Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Florida >
Oct 18, 2000 12:55 PM

Crabby Bill's alert! (Clearwater beach advice)

  • a

This restaurant is the ultimate tourist trap! Located right on Clearwater beach, it is a convenient location, but the good stuff stops right there. A visiting relative wanted to try it, and ignorant of the crap that this place dishes out, i went along.

The stone crab claw appetizer went for an absurd $25, and for only 3 claws, it's a disgrace. Crab cakes were scattered with pieces of shell and were overly-salty. The crab cake entree went for $11, but only included 2 small cakes. The green beans (the only alternative to cole slaw) had half-cooked pieces of bacon fat in it, and tasted bland. All the rest is baked potato and french fries.

Soft-shelled crabs suffered from overly-thick batter. The Manhattan cocktails had no vermouth. The waitress was snotty and mechanical. This is 'processing of diners' at its worst. Dinner for 4 adults and 2 kids ran over $100, and we all left less than happy. The night before, 7 adults ate and drank all they wanted in Ybor City for less!!!

Stay away from this place if you find yourself on clearwater beach. Leverocks is much better, as is the Columbia on Sand Key. But if you can, just stay away from beach dining altogether. Or better yet, go to Honeymmon island (near Dunedin)--- wonderful beach, not crowded, no commercial BS. Clearwater beach is one giant tourist trap, unfriendly to locals and confusing to drive in. I'm a local, so trust me.

One more thing: I hear Crabby Bill is indeed a crab, a meanie, a real SOB.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I too am a local, and couldn't agree more. However you left out the part about seating. Sharing a mile long picnic table with smelly strangers jammed together is not my idea of fun. The tourists do love it though...
    I own a seafood market and restaurant in St. Petersburg, and although I am not here to toot my own horn, I must defend Crabby Bill's crab prices: My wholesaler and I recently discussed the incredible price increases. Jumbo lump now goes for $25 per pound TO THE WHOLESALER. That means people like me have to mark it up even further before we resell it or use it in a recipe. It is coming from Indonesia and China at that...absolutely nothing domestic available. Very sad, the state of the world seafood industry. Farm raising will soon be the only viable source, I think.

    P.S. I had heard from a longtime employee that Crabby Bill was a nice guy... who knows?

    5 Replies
    1. re: joan

      Im a resident of St. Pete. Just curious - What is the name of your reataurant/seafood store?

      1. re: allison9090

        Allison: I confess, in an earlier post to you I recommended my own restaurant...shameless, I know, but I could tell by your post that you would like it. You recommended the Italian place on 9th Ave north...I still have it on my list, you know! By the way, if you stop in, ask for me, I'd love to meet you!
        Mid Peninsula Seafood
        Market & Restaurant
        400 49th Street South
        St. Pete 328-8309

        1. re: joan

          Joan, you can totally recommend your restaurant. cause it is that good.

          1. re: ambroziak

            I mentioned this to Joan when I was at MPS last week and it was so long ago she had no recollection of the post. And, she couldn't believe it was still here are viewable. But you're right, she definitely can recommend her place with confidence.

        2. re: allison9090

          I beg to differ somewhat...I've been to Crabby Bill's several times. The Stone Crab appetizer (Jumbos) cost me 11.95...three to four claws each time. The Oysters were great and only 1.95 doz.(a half price special). I'm not big on fried seafood so I stick with steamed or raw stuff. My wife and I stuffed our faces with crabs, oysters and beer and never spent more than 50.00....Yeah its touristy...IMHO I thought Leverocks was lame and overpriced.

      2. Wow, that's a lot different than Crabby's used to be. They used to make a great fresh fried fish sandwich with fries and slaw for $2.95!(I haven't been there for a year or so.) A platter of onion rings the size of a garbage can lid piled high ran around $4, and was excellent. I've eaten at Leverock's a couple of times and always liked Crabby Bill's better (the original location up in Indian Rocks or Madeira for quality, but the St. Pete Beach one for the view, since it sits directly on the beach.) I know Bill sold out to a corporation a few years ago but is slowly reclaiming the outlets. It's a shame if it's slipping that way, although my only expectation was for a good, cheap fresh fish dinner and they always delivered.

        1. I agree the place is a tourist trap! Being a glutton for punishment, I have over the years been there seveal times. I swear it gets worse

          1. Just got back from the St. Pete Beach Crabby Bill's and I don't see any changes for the worse (we've eaten there occasionally over ten or so years.) Prices are still low, quality is not bad, location is excellent.

            I had the fresh fish sandwich ($4.95 with two sides) and a huge bowl of very spicy gumbo ($3.50.) A giant plate of onion rings is still $2.95, a 1/2 pound burger with sides for my non-seafood eating wife was $5.50, and the fresh fish of the day (several kinds) were all around $15. A dozen oysters is $4.00.

            The only disappointment: iced tea is strictly bogus from a mix.

            Everyone has their own opinion, of course, but I would still recommend Crabby Bill's in St. Pete Beach for a great view right on the Gulf, an informal atmosphere, and good and cheap fresh seafood, simply prepared without pretense. I've eaten at Leverock's and it was OK, but invariably we go back to Crabby's. It may be touristy, but most of the people we see there seem to be locals.

            1. We are from the UK, and visited Crabbys when we visited Clearwater beach. We spent $50 and thouroughly enjoyed our food. We love the USA and would just love to visit Crabbys again Just to be in Clearwater again. We would swap you for the UK anytime!!!

              Crabby Bill's Seafood
              5100 Gulf Blvd, St Pete Beach, FL 33706

              12 Replies
              1. re: simonm121

                Crabby Bills is our favorite restaurant to go to for seafood. It seems to be well liked by others too based on the line to get in every time we have gone. They have updated the menu from the last time we were in and everthing we had was very good. {mahi tacos, boomer shrimp, crab ravioli, dungeness crab, grouper and a few bowls of red gumbo} A neighbor of ours who has lived in the Clearwater area for years recomended Crabby's to us when we told him we were going to Shells. We are happy he did.

                1. re: offshore3

                  I could see it being a step up from Shells

                    1. re: rhnault

                      Meow!! :-)
                      Sorry, offshore, you're entitled to your opinion, but you won't find many like-minded people here.

                      1. re: Miss E

                        Yeah seriously, Crappy Bills is one of the few places I've walked out of. The only thing that keeps that place open is the weekend drink-a-thon frat parties they host. Everyone I know that's eaten there was underwhelmed or flat out hated it.

                  1. re: simonm121

                    Always good to dredge up something written a decade ago and comment on it, eh?

                    1. re: UptownKevin

                      when i moved to Florida from NY 4 years ago, my friends told me to steer clear of Crabby Bill's. Some friends were visiting from PA and insisted on going since the person at the desk at their resort recommended it. I was not a happy camper but went along with the crowd. No one, not even the kids with us, liked the food. And of course, since we were in FLORIDA, where I live, i got the evil eye from everyone. "Why didn't you tell us??" i tried, i tried. And fried pickles? no, no, no, no. Things on the menu sounded good, but it all fell short. Every single item Awful fried crap. Some things never change.

                      1. re: UptownKevin

                        Kev, normally I wouldn't participate, but it's pretty sad when a restaurant can suck balls for a decade straight.

                        1. re: askdrtodd

                          And still have people standing in line for their bad food. WTF?? Only in Florida. lol

                            1. re: sweet_polly

                              seriously. probably has to do with us being a tourist trap.