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Caf, Sarasota

Caf - Sarasota, Florida
Editors' Pick
431 St. Armand\'s Circle, Sarasota, FL 34236Map
AOL Travel Editor’s Review

Like many of his wealthy contemporaries, John Ringling hoped that building a mansion and inviting friends to see it would inspire them to follow his example, providing him the opportunity to sell them some of the land he’d bought. Cafe L’Europe is housed in Ringling’s former real estate office, which is now the oldest building in St. Armands Circle. There’s a patio out front, great for people watching when the weather’s nice, while the bricked interior is cool and inviting on a hot day. The original partners, Titus Letschert and chef Norbert Goldner, were European trained veterans of the Manhattan restaurant scene when they brought Continental dining to St. Armands more than 30 years ago. Letschert is still at the helm, and the restaurant still serves up intriguing dishes such as Bison Carpaccio and Tableside Shrimp Pernod, flambéed before your eyes. Chateaubriand for Two is not a lost art, as we discovered here, and it, too, is flambéed tableside. The duckling with bing cherry sauce has been on the menu since opening day, and there are a number of unique entrées, too. When we saw Diver Scallops with Shrimp-Stuffed Ravioli with mushrooms and truffle-saffron beurre blanc we had to try it; it’s genius.

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