Start your day with one of these eight amazing dishes.
1 When it comes to power breakfasts, nobody beats Cajun-style culinary ingenuity. Consider the Crab Cakes Benedict at Upper Crust Café. This decadently delicious delicacy is laced in paprika-infused Cajun Hollandaise sauce—the ideal way to jump-start any morning. Boasting two crunchy crab cakes topped with basted eggs on two sides of an English muffin, the zesty creation is perfect for sharing—especially so you can save room for the strawberry shortcake scone. 213 W. Venice Ave., Venice, (941) 244-0430.
2 A sandwich for breakfast? You bet. Blu Island Bistro reinvents the classic BLT with a Southern twist. Their ever-popular Fried Green Tomato BLT starts with pecan-smoked bacon joining forces with fresh green tomatoes fried up in buttermilk batter and a fried egg. It’s topped off with peppery arugula and chef Alan Laskowski’s signature basil-infused garlic aioli—served on crusty sourdough bread. With breakfast like this, who needs lunch? 625 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice, (941) 485-8200.
3 FlapJacks Café will settle your hash with its Corned Beef Hash, served with two eggs perched atop sizzling home fries infused with a captivating lemony flavor. Chef/co-owner Matt Lötz (aka “The Egg Man”) assures you that his hash is no gelatinous pink meat-in-a-can; it starts as lean corned beef, carefully cured. You don’t have to wait for St. Paddy’s Day to get your hash on. 810 E. Venice Ave., Venice, (941) 480-1020.
4 While the shimmering Gulf of Mexico delights your eyes from your picnic table perch, North Jetty Tap and Grill’s Breakfast Burrito will tantalize your taste buds. Savor the scrambled eggs and mild cheddar stuffed in a flour tortilla with plenty of salsa and sour cream to smother atop. And check out the North Jetty Fish camp’s renovated trolley car. It doesn’t roll anymore—but it’ll take you straight to old-time Florida in the blink of an eye. 1000 S. Casey Key Road, Nokomis, (941) 525-8376.
5 EGGS-TRAordinary Breakfast and Lunch Café takes a more-is-more approach to their Tito Juan’s Omelet—just the thing to perk you up and set your morning straight. It’s packed with Monterey Jack cheese, sausage, onions, peppers, mushrooms and an eye-opening dose of pico de gallo. Sour cream? You can have it on the side if you’re worried about weight. Non-dieters should order a side of chocolate chip pancakes to sweeten the experience. 2282 N. Tamiami Trail, Nokomis, (941) 966-6652.
6 Café Evergreen’s inventive Café Egg Benedict from chef/owner Ted Weinberger offers two halves of an English muffin topped with quinoa cakes, poached eggs (only free-range), and rich, house-made Hollandaise sauce. (Non-carnivores will appreciate that no little piggies were harmed in the creation of this benny.) Did we mention the English muffin is gluten-free? Or that it comes with a hearty side of pan-roasted potatoes, onions, red peppers and spinach? 801 Tamiami Trail S., Nokomis, (941) 412-4334.
7 And now for something completely sweet. (Or should we say doux?) Le Petit Jardin Café’s toasted Crepe Cassatt (named after artist Mary Cassatt) is packed with silky smooth vanilla custard that melts in your mouth. As if that’s not sumptuous enough, it’s drizzled with sweet blueberry sauce, topped with whipped cream—and served with fresh blueberries alongside. Oui, la vie est douce! 1500 E. Venice Ave., Suite 401, Venice, (941) 485-4449.
8 Can you improve on the classic pancake? Eddie James Liashek, the new owner of The Breakfast Cottage, says yes. As proof, he offers the house specialty—Island Cakes, a tasty tryst between grilled pineapple and a pancake (made from house-made batter), topped with coconut and macadamia nuts. As they say in Hawaii, it’s positively onolicious! 2301 N. Tamiami Trail, Nokomis, (941) 313-9529.
*Our “8 Great” lists are not listed in order of preference.