As you know, I recently spent three wonderful days in Bradenton Florida. It was my first time in the area and while I was there, my days were packed with fun activities and lots of great food.
Full disclosure: I don’t like seafood. I know, I know….
I am one of the few people from New England that doesn’t and when I arrived in the area and saw that my itinerary was full of dining reservations at seafood restaurants, I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t be able to find something that I was able to eat. Thankfully, that was not the case at all. The group that I was with dined at three restaurants known for great seafood, but all of them served non-seafood items for people like me. Phew.
Today I want to tell you about some of the highlights at all three of them so that if you are planning a visit to the Bradenton area, you can plan a meal at one of these fantastic eateries.
1. Pier 22
Dining at Pier 22 is truly unique waterfront dining experience.
Pier 22 has become a distinctive destination for casual fine dining in downtown Bradenton with their magnificent views of the Manatee River, historic ambiance and impeccable service. Additionally, their commitment to using only the highest quality ingredients to prepare all their foods and the fact that their chef proudly prepares all menu selections from scratch makes Pier 22 one of the most popular restaurants in the area.
Pier 22 Features:
- Lunch and Dinner daily with Sunday Brunch
- Sushi Bar from 3pm and all day Wednesday & Friday
- The Patio features a Full Bar & Fire Pit
- The Waterfront Terrace offering al fresco dining
- Waterfront Ballroom seating 200+ overlooking the Manatee River
- Private/Semi-Private Rooms for all occasions (weddings, receptions, corporate events and parties)
- Catering full service offsite and onsite
- Complimentary dockage available while dining
- Overnight dockage call 941.747.8300 for slip assignment
While I don’t eat sushi, I couldn’t help but be impressed by this sushi boat that our server, CB, brought out to our table.
After loading up on several appetizers, our group opted to split a few entrees including this burger:
And this fried alligator sandwich.
If you’re wondering, yes, I ate the alligator. Before you ask, it tasted like chicken.
Oh and the desserts at Pier 22 were phenomenal. We had homemade fudge, key lime pie and peanut butter pie – which was to die for.
The four people in our group basically had to roll ourselves out of there by the time we were done because we all ate so much amazing food.
Pier 22 is located at 1200 1st Ave West in Bradenton, FL 34205.
2. The Seafood Shack
If you are looking for a table with a saltwater view, a cold beverage and the freshest fish you can possibly find, the Seafood Shack is where you want to be.
The menu at the Seafood Shack is dominated, as you might expect, by seafood (heck, it’s in their name), but they do a few non-seafood options for people like me who don’t eat seafood.
The Seafood Shack Marina has been a Cortez landmark since 1971. Located to the north of the Cortez Drawbridge on the mainland side, The Seafood Shack Marina is fully accommodating with 68 deep water and sailboat safe slips.
The chef had prepared a selection of seafood from the menu and it was served family style for the table to share.
I mentioned that I didn’t eat seafood and the chef was kind enough to make me pork chops with baked apples.
Our table then got this pecan pie to share for dessert.
At the Seafood Shack you will not only great decor, but fantastic food. The restaurant features both outdoor and indoor dining and it’s very family friendly.
The Seafood Shack is located at 4110 127th St W, Cortez, Florida 34215.
3. The Sandbar
The Sandbar is located on the north end of Anna Maria and they are well known in the area for their fresh Florida seafood. At the Sandbar, you can dine inside or outside on their covered deck right, which is right on the white sand beach on the Gulf of Mexico.
When we dined there, we were given a table that was literally on the beach so we were able to sink our toes in the sand while we enjoyed some delicious appetizers (including hush puppies) and our meals.
Again, the menu consisted of mostly seafood, but there are other choices including, chicken, burgers and steak. I opted for the burger:
During our meals, we were able to watch an unforgettable sunset over the Gulf.
The staff was polite and professional and the service was top notch. It was wonderful to be able to relax and eat some fresh, delicious food right on the beach.
The Sandbar is located at 100 Spring Avenue, Anna Maria FL 34216.
If you are in the area, I highly suggest adding at least one (or all) of these restaurants to your list of places to eat while you are there.
Disclosure: I was provided with an all expenses paid trip to Anna Maria Island thanks to the BACVB, but that did not influence my opinions in any way.