The Sandbar Restaurant, located on the north end of Anna Maria Island, has for decades been a favorite of locals and tourists alike for its fresh Florida seafood and the amazing views. It is also popular for weddings etc. with white sand beach and crystal clear blue water. This particular restaurant happens to be my families' favorite in the area and has been before I was alive. It is, how can I say this politely, a geriatrics convention on steroids. With a view like this and white sand below your feet, you kind of forget about how crappy the food is and just enjoy life a little more while spending time with family.
Pictured above is the COCONUT SHRIMP SALAD – Mixed Greens, Mango, Gorgonzola
Cheese and Walnuts topped with Coconut Crusted Shrimp and served with their own
Passion Fruit Dressing - $12.99. This was probably the highlight at the table
of 10, nothing special, just a simple salad with the ever popular coconut fried
I went with the two specials of the day, shrimp and grits (above) and the
fresh seafood bowl (below). I often find myself ordering the
"special" of the day in hopes that the reason it is on special is
because it should be good. And when I assume this, I find myself wrong about
75% of the time and realize that the reason it is on special is simply because
they need to move that food today before it goes bad! This shrimp and grits were
simply uneatable. I played with it for awhile, but just could not stomach anymore.
The shrimp were already cut for me (weird) and the grits and sauce just killed
the dish from its first appearance. I'll be the first to admit I don't know a
ton about grits other than I love them. I love them when they are covered in
gravy and accompanied by large jumbo shrimp. In my short 5 years or so of
eating grits, I have never had grits that were this large and sandy tasting. It
almost had the consistency of an undercooked risotto or lumpy mashed potatoes.
As for the fresh seafood bowl, eh. It was good, not sure how fresh it was. It
was fun to play with the large shrimp with the heads still on and scare the
kids and gross them out while I sucked on the heads. The clams and mussels were
over cooked, but the shrimp were delicious.
Bottom-line: You are not going to The Sandbar for the food unless you are one of the geriatrics who are easy to please with under seasoned and tasteless food. You are here for the view and the popularity of this place and the history that dates back to 1911 when this island was only accessible by boat. You go here because this is where grandma wants to go and that is just what you do.