Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Beach Bistro: La Dolce Vita on Anna Maria Island

Beach Bistro is one of the finest restaurants in South Florida. Overlooking Holmes Beach on beautiful Anna Maria Island, Beach Bistro, which is owned and run by Canadian Sean Murphy, has received more awards for their outstanding cuisine than perhaps any other restaurant in the area, and for good reason. The Bistro’s focus from inception was perfection. The Bistro’s relentless pursuit of culinary and service excellence has earned Sean regional and national acclaim from the Sarasota Herald, Tampa Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times, in addition to being deemed one of the Top 20 Restaurants in Florida and consistently being awarded the highest Zagat ratings in the state.

Warm Duckling Salad with arugula and watercress

And the cuisine is excellent, from their Warm Maple Leaf Duckling Salad with arugula and watercress in a cognac citrus-bacon vinaigrette with apples, red onions, mangoes and candied walnuts, or the Nova Scotia Smoked Salmon on parade with capers, caviar and key lime crème fraiche as starters to entrées like their outstanding signature Bouillabaise with lobster tails, jumbo shrimp, shellfish and calamari with garlic toasts and aioli, or Herb Rubbed Pan Seared Rack of Lamb finished with a port rosemary demi-glace to the over-the-top 'Food Heaven' — Beach Bistro's rich marriage of Colorado lamb, butter-poached Nova Scotia lobster and Hudson Valley foie gras, all on a brioche bread pudding and served with a port, demi-glace and a sip of Essensia, which Sean christened — "a Dionysian vision from the end of a pier in Maine." 

Nova Scotia Smoked Salmon with capers and caviar

Beach Bistro's signature Bouillabaise

Rack of Lamb

It's understandable why many dinner guests might not have the stamina to embrace one of Beach Bistro's "Happy Endings" — an inspired and artistic selection of desserts and specialty coffees. Culinary confections such as Praline Alexandra with French vanilla ice cream and Frangelico; Chocolate Truffle Terrine made with intense Callebaut bittersweet chocolate; Florida Key Lime Pie made with fresh lime juice and garnished with fresh berries, creme anglaise and berry coulis; New York-style Cheesecake made with a gingersnap crust and a caramalized pineapple compote; or The Hat Trick — three delectable flavours of crème brûlée presented in small pots garnished with a flotilla of rose petals.

New York-style Cheesecake

The Hat Trick — three flavours of crème brûlée

Incredibly, after complimentary amuse-bouches, delicious starters and superb entrées, we boldly ordered a selection of desserts that were a feast for the eyes, as well as the palate, with garnishes that made each confection an edible piece of art. 

Beach Bistro overlooking Holmes Beach at sunset

And the restaurant is like a painting, with it's spectacular setting on Holmes Beach, complimented by the finest food in the area, an extraordinary wine list and a dedicated and professional staff that have been with Sean for years. No one ever leaves, and a stream of steady clients return year after year, earning Beach Bistro top honours as the culinary doyenne of the Gulf Coast.