BRADENTON -- Ocean Harvest, Blue Marlin and YachtSea Grille were among the Bradenton area eateries that most impressed judges Saturday and Sunday at Taste of Manatee.
Patrons, many first timers, were wowed by the delectable dishes, too.
The Taste of Manatee organizers, The Rotary Club of West Bradenton, announced their restaurant award winners Thursday for the 26th annual cuisine contest that took place this past weekend at Riverwalk.
The festival featured food from 28 local restaurants, enjoyed by some 20,000 attendees, the service club estimated.
Ocean Harvest Grill's fabulous fish tacos played a key role in the Bradenton restaurant winning Best Of The Best while Bradenton Beach's Blue Marlin won Best Booth with its stone crab macaroni and cheese quickly selling out both days.
YachtSea Grille, which opened earlier this year on Riverfront Boulevard as a direct result of the newly renovated Riverwalk, won in the appetizer category. It served Polynesian pork shank, clam chowder and roasted red pepper hummus with pretzel rolls.
Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston presented the awards, along with Miss Manatee Jennie Ozark, Junior Miss
Manatee Caroline Howard, Little Miss Manatee Hannah Brady and Mini Miss Manatee Savannah Cannon.
"We had the finest restaurants we've ever had," said Mark Sticht, a chairman for Taste of Manatee. "Most importantly, all the restaurants are from right here in the community."
Each restaurant contributes a significant portionof their sales from theTaste of Manatee to thesupported charities.
Complete list of winners
1. Yacht Sea Grill
3. Riverhouse Reef & Grill
2. J&J Barbecue
3. Edelweiss German Cuisine
1. Fia's Cafe
2. Ocean Harvest Grill
3. Meaney's Mini Donuts
1. Ferraro's Pizza
2. Mr. Cheesecake
3. Taste of Hawaii
Best Booth: Blue Marlin
Best Of The Best: Ocean Harvest Grill
Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7057. Follow Twitter.com/wtatangelo.