My husband and I had to make a quick trip to Sarasota, Florida for a funeral this past weekend. We were traveling sans kids, which is not something we do often and we felt a bit out of our element. While we should simply enjoy the time away, when we see or experience something new we find ourselves wishing our boys were with us to experience it too. We found this to be true even with dining. Though it was a quick trip and we only ate out for a few meals, we discovered that eating gluten-free in Sarasota is easy and delicious!! We found these amazing gluten-free restaurants in Sarasota and we can’t wait take our boys back down now that we know exactly where to eat!
3436 17th St, Sarasota, FL
Years ago my husband took a surf lesson in Venice Beach, California and after the lesson his instructor took us to a hole in the wall spot in a back alley (that was only moderately sketchy) where he introduced us to pupusa- an El Salvadorian corn pancake stuffed with yummy goodness. We haven’t had them since, until we landed in Sarasota and needed a quick bite to eat. Like I always do when we’re hungry in a new place, I Googled “Best Gluten Free In Sarasota” and Bitia’s Taqueria popped up at the top of three different lists, boasting authentic El Salvadorian papusa.
Bitia’s doesn’t look like much. It’s just a small spot in the corner of a little strip mall. But looks can be deceiving. Inside, the small dining room was full save for one table that we quickly grabbed. The menu was very simple. We ordered a bean and cheese papusa, a pork and cheese papusa and five different tacos because we couldn’t decide what kind of meat we wanted and because at $1.50 a piece there was no reason not to try them all! Our food was served quickly and was fresh, bright, and delicious. The papusas were served with a side of curtido, a pickled coleslaw that added a pop of color and a bit of tang- although the papusas needed no help in the flavor department! The tacos were simply meat on a corn tortilla topped with raw diced onion and heaps of cilantro with lime slices on the side. Very simple, very delicious! I preferred the asada and carnitas while my husband devoured the barbacoa, pollo, and chorizo tacos. With a bill barely over $10.00, we were so full we could barely finish our meal- but of course we did because it was just that good!
412 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key
Since we were without kids we wanted to find a nice place to eat for our second (and last) night in town. When I found that Dry Dock Waterfront Grill offered a separate gluten-free menu full of fresh caught fish and waterfront seating with gorgeous views, I didn’t have to search any farther. It’s apparently quite popular, usually requiring reservations, though we decided to do an early dinner in order to dodge the crowds and we were seated within a few minutes of arriving. Like Bitia’s, Dry Dock Waterfront Grill doesn’t look like much when you pull up. It’s actually attached to the Boathouse Marina with the entrance next to the dry dock. Out front, there’s nothing more than a sign at the road and a door to walk through. But inside the views are simply gorgeous. We asked to be seated out by the water where we joined a handful of pelicans who stood guard on the dock posts stretching out in front of us.
Our waiter brought us a gluten-free menu which included a number of salads and seafood dishes, though we came for one thing and one thing only- fresh Grouper tacos served on corn tortillas. The tacos were double shelled, which was completely necessary given how stuffed they were. There were large chunks of grouper, I’m tempted to say too many as mine kept falling out the back but I could have eaten that grouper all day long so I’m not going to complain about a messy fish taco! They are served with lettuce, onion and tomato (hold the tomato for me thank you very much) and a cilantro vinaigrette that was packed with flavor. A sweet chili dipping sauce on the side as well as a serving of rice and beans rounded out the dish. Our waiter offered their one gluten-free dessert option- crème brulee- though we were planning to grab an ice cream cone with friends later so we declined. But we’ll be back!
430 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL (additional location in Siesta Key)
Finding a decent gluten-free breakfast is not difficult if you want to go for good old eggs and bacon. But if you’re looking for something sweet it can be more of a challenge. We’ll usually find a place that can do a gluten-free pancake or a gluten-free French toast. Waffles are harder to find. But the Toasted Mango Café offered all three! And boy were they delicious! I ate here both mornings we were in town- it was just that good. The first morning my husband ordered a gluten-free waffle with an egg and side of sausage. The waffle was served with mango butter that packed so much flavor no syrup was needed! The waffle itself was light and fluffy, not sandy or gritty like some gluten-free waffles can be. I ordered the mango French toast and was surprised when it arrived with what had to amount to an entire fresh mango diced in large chunks on top of the toast. It was absolutely glorious (and also needed no syrup!). The next morning a friend of mine was in town from Long Island so we went out to breakfast together while my husband and his friends went out fishing for the morning. This time I ordered one of the specials, gluten-free blueberry almond pancakes topped with lemon curd. I honestly don’t know why this place even puts syrup on the table! The lemon curd was both sweet and tangy and when the dollops of whipped cream started to melt into it, it made a perfect pancake topping! Both times we dined here the place was absolutely packed. We were lucky enough to get seated right away but I don’t think either morning there was ever an empty table in the place. They also had an amazing lunch menu and I can see us bringing our boys here for breakfast and then returning a few hours later for lunch!