Dockside Waterfront Grill in Venice, Florida
Both seafood and land lubber specialties.

The charming Dockside Waterfront Grill at Marker 4 in Venice, Florida, which makes my Sarasota Restaurants review pages because it's nearby in Sarasota County, was already nearly full when I arrived for lunch along with my friend, Steve, and his cousin, Joe, on a February Friday about 12:30 p.m.

Fortunately it was a sunny, 72 degree, mild day along the Sarasota gulf coast with a light breeze blowing through the small marina, which is where this casual and somewhat authentic, hidden away, “Old Florida” restaurant and bar sits, in Venice, Florida.

We had only about a 20 minute wait after leaving our name with the hostess. The waiting time passed quickly while we were watching boats come and go in the marina.

While not directly on the Gulf of Mexico, the Dockside Waterfront Grill is tasty and scenic waterside dining in a little marina called Fisherman’s Wharf.

We had originally requested seating outside on the deck but changed our request to “first available table.” That sped up our wait. We were soon escorted to our table for three, inside, at the rear of the indoor dining room.

Handed menus by our waiter, drink orders were quickly taken (Yeungling on tap $3.50) and quickly delivered and I snuck in an order for some buffalo wings, mild please, for appetizers for all of us.

Zip, Zam, Boom!

We were soon delivered the wings (10 for $12!) and they were mild and tangy with just enough of a spicy sauce to give them a little zing! But not overpowering enough so that it would ruin the taste and flavor of whatever the main lunch selection would be. After all, why sacrifice the main lunch to the appetizer course?

Dockside Waterfront Grill at Marker 4 in Venice

What’s nice here at the Dockside Waterfront Grill is that the menu is large and varied and it contains both seafood and “land lubber” specialties.

From Marina Sandwiches such as a Grouper Sandwich and Lobster Rolls (market price) to a Salmon BLT ($14.95) and a half-pound Boathouse Burger ($9.95), there’s something pretty much for everyone; more about the menu shortly.

I made my decision for lunch (by the way the lunch and dinner menu is all the same as of this writing). This sounded just too good to pass up: Seafood Linguini with Lobster, Crab and Shrimp ($20.95) with my choice of sauce. Being a seafood lover, how could I pass this up? I went for the Wine and Garlic sauce.

That was a GREAT choice. It must have been the white wine, butter, garlic sauce. It was delicious: light and sweet. Perfectly done linguini! And the lobster, lump crab meat and shrimp were delicious, perfectly cooked and prepared, and I would say they were generous, not stingy, with the medley of seafood in the pasta bowl.

What would have been nice would be to have had a slice or two of garlic bread or a side salad included. But you won’t go away hungry with this choice. There’s plenty to eat but the dish is stand alone.

While I had a beer with this entrée I bet a nice glass of white wine ($6.00 +) would have really topped it off!

Did I mention the Wine and Garlic sauce was REALLY GOOD in this dish? Other sauce choices for this and their other pasta dishes are: Tomato basil and Alfredo.

Their other pasta dishes, which are probably well worth trying, especially if they’re as tasty as the Seafood Linguini with Lobster, Crab and Shrimp that I had, are:

  • Linguini and Clam Sauce ($14.95) with Chopped Arctic Surf Clams
  • Shrimp or Scallop Pasta with sautéed gulf shrimp or sea scallops ($16.95)
  • Chicken Marsala Pasta ($13.95), which is a grilled chicken breast topped with mushrooms and Lombardo Marsala Wine sauce.

All of these selections sound outstanding and probably are if they’re anything like the dish I ordered.

One of my lunch companions, who’s on a diet, went with The Sunset Salad ($10) with the Fresh Catch (+ Market price) of fish grilled and placed on the salad. The salad itself is Crisp Romaine, feta cheese, Craisins®, glazed pecans, tomato, bacon & onion tossed in Greek Vinaigrette. It can also be ordered accompanied with Chicken ($13.00) or Shrimp ($14.00).

There are also Caesar and Cobb Salads on the menu for the salad lover in your party!

As mentioned earlier the menu at the Dockside Waterfront Grill is quite varied and includes such items as Grouper or Shrimp Tacos ($13.95) and Fried Lobster Tacos (market price).

Additional seafood selections range from Fish (Haddock) & Chips ($15.95) to a Crab Cake Combination which is a crab cake served with either shrimp or scallops ($25.95).

Also on the menu are oysters, gulf shrimp, scallops, crab cakes, lobster tails, grouper, tuna, salmon and the fresh catch along with a couple of their own seafood chowder creations.

Plus on the appetizer menu you’ll also find seafood items from Calamari and Peel & Eat Shrimp to Grouper Bites, Sautéed Mussels, Crab Cake Sliders and more! 

If you’re a seafood lover, you’ll find plenty of selections to choose from at the Dockside Waterfront Grill. No seafood shortage on the menu here.

Not so much into seafood? There’s plenty on the menu to choose from other than seafood, as well.

There are beef and chicken entrees that range from a 6 oz Filet Mignon ($23.95) or Surf & Turf, a 6 oz Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail ($33.95) to a grilled or blackened Chicken Dinner ($15.95) and Chicken Tacos ($13.95) plus Chicken Marsala Pasta ($13.95).

What's your favorite Sarasota dining spot? What's the best meal you've had there? Let others know about your recommendations by writing your own Sarasota Dining Review. Share your favorite here!

Sandwiches? Sandwiches, anyone?

There’s the half-pound Boat House Burger with certified Angus beef ($9.95), the BLT Triple Decker ($9.00), a Turkey Club ($9.50) or a Turkey Reuben ($10.00) and their Pastrami Pretzel Roll ($11.00) with pastrami, provolone, grilled onions and horseradish mustard on a crusty pretzel roll.

There are more delicious sounding sandwich choices to choose from, but you get the idea.

They also have a full bar along with a wine list, beer and your favorite tropical drinks.

There's an additional dining area that doubles as a "sports bar" with large screen TV's and table service, so you can keep your eye on the big game.

Service was fine. No complaints. It was a busy lunchtime when I and my party were there so we didn’t see the waiter too often, but the food was served promptly and in my case, hot. 

Drinks were freshened and we all enjoyed our lunch and our time at the Dockside Waterfront Grill, one of several Venice Restaurants I would recommend you try.

What more could one ask for? Good food. Good place. Scenic. Good friends. A nice combination.

If you’re in the Venice, Florida area and looking for a nice and tasty adventure in waterside dining consider a stop at the Dockside Waterfront Grill at Marker 4.

Depending on time of day, time of season and other personal conditions or desires, you may want to take into account that there may be a waiting time for a table and allow for that possibility.

It’s a picturesque location with good food. So that will bring out the crowds during “high season.” Make sure you allow for that in your planning.


Hours: Sunday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Friday & Saturday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Address: 509 North Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL. At Marker 4 by boat.

Location: At Fisherman’s Wharf, to the west side of the bridge going into downtown Venice on Rt. 41. It’s easy to miss if you don’t watch for the side road turnoff off Rt 41 next to the ramp going up the bridge. If you go over the bridge, you’ve missed it. It’s located at the west side of the bridge as you are heading toward downtown Venice.

Phone: 941-218-6418

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