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A Guide To Our Favorite Eats and Treats on AMI
Restaurant recommendations, insider tips and tricks, where to eat with your toes in the sand and much more...
Since we arrived on Anna Maria Island in April 2020 we have explored almost every restaurant, shop, beach, ice cream shop, bar, and tourist trap on the island. We arrived as tourists escaping COVID lock downs and fell in love with the island and its charm. In January 2021 we moved full time to the area and started our business AMI Rentals. Since our move near the beach we have had friends and family visit us often. Each time I found myself giving them a list of all our favorite places and what to get at each. Now I’m sharing my AMI favorites with you!
Morning fares to get your day started right ...
Are you an early riser or prefer to start your day with something more like brunch? We have recommendations for all of the mentioned. Please remember to check in with each restaraunt as closures and hours of operation change often. Don’t forget you are on island time and things can take longer, waits can be longer than most would like, but I promise you everything here is worth being patient for. I will try to give you a tip of insider trick to make each mention below more enjoyable and help you navigate the options more smoothly.
One of our all time favorites is Minnie’s Beach Cafe. Minnie’s serves southern style breakfast foods to start your day off right. They are a small family owned and operated restaurant in the heart of Holmes. Beach. Minnie’s is cash only so make sure you hit the ATM before you dine. If you forget there is a ATM in the gym next door that will solve your dilemma for a service charge. If they are on a wait simply write your name on the clip board and they will call for you when they have a spot to accomodate your group size.
Ginny and Jane E’s Cafe and Gift Store is located at the northern end of the island in Anna Maria right on Gulf Dr. Ginny and Jane E’s has the biggest cinnamon rolls your eyes have ever seen! You can also get bacon, eggs and toast. Lovely seating area inside as well as small tables out front. As you enter and make your way to the ordering area in the back of the store you will pass through the gift shop that is full of local artistry and gifts to take home to remind you of your trip to AMI.
Looking for a great spot to take the kids and fill them up with pancakes? Look no further AMI Beach Cafe is located at the Manatee Public Beach serving all you can eat pancakes! A beach front cafe with toes in the sand dining is sure to start your day off right. Stay all day, enjoy ice cream, drinks, lunch, and dinner. AMI Beach Cafe has alittle bit of everything to make the whole family happy.
Fancy donuts are all the rage, The Donut Experiment is sure to delight everyone in the family. Lines can be long so ordering online would be my suggestion. You can check out the menu and complete your order online, be sure to choose Anna Maria Island – Pine Ave. They will have you in and out in a breeze! Everyone you pass will be jealous as you walk right in and back out. Located directly on Pine Ave in Anna Maria.
If you opt for the in person full experience there are tables out front for you and your family to enjoy your donuts before you take off to explore more of the island.
North Shore Cafe is greast spot located on Pine Ave in Anna Maria. Cute outdoor seating with delicious avocado toast, acai bowls, teas, and coffees. My favorite is the Avocado Toast with Chili Lime Flakes. My daughter loves their Dragon Fruit Bowl. We both love their Chai Latte. This is a great spot of relax and enjoy a healthy breakfast before you start your day at the beach. They too can have a bit of a line, but worth the wait.
Mademoiselle Paris French Restaurant and Bakery is newer to Anna Maria Island. Located in Anna Maria on Gulf Drive. They offer indoor and outdoor seating. Delicious crepes my girls loved with strawberries and nutella. I always have to go with eggs benedict with ham when available – their hollandaise was delicious. Josh went for the American Breakfast. We aslo enjoyed their Plateau Delicieux to share as an appetizer.
Located inside the Waterline Resort and Villas on the first floor is Chateau Anna Maria. Chateau serves breakfast on most days, brunch on the weekends, lunch, and one of our favorite spots for dinner. Reservations can be made on Opentable.
Breakfast and brunch are awesome with mimosas and a full bar to make your favorite beverage to start your vacation morning off right. Paired with one of my favorites: a delicous omlette, french toast, or benedict.
For those who need dozens and dozens of donuts to spoil the family one of the only chain restaraunts on the island is Dunkin Donuts in Holmes Beach. During busy season the line can be long. I highly recommend downloading the app and ordering in advance. You can cruise right in and pick up your order. I’ve waited for 45 minutes before to get a few dozen donuts to feed the hungry crew when we had visitors in town. Lesson learned the app is safely stored in my phone for future needs.
Morning eats and treats website links, addresses, and phone numbers:
- Minnie’s Beach Cafe – 5360 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217 – 941-778-4140
- Ginny & Jane E’s Cafe and Gift Store – 9807 Gulf Dr, Anna Maria, FL 34216 – 941-300-7126
- AMI Beach Cafe – 4000 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217 – 941-202-0673
- The Donut Experiment – 210c Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL 34216 – 941-896-3172
- North Shore cafe – 304 Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL 34216 – 941-900-2671
- Mademoiselle Paris French Restaurant and Bakery – 9906 Gulf Dr, Anna Maria, FL 34216 – 941-300-7263
- Chateau Anna Maria – 5325 Marina Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217 – 941-238-6264
- Dunkin Donuts – 3302 E Bay Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217 – 941-242-0260
Lunch bites to keep you fueled and having fun..
What is your favorite kind of lunch spot? Do you enjoy eating a the beach? Eating with a view? Sitting at a table with your toes in the sand? Anna Maria Island has so many lunch options to keep you fueled for the day. You can be fancy or you can sit in your chair on the beach and have a sandwhich delivered right to you. You get to pick what kind of day you want to have while you relax and enjoy AMI. Many of the mentioned lunch spots are also great dinner options – call or check online for hours of operation as they change often.
Hands down a family favorite of ours, Duffy’s Tavern. Cash only, not to worry they have an ATM onsite. No french fries here – only chips and cold sides. So here are our favorites: Navy Bean soup (don’t forget to add the special hot sauce), Mushroom Swiss Burger, and of course the Brie and Carmelized Onion Burger. Duffy’s is a popular spot on St. Patty’s Day so don’t miss out on the fun if you happen to be here in March.
Skinny’s Place is an island favorite. Outdoor and non-air conditioned seating only. Grab your friends and family and head on over. Grab a picnic table and send someone to the bar to order. I think they recently made changes that allow you to pay with plastic. They will bring your order out to you, just listen for your name to be called. Hamburgers, French Fries, and Onion Rings = yummy! But my favorite is their Buffalo Chicken Bites. Skinny’s is great for lunch or dinner. Directly across the street from the beach. It is one of our favorite places to grab a quick dinner and then walk over to watch the sunset!
Scott’s Deli makes the best sandwhiches and tacos. One of my most favorite parts is they will deliver right to you on the beach. Just call them and let them know what street beach access you are at and if you have some kind of identifying marker, such as a umbrella or beach tent. They do all the hard work and bring it right to you while you sit back relax and enjoy the sunshine. Look for the orange colorful shirt with Scott’s logo. We love the AMI Philly, Southwest Salad, Braised Beef Tacos, and Cuban Sandwhich. I also love a small tub of their chicken salad to eat with a fork!
Scott’s also offers catering which can be a great option for larger parties and gatherings. They can even pack you a lunch if you are headed out on a local fishing charter for a day full of fishing. Just let them know the charter you are booked with and when.
Jessie’s Island Store otherwise know as the Shell gas station is one of the few convenience stores on the island. They stock all the items you would expect from a convenience store: milk, juices, beer, sodas, ice, chips, and candy. One of our favorite secrets is their pre-made sandwhiches that we can grab before we hop on the boat or on our way to the beach. Chicken Salad, Ham and Cheese, Turkey and Cheese, and a lovely Cuban Sandwhich (make sure you ask them to press it).
The General Store saved us a few times we were staying on the north end of the island. They have alittle bit of everything to save the day (or night). My absolute favorite is their Chicken Salad. I frequently have my son bring some home for me, since he works next door! They have a deli where you can order quick bites to fuel you while you explore Pine Avenue. Don’t forget to grab a delicious ice cream treat at Dips.
Fifty Three Fifty – The Pour House is one of the islands newer establishments. A lovely coffee shop, meets wine bar, meets beer lovers paradise. This quite small bite chic restaurant will keep you coming back for more delicious treats. Stop in for a quick coffee, latte, or my favorite a chai latte. They have a tasty menu of small bites think breakfast wraps, hummus, and flatbreads! Our favorite is the Fungi Flatbread.
Blueberries Cafe and Wine is tucked away near the Freckled Fin on Gulf Dr. My daughter and I love their Farm Wrap. They have arguably one of the best Acai Bowls in the area and definently on the island. I love this place because it is always quick and easy for me to grab a healthy lunch and run along to finish my day on the island. They have delicious juices, smoothies, and protein shakes. A husband and wife team, they are always welcoming and kind, it is always clean and quiet.
Los Chiludos, what can I say I’m a Texan living in Florida. FINALLY a delicious taco shop on the island (in the area). This is authentic mexican food with amazing flavors! Housemade fresh tortilla chips with fresh made guacamole, I’m in heaven! After we moved here we got homesick for Mexican food. We searched and searched for tacos – we found some, but they were far. We can now skip right over to Holmes Beach and eat some of the best around,
Fresh made bake goods from local ingredients is what makes Cheesecake Cutie a wonderful addition to Anna Maria Island. Start your day with a coffee and breakfast, or grab a delicious sandwhich and salad for a quick healthy lunch. Last but not least don’t miss out on a cheese cake cutie for dessert. Make life alittle sweeter and take home a cheesecake to share after dinner!
Docksides dining in Bradenton Beach, whether you are spending the day on the water and looking for a delicous lunch or dinner spot or you are cruising the island looking for a restaurant with a water view you are sure to enjoy Bridge Tender Inn & Dockside Bar. Live music on most days or nights. Nachos, are my go to favorite. Mostly outdoor seating, but they also have a few tables indoors if you need to escape the heat or rain.
Who doesn’t love fish and chips? Kiwi Style Fish and Chips is new to AMI, located in Holmes Beach the owners are lovely. They continue to operate locations in Hawaii and Australia. We recently had a delicous lunch of Crumbled Fish and Chips for Josh, a Country Burger with Sweet Potatoe fries for me. You have options on breading for your fish battered, crumbled, or grilled. Everything was fresh and perfectly prepared. We sat at the bar since it was just the two of us. They have done a wonderful job with the space – fresh, clean, and island relaxing. The Australian Hawaiian vibe is a beautiful addition to the island.
Lunch bites - website links, addresses, and phone numbers:
- Duffy’s Tavern– 5808 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217 – 941-778-2501
- Skinny’s Place – 3901 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34271 – 941-778-7769
- Scott’s Deli – 6000 Marina Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217 – 941-778-3000
- Jessie’s Island Store (The Shell Station)- 5424 Marina Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217 – 941-778-6903
- The General Store – 503 Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL 34216 – 941-779-9200
- Fifty Three Fifty, The Pour House – 5350 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217 – 941-251-3681
- Blueberries Cafe and Wine – 5337 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217 – 786-296-9612
- Los Chiludos – 3232 East Bay Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217 – 941-345-4102
- The Cheesecake Cutie & Cafe – 3324 East Bay Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217 – 941-779-2253
- The Bridge Tender Inn & Dockside Bar – 135 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217 – 941-778-4849
- Kiwi Sytle Fish and Chips – 3608 East Bay Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217 – 941-704-5040
Dinners and Date Nights...
I love a good date night, but dinner with friends and family are what vacations are all about. Dining out can be a challenge in large groups on Anna Maria Island. Most of the restaurants are not built to accomodate big groups, but there are a few tips and tricks that can make your dinner dining more enjoyable.
What can I say Waterfront is a must for us when we have guests in town, and one of our go to date night favorites! Insider tip – send a member of your party over after you leave the beach or around 5pm to put your name on the list while everyone else showers and gets ready for dinner. They will collect a name and phone number and
text you when your table is ready. Prepare yourself for a long wait, especially if you ave a larger group. It’s worth the wait and really something you should squeeze in. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but here are a few of our favorite items. Their Kung Pao Calamari, it is the best I’ve ever had – I love the sweet and spicy paired with banana peppers and feta cheese – perfectly fried and delicious! Lobster Bisque shockingly is our youngest favorite (she calls it tomato soup though). Tuna Sashimi, the best and freshest you will get on AMI. Wasabi Crusted Tuna is a must, my daughter and I split the tuna and are more than satisfied. Their jalapeno margarita is our favorite adult beverage.
Arguably the finest dining on the island can be found at Beach Bistro. A quiet atmosphere to enjoy the most romantic of dinners. Don’t shy away from the tasting menu, there is something in each of the “acts” for everyone. You will be full and satisfied. A few of our favorites are The Pink Drink, Cesar Salad, Lobstercargot, Beef Tenderloin, and Chocolate Truffle. Great for smaller groups, but able to accomodate arger groups with
advanced notice. The bar is a great option for a less formal dining experience, with all the same quality and service. They have tables on the beach for those that want the ultimate beach dining experience. One of the most magnificent locations to enjoy a beautiful sunset with your toes in the sand and craft cocktail in your hand. A change in ownership has ended the vaccination requirement so that rumor can be put to bed. Call for reservations – ask for a blanket if you are cold – go experience this amazing food heaven.
Blue Marlin Seafood Restaurant in Bradenton Beach is another favorite. Situated in a cute blue cottage on historic Bridge Street the atomosphere is quiet and coastal. They serve fresh fish caught by the Cortez fishing fleet, as well as perfectly prepared steaks, chicken, and other features. I highly recommend making a reservation in advance since it is a rather small restaurant. Indoor and outdoor seating available. Check out my blog post with a few of our favorite menu items.
The Feast is located in the heart of Holmes Beach our go-to for the best pizza (in our opinion) on the island. Our favorite pizzas – The Works, Mighty Meat, and White Pizza. I also love their Greek Salad with Chicken. Perfectly located in the center of the island in Holmes Beach. We also love to get a pizza or two to-go and head to the beach with a blanket/towels for a sunset dinner on the beach.
Ahhhh what can I say Texan’s in Florida we love our Tex-Mex and Wicked Cantina does a great job of delivering consistently good Tex-Mex. Their Mango Margaritas are our favorite adult beverages, paired with their Wicked Queso, chips and salsa to get the meal started. Our favorite menu items are their Fajita and Greens with Chicken, the TexMex Bowl, Wicked Tacos, and #1 The Favorite. Our bellies are always happy and full after a meal at Wicked Cantina in Bradenton Beach. Inside or outside dining with live music outside most afternoon and evenings.
Swordfish Grill and Tiki Bar in Cortez boasts waterfront dockside dining you can choose inside or outside dining. Situated right in the heart of Cortez fishing village this restaurant brings the feels and views that truly are the life and backbone of the area. Swordfish is one of the few options that is great for larger groups. At this time you are able to make reservations online. We love to spend the day on the water and stop in for a delicous dinner by boat. Our favorite menu items are Firecracker Shrimp, Coconut Shrimp, Shrimp and Grits, and the Seafood Platter. Don’t skip out on the most delicious Potato Salad – sweet and savory! Live music outside at the Tiki Bar makes for a lovely evening under the lights!
TIde Tables in Cortez is a local favorite! Located right off the Cortez Bridge at marker 48 on the ICW. Here is our list of favorites: Grouper Bites, Gumbo, Fried Mushrooms, Grouper Taco’s, Combo Basket (upgrade to Grouper), and Mojo Chicken. Safe to say if you are given the option to upsell or have Grouper take it! The seafood at Tide Tables is locally caught and could not be more fresh! You are going to love the relaxed old Florida vibe. Mostly outdoor seating at picnic tables with unbrellas – they do have a few tables and a bar inside. You can roll in here in your finest or you can come in your swimsuit cover up off the boat. We have also ordered to-go and headed to the Long Boat Key pass for a sunset dinner on the boat!
Do you think you can predict the exact minute the sun will set on the horizon? The Sandbar is waiting for you! A beautiful place for lunch or dinner with your toes in the sand. Great spot for larger groups, waits can be long depending on time of day and season. Send someone to put your name on the list early, or anticipate the wait and use the time to check out some of the area shops on Pine Ave. Their Brussell Sprouts are my favorite!
Duffy’s Tavern, I can’t tell you how much this place is one of our favorites for lunch or dinner. Seat yourself and order from the bar, this low key local favorite is sure to satisfy everyone in your group. There is indoor seating and outdoor in the back. Great for families and groups. Cash only, but they have a ATM on site. Burgers, cold sides, hot dogs, and the best navy bean soup!
Dinner and Date Night recommendations website links, addresses, and phone numbers:
- Waterfront – 311 S Bay Blvd, Anna Maria, FL 34216 – 941-778-1515
- Beach Bistro – 6600 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217 – 941-778-6444
- The Porch – 9707 Gulf Dr, Anna Maria, FL 34216 – 941-782-8683
- Blue Marlin Seafood Restaraunt – 121 Bridge St, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217 – 941-896-9737
- The Feast – 5406 Marina Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217 – 941-778-5092
- Wicked Cantina – 107 7th Street N, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217 – 941-281-2990
- Swordfish Grill & Tiki Bar – 4628 119th St W, Cortez, FL 34215 – 941-798-2035
- Tide Tables Restaurant & Marina – 12507 Cortez Rd W, Cortez, FL 34210 – 941-567-6206
- Sandbar Seafood and Spirits – 100 Spring Ave, Anna Maria, FL 34216 – 941-778-0444
- Duffy’s Tavern – 5808 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217 – 941-778-2501
- The Chateau Anna Maria – 5325 Marina Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217 – 941-238-6264
- The Bridge Tender Inn & Dockside Bar – 135 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217 – 941-778-4849
Desserts and Treats
Now for the sweet treats! Anna Maria Island has several Ice Cream shops along the island from Anna Maria to Bradenton Beach don’t miss out on a delicious scoop of ice cream or a tasty brownie from one of these local favorites.
Two Scoops is one of our family favorites – ice cream, sundae’s, milk shakes, and floats and so much more. I’m a sucker for a coke float, and their is delicious. Their cones are yummy and the ice cream that tops it comes in almost any flavor you could want. Eat your ice cream goodies quick if you go outside because that Florida heat has it melting pretty quick. You can enjoy your tasty treat inside or outside at one of the tables. Our favorite is when we get our ice cold deliciousness we walk across the street to The City Pier for a quick walk. The City Pier is a great spot to catch a glimps of a manatee or maybe a fever of sting rays!
Dips is another favorite and attached to The General Store. They have a great deck you can enjoy your ice cream with you family or large group. They have specialty flavors that change during the different seasons so make sure you check out their special board.
Small Town Creamery is located in Holmes Beach next to The Feast. They have ice cream, shakes, baked treats, candy, and fudge. The Red Velvet flavor is a favorite in our bunch, but you really can’t go wrong with anything here. Grab a ice cream after dinner at The Feast. Plenty to entertain you in this shopping plaza.