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Darwin rebrands as Peruvian Eatery

One of Sarasota’s best-known chefs, Darwin Santa Maria, is shaking things up at his restaurant Darwin Evolutionary Cuisine.

The restaurant at 4141 S. Tamiami Trail has rebranded itself as Darwin Peruvian Eatery, this week introducing a menu that is about 80 percent new, Santa Maria said. The menu will feature a greater emphasis on seafood including traditional ceviches and tiraditos from Santa Maria’s native Peru, as well as raw bar dishes and entrees.

“I was always known as Peruvian cuisine, so people started getting confused with the Evolutionary name,” Santa Maria said. “I intend to go back to my roots, and then using a lot of local seafood here in Florida. I really wanted to source my ingredients from local seafood and really incorporate it into my ceviches, into my sashimis.”

Darwin Peruvian Eatery will also feature the full-liquor bar Curandero Cocteleria. The bar will offer craft cocktails and spirits such as pisco — a Peruvian grape brandy — as well as beer and wine, and host live music Fridays and Saturdays.

Happy hour will run 5-7 p.m. daily and offer $1 off beers, $4 sangria, $5 wine and $6 pisco and cocktail specials. There will also be happy hour food deals including $1 “buck a shuck” (chef’s daily oysters or little neck clams), $5 ceviche and chicken wings and $6 tuna Nikkei.

Santa Maria opened Darwin Evolutionary Cuisine with his wife Lellys in 2017. His former endeavors include Bradenton brewery Darwin Brewing Company and downtown Sarasota restaurant/bar Selva Grill, both of which he is no longer affiliated with. He also ran Rosemary District gastropub Darwin’s on 4th and Siesta Key restaurant CeviChela.

In recent years, Santa Maria has traveled while working as a personal chef for Major League Baseball player Manny Machado. Yet he said Darwin Peruvian Eatery represents a commitment to staying in Sarasota.

“I’ve been in and out, going back and forth with my other business,” Santa Maria said. “But I’m here now. I decided that I really want to go back and stay here in Sarasota.”

Darwin Peruvian Eatery’s hours are 5-10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 941-260-5964 or visit


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