Turtles Restaurant: dining done right
By Paul Roat
Turtle’s On Little Sarasota Bay does it all right: good food, great service, plus a spectacular bayfront dining vista. With 26 years of experience, the south Siesta Key landmark has endured and surpassed the test of time.
The restaurant/bar/pub/outside dining locale is located on Little Sarasota Bay at about the southernmost tip of Siesta Key, or by boat off Marker 48.
As the mission statement of the restaurant states, “It is our goal to combine the charm of this romantic waterfront setting with a dedication to offering only the freshest seafood and other fine cuisine at reasonable prices in a casual, friendly atmosphere.”
Turtles floor-to-ceiling windows face Little Sarasota Bay. Tropical colors on walls combine with the blue-green waters of the bay and the lush mangroves. Mirrors make the 260-seat restaurant seem even larger, yet scattered seating and a large bar plus expansive outdoor seating make the place seem cozy.
The restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, plus a Sunday brunch. Lunch is from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; dinner from 3 p.m. to closing. There is also an early bird special from 3-5 p.m. daily with a select menu at reduced prices and happy hour specials from 3-6 p.m. daily. Sunday brunch is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Lunch and dinner fare is very similar, with dinner prices a few dollars more. Lunch runs heavier on sandwiches, with dinner naturally featuring a more entrée options.
Now for the food.
Also good is the Cheeseburger in Paradise and the popular Chivito Steak Sandwich with its Spanish flair.
All lunch specials are served with a choice of fries, house potato chips, onion strings, or cole slaw.
Also popular for lunch at Turtles is Shrimp & Crab Scampi. The pasta dish is served with rolls and a house salad.
Dinner starters offer 17 items from which to choose. Popular is Ahi Tuna and a Maine Lobster Cake, both at $8.
Salad lovers seem to love the Fresh Large Garden Salad with grilled chicken or haddock, priced at $11 and served with rolls.
“Simple Sensations” are priced at $12. The selections, with rolls and either fresh vegetable or starch, include Orange Pecan Chicken, Yankee Pot Roast, Saint Louis Style Spare Ribs, or Potato Crusted Haddock.
Dinner specialties number 14. Popular is Coconut Crusted Mahi-Mahi at $16, Gulf Grouper Oscar at $20, Black Angus Prime Rib in a 10-ounce size ($22) or 12-ounce for $26.
Sunday brunch is $8.99. Eggs and corned beef hash, Turtles Blueberry French Toast, Huevos Rancheros, Shrimp & Crab Au Gratin … there are 17 items to choose from, plus the complimentary mimosa, bloody mary, or orange juice.
Early Bird costs $10.99 to $13.99. Entres include Sapper New Orleans, Sole Picatta, Florida Grouper, or Filet Mignon, among others.
Turtles is on Little Sarasota Bay on Siesta Key, 8875 Midnight Pass Road, Siesta Key, phone number 941-346-2207, fax 941-346-3125, Web site turtlesrestaurant.com. There is a full bar. All major credit cards are accepted.
After 26 years, Turtles is definitely a place that’s got it right when it comes to dining.