St. Armands Circle is known around the world as one of the highlights of visiting Sarasota. But when you live here, you get to know it a little more intimately and discover some of the hidden gems in its crown.
Finding your way around St. Armands is pretty easy, since it is split into four colored quadrants with navigational maps between each one. If you arrive from the east (which most do as they take in the view over the John Ringling Bridge), the Gold Quadrant will be on your right, followed counterclockwise by the Pink Quadrant, then the Purple, and finally the Aqua. Each quadrant has its own highlights -- let's check out some of my favorites and recommendations!
Each quadrant has great places to get food and drinks, and in the Gold, there are two that really stand out. Cha Cha Coconuts has a great island feel, often hosts live music, and serves up some of the best sweet potato fries in the world. Shore Diner makes excellent crafted cocktails and sources local ingredients for their delectable menu. Beyond the food, there are great places to shop, including the home of the Tube Dude.
Food and drink are plentiful at the Daiquiri Deck, where local musicians come to play at happy hour from 3-7 p.m. Lynches Pub & Grub and the New Pass Grill and Bait Shop also make nice neighbors, both serving up good food in a fun environment. For food to take home and enjoy for awhile, seek out The Spice & Tea Exchange or hot sauce heaven at Pepper Palace, where you can get all kinds of flavors for yourself or as gifts. And speaking of gifts, the Circle is replete with them; one of the best places to check out eclectic and functional art in the Pink Quadrant is The Giving Tree Gallery.
The Purple Quadrant is home to the famous Kilwin's Chocolates, as well as incredible eateries such as Tommy Bahama, Surf Shack Coastal Kitchen, and the delectable La Malinche. FantaSea has a beautiful collection of art and home decor sourced directly from ocean waters, as the whole store is filled with sea shells, luminescent stones, and a wide assortment of aquatic gifts. And of course, you can't pass up a visit to the Wyland Gallery, featuring the works of a number of artists inspired by the sea.
Fairly new to the Circle is That's Fresh Organic Juice Bar, preparing an astounding variety of juices in addition to great salads and sandwiches. The Aqua Quadrant is also home to Crab & Fin for incredibly fresh seafood and 15 South Ristorante for Italian food throughout the week and salsa dancing on the weekends. If you're looking for a place to get pampered and primed for a big night out, you'll probably want to pay a visit to The Met, the ultimate combination of spa, salon, and fashion house.
This is just a sampling of St. Armands Circle. Were I to go into complete detail, I'd have to write a book about all of the places to shop, from fashion and furniture to flip-flops and fudge. I will tell you that an ice cream cone for the stroll is a sort of mandatory accessory. With Ben & Jerry's and Kilwin's in the Purple Quadrant, and Big Olaf Creamery and Settimi's Gelato in the Pink, there are plenty of places to get a cool sweet treat.
Go explore for yourself and let me know about some of your favorite places in the the Circle! Share St. Armands experiences and discoveries on the Sarasota Property Finders Facebook Page.
Julian is a happy Sarasota resident and your go-to guy for information about the perks of living in paradise. For more, get in touch with Julian directly via the Sarasota Property Finders Contact Page.
Sarasota Area Real Estate Specialist