Sunday, February 1, 2009

Places I Eat: The Sandbar, Anna Maria Island

After having a picnic, the Sandbar on Anna Maria Island is my second favorite place to eat on the beach. The restaurant opened in 1913, and I've been going since I was a little girl. This was the first place I was allowed to sit at a table sans parents, making me feel like such an adult. I must have been about 9 or 10 when my friend and I were allowed our own table; truth be told it was probably as much of a break from the adults to be rid of us as it was for us to be rid of them.

You can eat inside, but the main attraction is the outside seating deck and the tables that are right on the beach. James and I went one night in early November. It was freakishly cold that night, but with the outside heaters we decided to brave the cold to enjoy the sunset. The outside area has such a great relaxed atmosphere with live music. There was a wedding at their reception pavilion that night, so we were "treated" to their music instead of our own.The Sandbar have a lovely menu of tropical drinks, perfect for a hot sunny day. My favorite is the Passion Fruit Pina Colada, but I passed as it was too cold that night for a frozen drink. James stayed true to his Sandbar staple, a Bahama Mama. The Sandbar has two different menus: a Deck Menu and an Inside Menu. As I don't eat seafood, this can prove to be a bit of a challenge. They have an amazing Shrimp salad that I'm able to get with blackened or jerk chicken that is sprinkled with Gorgonzola cheese, fresh mango, and has a passion fruit dressing. Until recently, it had been added to the Deck Menu, but as it was so cold that night, I wasn't in the mood for salad. Once it gets warmer it's back to pleading with my server to have something on the Inside Menu.

We had gotten there a little early for the sunset so decided to have a starter. I had their house salad (also with mango and passion fruit dressing) and James opted for a more sensible cup of soup. We both opted for the Buffalo Burger with Swiss, Mushrooms, and Sauteed Onions as our main course. There is something about a burger on the beach that you just can't beat. It also takes be back to my childhood when it was about the only non-seafood option. The burgers there are huge, and when paired with fries, can definitely be shared by two, which is what we'll do the next time we get a burger there.

Sitting in the cold was completely worthwhile for a view like this... Another perk of eating outside before sunset is that your server takes your guess of what time you think the sun will disappear into the gulf. Whoever gets the closest guess to the actual time wins a bottle of sparkling wine. We've yet to win, but have come pretty close. Whether your looking for somewhere to unwind after a stressful weekday or to have a relaxing dinner on the weekend, The Sandbar is definitely a lovely place to be.


Rosie said...

Hi Amy Jemima, thanks for calling by my blog :)

This is a lovely post to read and I am enjoying just pretending I’m on the beach eating too ;) We have snow in U.K. and its cold so a little sun would be lovely right now!

Best wishes Rosie x

kate said...

thanks for the trip down memory lane!! i loved it there. but last visit we got in speeding ticket going through the little village we were going all of 40 in 30 speed zone...

gina said...

Hi Amy
We used to vacation on Anna Maria every year from the time I was 3 to 30. Even though I grew up in west Bradenton we still rented a place on the beach for a week and were lazy in the sun. Sandbar rest. and Mr. Bones were a staple for eating out. great post!

Larry Chatt said...

Great stuff! Wonderful post. Just a mention that the owner of the Sandbar is attempting to keep Anna Maria City low rise with the Pine Avenue Restoration project. There is some minor opposition but we are excited to have a wonderful botique and gift shop village that can be walked after a great meal at the Sandbar. A great blog that mentions the Sandbar and other restaurants on Anna Maria Island is . Take care and wonderful information and pictures!

kate said...

hi amy,
youve been tagged, please go to our blog and ck out rules, have fun and pass it on to your friends. thanks

Amy Jemima said...

Hi Rosie - thanks for stopping by mine! Hope you are keeping warn with all of that snow over there! Perfect weather for Sticky Toffee Pudding! Am thinking of making your marmalade cake this weekend. If it makes you feel any better it has been really cold here, to cold for the beach, though this weekend is going to be a bit warmer. x

Hi Kate - Florida is the only place you can get a ticket for speeding going the pace of a snail! Am going to try to get some photos to you this weekend, last weekend was a bit hectic. Will also have a look at your blog since I've been tagged...

Hi Gina - I think it is fantastic that you vacationed here all those years. When you live here it seems like you don't really get to do the things that people spend loads of money to do, so it's nice to be able to enjoy. We used to do the same on Englewood Beach until I was about 16. We also LOVE Mr. Bones!

Hi Larry - I saw something in the paper recently about keeping Anna Maria City low rise and am behind it 200%. It is such a special place to so many people because it is not full how tower buildings and condos so keep up the great work. Had a look at your website, great stuff.

Hope you all have a fab weekend,

Amy J x