Gulf shrimp, rock shrimp, grouper, stone crabs—these are some Venice Florida seafood restaurant specialties. Many restaurants have waterside tables and/or water views, but don’t ignore the seafood restaurants that don’t—some of the tastiest seafood is served at the inland restaurants, and it’s often easier to find a table available at them.
Sharky’s is among Venice’s oldest and most-visited restaurants. Located right at the land end of the Venice Fishing Pier between two beaches, it’s always busy, especially so at sunset. Often you must wait for a table. The food is good, and prices moderate for what you get. Fins, next door, is its upscale version, with higher prices and classier surroundings.
The Old Salty Dog has several restaurant locations, including at 1475 Tamiami Trail South in Venice, just north of Circus Bridge. Indoor and terrace dining areas have views of the Intracoastal Waterway.
Left Coast Seafood, 385 US 41 Bypass North, is one of those not-on-the-seashore restaurants with excellent seafood, carefully prepared, at good prices. It’s a fsvorite with families looking for good fish at a price they can afford.
Captain Eddie’s Seafood restaurant, market & Tiki bar: there’s no water view at 107 Colonia Lane East, corner of US 41, just very good, fresh seafood, carefully prepared. Dine inside in comfortable surroundings, or out on the terrace by the Tiki bar. My favorite: grouper cheeks!
Pop’s Sunset Grill, just south of Albee Road West in Nokomis, faces west on the Intracoastal Waterway, with three buildings and a nice garden. It’s usually crowded, and the parking lot fills early and often.
Casey Key Fish House, 801 Blackburn Point Road on Casey Key in Osprey, sits on the shore with some tables right over the water. This is an old-style Florida fish house with basic decor, simple but good food, moderate prices, and a separate Tiki Bar.
Another Old Florida fish house, Philippi Creek, 5353 South Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, 14 miles (22.5 km) north of Venice, is simple in decor but many of the picnic-style tables have water views. The food is simple but good, the atmosphere as informal as can be.