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The weather is very bad back in New York City, but we are safe and (slightly) warmer in Sarasota. We had two sets of visitors at our vacation home in Longboat Key this week, and we tried two new restaurants that were both winners.
Mediterraneo is an authentic Italian restaurant in the Historic Downtown District of Sarasota, right across the street from the beautiful Regal 20 Theaters. Two of our friends who live here in Sarasota highly recommended Mediterraneo, so we decided to try it and we were so happy we are returning again tonight with our new visitors.
I started with a Spinach salad, which had pears, pecorino cheese and toasted walnuts on top. The waiter brought the table a bottle of balsamic vinegar and a bottle of olive oil to dress the salad individually. It was very fresh and light.
For my entree I chose the Spaghetti alla Gricia, which had pancetta and cheese mixed in with the pasta water to make a sinfully delicious dinner. I savored every bite. I could only eat half it was so filling. One of our dining companions chose the lamb shank, and he was the envy of many in our group.
The service was wonderful, our server was friendly and knowledgable, able to answer all of our questions and provide some terrific suggestions. The room was a little noisy, it reminded me of a Manhattan restaurant in that regard, and the tables were pretty close together as it is a smaller dining room and a very popular restaurant. I highly recommend Mediterraneo.
Last night we stayed on Longboat Key and tried Euphemia Haye, a local landmark. The restaurant stands out from the road with its beautiful landscaping filled with lovely tiny white lights. That is continued into the restaurant, located in an historic old cottage. It's perfect for a romantic evening out.
Our server here was also friendly and gave us an overview of the menu, such as the dishes they are best known for, including a Crisp Roast Duckling whose presentation was pretty spectacular. (Two neighboring tables ordered it.)
The banana bread on the table was so fabulous, I had two pieces. I chose the appetizer special, Quattro Formaggio, a small slice of a savory cheesecake of ricotta and three other cheeses, topped with bacon, sour cream and green onions, served with a side of greens. It was delicious!
The other diners had a Caesar salad, which was very good, and a Waldorf salad that looked great too. I chose the Gamberetti with Capellini, shrimp with garlic and herbs in a white wine sauce over egg pasta. It was very light and refreshing after my heavier appetizer.
My husband had the Filet Mignon, served on a potato pancake that he enjoyed. For dessert, we shared a Banana Cream Pie and our other diners shared a Chocolate Mousse that they raved about.
Chef Ray Arpke came around to each table to greet everyone, which is such a nice touch. The ambience is so relaxing, and next time we will be sure to visit the Haye Loft upstairs, which serves lighter fare and has live music each night.
Both restaurants were winners, and we will be visiting them often. Reservations are recommended for both.
Mediterraneo's website is here.
Euphemia Haye's website is here.
To all who are in the path of Jonas, please stay safe and warm.