Anna Maria Island is such a beautiful place with gorgeous beaches and wonderful things to do. For some reason I was surprised to discover that there are also MANY great restaurants on Anna Maria Island! We didn’t have a bad meal during our entire stay. Here are a few of our favorite restaurants on Anna Maria island and nearby.
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Best Restaurants on Anna Maria Island
Beach House Waterfront Restaurant
We arrived on Anna Maria island in the afternoon hungry and in need of a very late lunch. This was the restaurant recommended to us by a couple of locals so we went there knowing nothing about it. What a great choice for our first meal and a perfect introduction to the island!
The Beach house is an ocean front restaurant. It has outdoor seating that is covered and shady. This means that you get amazing views without the sun beating down on you. The food is mostly locally sourced and everything was fresh and high quality. The service was excellent, both friendly and helpful.
Everything was good, but absolutely you need to try the smoked fish dip! I am still thinking about it.
The Waterfront Restaurant
The Waterfront is a cute restaurant near the Anna Maria City Pier. It is located in an old house and the atmosphere is quaint and charming. See if you can snag a table on the breezy porch. They have a lovely bar with craft beers and nice wines as well as some interesting cocktails. My husband was very happy to find that they have Guinness on draft.
Although the restaurant is just across the street from the City Pier you can’t quite see the water because of the foliage. But that’s ok. The food here is so good that it doesn’t need a view and you can take a walk on the pier after you eat.
The ingredients are fresh, natural, and seasonal. The food here is a little more inventive than some of the other restaurants in town. It’s all good, but the lobster bisque was particularly delicious and the shrimp and grits were some of the best I’ve ever tasted. This is definitely one of the best restaurants on Anna Maria Island!
If you are looking for a place to enjoy a special occasion meal while you are visiting Anna Maria Island look no further than Beach Bistro. This is where you can experience fine dining with your toes in the sand as the sun sets into the ocean. I can hardly describe how special this place is!
We were on the island during my husband’s birthday and decided to make reservations here to celebrate. I’m so glad that we did!
They have a prix fixe dinner with five courses. You will have items to choose from for each of the courses. The waiters are good at helping you decide what you might want and what will go with whatever you are having next. I assure you that everything is delicious!
There is also a wine experience that you can purchase separately which gives you a wine pairing for each of the courses. You may also elect to purchase drinks separately.
I won’t try to describe the food. It was all delightful. This was a truly wonderful evening.
- Tip 1: You will definitely need reservations
- Tip 2: They also have indoor dining so if you want sit outside be sure to specify this when you make your reservation!!
- Tip 3: Absolutely, positively schedule your dining experience so that you are dining during sunset!
Beginning of the evening As the sun starts to set
Star Fish Company Market and Restaurant
The Star Fish Restaurant is just across the bridge from Anna Maria Island in Cortez. This is a restaurant near Anna Maria Island that you MUST try. We had so many excellent meals we while we were in the area but this is the one I dream about.
First of all the setting of the restaurant is perfect. Cortez is a little fishing village that is probably one of the few places in coastal Florida that looks exactly like it did 40 or 50 years ago. The Star Fish is very casual place right on the waterfront with many of the tables on a dock.
You start by ordering your food at a window and then you seat yourself at one of the many, semi-communal tables. When your food is ready it is delivered by a waiter calling your name and carrying it in a white cardboard box.
Y’all. This was the best seafood I had while on the island. So, so fresh and perfectly cooked. The fish is prepared simply, you can get it fried, grilled, blackened or sauteed. The sides are delightful and delicious. I wish I could go back there right now.
Important Tip: This restaurant is CASH only.
Tide Tables was another restaurant in Cortez that was recommended by the host of our hotel. It was a little less old school than the Star Fish. As in – they do take credit cards and you are seated by a hostess and your order is taken by a waiter. Although it doesn’t have as much of that old time Florida feeling the food is still VERY good.
It has a great location literally just across the bridge with covered, outdoor, waterfront dining. They have a little marina and we saw several people arrive by boat. You can watch the pelicans fly around and the boats come and go. You will even see fisherman arriving with their catch. The atmosphere is casual and super relaxing.
We shared some peel and eat shrimp and it was fresh and delicious. The grouper sandwich was perfection and they make their own Key Lime pies.
Tip: This is a VERY busy restaurant. Either be prepared to wait or try to arrange your schedule so that you can show up shortly after it opens.
We have tons of great Mexican and Tex-Mex food where we live so I went to Wicked Cantina honestly not expecting a whole lot. So, why did we go there? Because we were in the mood for a Margarita and we had been told that they had the best!
It was a cool and breezy evening so we choose not to sit on the patio as the people out there looked like they were freezing. However, if you are visiting when it is warmer the patio is very nice and often has live music playing in the evenings.
I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised with the food here! The margaritas were just as delicious as advertised and the food was really good as well. I had the shrimp tacos and would highly recommend them!
Tip: The food is “Austin style” so it is on the spicy side! I love spicy food but I was glad that I asked for my chipotle mayo on the side. It was HOT and this way I was able to control the amount of spice in each bite.
The Donut Experiment
You have got to try this little donut shop while you are on Anna Maria Island. The Donut Experiment is pretty special.
So, here is how it goes: The donuts all start out as a plain, freshly made, cake donut. Then you get to pick the type of icing that you want, your topping, and your drizzle. There are so many options and endless combinations!
Imagine this, the icing choices are chocolate, vanilla, caramel, maple, or glaze. Then the toppings are rainbow sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles, peanuts, coconut, graham cracker, Oreo, Fruity Pebbles, bacon, Reese’s Pieces, M&M’s, chocolate chips, cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar. THEN the drizzles are raspberry, peanut Butter, chocolate, or caramel.
What flavor donut would you create?
Obviously these donuts are rich, they are also delicious, and they are happily instagrammable.
Tip: It takes some time to get your donut as they are all special orders and there is always a line at this restaurant so be prepared to have a wait.
Rod and Reel Pier Restaurant
At the Rod and Reel Pier Restaurant you will be dining on the end of a pier with gorgeous views all around. I almost felt that I was eating in a boat because the restaurant is elevated so all you see around you is the beautiful green-blue water. They have both indoor seating as well as covered outdoor seating.
This is a restaurant that has been in business since 1947 so they have a little bit of an old Florida, low key vibe and as far as food…they know what they are doing! The Rod and Reel Pier Restaurant is consistently on the “best” lists and for good reason.
The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We were here for lunch and had heard that they are known for the grouper sandwich so that is what I had. The recommendation was spot on!
If you bring your fishing gear you can even fish for a bit from the pier for a nominal charge. You can buy bait on the pier as well. I think it would be lovely to fish early in the morning and then have a nice breakfast at the restaurant.
Ginny and Jane E’s Cafe
Best breakfast on the island!
Ginny and Jane E’s Cafe is a quirky little place located at the back of a cute and crowded store. They are known for their baked goods, especially the cinnamon rolls. You should definitely try the cinnamon roll, but it is huge so you might want to bring along a friend (or two or three) to share it. They also have delicious breakfast and lunch items and healthy fruit smoothies.
This is a restaurant on Anna Maria Island that you should not miss!
North Shore Cafe
Looking for something a little lighter and healthier? Try the North Shore Cafe. This is one of the newer restaurants on Anna Maria Island. It is a cute little place that serves breakfast and lunch.
You will find coffee and espresso, specialty teas, smoothies, acai bowls, and avocado toast. Even if you aren’t typically a bougie breakfast type of person this charming little place is worth a try.
You walk to the counter to order and then you can eat in their pretty little yard under the palm trees. It is a great place to sip your morning tea or coffee with a croissant. It is so laid back and relaxing!
Hope you enjoy this list of the best restaurants on Anna Maria Island. Let us know which ones are your favorites!
Thanks for stopping by!