Get a decadent start to your day ($9.50) at Station 400 in the burgeoning Rosemary Arts District. The toy train chugging along over the bar hints at this building’s former life as a railroad depot, but the dishes here are more inspired than anything you’d find in a train station, thanks to CIA-trained executive chef Eric Bein’s experience in the kitchens of Marcus Samuelsson, Daniel Boulud, and Eric Ripert. Order the apple-stuffed, almond-coated croissant French toast served with hard cider syrup, cranberry butter, and seared foie gras ($13).
Sample the ceviches ($15) and tiraditos (South American sashimi, $13) at experimental Peruvian brewpub Darwin’s on 4th, housed in the exposed-brick interior of the former Florida Citrus Exchange. Stop by during the first week of each month for First Friday Firkin, when brewmaster Jared Barnes taps a new cask of his Andes-inspired brews, like Chicha (made with purple corn), Quinoa Cerveza, and Charapa (infused with cacao nibs, aji charapita peppers, and annatto seeds). Beers are just $3 each until the cask runs out.
Settle into wicker chairs on the deck at Indigenous for a primer in seasonal Florida cuisine. Since opening in September 2011, the restaurant has featured Nopal cactus, pink peppercorns, and Surinam cherries that chef Steve Phelps foraged on the keys lining Sarasota Bay, as well as produce from locals’ home gardens. The artfully composed dishes also include grass-fed beef from Tampa and lesser-known Gulf and Atlantic market catches (market price; generally $25–$28) like mangrove snapper, cobia, wahoo, and even sturgeon farmed at the nearby Mote Aquaculture Research Park.