When life gives you lemons, make an entire restaurant out of them, right?   Lemon Tree Kitchen bloomed before our very eyes this past March in the former Louies Modern space on Palm Avenue—giving health-centric foodies exactly what they’ve been hankering. “Diners are craving to eat out and enjoy nutritious meals that are not only delicious, but good for them,” says Joe Seidensticker, CEO of Tableseide Restaurant Group. “Sarasota has so many locals and visitors who are passionate about their healthy lifestyle. At Lemon Tree Kitchen, they can enjoy dishes that they’ll feel good about, without sacrificing taste.” Now breathing a radiant openness draped with lush leafage and hanging Vitamin C-filled fruits, LTK sets the scene with an analogous color scheme of yellow-greens, rustic wood furnishings, motif murals and light cage fixtures.

The menu provides a twist (if you will) on American classics, like the timeless BLT or grilled cheese sandwich, suspiciously elevated to now fit into a clean-eating lifestyle. In that pursuit, LTK doesn’t restrict itself to purely one dietary genre, and foodies with strict diets will be delighted to learn that the kitchen happily accommodates vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, paleo, keto, Mediterranean and other eating habits. The hyper-focus lands on fresh, local ingredients and salubrious takes—rendering truly wholesome salvations without sacrificing bold flavors or serving sizes—squeezing out the stigma that eating healthy means an unsatisfied belly growling for more. 

For starters, the Blistered Brussels Sprouts is the perfect rendition of the trendy veggie, accompanied with the house lemon aioli that will fall nothing short of a strange, overindulging addiction—seriously, this stuff goes with everything. Sea salt baked plantain chips supplement the sublime dippage of Roasted Beet Hummus, which alleviates the earthy potency of beets and accentuates just the right amount of citrus and sweetness. And when was the last time you remember seeing toast having its own entire section on a menu? Crunch into farm-fresh gourmet toasts like the Smashed Avocado, Marinated Cured Tuna, Vegan Tartare and House Pimento Cheese.

Louies Modern loyalists, don’t fret—many favorites make special appearances on the menu. Lock eyes with your former lover, the beloved Bedeviled Eggs, garnished with paprika, turnips and tofu. Rejoice in finding also the Vegan Kale Caesar and the Louies Tribute Burger. Don’t be surprised however, if entirely new items wedge a place in your heart, and stomach. The Ancient Grains Chopped Salad combines fresh veggies, faro and fried tofu in a cold-pressed apple vinaigrette dressing. The Seared Beef Carpaccio is a light and tasteful option, with horseradish crema, cherry tomatoes, asparagus and sprouts. The Homemade Kale Cavatelli invites you to finish off a pasta bowl in a spicy eggplant arrabiata sauce and grated parmesan, while the Wood-Grilled Cauliflower Steak’s presentation is as easy on the eyes as the gut, with honey-roasted carrots, broccoli rabe, butternut squash puree and chimichurri sauce. 

The Seared Beef Carpaccio comes with horseradish crema, cherry tomatoes and asparagus. Photo by Wyatt Kostygan.


From the revamped bar, count on low-sugar, citrus-centric cocktails to pair the fare. Get your buzz on with the refreshing Honey Bee martini or some next-level “lemonade” with the Lemon Tree, crafted with lemon-infused Tito’s Vodka, fresh lemon juice, soda water and a lemon oleo saccharum (pure cane sugar mingled with the oil a citrus peel releases), an ingredient that adds just enough nuance and sophistication to the base of a punch for the utmost thirst-quencher. While the forbidden fruit may taste the sweetest, dessert here is quite sinless. A shameless surfeit of Coconut Mango Panna Cotta comes chilled with non-dairy Chantilly cake, while the Sweet Blue Corn Crème Brulee with fresh mint, Vegan Chocolate Mousse with dairy-free whipped cream and Lemon Polenta with mixed berries and lemon sorbet make up the rescue team to our dining distress.