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Take in flavors of the world without leaving Lakewood Ranch

Want to avoid the hassles of international travel? This globetrotting itinerary requires no passport.

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  • Eat + Drink
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Lakewood Ranch is a small community with a big attitude. 

Despite its size, its international food scene rivals those of much larger cities. Even better? Your culinary journey is also a cultural journey. And each taste is as authentic as it gets. 

Embark on a gastronomic adventure within just a few miles, where each bite becomes a passport to a different corner of the globe. 

Here are a few hometown favorites to kickstart your culinary journey through a world of flavors.

Inkawasi Peruvian Restaurant

10667 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch; 941-360-1110;

Inkawaksi’s menu is a river of cultural crosscurrents. Like Peru itself, its cuisine is a captivating fusion of indigenous flavors, Spanish influences, and international culinary trends. 

This family-owned restaurant is the brainchild of chef/owner Jimmy Arias; his wife, Reina Kozlowski; and their son Kleyver Zamora, a certified sommelier. Their array of edible alchemy reflects their proud Peruvian heritage. 

Lomo saltado is a beloved Peruvian dish.
Photo by Lori Sax

We recommend starting with ceviche, widely regarded as one of Peru’s most iconic dishes. It’s basically raw fish marinated in citrus juices and spiced with chili peppers, onions, and cilantro. It’s often served with sides like sweet potatoes, corn, plantains and avocados.

For heartier appetites, Arias suggests lomo saltado (flamed tenderloin, from the same cut as filet mignon), which is wok-flamed with tomatoes and onions and served over fried rice. 

We also indulged in the grouper a lo macho. The name is a take on a popular Peruvian seafood dish that features fish cooked in a spicy tomato-based sauce known as “salsa a lo macho.” The term “a lo macho” roughly translates to “in the style of men” and usually indicates a dish that’s bold and hearty in flavor. This dish is definitely spicy — and filling. 

What to sip while you sup? Sommelier Zamora has lovingly curated (and personally tasted) an array of vintages from regions around the globe. (Their zingy sangria is Zamora’s secret recipe.) Arias also suggests chica morado — a traditional Peruvian beverage made in-house from imported purple corn.

Agave Bandido

1550 Lakefront Drive, Lakewood Ranch; 941-260-8866;

There are a lot of high-profile “Mexican food” franchises around the area that serve up a tired template of south-of-the-border fare. Agave Bandido’s co-owners Mathew Baum and Matthew Faul shatter that mold. 

Their space is clearly not your cookie-cutter Mexican restaurant. According to Baum, “you can indulge in the spirit of Mexico right here in Sarasota.” He adds that this spirit is never predictable. “Every time you come in, you should always expect the unexpected.”

That applies to the décor as well as the menu. Beyond the tables and turquoise booths that fill the dining room, light fixtures, crafted from skulls and blown glass, cast an arty ambiance. Spray-painted urban pop murals created by renowned Miami street artist Ruben Ubiera adorn the walls, their vibrant colors extending to the ceiling and creating a visually stunning backdrop for your meal. 

Kick off your culinary journey with the daring Fueguito, blending Patron silver tequila, berries, jalapeños, and agave. Not feeling up to the heat? For a walk on the cool side of life, try the Azteca — a tequila old-fashioned, made with Anejo tequila, agave, and orange and chocolate bitters and served up with a king ice cube. Or just sit back and choose from one of the 250 carefully curated mezcals and tequilas.

Bet you can’t just eat 10! The Taquiza taco platter offers an opportunity to taste all the tantalizing tacos at Agave Bandido.
Photo by Lori Sax 

If you’re bringing the whole gang, indulge in the Taquiza taco platter — a generous serving of 10 tacos. (Think of it as a Mexican taco party.) Whether you prefer sticking to a single favorite or sampling an array of flavors such as veggie, shrimp, fish, chicken, or beef, the choice is yours. 

Baum also recommends the super spicy and savory birria tacos, a cheesy masterpiece featuring achiote barbacoa, Oaxaca cheese, and house consommé. And don’t miss the cotija-crusted mahi-mahi, with its irresistible crispy texture. 

Whatever you chose, each bite at Agave promises a journey through the diverse flavors of Mexico.

Tsunami Sushi & Hibachi Grill 

11627 State Road 70 E., Lakewood Ranch; 941-909-8288;

This Asian fusion restaurant has been a downtown Sarasota destination since 2013. Co-owners Jason Klamson and Jeffrey Karasawa dreamed of opening a second Lakewood Ranch location for years. In 2024, they did. (And Ranchers rejoiced.) It’s the same great cuisine with much more space and a heightened emphasis on fine wines and craft cocktails.

So where to begin? For starters, Klamson suggests the lava rock appetizer — filet mignon sashimi served on a hot stone. 

For spicy pyrotechnics, their Hot Mama roll comes drizzled in yum-yum sauce, infused with cayenne pepper, chili powder, and a touch of sriracha. 

The king lobster roll at Tsunami is a royal treat.
Photo by Lori Sax

Still hungry? Tsunami’s king lobster roll is an all-star combo of tempura king crab, avocado, cucumber, baked lobster, spicy mayo, eel sauce, tempura flakes, and masago (smelt roe). 

As for drinks, you can’t go wrong with the usual suspects. Asahi or Sapporo beer. Or Bunraku sake in its signature blue bottle is one of our favorites. Tsunami’s lychee martini (a mix of Mermaid vodka, lychee liqueur, grapefruit liqueur, and prosecco) makes a bubbly start to any great feast. Irasshaimase!

Paris Bistrot

8131 Lakewood Main St., Suite 103, Lakewood Ranch; 941-388-0564;

For a taste of France in Lakewood Ranch, Paris Bistrot is the place. You’re not in Paris, but the smells and flavors say otherwise. (Close your eyes, and you’ll swear you’re in a quaint bistro on the Left Bank, gazing over the Seine.) The restaurant is the creation of Chef Jean Christophe Nebra and his wife, Alexandra, and their cuisine is très authentique. 

Our short list of favorites? Nebra’s petite bouillabaisse stands out — an aromatic fish and shellfish stew. It’s brimming with firm fish, mussels, shrimp, and potatoes, and served with rouille-slathered grilled bread slices. 

Paris Bistrot’s canard à l’orange is a soul-satisfying dish.
Courtesy image

Paris Bistrot’s canard à l’orange is another five-star delight. Tracing back to a regal debut at the Queen of France’s table in 1555, this dish is a timeless French classic. Chef Nebra pairs his succulent roast duck with a tantalizing sweet-and-sour bigarade sauce. Crafted through a reduction of caramelized sugar, white vinegar, orange liquor, veal broth, orange juice, and zest, the harmonious blend of bitter and sweet flawlessly complements the duck’s robust flavor. C’est si bon! 

Korê Steakhouse

1561 Lakefront Drive #111, Lakewood Ranch; 941-928-5673;

This Waterside steakhouse is a passion project for chef/owner Daniel Dokko (the visionary behind JPan Sushi & Grill), and his partners, chef Clark Park and Andre Putranto. Here, their edible artistry speaks with a Korean accent.

Korê’s edible artistry speaks with a Korean accent.
Courtesy image 

Korê’s menu is a tapestry of traditional Korean cuisine with an emphasis on grilled meats and seafood. Carnivores will rejoice with the selection, which includes bulgogi (thin slices of marinated ribeye), galbi (short ribs) filet mignon and pork — cooked tableside. Or order from the raw menu and dig into spicy blue crab, salmon tartar and bluefin tuna.

Complementing these dishes are quintessential Korean accompaniments like kimchi, banchan (pickled veggies), and the iconic bibimbap. 

Korê also offers a “Combinations” menu, which offers different curated meals. Try the “Nice 2 Meet U” (for two), which features a tantalizing array of grilled meats, accompanied by refreshing salads, or the “Seafood Lover,” which tantalizes with an assortment of oceanic delights, from octopus to bluefin tuna. 

One thing’s for sure. No matter where your culinary adventure through the flavors of Korean cuisine leads, Korê promises a dining experience that’s both innovative and satisfying.


Marty Fugate

Marty Fugate is a writer, cartoonist and voiceover actor whose passions include art, architecture, performance, film, literature, politics and technology. As a freelance writer, he contributes to a variety of area publications, including the Observer, Sarasota Magazine and The Herald Tribune. His fiction includes sketch comedy, short stories and screenplays. “Cosmic Debris,” his latest anthology of short stories, is available on Amazon.


Su Byron

Su Byron has worked in the regional arts and cultural world for the past 25 years as a writer, an editor, and a public relations and marketing specialist. For 12 of those years, she was the co-publisher of the Sarasota Arts Review, a monthly arts and entertainment newspaper. Su is a freelance writer whose regular columns and articles appear in a host of regional and national publications.