A short drive south of Sarasota is the town of Venice. Here you will find a small downtown area with a grouping of restaurants and shops. To me, the highlight was the beach and lovely boat harbors. This is a perfect stop if you are driving to and from Sarasota.
Since 1976, a wonderful spot for lunch or dinner is The Crow’s Nest, Marina, Tavern and Restaurant, located north of downtown. I would recommend the upstairs dining room or porch rather than the darker bar below. The views of the water and harbor are really outstanding. I recommend the grilled grouper sandwich, which was really wonderful as was the key lime pie. I thought the staff and service were excellent as well. They do take reservations, so book on OpenTable before you go, otherwise the waits can be long. 1968 Tarpon Center Dr.