I just visited Sarasota this past week. I don't see a specific Sarasota-wide topic featuring nicer restaurants, so I'm starting this new topic to report on my trip.
I had three dinners, in three different parts of the area. The first was at Lazy Lobster, which has two locations. I ate at the one on Longboat Key, about 1/4 of the way down from the north end of the island. This was good, not really earth-shattering in any way, but decent. As you might expect, the menu has a lot of dishes featuring lobster. Many of them mention having 4 ounces of lobster meat with an option to double the amount of lobster. Lobster-lovers will probably love the place. My food (including atlantic sole) was reasonably good, and it was a good choice for me because it was close to where I was staying. (Dining options on Longboat are limited.) www.lazylobsterlongboatkey.com
My second dinner was at Indigenous, in the Towles Court neighborhood just east of downtown Sarasota. I thought it was absolutely FANTASTIC, amazingly creative and delicious, in a trendy bistro atmosphere. This restaurant has its own topic, where I reported in detail on my wonderful dinner, at www.chow.com/topics/823444#7122755 Highly recommended! www.indigenoussarasota.com
My third dinner was at Miguel's, on Siesta Key. Miguel's is an old-fashioned French/continental restaurant, of the sort that predominated upscale dining 20-30 years ago, with features like caesar salad prepared tableside. You're not going to find anything you haven't seen a hundred times elsewhere, but what Miguel's lacks in creativity, it makes up for in top-notch ingredients and execution. I had a mussels appetizer that was one of the best I've had in quite a while, with the mussels not only cooked perfectly, moist and flavorful, but much larger than elsewhere. My entree was a variation on veal piccata, and it was one of the best veal dishes I can remember, with the veal just amazingly moist and tender, almost "melt in your mouth". If you think you'd enjoy the dishes on their menu, you should check it out. www.miguelsrestaurant.net
I also tried three bakeries in town, and posted in detail about them in the Sarasota bakery topic at www.chow.com/topics/767533#7126784