Although there are hundreds of places to which you can drive for a great meal or cocktail in Osprey, Nokomis, Venice and Englewood, how about going by boat? Take your own, hop on with a friend or rent a boat for the day from Freedom Boat Club or Waves. Then, set sail on a culinary tour down the Intracoastal waterways and experience dining as you can only in Florida. Here’s a north-to-south rundown of places ranging from beer and burger joints to fine dining establishments, all with available boat parking. Getting there is half the fun!
1. Spanish Pointe Restaurant & Pub Casual dining under a tiki hut with live music in the evenings. 135 Bayview Drive, Osprey. spanishpointe.com
2. Casey Key Fish House Great seafood in an old Florida setting, with a separate tiki bar featuring live music on weekends. 801 Blackburn Point Road, Osprey. caseykeyfishhouse.com
3. Pelican Alley Old Florida meets New England with full lunch and dinner menus; live music on Friday evenings. 1009 Albee Road, Nokomis. pelicanalley.com
4. Pop’s Sunset Grill A lively bar and seafood scene with a newly renovated dining area featuring cozy fire pits. Plenty of specials and live music. 112 Circuit Road, Nokomis. popssunsetgrill.net
5. Crow’s Nest A landmark Venice restaurant with fine dining upstairs and a casual tavern downstairs. 1968 Tarpon Drive (at the Venice inlet), Venice. crowsnest-venice.com
6. Marker 4 Oyster Bar Located at Fisherman’s Wharf near the Hatchett Creek bridge in Venice, Marker 4 is a great spot for boat watching. Find them on Facebook. 505 N. Tamiami Trail, Venice.
7. Zeke’s Bayside Bar and Grill A fun atmosphere in a beautiful setting, with live music four nights a week. 779 W. Wentworth Street, Englewood (at the Royal Palm Marina). royalpalmmarina.com/dining
8. Farlow’s on the Water Indoor and outdoor dining in a tropical atmosphere, featuring a Caribbean-style menu and live entertainment four nights a week. 2080 S. McCall Road, Englewood. farlowsonthewater.com
9. Stump Pass Grille & Tiki Bar Very casual, with a picturesque setting overlooking Lemon Bay. 260 Maryland Ave., Englewood (at the Stump Pass Marina). stumppassgrille.com
10. Rum Bay Restaurant Located in the Palm Island Resort, Rum Bay is accessible only by boat! Take your own or hop on the free ferry at the Palm Island Marina. Casual lunch and dinner menu with lots of surf and turf. rumbaypalmisland.com