Edible Sarasota Magazine

SRQ Best of Local Awards 2009

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Best of the Suncoast

The Talk about Libby's...

Sarasota Herald-Tribune, (July 2011) -- Review: Libby's for Lunch
"The lunch scene is convivial; the whole atmosphere seems geared toward socializing. The servers are friendly without being intrusive and it's not uncommon to strike up a conversation with the people seated next to you— even if you've never met them before... > read full article by David Grimes

Sarasota Magazine, (April 2010) -- 52 Restaurant Dishes We Love Most
"At comfy, clubby Libby's Restaurant, we like almost everything on the big menu, but whatever we order, we're likely to vanquish a basket of Libby's biscuits before it arrives. Made from real-life Grandmother Libby's recipe, these buttery bits get even better with housemade cherry preserves, a smooth and earthy truffle butter and a smear of roasted garlic."

Allison Hanley, Sarasota Memorial Hospital Worker
(quote from SRQ Magazine, Best of Local, April 2010)

"I am a pescatarian (fish and veggies) and eat really clean. Eating out is not something I do often, and when I do, I consider the source very seriously. Libby's has wonderful choices that are healthy, delicious and perfectly positioned."

SRQ Best of Local, (April 2010)
"[Best Creative Cocktail] Winner Libby's Cafe + Bar is always ready to offer up mixed drinks that tantalize your taste buds -- be it a Sunset Martini, a Libby's Lemonade or Lisa's Libation, topped with a fresh hibiscus flower."

Wendy Feinstein, as quoted in SRQ Magazine, (April 2010)
"Since our first time we dined [at Libby's], we have taken many guests to Libby's and even had a party there for 35 people. The staff members know everyone by name and are incredibly friendly. There is always a great scene there too -- and energy! You can get all dressed up if you want to, or you can come in shorts from the beach."

Emily Leinfuss, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Dining Out, (Summer 2010)
"A good example [of the new comfort food version] is Libby's Cafe + Bar...This family-run popular bistro -- named after the owner's mother -- offers its own unique take...Chef Fran puts his energy and eclectic cooking style into all of Libby's menu items, whether they are Asian, American, Italian or otherwise."

Edible Sarasota (01.10)
Libby's graced the cover of the premier issue of Edible Sarasota magazine. Each quarterly issue is dedicated to connecting readers with local food sources devoted to using and promoting local sources. Chef Fran's Peachtree Farms Deviled Eggs with Mote Marine Caviar recipe is included in the issue. Check it out!

SRQ AccessGood Eats  (12.09)
"Boasting a menu several pages long and filled with names of prestigious source farms, Libby's creates simple perfection in dishes such as Cedar Plank Salmon, Truffled Wild Mushroom Torte and Devilled Eggs with Mote (Marine) grown caviar...A blue chip investment for brunch, lunch, dinner or just drinks."

Florida Trend Magazine: 2009 Best Newcomer, Sarasota (12.09)
"Smart veterans of the Gasparilla Inn revitalized the former Fred's with nouveau comforts, meatball sliders, truffled fries and south Philly beignets."

SRQ Magazine - 2009 Editors Hot List (10.09)
HOT GATHERING SPOT - Southside Village

Southside Village is back. Things were touch-and-go there for a year or so, but with the arrival of Libby's Café and Bar and New York, New York, those great staples such as the 5 O’clock Club and Sam Snead's have some worthy neighbors. "It makes me feel like I'm in the heart of Sarasota," area man Phillip Ramsey says of Southside. "It just has a really good flow of people and traffic. It gets busy, but it’s laid back at the same time." There's sushi at Pacific Rim, draft beer at Legends, sammiches at Knick's and, of course, our new spot for family dining, Libby's. There's no denying the restaurant has already staked a claim for linchpin status on the corner of Hillview and Osprey. "Geographically, we had an advantage," says Libby's Executive Chef Francis Casciato. "I haven’t taken into consideration that I had to earn that spot. Together with the family, we’ve earned our own status." —BH

Creative Loafing - Best of the Suncoast (10.09)
Reader's Choice Award Issue
"BEST DOMINATION OF A READERS’ POLL THAT ISN’T THE BEST OF THE SUNCOAST: Libby’s Café + Bar, Best of SRQ Local

" We sarcastically dubbed SRQ’s Best of SRQ Local issue “The Libby’s Issue,” because of the way the relatively new Hillview restaurant was able to dominate the poll’s food and drink categories, winning seven out of 25. Here are some of the categories Libby’s didn’t win: Best Cup of Coffee; Best Omelet; Best Off-the-Beaten-Path Lunch Spot; Best Beer List; Best Place to Grab a Doughnut, Cupcake Or Pastry; Best Sushi; Best Homemade Pasta. Considering Libby’s doesn’t even qualify for many of the awards it didn’t win, its dominance in other areas is all the more impressive.." by CL Staff

In the actual 2009 voting in Creative Loafing Poll, Libby's was the reader's favorite bar food and best cocktails.

Sarasota Magazine - Best of 2009 Local (05.09)
Reader's Choice Award Issue
"Voted by Readers of Sarasota Magazine as Sarasota’s Best New Restaurant - along with 7 other Best Of honors, including Best American Restaurant, Best Meal Deal, Best Wine List, Best Bar Scene, Best Small Plates, Best Happy Hour and Best Place to Meet Singles..." see everything that was voted tops and terrific in Sarasota Magazine's Annual Readers Poll.

SRQ - Best of 2009 Local (04.09)
Reader's Choice Award Issue

"Best New Restaurant - Libby’s Café and Bar keeps its sweep going into the category it was born to win. The restaurant caught the foodie zeitgeist of the past decade at its apex, and to show for it, Libby’s has a menu that reads like a who’s who of gourmet sources and an executive chef whose resume includes Opus 5 and DeVito’s South Beach...with seven winning categories and four more as runner up..." full article


SRQ - Adventures in Dining: New Kids On The Block (03.09) by Brian Hughes
"The family behind Libby’s, the Seidenstickers, is hanging its hopes on the personality of one woman: Libby Seidensticker, the matriarch of the restaurateur family. It’s “a family-owned and operated restaurant, based in a neighborhood, based on an homage to a grandmother,” Executive Chef Francis Casciato tells me once the flurry of soft openings and media previews has abated. Libby’s is a refined, if unfussy, establishment. It isn’t especially flashy, but the linens are crisp, the fixtures funky and the Margaret Barnes art tasteful but contemporary.

The food is likewise unassuming, yet decidedly gourmet. Every detail, every
contingency, seems to have been accounted for in advance—starting with fresh, local ingredients and finishing with deft, highly competent prep and assemblage. The menu goes on for miles and farms of origin are listed for many items. “If I could stress anything,” Casciato tells me, “it’s that we don’t want to identify ourselves as a highend restaurant. We want to focus on family, neighborhood, on the vast menu, on all kinds of simple preparations and more complex ones...." full article


Style Magazine - The New Classic Cocktail Party (03.09) by Kristine Nickel
"One of the hottest gathering spots for cocktails and appetizers is Libby’s in
Southside Village. The surprise stand-out on their menu is the deviled eggs. It
took some work, but we managed to snag the recipe. And don’t forget, eggs are
protein and fat—the perfect food to serve with alcohol..." full article


SRQ - Flank Ranks
(03.09) by Brian Hughes
"Family is front-and-center at Libby’s Cafe and Bar, where matriarch Libby’s kitchen aesthetic informs an upscale family concept in the heart of the Hillview neighborhood. The menu is almost as thick as a playbill, with organic farms and local growers in place of leading men and ladies. Names such as Niman Ranch, Ashley and Coach Farms accompany a little of everything: braised Wagyu shortribs, veal paillard, Colorado lamb chops and a rotating fifth business of seafood and chicken. And there are no prima donnas on this menu. Each dish, from the meatball South Beach “Sliders” to the Windy City 28 Ounce Bone-in Ribeye is content to embody the character of its ingredients. That means the pure flavor of the animal—the marriage of flesh and fire delivered to your plate—is unimpeded by gratuitous flourishes. The beef tastes like cows and the pork like pigs—the way it ought to be. Nothing upstages the food here and that’s enough..." full article


Sarasota Magazine - Let The Good Times Roll
(01.09) by John Bancroft
"The menu is thoughtfully divided into small plates both hot and cold
and larger main events, giving you a choice: Stop in on the way home for a
salad and an uptown burger with Parmesan fries or gather your tribe and
settle in for multiple courses. We opted for the latter and were happy we
did.

Once seated at our table by the open French doors, where we were
more or less instantly offered aperitifs and our glasses were filled with
refreshing cucumber-scented “house water,” we commenced to exclaim.
Oh, wow, deviled eggs with caviar! Yellowfin tartare! Organic tomato
bisque with eggplant! Truffled wild mushroom torte! And we hadn’t even
gotten off the starters page." full article


WWSB ABC 7- Fork In Hand (11.08) by Judi Gallagher
"O.K., I confess...I am a bit smitten with the newest hot spot in town. Normally, I shy away from the "scene", for fear it is not about a new culinary rage, but more of a "happening" socially.

In the case of Libby's on Osprey Ave., (just across from my favorite gourmet store- Morton's Market) they have managed to create both. While I had not been a fan of the former restaurant since chefs Darwin Santa Maria and Malin Parker moved on many years back, I now find myself re-energized with the opening of what proves to be THE destination for dining. Add the name Fran Casciato to the future chef hall of fame. This chef delivers, not only with an impressive resume on paper, but with his style and flare for respecting each ingredient and profiling a farm fresh attitude paired with the Seidensticker's family culinary roots. While most restaurants are a ghost town right now, Libby's is packing them in- and I mean packing, whether it is a Tuesday night or Saturday, the high energy is there..." full text

More reviews and comments about Libby's will be posted on an ongoing basis so visit often...