A Local’s Guide to the Best Anna Maria Island Restaurants

Anna Maria Island boasts some FANTASTIC restaurants; whether you’re looking for a great seat to watch the sunset at a restaurant with waterfront dining or a little hole-in-the-wall that serves up some tasty burgers, there are many spots here to get your grub on. From upscale, gourmet dining to “no shoes, no problem” atmosphere, there’s something for everyone. We’ve eaten at every place on the island, so instead of being disappointed by tourist traps, we recommend you check out these restaurants that have been tried, tested and approved by the locals. If you’re looking for the best Anna Maria Island restaurants, start with these:

Best Burger: Skinny’s Place

After a long day at the beach, there’s something so ultimately satisfying about biting into a greasy, juicy burger. There’s a longstanding rivalry on the island between two burger joints; Skinny’s and Duffy’s. They both serve up moist burgers dripping with cheese and your choice of condiments, but we’ve gotta go with Skinny’s for a few reasons. 1) Atmosphere – With a concrete, sandy floor, dollar bills taped to the wall and license plates hanging above you, you’d think you were in Key West! We think their well-seasoned grill gives their burger patties a nice outside crust, plus we savor their curly fries (Duffy’s has a “no fries” policy). Another perk? Frozen mugs! In the sweltering Florida weather, a Bud Light in a frozen mug is quite refreshing!

3901 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217
(941) 778-7769

Best Grouper Sandwich: Rod & Reel Pier

Grouper is our local specialty – a fresh, flaky white fish that, when is fresh and cooked correctly, just melts in your mouth. When you order the Grouper Sandwich at the Rod & Reel, you’ll get an extra large filet that is at least twice the size of the sandwich bun. You can order it grilled, blackened or fried and even though we love eating healthy, this is the one place where you need to splurge and just go for it. The fried Grouper sandwich is where it’s at! Walking out in the pier, you’re likely to see dolphins, stingrays or manatees. The restaurant upstairs offers a spectacular view, and on a clear day you can see Egmont Key and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. If the upstairs is on a wait, don’t count off the downstairs’ bar. It’s a small little bar but with the doors and windows open, there’s usually a nice breeze. Order some food, pop open a beer and chat it up with the affable bartender.

875 N Shore Dr, Anna Maria, Anna Maria Island, FL 34216
(941) 778-1885

Most Eclectic and Best Menu: Eat Here

Food-wise, it’s hard to beat Eat Here’s “big brother” restaurant Beach Bistro, an award-winning fine dining spot that’s known for its refined fare such as “Food Heaven,” (featuring Lamb, Lobster and Fois Gras), but we have to say, if you’re looking for more “hip” eats at a much more affordable price, Eat Here, wins out. We love sitting down and paging through the menu that’s written, not only to describe the food, but to also entertain. If you want wings, the menu tells you to walk across the street to Hank’s (no wings at Eat Here), but they do have many creative “small plates” that aren’t what you’d see on most menus such as Tempura’d Beets, Poutine (crispy French Fries smothered in Gravy and Parmesan Cheese) and the “Better” Grilled Cheese sandwich with Gruyere and Munster Cheeses covered with sautéed onions on toasted Focaccia. Yum! They also feature many local specialties (like Cortez “rockfish,” Shrimp Tacos), home-cooked meals (Not Mom’s Pot Roast and Marvelous Veal Meat Loaf) and some Southern classics like Corn Casserole and Collard Greens. This place is downright fun…lots of wines by the glass, craft beer and a wide variety of incredible flavors. Go now. Eat Here.

5315 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217
(941) 778-0411

Best Beer List & Best Salads: The Waterfront Restaurant

The Waterfront offers a fantastic beer and wine list, with popular wine tastings that take place on Thursday evenings over the summer. With Laugunitas IPA and Chimay on the menu – if you’re looking for something more than a Budweiser, this is your place. They have also just added a craft bar that features handmade cocktails with fresh ingredients and top-shelf liquors. The patio offers a beautiful view of the bay and the inside is a charming old cottage with an old, stone fireplace. The entire menu here offers a wide variety of everything yummy – love the Tropicale Salad with Hearts of Palm, Avocado, Parmesan Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette and we can’t go here without having their Fried Green Tomatoes. Kiddos will enjoy the unique children’s menu that features Tenderloin Steak Bites served with a healthy side of grapes. They’ll also love to peer into the aquarium where Dory and Nemo lookalikes always put on a good show.

111 S Bay Blvd, Anna Maria, FL 34216
(941) 778-1515

Best Beer List Runner Up: Old Hamburg Schnitzelhaus

Featuring all German beers on tap, after a “large” beer (served in a glass that’s about 2 feet tall), you’ll need to sop it up with some Schnitzel, for sure!

3246 Bay Dr, Bradenton, FL 34207
(941) 778-1320

Best Bar Scene: Slim’s Place

Locals love to belly up to the Bar at Slim’s Place. With pool tables, big-screen TVs and a jukebox, this place gets hopping on the weekends. You’ll find locals stopping by for a beer after their soccer or football games at the nearby community center. Nachos, Hummus, Wings and Burgers; comforting food in warm and friendly atmosphere.

9701 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria Island, FL 34217
(941) 567-4056

Best Breakfast: Minnie’s Beach Cafe

Locals love popping into this tiny little space to grab a “Sand Dollar” sandwich; an egg, ham and cheese sandwiched between an English muffin. Always pleasant service, great prices and a bottomless cup of coffee.

5360 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217
(941) 778-4140

Best Breakfast Runner Up: Café on the Beach

This is always a crowded spot in the mornings for a reason: All-you-can-eat-pancakes and sausage, seven days a week!

4000 Gulf Dr. Holmes Beach, FL 34217
(941) 778-0784