Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Mar Vista: Dockside Dining on Sarasota Bay

The quaint waterside Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant and Pub, located on the north end of Longboat Key in the heart of historic Longboat Village, has the look and feel of Florida the way it used to be. Arrive by boat and moor at Mar Vista's docks or amble in by car to enjoy fresh Florida seafood, fresh grouper sandwiches and cool sangria inside the rustic dining room, on the outdoor covered deck or on one of the coveted tables by the beach overlooking picturesque Sarasota Bay. Built in 1912, Mar Vista was spared when a hurricane in 1921 wiped out large chunks of the Island, and as a consequence, this Old Florida-style restaurant is considered one of the twelve oldest surviving structures on Longboat Key. Known more familiarly by locals as 'The Pub', Mar Vista is owned by CRG - the Chiles Restaurant Group- which also owns the Beach House Restaurant on Bradenton Beach and the Sandbar Restaurant on Anna Maria.

The original Mar Vista, one of the twelve oldest surviving structures on Longboat Key

The menus at each of the restaurants are pretty much the same, serving a vast array of fresh seafood, sandwiches and salads, but one feature in which they all excel are their waterfront locations and spectacular views. Everything just tastes better when you can squish your toes in powdery fine white sand, soak up the sun and become mesmerized by the bright blue water. A glass of sangria or potent Rum Runner doesn't hurt either.

Gorgeous Bougainvillea grow alongside the Mar Vista 

Outdoor dining on the beach overlooking Sarasota Bay

LBK Rum Runner with Bacardi Rum, Bacardi Select, Blackberry Banana and Tropical Fruit Juices

The “Pub” Margarita with Patron Silver Tequila, Lime Juice and Grand Marnier

Mar Vista Lemonade with Absolut Raspberry Vodka, Pink Lemonade and a Splash of Soda

The “Margarona”— A Pub Margarita with a Coronita flipped end up inside

Calamari lightly seasoned and fried, then topped with Parmesan cheese and served with marinara sauce

Blackened Gulf Flounder Fish Tacos on Corn and Flour Tortillas with soy, wasabi and yuzu slaw with cilantro and onion

The Mar Vista Burger with 1/2-pound Angus Beef, Cheddar, Bacon, Onions and French Fries

One of the age-old gnarly trees that grow along the shore

A flock of wild peacocks roam freely in historic Longboat Village, 
around the corner to Mar Vista