On my continuous search for vegan dining in the Sarasota area, I was thrilled to happen upon Lovely Square located in the Gulf Gate area of Sarasota, FL. Tucked into a strip plaza on Gateway Drive, you’ll find a charming, bright and clean space with friendly staff just waiting to make you feel welcome.
Lucky for us as well, Lovely Square is participating in the Savor Sarasota promotion. While the restaurant is open daily for breakfast and lunch, they are only open for dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We chose to visit on Saturday night and were greeted by Albane Garcia. She runs the front of the house while her husband, Serafin, does all the cooking and runs the kitchen. Serafin has been in the restaurant business for 20 years and has just recently found his place in Sarasota. With his heritage in the South of France and his upbringing with parents of Spanish heritage, he brings a global twist to his cuisine. You will find dishes with a French twist as well as Italian flavors and even some inspired by an Asian flair.
Menu items that are either vegetarian, vegan or gluten free are clearly marked on the expansive menu. And, because this is really a mom and pop kind of place, Albane and Serafin are happy to tweak the menu items to accommodate dietary preferences.
We started our three course dinner with both the Power Soup and the Homemade Flatbread. The power soup was a soothing cup made with turmeric, ginger, carrots and quinoa and topped with homemade croutons. The homemade flatbread was topped with zucchini, tomato and vegan cheese. Chef Serafin made a beautiful presentation with both dishes. A delight for the eyes and tongue.
For our second course, we all chose the same dish, Stir Fried Noodles. The vegan version of this entree started with a wheat noodle base and topped with veggies, soy sauce, cashews, cilantro and tofu. A gluten free version is also available with rice noodles (I ordered mine this way). For the non-vegan, the dish is made with shrimp and chicken. The noodles entree was similar to a pad thai dish but a lighter flavor and one of the best tasting things I’d ever had.
For dessert, we had two choices that could be made vegan. I chose the Pineapple Carpaccio. This was a stunning plate of the thinnest slices of pineapple that I had ever seen. It was topped with speculoos powder and garnished with strawberries and grapes. If you’re wondering what speculoos is, it’s a gingerbread-like spice cookie popular in Europe. The cookie is ground up and sprinkled over the pineapple. Everyone else ordered the Strawberry Crepes which they described as quite delicious and fresh.
Lovely Square has been open for just about six months. We had a great experience and will definitely be returning. You can see their entire menu and hours on their website www.lovelysquareflorida.com.
Photos by Heidi Schild and Lovely Square FB page.