Many visitors rent houses, villas, condominiums or other living quarters for their stay, but Venice also has several hotels, motels and B&Bs, and there are lots more in nearby Sarasota. As for dining, Venice has everything—especially seafood.
The loveliest bed-and breakfast inn in Venice, with tropical gardens and swimming pool.
Banyan House, a Mediterranean Revival mansion, was built in 1926 for Robert Marvin, an important executive of the company that developed Venice, Florida. Its name comes from the great banyan tree given to the owner of the house by Thomas Edison.
Today Banyan House is Venice premier lodging-place for history, atmosphere, charm and convenience. Enter from prestigious Harbor Drive to the gardens with waterfall, koi pond, tropical flower gardens (orchids a specialty), hot tub, swimming pool, billiards and game room, breakfast salon, common rooms, and charming hosts.
Rooms and apartments should be reserved in advance as Banyan House is a very popular destination, especially during the winter season (December through March).
519 South Harbor Drive
Venice FL 34285
Tel 941 484 1385
Click here for direct reservations with Banyan House
In addition, numerous local real estate agencies are able to connect you with rental properties in and around Venice: houses, condominiums, villas, apartments, etc.
Seafood is the strong suit of many Venice restaurants, but there's actually good variety, from bakeries featuring fresh warm scones through British-style pubs to old-time Florida beachfront sunset seafood restaurants.
One of my favorites for breakfast is the Upper Crust Café & Bakery, 213 West Venice Avenue (tel 941-244-0430). The specialty is warm scones for breakfast (daily 8 am to noon, till 1 pm on Sunday), but there are lots of other breakfast and lunch choices as well—and bakery treats to take away.
Another great breakfast and lunch place is Croissant & Co. at 323 West Venice Avenue (tel 941-480-1700) is a real French bakery-café, with French proprietors, French pastries, French coffee, and a good menu of light meals.
French pastries at Croissant & Co.
The Suncoast Café, in the Suncoast Air Center building at Venice Airport, is great for breakfast and lunch (7:30am to 2:30pm, 7 days a week). Service is fast and friendly, food quality is high, prices are reasonable. You get to watch the places take off and land. No plane needed to get there....
Sharky's on the Pier, 1600 Harbor Drive South (map; Tel: 941-488-1456), is perhaps the most famous because of its location and ambience. "The Pier" in the restaurant's name is the Venice Fishing Pier, which is as much of a draw as Sharky's on the Pier.
Among "Venetians" (citizens of Venice, Florida), one of the late afternoon's sublime activities is to retire to the beach for one of Venice's notably spectacular sunsets.
The Venice Fishing Pier is a favorite place for this, and if you can claim one of the tables (in high demand—even in August!) at Sharky's, you can watch the spectacular sunset, drink in hand and appetizers right at hand, with dinner to follow.
Sharky's does not take reservations for its outdoor (ie, sunset) tables, so it's first-come, first-served.
Hovering nonchalantly over diners in the late stages of their repast, ready to pounce as soon as they rise, has been developed to an art form at Sharky's.
Sharky's on the Pier
Nowhere near the water, Captain Eddy's, at 107 Colonia Lane, Nokomis, just east off US 41/Tamiami Trail (tel: 941-484-4372) is both a seafood market and restaurant, so the stone crabs (in season) and other fish and shellfish are fresh. The grouper cheeks are my favorite!
Right on the shore of the Inland Waterway in Nokomis, Pop's is informal, and has some of the best seafood, drinks and prices of area restaurants.
Made in Italy, 117 W Venice Ave (tel.941-488-8282), has a portico over the sidewalk, an air-conditioned dining room inside, and classic Italian dishes, pastas and pizzas of surprisingly good quality. Wines are not overly expensive. Service is friendly and efficient.
Cassariano Italian Eatery, 305 B West Venice Avenue (tel 941-485-0507), has refined Italian cuisine, friendly service, and seating indoors (air-conditioned) or outdoors on the sidewalk beneath the portico. Excellent, though not cheap.
Gold Rush BBQ, 661 Tamiami Trail South (tel 941-483-3137), just south of Venice Regional Medical Center, has good BBQ spareribs, pulled pork, chops and steaks, beers on tap and bottled, friendly service, and very reasonable prices.
Ciao Gelato, 317 A West Venice Avenue (tel 941-445-5840), serves home-made northern-Italian (Dolomites-style) gelato, pastries, coffee and other beverages indoors or at a few outdoor tables. The gelato is superb, with real fruit and nuts, pure chocolate and cream. Denser than regular ice cream, gelato can have less than half the fat content, but still taste better.