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Leisure is a way of life in Sarasota, where the hours between breakfast and lunch often seem to melt together in the sunshine. The options for brunching are vast, but these picks are some of the best.
1. Station 400. This hip Parisian bistro is a breakfast, lunch and brunch standard in Sarasota. It could be the fresh-baked-daily breads and pastries, the local organic ingredients in dishes like truffle eggs Benedict and fried green tomato BLTs, or simply the atmosphere itself that keeps customers raving. The restaurant occupies a former train depot that was originally constructed in 1852, and features a shaded, patio dining area alongside a brick-paved street of downtown Sarasota’s Rosemary District.
2. The Savory Street. This international eatery in downtown Sarasota lives a double life. In the morning and through lunchtime, The Savory Street is a bakery and café with an extensive menu that covers everything from quiche Lorraine and banana pancakes drizzled in caramel to delectable sandwiches, salads and soups. In the evening, it transforms into an upscale dining establishment. Savory Street’s broad, international menu makes it a brunch favorite.
3. C’est la Vie. Located along Main Street, the central vein of downtown Sarasota, is C’est la Vie, a family-owned bakery and café noted for serving up authentic French classics, from fresh-baked pastries, baguettes and crepes to the ever-popular croque monsieur. In addition to classic French café fare, C’est la Vie is the place to go for people watching. Grab a spot in the sidewalk seating area and enjoy an espresso while you take in the sights and sounds of downtown Sarasota.
4. The Toasted Mango. The Toasted Mango Café is the creation of two friends, both veterans of the service industry, who felt that great restaurant service has become a dying art. Friendly service is the first commandment at The Toasted Mango, a quiet neighborhood café that specializes in breakfast and lunch. Try the signature dish — the Toasted Mango Waffle is topped with fresh mango slices, toasted coconut and whipped cream. You’ll be in brunch heaven.
5. The Sun Garden Café. From healthy to hearty fare, The Sun Garden Café, located within walking distance of the beach on Siesta Key, has a little something for everyone. Start out with fresh-squeezed juice or an energy smoothie if you’re feeling health conscious — or go the other direction with a local favorite, the “Elvis Fried Chicken Plate” with fried eggs, biscuits and gravy. The lunch menu is equally diverse, with options ranging from unusual delights like Boursin-stuffed figs to simple favorites like fish and chips. Enjoy brunch in the café’s sunny garden setting before basking your afternoon away on the beach.