New in Sarasota, Fla.: Michael’s Tasting Room

Table Setting at Michael's Tasting Room in Sarasota, Fla., Dec. 2010
Table Setting at Michael's Tasting Room in Sarasota, Fla., Dec. 2010

Last night I celebrated a friend’s 60th birthday at Michael’s Wine Cellar & The Tasting Room in Sarasota, Fla. For those familiar with the award-winning restaurant Michael’s on East, this is a sister operation which opened this expansion (in a former beauty salon) in Oct. 2010.

Hundreds of bottles of wine lined three walls of the room while big rolling doors, like garage doors, were painted with over-sized replicas of vintage wine labels originally designed by artists as Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. They roll up to reveal another room allowing the Tasting Room to accommodate bigger groups. There were about 30 in our party and the space and expand to accommodate about 125 people.

Tea light candles twinkled everywhere in the subdued lighting – on the tables, on the shelves and on a ladder.  Gorgeous centerpieces made with red and white roses, evergreen branches and tiny green glass globes – extremely appropriate for Christmastime – adorned the tables.

Dinner included an open bar (I was the designated driver for the guest of honor and host), appetizers of crab cakes and firecracker chicken wontons, choice of salad or soup with escargot, and main course choices of luscious scallops with lobster and gnocchi (which I ordered), chicken and pasta or steak (from Allen Brothers of Chicago).

Interior of Michael's Tasting Room, Sarasota, Fla., Dec. 2010
Interior of Michael's Tasting Room, Sarasota, Fla., Dec. 2010

The evening was perfect. Food was delicious and service was spot on. Most impressive was the presence of restaurateur Michael Klauber, yes, he’s “the Michael”. A culinary legend not just in Sarasota but nationally.

He greeted us upon arrival and returned again once dinner service began. He went to each table and visited with guests to ensure everything met expectations. And they did. In fact, Michael and his team at The Tasting Room exceeded everyone’s expectations.

Pick Up a Bottle of Wine, Michael's Tasting Room, Sarasota, Fla., Dec. 2010
Pick Up a Bottle of Wine, Michael's Tasting Room, Sarasota, Fla., Dec. 2010

Michael’s Tasting Room is open to the public. Drop in to pick up a bottle of wine or stay to sip a glass of wine or hand-crafted beer. Enjoy a bite in the bistro, either indoors or al fresco.

Special events planned for the Michael’s Tasting Room include:

  • Every Thursday evening until 9 p.m. is a themed wine or beer evening;
  • Once a month, Michael’s staff will host a special education night where guests can learn and experience a variety of topics including beer tastings, wine tastings and food pairings;
  • Once a month, Michael’s Wine Cellar and Tasting Room will host a Wine Discoveries Night, where participants can explore wines from around the world including: Argentina, Germany, France and North America;
  • Michael’s Wine Cellar and the Tasting Room are available for private parties ranging from an intimate gathering for 12 or up to 125 for a jazzy cocktail event.
  • Another addition to the new space is the Bridal Party changing room, ideal for weddings and fashion shows in Michael’s ballroom.

Scallops, Michael's Tasting Room, Sarasota, Fla., Dec. 2010
Scallops, Lobster and Gnocchi, Michael's Tasting Room, Sarasota, Fla., Dec. 2010

When visiting Sarasota, check out Michael’s Tasting Room for something different and guaranteed delicious.

Michael’s Tasting Room
Midtown Plaza
1283 S. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, Fla. 34239
Tel: (941) 955-2675

Hours of Operation: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday evening until 9 p.m.

Reserve the space for a private function by contacting Phil Mancini at (941) 366-0007, ext. 227.



Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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