Ophelia’s on the Bay The seafood-centric, American-Asian fusion restaurant on Siesta Key’s bayside has earned an “extraordinary” rating by Zagat for 10 years in a row. opheliasonthebay.net. Eat Here Siesta Key An outpost of the wildly popular Eat Here restaurant in downtown Sarasota, this Siesta Key newbie is already locally famous for its Gulf Coast seafood stew, Seattle-style grilled cheese, and killer cocktails, like the pineapple-and-pomegranate martini. Siesta Key Village From getting a fix of live music at Siesta Key Oyster Bar (locals call it “SKOB”) to dining and dancing to DJ-driven tunes at Daiquiri Deck raw bar, Siesta Key Village and its 40 restaurants, bars, boutiques, and stores cater to the island’s tourist-centric population and remain busy seven nights a week.
Sunday Drum Circle On Sundays, Siesta Key’s jaw-dropping sunset is just the beginning of the weekly “Drum Circle,” a sort of flash mob of regionally epic proportions. In what’s now become a weekly tradition, the artsy, eclectic, and sometime downright weird congregate among the family folk on Siesta Key Beach for hours of drum-pounding music, dancing, and booty shaking.
Sarasota Opera House The greatest opera house in the Southeast is a haven for culture vultures and supports homegrown talent through its pioneering American Classics series, showcasing productions by American composers. The Opera House’s winter season ended in late March and included productions of Turandot, King For a Day, and Of Mice and Men. The fall season lineup is available at sarasotaopera.org.
Savor Sarasota Sarasota County’s answer to Restaurant Week, Siesta Key’s and Sarasota’s top restaurants go “on sale” during “Savor Sarasota,” lasting 14 days from June 1 through June 14. Diners delight in prix fixe three-course lunches for $15 and prix fixe three-course dinners for $25 at three dozen of the county’s top restaurants.
Jack Dusty at Ritz-Carlton
Jack Dusty Featuring coastal cuisine and craft cocktails, Jack Dusty is Sarasota County’s hottest new restaurant. Located in The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, Dusty is a seafood restaurant, lounge, and marketplace with a menu that features local caviar of Mote Marine Sturgeon, Blackened Grouper Étouffée, and Sarasota Cioppino, a sea-to-table extravaganza of gulf shrimp, bay scallops, clams, mussels, and grouper in an orange peel-and-tomato broth. Artisanal cocktails are equally excellent. Salvador Dalí Museum Though an hour from Siesta Key, museum buffs and art lovers should make the trek to the Salvador Dalí museum in St. Petersburg, arguably the best museum in the Southeast United States. The museum showcases Dalí’s largest and most comprehensive collection in the world. Be inspired and fascinated by the artist most noted for surrealism.
Closest domestic airports Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ), eight miles away. Closest international airport Tampa International Airport (TPA), 70 miles away. Total area 3.5 square miles (2.3 square miles land; 1.2 square miles water). County Sarasota County. Population 6,565 residents. Median household income $73,316. Number of households 3,330. Median property value $605,800. Public parks Bay Island Park, Siesta Beach, and Turtle Beach. Name game Originally named Sarasota Key but changed to Siesta Key in the 1920s. Former famous residents American architect Mary Rockwell Hook, one of the first women in architecture. Claims to fame No. 1 Beach in America; world’s finest, whitest sand (99.01 percent quartz). Famous nearby neighbors Lido Key, Longboat Key, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Tampa, and Clearwater Beach.
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