Whether you are local to the area or just visiting Venice, Florida, we all must eat. So when it is time to choose a restaurant to spend our hard earned money, where do you go to eat? Every January, our Venice Foodies Community takes a vote on their favorite restaurants! For 2022, the results are in and while some are returning to the list, there are also several new names in the top 10! While this may not be my personal top 10, the community spent two weeks voting for their favorites and each one has its own merit to be listed!
What Are The Best Restaurants in Venice?
These restaurants are all over the place in terms of the type of food, atmosphere and pricing. I’ll break it all down for you so you can make the best decision when deciding which one to try first! (But definitely try them all if you are able!)
#1 Tikka Indian Cuisine
525A U.S. 41 Bypass N, Venice, FL 34285
My family and I are huge fans of Tikka Indian Cuisine. Since they first opened in 2018, they have taken this town by storm with their fresh ingredients and bold flavors. The entire restaurant is so open, with ample space between tables and beautifully decorated. I highly recommend trying the Chicken 65 appetizer. They are poppable little chicken bites lightly fried with Indian spices, topped with sliced red onion and served with a delicious dipping sauce. You will find all your favorite dishes on the menu too! If you are leery of spice levels, never fear. You can choose your heat level and the kitchen will accommodate your needs. For newbies to Indian cuisine, I recommend going at lunch time for their specials. It offers an appetizer, entree, naan, roti and a dessert for around $11. It is TOTALLY worth every penny and allows you to try things you wouldn’t have necessarily chosen on your own.
#2 Dockside Waterfront Grill
509 N Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL 34285
Our family has loved dining at Dockside for at least 4 years now, mainly because my daughter loves being near the water during our meals. She also really loves their kids chicken tenders, and will usually ask if we can order a second one to bring home for “later”. Personally, my favorite dish is the Sunset Salad with blackened chicken. It is lightly dressed with Greek dressing and topped with glazed pecans, red onion, feta cheese, craisins and bacon. It’s the perfect bite and for $15, I can usually bring half home with me for that “later” meal with my daughter. The menu is varied from burgers and sandwiches in the $12-$19 range and then larger dinner entrees starting at $18 all the way up to a Surf N Turf dinner (lobster and filet mignon) for $43.
#3 Chaz 51 Steakhouse
549 US-41 BYP, Venice, FL 34285
From their humble beginnings when they were a small cafe serving breakfast and lunch, to the fine dining experience they have become, we have been huge fans. This is easily the best steak in town, and their other menu items are just as delicious. This is the kind of restaurant that you should give yourself time to sit and enjoy. The servers will go out of their way to make celebrations special, including desserts with Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary written in beautiful chocolate on the plate. Now that they are in their larger location, they have a full bar, live music, and so much more. Along with their regular menu, they also have a lounge menu that is exclusive to their lounge area, with happy hour specials from 4 pm to 7 pm daily.
#4 La Botte Italian Bistro
533A U.S. 41 Bypass N, Venice, FL 34285
Bird Bay Plaza as a whole is like a Foodie Oasis of incredible food. La Botte (lah-boe-tay) is no exception. This Italian Bistro offers the most authentic Italian cuisine in the area. Fresh pastas, perfect warm focaccia bread, and sweet desserts made daily… and now they are also open for lunch! I brought my mother and daughter in for dinner one evening, and each bite was better than the last. The lasagna was oozing with cheese, much to my daughter’s delight, and while it was a very healthy portion, she practically licked her plate clean. Make reservations if you want to get in for dinner, this place is always hopping!
#5 Gold Rush BBQ
661 S Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL 34285
Gold Rush BBQ has been a staple in Venice since they opened in 2001. Over the years, they’ve even developed a signature BBQ sauce, Stevia Sweet BBQ, which is now being sold all over the country including on digital marketplaces like Amazon! As a diabetic myself, I appreciate that a low carb BBQ sauce is available for when that craving hits. They are also known for their All You Can Eat specials!
- Tuesday: Baby Back Ribs
- Thursday: St Louis Spare Ribs
- Friday: Whole Fried Catfish
- Sunday: BBQ Chicken
These specials come with two sides and cornbread! It’s definitely something you shouldn’t miss. Not only is the food incredible, but the people are too. In the midst of the economic crisis we are all experiencing, Gold Rush started their own food pantry to serve the community!
#6 Bodrum Restaurant
Probably my absolute favorite restaurant in town. I know, I shouldn’t be biased… but I have never had anything less than an incredible experience here. It’s the gem that’s not so hidden anymore! The chef/owner is one of the most humble and compassionate people you will ever meet and the dishes coming out of his kitchen are very clearly made out of a passion for food. The menu is what he describes as Eastern Mediterranean, inspired by his Turkish background with some twists thrown in. I have a soft obsession with the Carrot Tarator and the Tavuk Shish (chargrilled chicken), and if I can manage to save any room for desserts, there are plenty to choose from. My husband says that this is THE place to go for lamb chops and my daughter discovered her love of truffle fries and yellow lentil soup from our visits there. When we have guests from out of town, this is always the first place we bring them to show what Venice has to offer.
2215 S Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL
While our family has not been to this restaurant personally, the community as a whole loves it! The menu offers appetizers in the $11-$13 range, with entrees ranging from a simple Rigatoni Bolognese for $18.99 or Manadarin Peanut Chicken for $20.99 all the way up to seafood and steak options ranging from $22-$40. My favorite tidbit is that they have a kids menu that not only features kids favorites like a cheeseburger or macaroni & cheese, but also a PRIME RIB! I know my daughter has moments where she wants to feel like she’s getting the same kind of meals as the adults, so this option made me really excited. They are currently open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, and also have online ordering available for pickup.
#8 Darrell’s Restaurant
215 S Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL 34285
My husband is in LOVE with Darrell’s for their “Down on the Keys” Mac & Cheese, which features their delicious macaroni and cheese with cajun shrimp and crawfish. Personally? Their massive baked potatoes capture my interest, and I usually have to get the brisket baked potato featuring their tender brisket with blue cheese crumbles. No matter which side of the menu you are on, from the BBQ to the sandwiches, burgers to salads, just be sure to save room for dessert. The homemade banana pudding was a bite of nostalgia for my husband who had tears in his eyes, proclaiming it was just like his Maw Maw (grandmother) made when he was young. This is the hometown place you want to go, where Sweet Tea is served extra sweet in mason jars and every bite feels like a hug.
1965 S Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL 34293
Another restaurant on this list that neither Jason nor I have been to, but have high remarks from the community. Originally, it was known as DeFina’s Restaurant, opened in 1984 and then purchased in 2012 by the new owners, Bob and Pam Lucarelli to which they revitalized the restaurant. The menu is full of Italian classics from recipes passed down through the generations. It’s a little on the higher end side with entrees starting at $18 for a pasta dinner with a house marinara sauce. On the other end are entrees like the filet mignon or veal chop for $40 or the Italian combo plate that includes ravioli, stuffed shell, manicotti, lasagna, rigatoni, bolognese, chicken parmesan, meatball and sausage for $45.
#10 Burgundy Square Cafe
227 Miami Ave W, Venice, FL 34285
If you’re looking for simple comfort food, the locals all agree that Burgundy Square provides just that. They have been serving up home cooked meals since 2011. After the loss of the owner, Chuck, his children have taken over to continue his legacy of feel good breakfasts, lunches and dinners to feed the community. They are most well known for their famous, award winning lobster rolls. Add this to your list of places to try!
Which one of the best restaurants in Venice will you try first?
Comment below or head on over to the Venice Foodies Community to tell us all about your discoveries!