By Jane Bartnett
The calendar has turned to February. Not only is it one of the best months of the year here in sunny Sarasota, it is also the month made famous by that noted third-century fellow from ancient Rome known as Saint Valentine, the patron saint of lovers. With that in mind, why not toast St. Valentine and your special someone by paying a visit to one or two of Sarasota’s newest dining spots?
At The Landings Shopping Center, Sophia’s Tuscan Cafe opened its doors in December in the space formerly occupied by Anthony’s Deli & Eatery. Found at 4944 S. Tamiami Tr., this casual, welcoming restaurant features New York-style pizza, sandwiches, calzones, bowls, and Italian entrees. Also, it features made-to-order special desserts that require 24-hour advanced notice.
Sophia’s also boasts a self-serve wine bar where diners can select a 1, 2.5, or 5-ounce glass of wine. Beer lovers will also find a nice selection of craft and domestic beers from which to choose.
Visit online at: sophiastuscancafe.com or call (941) 365-2998.
In the UTC Mall, several exciting new places have opened. If you’re looking for a chic, elegant dining spot, look no further than Georgie’s Garden Cafe at 229 N. Cattlemen Road, near the Acropolis Greek Taverna.
Breakfast, brunch and lunch is served daily from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Dinner service runs from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Next door is Bar George, a sister spot of Georgie’s, and it offers a contemporary bar and a tapas-inspired menu along with live, late-night music until 12:30 a.m.
Both Georgie’s and Bar George are sister restaurants of the popular Lily Cafe in The Landings, as well as the well-known Jane’s Cafe on 3rd in Naples.
For more information visit firstname.lastname@example.org or call (941) 952-5001.
In addition to a romantic meal, how about taking a turn on the dance floor? Is your tango a bit rusty? Do thoughts of dancing the salsa and waltzing gracefully across the floor leave you in a tizzy?
Grab your partner or feel free to go alone and head over to the new Arthur Murray Dance Center at 8383 S. Tamiami Trail in the Sarasota Square Mall shopping center.
Next door to the popular First Watch restaurant, you’ll find professional dance instruction taught in “an atmosphere filled with fun.” You do not need a partner to take part in a class that is taught by skilled professional dance instructors.
Classes range from salsa, swing, hustle, waltz, tango, country, first-dance wedding dances, and more.
Student dancers advance at their own pace, without pressure. A one-time, introductory lesson is currently being offered for only $25.
Learn more at arthurmurraysarasotafl.com or call or text (941) 500-2703.
Sports fans will be glad to learn that the Baltimore Orioles Spring Training season will open on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 1:05 p.m. at Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th St., against the New York Yankees.
An additional 15 home games include visits by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, Atlanta Braves, and Toronto Blue Jays.
The spring season will wrap up on Sunday, March 26, when the Orioles play the Pittsburgh Pirates, before heading back to Oriole Park at Camden Yards for the regular season.
Find schedules, tickets and more information online at mlb.com/orioles/spring-training, or call Ed Smith Stadium at (941) 893-6300.
Prince Charles, Price William and, yes, even Prince Harry, are fans.
Here in Sarasota, royals are welcome but so are many Sarasota visitors and residents who have discovered the exciting game of Polo.
Each Sunday afternoon, through Sunday, April 24, the Sarasota Polo Club, at 8201 Polo Club Land in Lakewood Ranch, is the place to spend a beautiful afternoon watching two skilled teams of expert riders astride magnificent horses as they match wits and strength.
The Sarasota Polo Club reports that Sarasota “is one of the largest, most dedicated and enthusiastic polo communities in the world.”
This year’s season began Dec. 19.
Gates open every Sunday at 10 a.m. and matches are played at 1 p.m. In addition to the polo match, spectators enjoy an opening parade, a live performance of the national anthem, half-time entertainment, and divot-stomping.
Food and drinks and also available for sale.
Tickets for tailgating, reserved seating and VIP boxes range from $15 to $160 per person. Sunday polo tickets are non-refundable.
For tickets and more information call the Sarasota Polo Club at (941) 907-0000, or visit sarasotapolo.com.