Plenty of restaurants on Anna Maria Island offer the Florida Cuisine that travelers are looking for. Vacationing here means to enjoy beautiful beaches during the day and unwind when dining at sunset. A popular variation is the “Floribbean Cuisine”. It combines Caribbean, Latin American, classic American and European traditional elements with fresh Florida produce and seafood.
There are also specialty stores on Anna Maria Island that offer local products like fresh fish, the famous Florida orange juice or other citrus related products. Stop by the new Farmers Market on Pine Ave by the City Pier. It offers fresh produce every Tuesday from 11am-5pm during season. If you see jumping fish in the island canals it is probably mullet. Smoked mullet is a delicacy that should be on your shopping list. Enjoy it on a great lunch sandwich or as cold dinner spread.
Here are other area typical items that you will find on the Anna Maria Island restaurant menus.
Conch Fritters: This edible marine mollusk has a mild and sweet clam-like flavor. You can order a fried version in ball shape or a tomato-based conch chowder. Pronounce it “konk” to sound like a local!
Cuban Sandwich: Derived from the influence of Cuban immigrants this tasty sandwich is a favorite lunch menu item. A buttered Cuban bread comes with sliced pork, ham, Swiss cheese and pickles, will then be heated and flattened with a sandwich press for a crunchy treat.
Florida Lobster: It is also called spiny or rock lobster, has no claws and offers the best meat in the tail.
Grits: Made from hominy or coarsely ground corn grits are part of a good, old-fashioned Southern breakfast. Cheese grits are often served as side dish for dinner.
Grouper: This is probably the most popular fish. It is firm and white and served in many variations: grilled, blackened, fried, grouper fingers, seafood quesadillas and in fish tacos. Some dishes are offered at market price. Please ask before ordering!
Gulf Shrimp: The Gulf of Mexico shrimp is tender and sweet. Restaurants offer them in endless variations.
Hush Puppies: They are cornmeal fritters that are served as a side at lunch or dinner with seafood items like fried fish, oysters, shrimp or scallops.
Key Lime Pie: Key limes are the yellow variety from the Florida Keys which tart flavor gives a Key Lime pie the delicious taste. A Must dessert when visiting Anna Maria Island.
Mahi Mahi: Also known as Dorado or dolphin fish is a lean, sweet fish. Try the Rod ‘n Reel Pier Restaurant for lunch and order their superb Mahi-Mahi sandwich.
Snapper: The Florida Red snapper is the other favorite next to Grouper and is served pan-seared, crab-stuffed, cashew-encrusted, barbecued, baked or grilled.
Stone Crab Claws: During October through May local fishermen will set their traps. The crabs are de-clawed and returned to sea, therefore preserving a bountiful supply of claws for next seasons to come.