Bradenton is one of Florida's most vibrant Gulf Coast cities and a popular tourist hub. Its popularity can be attributed to its status as a waterfront city and especially its iconic landmark: the Manatee River located in the city's downtown.
But Bradenton's offerings include more than the marina and natural landmarks. There are various pristine beaches, shopping complexes, and entertainment joints. Then there are the Bradenton boat-friendly restaurants, offering the ideal beachfront dining to residents and visitors alike.
Related Blog: 5 Best Places to Go in Your Boat in the Bradenton Area
Whether you plan to dock for lunch or dinner, Bradenton has some excellent boat-friendly restaurants and bars.
If you're looking for the ideal beach experience filled with white sands, beach sports, boat rides, corn hole, fire pits, good music, and magical sunset by the waters of Bradenton, then Caddy's is your one-stop dining destination. You can drop here for a nice lunch, romantic dinner, or just a lazy afternoon drink. Located on 801 Riverside Drive E, the detached Caddy's stands between Sarasota and Manatee in downtown Bradenton.
Caddy's offers a unique open-air Bradenton waterfront dining experience plus a covered bar section and ample seating with tables next to the dolphin-infested sea for a perfect dine-with-dolphin experience.
The menu at Caddy's includes grilled grouper sandwiches served in vegetable salad and fish and chips served with mandarin coleslaw in tartar sauce. There's Caddy's signature Reuben: a baked corned beef topped with sauerkraut. There's also the Swiss cheese and rye bread plus the blackened chicken wings that are to die for.
We can't highlight the best restaurants in Bradenton without mentioning the Linger Lodge, one of Florida's oldest establishments dating as far back as 1945. Located on the Braden River on 7205 85th Street Court E., east of Interstate 75 near Johnson Preserve, Linger Lodge offers the best dining and RV campground experiences.
Linger Lodge is home to the indigenous native Florida wildlife that you're sure to enjoy watching as they hang from the restaurant walls. But there's more. First, there's the native Florida cuisine: catfish, frog legs, grouper, alligator bites, fried green tomatoes, and smoked meats including turkey, brisket, pulled pork, and ribs. The Linger Lodge is a must-visit for seafood lovers with an eye for vintage waterfront settings.
Pier 22 is a family-owned waterfront restaurant and one of Bradenton's memorable landmarks. It is located in downtown Bradenton and dining at Pier 22 places you right in the heart of the Manatee River with spectacular views of its marina and the sunset on the Gulf of Mexico horizon.
Pier 22 features an open-air dining experience and a covered seating area where you can enjoy a romantic dinner under the stars. There's another high-end indoor dining and bar upstairs, complete with an event section ideal for wedding receptions.
Pier 22's Greg Campbell is a master's chef and expert in a wide selection of different cuisines. From wasabi-crusted tuna topped with sesame peanut sauce to the bruschetta chicken with fresh mozzarella sticky rice, to the wok vegetables, to tomatoes and basil-infused oil, and soy glaze.
There's also the must-have prime rib dinner offered on weekends and the Pier 22 Burger, topped with avocado, fried eggs, spiced bacon basil mayo, and smoked cheddar. To continue spreading waterfront culinary excellence, Pier 22 opened a sister restaurant in 2018 called Grove, located in Lakewood Ranch.
Woody's River Roo
Woody's River Roo opened its doors to residents and natives looking for a unique waterfront dining in 2003. The Woodring family owns the restaurant and has a sister bar in downtown Bradenton: The Lost Kangaroo. Otherwise called "The Roo with the View," Woody's Roo offers a laid-back Old Florida dining experience along the banks of the Manatee River in Ellenton. There's an expansive open-air bar and dining area overlooking a stage with live music.
The menu includes the Roo's unbeatable Blue Crab Cake Sandwich, the Woody Burger (grilled cheese, mushrooms, and onions), Woody's signature BBQ sauce, and chicken wings. Guests are sure to love the grouper sandwich dubbed the "Grouper Roo-Ben," a grilled Swiss cheese and rye bread topped with coleslaw.
Whether it's freshly caught seafood or locally brewed beverages and local live music and entertainment, Bradenton has some of the best boat-friendly restaurants, suitable for any marine traveler or guest with a thing for waterfront views. If you're looking for a boat-friendly destination with deep waters and panoramic views, Bradenton is the place.