still fly home to for these special days.

Leave it to a girl from Connecticut to get nostalgic about a seafood dish, but it's shrimply the best.

As the Sarasota summer heat creeps in, I am reminded of my Nutmegger summers sitting around the table, with a fresh vase full of hydrangeas in the middle, sipping cocktails (or Diet Coke for those not of age or not drinking) filled to the brim and snacking on scrumptious shrimp cocktail.

Here are the best shrimp samplings that remind me of simpler summers in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

Baker and Wife

2157 Siesta Drive, Siesta Key; 941-960-1765;

Baker and Wife's crispy spice shrimp ($14).
Courtesy image

Don't Be Shellfish: My love for Baker and Wife stems from not just from some the best food in the area; it was also the last place we went out to dinner as a family of five and laughed loud enough for all of Sarasota to hear. The jumbo black tiger shrimp and peanut noodles ($32) with broccoli slaw, spinach, crispy shallots, thai mint and basil is a all-star dish that you must get your mouth on ... now.

One in a Krill-ion: If you like a small heaping of heat, order the crispy spicy shrimp ($14) made with siracha-yuzu mayo, mixed greens and furikake. The crunchy and bold flavors are shrimply special and perfect for two to share or for everyone at the table to get a taste before the main course makes its way to your table. Drinking? Opt in to order my ultimate favorite summer cocktail in Sarasota, the basil-cucumber martini ($14).

Anna Maria Oyster Bar

6906 14th St W, Bradenton, 941-758-7880; 200 Bridge St., Bradenton Beach, 941-778-2662; 6696 Cortez Road, Bradenton, 941-792-0077; 1525 51st Ave. E., Ellenton, 941-721-7773, 5405 University Parkway, Unit 110, Bradenton, 941-491-2662;

AMOB's caesar salad ($11.99) with Gulf shrimp ($7.99).
Courtesy image

Don't Be Shellfish: Don't miss the AMOB coconut shrimp dinner ($23.99) served with apricot-horseradish sauce and your choice of two sides. The shrimp are the star, but just imagining the sauce is making me seriously salivate. Sides offered are coleslaw, french fries, red bliss potatoes, cilantro rice, season veggies, cheese grits or a house or Caesar salad.

One in a Krill-ion: If you watch TikTok videos and are between 18 and 40, I'm sure you've heard of the "girl dinner" trend. It's an easy yet satisfying way to make dinner after a tiring day. My go-to girl dinner is a Caesar salad with fries and a Diet Coke. So when I'm feeling like changing out of my sweats and putting on a pair of shorts, I head right to AMOB for their Caesar salad ($11.99) with shrimp (+$7.99).

Owen's Lakewood Ranch

6516 University Parkway, Lakewood Ranch; 941-951-5052;

Owen's Lakewood Ranch take on shrimp and grits ($26.99) is stupendous.
Courtesy image

Don't Be Shellfish: Yes, the downtown location of this Sarasota eatery will forever put a smile on my face and remind me why I live where others vacation. But when Beaver, a manager at Owen's Fish Camp, told us about the plans for Lakewood Ranch — my husband and I had to speed over to see, eat, drink and believe it. The massive canoes levitating above the incredibly designed eatery, the stacked-to-the-ceiling grand bar and the shrimp and grits ($26.99) are three reasons to venture to this Owen's outpost. I'm sure I'll be told otherwise by foodie trolls, but this grit dish is the best rendition of the southern staple that I have ever had the pleasure of shoving down my seasoned foodie mouth. I would wait longer than the average "two-hour wait" during season to just get a smell of this shrimp plate.

One in a Krill-ion: Despite the surplus of shrimply delicious options, including cocktail and shrimp tacos, don't forget to check out the cioppino ($32.99) plate packed with mussels, clams, shrimp, red snapper, tomato fennel broth and spaghetti.

Libby's Neighborhood Brasserie

1917 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota, 941-236-5826; 8445 Lorraine Road, Sarasota, 941-357-1570;

Libby's, both in Hillview and Lakewood Ranch, plates scallops and shrimp with creamed corn $39.50.
Courtesy image

Don't Be Shellfish: I try and share the wealth when starting a meal with my table mates, but when it comes to Libby's dynamite shrimp ($14.50) and their rock shrimp and blue crab lollipops ($17.50) — all bets are off. This starter plate is all for eating by Emma. The first is made with a crispy tempura-battered local Gulf shrimp, and the latter are luxurious lollipops of blue crab. Both are paired with a sambal aioli that has me saying, "Ay yo! Best aioli alert."

One in a Krill-ion: The shrimp parade is plentiful at Libby's between the Krabby Patty sandwich ($19) and the shrimp scampi ($24.50). But my entree adventure leans toward the scallops and shrimp ($39.50) offering. It features blackened scallops (Is there any other way to have seafood?) with Gulf shrimp, creamed corn and perfectly pickled onions.


6990 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key; 941-383-4606;

Whitney's LBK bowl ($13) with shrimp (+11).
Courtesy image

Don't Be Shellfish: The Gulf-side drive down to this retro restaurant is half of the fun. Pull up, order a froze — that's right, a frozen rose ($14) and pretend you've taken a time machine back to the '70s in the chicest of ways. Ask for the LBK Bowl ($13) and feel like a healthy goddess. The bowl features wild rice, quinoa, roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted carrots, corn relish, queso fresco, and salsa verde. Add shrimp (+$11) to get all the nourishment your body needs before hitting Beer Can Island.

One in a Krill-ion: The shrimp Louie ($19) salad is balanced and bountiful. It's made with poached shrimp, lettuce, avocado, marinated tomatoes, hard-cooked egg and luscious Louie dressing (a mayo-and-heavy-cream-based, chili sauce and herb-packed accoutrement). 



Emma Burke Jolly

Emma Burke Jolly has worked at Observer Media Group since 2018 as the digital fulfillment specialist. Originally from Connecticut, this Gulf Coast transplant loves being by the water, reminiscing about what Longboat Key looked like in 1990, navigating life with her husband and their two Maine Coon cats, and sharing her foodie findings with you.

Latest News