15 South Ristorante Enoteca (15 S Blvd. of the Presidents, 941/388-1555, 4–11 p.m. daily, main courses from $14) is located in the upscale St. Armands Circle shopping district. Dinner can be something of a buttoned-down affair, but the atmosphere is rustic and friendly; this is in keeping with the selection of traditional Italian country fare like pasticciata alla Bolognese, risottos, stuffed cannelloni, and grilled veal chops. The dining room is beautiful and comfortable, but solo diners will definitely want to grab a seat at the marble-topped bar and let the bartender guide them through the selection of over 600 bottles of wine on offer.
Combining an Italian market with casual trattoria-style dining, Cafe Epicure (1296 N. Palm Ave., 941/366-5648, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat., main courses from $7) is a great choice for a relaxed and reasonably priced meal. Basic pasta dishes are fantastic, and hearty fare like penne pasta topped with sausage and onion or lasagna Bolognese are surprisingly affordable given the large portions and fresh ingredients. Cold-cut sandwiches and fresh-baked pizza are also available.
There are a handful of places to get pizza on Siesta Key , but the pies at City Pizza (6645 Midnight Pass Rd., 941/349-4490, 11 p.m.–midnight daily, main courses from $8) are accompanied not only by a good selection of Italian fare (including peppers-’n’-eggs subs) but by a surprisingly strong beer and wine list. The sit-down environment elevates it a bit above a regular pizza joint, but it’s still beach-casual with some outstanding food.