There’s more to Florida than sand and citrus. Florida is a fusion of cultures, colors, and tastes – gifted with 825 miles of sandy beaches, crystal-blue waters, and stunning sunsets. Anna Maria Island is a 7-mile long barrier island on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The white sand beaches of Anna Maria Island and Bradenton are home to some of the best restaurants, tropical cafes, and waterfront dining in Florida. And lunch Anna Maria Island, one of the most beautiful islands in the world, can be just as memorable!
The Beach House Waterfront Restaurant offers uniquely Florida, locally sourced ingredients for lunch and dinner. For starters, sample the House Smoked Fish-Dip with capers, red onion, salsa, and house-made hemp crisps or feast on Short Rib Tacos with braised beef short rib with manchego cheese, pickle pears & onions in soft tortillas. Outdoor decking set on 650 feet of pristine beach is the perfect place to enjoy the views of the Gulf of Mexico.
200 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach, FL 34217. (941) 779-2222.
Ginny’s & Jane E’s
Ginny’s & Jane E’s is a quirky local bakery famous for its colossal cinnamon rolls and sticky buns. They are also a favorite in-and-out breakfast and lunch stop on Bradenton Beach. While waiting for your order, shop for handmade jewelry and antiques.
9807 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, FL 34216. 941-778-3170.
Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe!
Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe is located just off Manatee County Beach and is your beach day destination – starting with breakfast, then lunch, and dinner. The fish tacos and monkey coconut drink will fill and refresh and keep you smiling. The cafe has full amenities, too, including outdoor showering, bathrooms, beach games, and a Tiki Bar – the Bamboo Beach Bar. Looking to sit and enjoy the sea air or listen to live music, grab a chair and umbrella from AMIBC rentals.
4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, FL 34217. (941) 778-4757.
Gulf Drive Café
Gulf Drive Cafe is another one of the great Anna Maria Island restaurants. Established in 1981, Gulf Drive Café is a fixture on the island, located on its own two acres of sugar-white sandy beach. The food is fresh with large portions. Try the Shrimp Avocado Mango Salad and Key Lime Pie for dessert. Chose either the tiki hut or the beach-vibe, sit-down patio to sample this delicious food.
900 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach, FL 34217. (941) 778-1919.
Minnie’s Beach Cafe
Lunch on Anna Maria Island doesn’t always mean beachside. This quiet space has an old Florida feel, and the breakfast and lunch specials change daily. Try the chili cheddar burger or, for brunch, the crab cake benedict. The excellent service keeps the locals returning to this quirky cafe. Whatever you choose from the menu, don’t forget cash – credit cards are not accepted. But there is an ATM next door if you forget.
5360 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217. (941) 778-4140
Located on the white sand of Holmes Beach, this laid-back basic beach fare is a can’t miss for anyone even remotely in the area. Munch on loaded potato skins, fish and chips, burgers, and crab cake is always an option. In addition to the food, ‘Hanks” has an impressive selection of craft beers to compliment the pound of fresh, peel-and-eat shrimp.
5346 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217. 941-778-5788.
North Shore Cafe
Another local favorite for coffee and a light, trendy lunch on Anna Maria Island is the North Shore Cafe. This quaint beach bistro is open for breakfast and lunch, serving fresh coffee, smoothies, and sandwiches. Grab an espresso, coconut water, and some avocado toast or an açaí bowl and find a place on the backyard patio right on the inlet.
304 Pine Ave., Anna Maria, FL 34216 (941) 900-2671.
The Sandbar Restaruant
The Sandbar Restaurant is a culinary fixture on the island. Located just down the beach from the old Anna Maria City Pier, the Sandbar Restaurant is an excellent beachfront restaurant on Anna Maria Island. Here, locals mingle with tourists while waiting for steamed clams and shrimp appetizers. If you are looking for a fresh seafood twist, try the Grouper Reuben! The menu even includes vegan and gluten-free options.
100 Spring Ave., Anna Maria, FL 34216. (941) 778-0444.
This Minnesota transplant found its way to Bradenton Beach in 2017. It is a classic beach burger joint with a black and white checkered decor The Smoqehouse serves filling burgers, seared patties dressed with smoked cheddar, caramelized onions, and the diner’s tangy house condiment — “Smoq’n sauce.” Forget the ketchup! This sauce is perfect for dipping fries.
1701 Gulf Drive, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217 (941) 242-5340.
This locally owned Mexican food franchise has seven locations, including Tampa and Sarasota. However, the original Poppo’s opened its doors at the end of Anna Maria Island in 2013 and still serves build-your-own tacos, burritos, and bowls with a Gulf Coast twist. Always fusion forward ingredients provide choices with and without protein, including tempeh, chimi aioli, honey-lime cabbage, and jalapeno relish.
212C Pine Ave., Anna Maria, FL 34216. (941) 254-7941.
The Waterfront Restaurant & Craft Bar
The Waterfront Restaurant & Craft Bar combines unfailingly fresh seafood and serene freshwater views of Tampa Bay, all wrapped up in a nostalgic, tropical, laid-back Floridays atmosphere. Choose outdoor seating on the upper deck for the best ocean views, and start your lunch with a hand-crafted smoked margarita cocktail with mezcal. Daily specials include Smokey Blue Mushroom soup, Grouper Tacos, or deep water diver scallops with bell pepper relish. And don’t forget an order of possibly the best seafood and grits on AMI.
111 S. Bay Blvd., Anna Maria, FL 34216. (941) 778-1515.
Anna Maria Oyster Bar
Lunch on AMI would not be complete without a trip to the Anna Maria Oyster Bar at the Historic Bridge Street Pier, overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway. AMOB offers separate menus at the Cortez and Ellington locations, but it’s all about the oysters at the pier. Build your platter with key-lime oysters, Grama George’s Chipolte, or throw in a couple of fried ones for good measure.
200 Bridge St, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217. (941) 778-2662.
The Donut Experiment
These made-to-order cake doughnuts are pure heaven. Unfortunately, once the cravings set in, you may have to wait in line for your maple and bacon or walnut and chocolate confections.
210C Pine Ave., Anna Maria, FL 34216 (941) 896-3172.
The Rod & Reel Pier
The Rod & Reel Pier restaurant sits at the north end of Anna Maria Island, stretching out into the mouth of Tampa Bay. Serving nothing but the freshest seafood from the Gulf of Mexico and beyond, the coconut-encrusted mahi-mahi is sublime. Don’t forget to bring your favorite rod to fish off the restaurant docks for a small fee! The Rod and Reel Pier is “Little Bit of Old Florida, a true hidden gem on AMI.”
875 N. Shore Drive, Anna Maria, FL 34216 (941) 778-1885.
The Wicked Cantina is a quintessentially Florida beach dining experience. Walk on in. No reservations are required. Grab a seat on the patio and breathe in the fresh salt air while waiting for your Wicked Cantina Margarita! A mix of Austin-style Tex-Mex, including enchiladas, quesadillas, tacos, burritos, and nachos. With all-day dining, there is something for everyone. Choose between fresh seafood with grouper and shrimp tacos or seafood enchiladas. Are you feeling a little carnivorous? The Cowboy Brisket Tacos with smoked beef brisket and jalapeño slaw is fabulous but not overwhelming.
101 Seventh St. N., Bradenton Beach, FL 34217. (941) 281-2990.
The Ugly Grouper
The Ugly Grouper is a fixture in Holmes Beach, located at 57th and Palm Drive on Anna Maria Island. And it is a trendy, funky beach dining at its best, complete with a 3000-pound recycled metal fish statue. Not sure what to order? The Ugly Grouper menu has something for everyone – even the kids. Daily specials include Hogfish Snapper or the Swordfish Gorgonzola sandwich. And, of course, the Grouper Sandwich. There are many options for special diets, and the large entrees are perfect for sharing. The Ugly Grouper’s back patio has outdoor games and daily live music – for family-sized fun.
5704 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, FL 34217. (941) 778-4402.
Family-owned, the great food at Skinny’s Place is some of the best on the island. Located in a rustic old shack in Old Florida, the burgers are simple, the chili homemade, the mugs frosted, and the restaurant is open six days a week. Established in 1952, Skinny’s Place is an Anna Maria Island classic.
3901 Gulf Dr. Holmes Beach, FL. . (941) 778-7769.