Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sandbar Restaurant

The Sandbar, located on the north end of Anna Maria Island, has for decades been a favorite for locals and a great place for out of town guests. With an inside dining room or outside front deck, relax on the Gulf and enjoy your meal before watching a beautiful sunset.  Serving some of the freshest seafood on the Island, the Sandbar is also popular for beach weddings and receptions.

August 2009:  We spent a weekend at Anna Maria Island and were recommended to eat at the Sandbar for their famous fish sandwich. We were seated on the deck with a perfect view of the water and sunset. Our server was friendly and although it was fairly crowded, Sandbar has a great laid back atmosphere. Our appetizer was great – very large and tasty. My fish sandwich was fresh and a nice piece of meat, however was plainly seasoned. I also did not care for the pina colada drink – too much dark rum that made it taste almost sour and spoiled. All in all, a great place to eat on the beach and I would recommend it to other visitors to Anna Maria Island.

December 2011:  We returned to the Sandbar for lunch during our second trip to Anna Maria Island. We were already hanging out on the beach, soaking up some rays, and decided to just walk down to the restaurant.  The stroll was so easy and it was nice to walk right up, bare foot, and be seated along the sand with a prime view of the water.  Our server, Lindsay, was super nice, friendly and laid back.  Unfortunately, they were out of the Grouper sandwich today so I opted for something different, choosing the coconut shrimp salad that just sounded so tropical with its mango relish and passion fruit vinaigrette dressing.  Keith was able to get Grouper in the fish tacos.  Although the fish itself was good, he did not care for the lackluster rice and beans that came with it.  He thought a different side, such as spicy tator tots, would have been better.  We also shared the special appetizer of Cajun oysters, which were baked with a little bit of spice - very creamy and delicious!  All in all, the Sandbar is a must-stop restaurant when visiting the Island.

April 2013: Three times a charm!  We returned for our last dinner this weekend trip and were happy to see the restaurant had undergone extensive renovations.  Now the dining area is much larger and airier with some booths on the left side with seating by large windows overlooking the beach on the far right and open seating in the middle (perfect for larger groups).  We originally wanted to sit outside, but with a wait of over an hour we asked for a table inside by the window instead.  The wait was only about 15 minutes and while we wanted to view the sunset, it was just too cloudy to see anything after all.  Regardless, we aimed to enjoy our last evening on Anna Maria Island.  A few items from the daily specials stood out to Keith and he ended up ordering the Grilled Oysters appetizer to start.  They were large and served simply with butter and lemon.  For his main dish, he chose the Grilled Swordfish special that came with two scallops and two shrimp.  He opted for the Caesar salad and baked potato as accompaniments.  His swordfish was a bit overcooked, yet still tasted fresh and was satisfying as his "last seafood meal."  I chose the Stuffed Shrimp that were five large Gulf shrimp baked and stuffed with baby shrimp and crabmeat.  The shrimp were large and plentiful and the dish was very hot - fresh from the oven, which I truly appreciated.  I also chose the baked potato for my side yet picked the Island Salad of mixed greens, mangos, Gorgonzola cheese and pralines, served with a tropical dressing.  The mango was not fresh, but tasted more like a canned puree.  However, I still enjoyed my last taste of island fare.

Total Rating: 3.875
Food: 3.5, Price: 4, Service: 4, Ambience: 5, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:
Baked Oysters
Oysters on the ½ shell, baked with shrimp, cheese and bread stuffing

Grouper Sandwich
Grilled. Served with fries.
Cajun Oysters
Oysters on the ½ shell, baked with Cajun spices, cheese and bread stuffing

Coconut Shrimp Salad
coconut breaded and deep fried shrimp on a bed of lettuce
topped with chopped walnuts, gorgonzola cheese, mango relish
served with passion fruit vinaigrette
Stuffed Shrimp
five large Gulf shrimp baked with baby shrimp and crabmeat stuffing

Plus Keith ate:
Grouper Sandwich
Fried. Served with fries
Grouper Fish Tacos
served with rice and beans
Grilled Oysters
with lemon and butter

Grilled Swordfish
with two scallops and two shrimp and a lemon butter sauce

Sandbar Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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