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“Very good and different.”
Review of Indigenous

Indigenous
Ranked #40 of 1,050 Restaurants in Sarasota
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $8 - $28
Cuisines: American, Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Description: Focusing on sustainability and local farms in a beautiful remodeled old Florida cracker cottage, with an amazing outdoor seating area.
Reviewed May 26, 2013

On a side street in downtown area. Excellent food, great service and atmosphere. Highly recommended.

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Thank ivseddoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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404 - 408 of 554 reviews

Reviewed May 13, 2013

I've just gone here to celebrate Mother's Day, and to see what the buzz is about, after reading reviews and also having heard a personal story about the chef/owner's success. So what's real, what's 'hype'? It is true, they are hard to reserve for, not because they're selective or snooty. In fact, they allow reserved time slots for dining, not going into Seinfeld's soup-Nazi routine if someone is a minute late, but ensuring each visitor's enjoyment of leisurely dining in a unique setting, while also giving the chef time to individually prepare each dish. I totally agree with most recent reviews I've read about the menu offerings. But I'd add a bit more about the setting, and 'mission' to be wholesome, and it certainly is different than the glitz of St. Armand's or some of the 'rude' spots downtown with nice settings, mediocre food, or an impersonal factory-line feel.

This place's claim to fame is in fact reflected in their name, "Indigenous", and their food is prepared with locally grown or caught ingredients from the gulf and farms nearby. For tourists and others who aren't so familiar with the area or street, this restaurant is situated in a small 'artists enclave', with galleries, colorful old-style wooden houses, and with statues and beautiful flowers across the grounds. The restaurant itself has grown from one of those houses to two, with several small, cool, subdued (some say 'dark') enclaves, a central kitchen, and athletic waitpeople traveling across the rooms. We ate on the porch, after having long ago made the necessary reservation and swearing on our first-borns that we'd be there for our allocated time slot. (last part is a joke). It was early eve, not yet sunset as we arrived, and our view was of bushes and sky just beyond our plates, the earthy/artsy furnishings around us, and lots of friendly people, and I'd add, a lovely pet dog, Luke. (We were outdoors!) No sunset over the ocean. Just pleasant.

Food: It's all very home-made, by an inspired chef using great ingredients and taking time to let things simmer and season to reach their peak flavor... Good wine selection too, and no problem getting some suggestions on pairing. We got... OMG - well, pictures are worth a zillion words, so I'll share a few, especially as I see very other visitor photos of the food itself. My second restaurant experience this week in a trending-hot Sarasota seafood restaurant, and once again it's shrimp for me - but this dish was quite different, and unique, the sign of a artistic chef, rather than a factory-line cook.

First we shared (between two people) an appetizer of Pulled Lamb Shank with farro piccolo, lemon, spinach, & green goddess ($9) and a delicous Quinoa with roasted beets, blueberries, goat feta, watercress, & lavender honey vinaigrette. Other starters include Wild Mushroom Bisque ($6), Kohlrabi (Gluten Free, $7), a gluten-free kale with seasonal tomato, olives, roasted garlic and parmesan dressing ($7) - or pickled shrimp with corn, lemon, jalapeno, red onion, & Anson Mills grit cake. And there are Parmesan Beignets, with honey, pears, and thyme ($8). The main dishes head a bit pricier, though there are many fans (for lunch or dinner) I'm told, of "My Uncle's Burger" ($14) featuring grass fed beef, "cheddar, bacon jam, pickled stuff, indigenous sauce, duck fat roasted potatoes"... and some shrimp, rib, and pork entrees in the upper $20 range. They also have 3 daily special types, "Hook to Fork" (fresh local fish), "Plentiful and Abundant Fish", featuring sustainable, healthy fish populations only, and "Something from the Gardens", a vegetarian dish of vegetables and/or grains "gathered from local sources", all 3 specials reflecting market price.

For entrees, I had the American Harvest Shrimp (Gluten free, $25), which was quite tasty, and part of the high price reflects both the ingredients as well as the chef's individual attention and artistry. It is prepared with "peasto", southern style red rice (which involves a lot of simmering, it was explained), and parmesan. The Mother's Day honoree ordered the "Hook to Fork" daily special which was Red Snapper, in an amazing sauce, and served alongside some roasted potatoes (maybe the duck fat ones?).with a tomato and pineapple sauce. (See picture).

We split a blackberry cobbler with home-made ginger ice cream for dessert, as unique and delicious as the entrees. Wine with meal was pleasant and coffee was good.

There's no hype or buzz within, just attention to the dining experience. Good to arrive a bit early, check in, and take a walk around the immediate surroundings of art galleries and colorful wood-framed houses all gathered in this small grotto just off the main roads, but a world away from the buzz of St. Armand's or the sameness of strip malls. Pricey, but a nice thing to do at least once while they are still so small-scale, and high quality in terms of ingredients, preparation, and presentation. This is a real dining experience, not a quick fill-up of comfort food. But comfortably filling and satisfying.

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2  Thank drmikenyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 12, 2013

We look for great food, great atmosphere, great service. This is our second time here. I liked it more than my wife. She did not want to return, but relented. Wish I had listened to her.
The menu has changed since last time. I found the portions pretty skimpy, and the prices very high. Oh, the two out of three. Great atmosphere....love the old house, the porch, and the rooms inside. And, the service is top notch. But, the food (and prices) do not meet expectations
The parmesan beignets were excellent. The homemade crackers they serve when you sit down are great. My wife had the shrimp with "peasto" (pea shoots and watercress). Good, but 5 pieces of shrimp over rice for $27...........get real. I had the fish special. Sturgeon over rice. I was very hungry after I finished..........and, it was just mediocre. Honestly, compared to Walt's........obviously not a high end atmosphere......just great fish, Indigenous just misses the mark.
Sorry, but there are just too many high end eateries in Sarasota that are much better for my money.

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1  Thank Dan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 9, 2013

We went for a friends birthday-we liked the setting(we were seated outside on a lovely night), the service was attentive, and the food fresh and well prepared. I had the mushroom bisque which was delicious and the vegetarian selection-tasty. I would definitely return with friends again .

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Thank sarasotatraveler_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 9, 2013

I took a friend out for her birthday..we really enjoyed the setting (we sat outside-a lovely evening) the service was attentive and we both thought the food was very good. I had the mushroom bisque yummy and we both had the vegetarian selection
I will return again

Thank Leslie K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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