Saturday, April 13, 2013

Euphemia Haye

Chef owned and operated since 1980, Euphemia Haye Restaurant, is locally thought of as the best restaurant in Sarasota. Located inside a historic, wooden cottage, Euphemia Haye is hidden amongst a scenic “jungle” of tropical greenery where palm trees are studded in twinkly lights and birds of paradise are blooming. Located in the convenient location of Longboat Key, Euphemia Haye is a pleasant and scenic short drive from Bradenton, Anna Maria Island, Sarasota and St. Armand's Circle. If you are visiting Anna Maria Island, this is the most exquisite and intimate dining you will find.

Chef Raymond Arpke, co-owner and cookbook author, along with his wife D’Arcy, are the restaurant’s inspirations. Some of their popular and original dishes are the Crisp Roast Duckling served over a savory bread stuffing with a seasonal fresh berry sauce or the Flambéed Prime Peppered Steak – a trimmed boneless strip steak rolled in cracked peppercorns, pan-fried and served with a hot & sweet orange, brandy, butter sauce.

Keith's parents rave about Euphemia Haye each time they return from Florida, so knowing we would be on island, we made reservations for Saturday night.  The decor was a bit old fashioned, yet still charming and nice for a lovely evening.  The dining room was crowded with each table full of mostly larger parties of 6 or more.  Our server was very professional and allowed us time to peruse the wine menu and look over the night's specials.  We also nibbled on fresh banana bread that was quickly brought to our table.  A few items on the list of specials popped out to us, but we decided to stick to the regular menu and ordered the tuna sashimi appetizer to share. The dish was pre-split in presentation and featured two thin slices each of fresh Florida tuna, pan-seared rare, chilled, and topped with a wasabi aioli.  On the side was a tasty seaweed salad, fried rice noodles, and teriyaki poached ginger chunks.  The dish was light and refreshing and a great way to start off the meal.

For my main course, I chose the Scallops California. I am a sucker for scallops, and these did not disappoint. I devoured my plate of large pan seared sea scallops splashed with white wine, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic, finished with butter and served with white rice.  Keith ordered the restaurant's famous Prime Peppered Steak.  A trimmed boneless strip steak rolled in cracked peppercorns is then pan-fried and served with a hot and sweet orange, brandy, and butter sauce.  This peppered steak was unique and different from other renditions that Keith has enjoyed before.  The cut of meat they used - a strip steak - was also unusual as Keith described it often has less flavor than other cuts of meat. Perhaps that is why they chose the heavy pepper crust preparation.  As a side, Keith ate the creamed spinach, which was chopped and braised with dairy fresh cream, garlic, and herbs.  For nearly $55, the steak was a bit high in price yet comparable to other high end steakhouses.  Chef Raymond came out to the dining area and greeted each table.  He personally welcomed us to the restaurant and asked us how we liked our meal.  I found this extra gesture of personal outreach with customers to be a classy touch that is often forgotten by big name restaurants these days.  Tt is clear that Chef Raymond prides himself as both  the chef and owner of Euphemia Haye.
Image via Euphemia Haye website

The Haye Loft lounge and dessert bar located upstairs from the main dining room offers visitors with an upscale atmosphere, live music and top shelf liquors that they so desire, on a first come first served basis. It is truly a classic and the most-sought after destination of all Longboat Key bars. Our server let us know before meal's end that if we wanted to have dessert upstairs, he would reserve us a table.  We agreed, and he escorted us up after we settled the dinner bill.  A long table displaying the day's fresh desserts seduces patrons into ordering one (or two) of the sweet endings.  We were stuffed, but in keeping with the spirit of "let's go for the whole experience," we shared the Florida Key Lime Pie.  (Although the chocolate peanut butter pie was calling Keith's name! I promised him we would get it next time.)  The pie was much more sweet than I expected, but being a Floridian staple, I am glad we chose it while here.  Strangely, the little swirl of chocolate sauce on the plate married well with the sweet and tart key lime flavor.  I was surprised with how much I enjoyed the combination.

A bit high in price, I would reserve Euphemia Haye for a special occasion yet recommend you check it out at least once.  If dinner is out of the question, at least try the desserts offered in the Loft.

Total Rating: 3.5
Food: 4, Price: 2, Service: 4, Ambience: 3.5, Accessibility: 3

What I ate:
Pepper Crusted Tuna Sashimi
Fresh Florida tuna, pan-seared rare, chilled, and sliced.
Accompanied by a seaweed salad, fried rice noodles,
teriyaki poached ginger, and wasabi aioli

Scallops California
Pan seared sea scallops splashed with white wine,
sun-dried tomatoes and garlic.
Finished with butter and served with white rice.

Florida Key Lime Pie

Plus Keith ate:

Euphemia's Prime Peppered Steak
a trimmed boneless strip steak rolled in cracked peppercorns,
pan-fried and served with a hot & sweet orange, brandy, butter sauce

Creamed Spinach
Steamed spinach, chopped and braised with dairy fresh cream, garlic, and herbs

 Euphemia Haye Restaurant on Urbanspoon


  1. Wow...nice post! Euphemia has been on my wishlist for some I'm gonna have to make it happen. One of the best key lime pies I ever tasted was in Key West (of course) and its graham cracker crust was lined with chocolate ganache. To. Die. For. While you're in the Bradenton/Sarasota area, I highly recommend working Beach Bistro on Holmes Beach into your dining itinerary. Both the food and the view are amazing. It was the finest meal I've ever had in Florida. You will drop some serious coin there, but it's so worth it.

    1. Thanks for the tip! I did see the Beach Bistro and it was packed when we drove by. Perhaps next time we visit AMI.


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