5 Unique Restaurants Near Siesta Key

When visiting the beautiful beaches of Siesta Key, it’s essential to try out some of the nearby eclectic, unique and fun local restaurants that have made Southwest Florida a cuisine hub.

These restaurants utilize the region’s incredible produce, seafood and meat in delightful ways and have their own distinct character. Some offer eclectic settings and décor, others are regional cuisine specialists.

One thing is for sure – you’re guaranteed an incredible meal and something different to tell your friends about.

You can’t go wrong visiting any of these 5 unique dining spots near Siesta Key for something a bit off the beaten path, each offering an unforgettable experience and many tantalizing menu options.

5 crazy restaurants near siesta key

Linger Lodge

Location: 7205 85th St Ct E, Bradenton, FL

Once named by Al Roker on the Food Network as one of the “Top 5 Weirdest Restaurants in the Country” – you’re sure to remember your time at the Linger Lodge.

The restaurant sits unassumingly on the Braden River in a waterfront cabin surrounded by pleasant views and large oak trees dripping with Spanish moss.

But, as soon as you walk in you’ll see why the restaurant earned its title. The walls are lined with the taxidermy creations of the original owner, immortalizing a range of creatures that will leave you awestruck, from coyotes, to snakes, alligators, squirrels, deer and more.

But, amidst the bizarre décor you’ll get to enjoy one of Bradenton’s most pleasant casual dining experiences with a menu filled with enticing choices like homemade BBQ chips served with pulled pork, buffalo wings, fried green tomatoes, fish N’ chips, reubens, burgers, fish sandwiches, seafood platters and more.

Of course, what would a “weird” restaurant be without some a few menu choices that might raise your eyebrows like fresh frog legs and alligator gumbo.

J.R.’s Old Packinghouse Café

Location: 987 S. Packinghouse Rd Sarasota, FL 34232

J.R.’s Old Packinghouse Café, true to its name, once served as a packing house for locally farmed celery back in the 1920s.

The packing house was much later converted into its current casual restaurant form, with the Old Florida ambiance of the original packing house still present and an array of fun, satisfying pub style and Cuban inspired dishes.

The menu is very reasonably priced and includes an array of burgers, Cuban sandwiches, blackened shrimp, nachos and quesadillas. A small Cuban themed menu features items like Ropa Vieja (shredded beef with vegetables), Pica Dillo Cuban beef, roasted pork loan, and a Cuban burrito.

The warm, inviting, casual Old Florida atmosphere, live music every night, and delicious Cuban and America fare will leave you wanting to visit again.

Bob’s Train

Location: 2211 Fruitville Rd, Sarasota, FL 34237

As another eccentric pick for the list, Bob’s Train is a must visit for anyone who appreciates train or circus history. The restaurant resides in 4 train cars, with 3 of them being used as house cars by the Ringling Circus up to 2004.

As one of the few places where you can dine in a train car and be surrounded by circus memorabilia, it’s well worth the visit. The menu is small but caters to diverse tastes with vegetarian options, a variety of burgers, salads, sandwiches, hot dogs, and omelets during Sunday brunch.

craziest sarasota restuarants

Ophelia’s on the Bay

Location: 9105 Midnight Pass Rd, Sarasota, FL 34242

Ophelia’s on the Bay is a Siesta Key restaurant that has become a part of Sarasota cuisine lore, and has received accolades that rival some of the top seafood eateries in the entire state.

Located in a pristine and beautiful corner of the island, what makes Ophelia’s unique is the enormous ceiling to floor windows that offer guests unforgettable views of Little Sarasota Bay.

The food is equally impressive with upscale globally inspired options that range from Mahi, to Filet Mignon, Rack of Lamb, Gulf Grouper, Maine Lobster, Atlantic Swordfish and much more – each ingredient being exquisitely prepared in an innovative and tantalizing way, with clear international influences.

Casey Key Fish House

Location: 801 Blackburn Point Road, Osprey, FL

Casey Key is Siesta Key’s quiet southern neighbor that doesn’t get as much attention, but the Casey Key Fish House is well worth the short drive (or boat ride) from the island.

It is a fun and casual waterfront restaurant featuring a tiki hut, deep water dockage for boat visitors, and an extensive locally focused seafood menu.

As one of the more reasonably priced seafood dining experiences in the area, you’ll leave this restaurant with your both your stomach and wallet feeling fuller than usual.

Choose from locally caught seafood pasta, grouper, Mahi, and snappers sandwiches, local shrimp, and a few land fare items like chicken breast and veggies burgers and steak.

Come For A Visit

To learn more about uncommon local dining spots or for help with planning a trip to Siesta Key, contact your Concierge team member today. Book your dream gulf view vacation rental and start planning a great beach vacation.


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