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Mar 20, 2004 05:29 PM

Where do the locals eat in the St. Pete area?

  • k

We are planning a trip to Tierre Verde/St Pete area in April. I'm looking for suggestions on great places(reasonably priced-have 2 teenagers!) to eat in that area-willing to drive a reasonable distance to get there! I'm specifically looking for places the "locals" go --no touristy spots. Thanks!

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  1. t
    Tandoori Girl

    With two teenagers, I'd definitely recommend the following: the Chattaway -- this is a hamburger joint with outdoor seating and that's where you should sit. I don't know the adress but you'll take the interstate back into downtown then head south. Also try Coney Island Hot Dogs, which is also in downtown. This place looks just like it did when they put it all together in the 1940s. And the prices will make you happy. Dogs, chips, shakes.

    Mid-Peninsula Seafood is very reasonable, just good fresh seafood in a casual atmosphere.

    For the best blackened grouper and a nice view of the bay (although I think they're building up a storm over there now), go to Dockside Dave's. The teens will love the onion rings.

    Will you have a kitchen? Head to Mazzaro's Italian grocery. Nice meat market.

    Also, check this site for Tampa suggestions. It's just across the bay. Ybor City would be a great day trip. Get some Cuban sandwiches and black bean soup at the Tropicana or Carmine's.

    Have fun.

    1. TGirl gave you a good list (thanks for the rec!). Chattaway is delicious - for lunch only - not a good neighborhood for night time. It's located on 4th Street South at 22nd Avenue south. St. Pete is laid out like a grid, so once you figure it out, it's easy to find any address with numbered roads.

      On Tierra Verde, you might try the Crazy Conch Cafe. We just ate there for the first time and the food was wonderful. Also, it's touristy, but the fish (and stone crabs before 5/15) is fresh: Billy's Moorings. Nice view too.

      Two more local hangouts, both located in Pass-A-Grille (the southern end of St. Pete Beach) are Sea Critters (kids of all ages love sitting outside and feeding the catfish that hang out there) and the Seahorse, right across from the old fishing dock. The very famous Hurricane has awesome sunset views, but not so great food. HOWEVER I read they have hired a new chef to turn things around, so maybe you can try it and let us know!

      Have fun!

      1 Reply
      1. re: joan

        thanks to all who responded! With 2 teenagers its tough to break them of the fast food. Hopefully by introducing them to delicious food with a local flavor, they will be converted!
        Looking forward to a change from the cold climate of CT--

      2. Tierra Verde is beautiful - be sure to drive your teenagers through the Eckerd College campus (or call and ask for a tour) - I would have LOVED to go to school there - almost 2 miles of waterfront. It's off of the Pinellas Bayway, just a little west of the turnoff for Tierra Verde.

        I second Mid-peninsula Seafood. I love to get the fried scallop dinner, and my Spousal Unit always opts for the fried grouper sandwich. PRices are very good, the atmosphere is relaxed and serving sizes are generous. Best of all, the food is GOOD.

        There is a little carribean place called Taste of the Islands or something like that in a strip center on Hwy 19 at the intersection of 22nd Avenue North (Hwy 19 is also known as 34th St. at this end of the peninsula). We had great oxtail and curried goat there, but there are the more expected jerk and blackened dishes, too. The atmosphere is relaxed and funky, the prices are low and the time we visited, we had a great meal.

        If you go to the Chattaway, stick with the burgers, they are a safe choice. I have had deecent salads there, too. It's a landmark, worth a visit.

        In downtown St. Pete, you can take your kids for suchi (if they are that adventurous) at Pacific Wave on Thursday (dollar sushi) nights. It's pretty swanky and sophisticated. I'm no expert on unagi, but the best I've ever had was eaten there.

        Also downtown, SaSa Japanese/Vietnamese is a good place for some rather introductory level (streamlined for the American palate) Japanese and Vietnamese food. The SaSa Deluxe includes a selection of sushi and a hot box with tempura, teriaki and stir-fry that is at least enough to feed two people. If you have appetizers, the three of you might be able to have dinner on that one $18 dish.

        Raul's, downtown on Central Ave., is dependable and fast for standard Cuban fare.

        I hope that you enjoy your visit to our fair city.

        1. You can get a good Cuban sandwich at Habana Cafe in Gulfport. The "artsy' section of Gulfport (just down from the cafe) is fun shopping and has a lot of good restaurants. One has a name like 'Back Fin Blue' I liked it alot. Sorry I don't the proper name of the area but its very close to St Pete Beach.

          Try the Four Coins (on 19 I think) for a local family run restaurant. Great prices, solid food. Not fancy at all.

          Jo-JO's - not sure if its on Tierra Verde or Isla del Sol on the way to Tierra Verde - is hit and miss. Very not fancy ! Have had great marsala dishes and not so great there. Pizza looks good.

          Ted Peters smoked fish up on Gulf Blvd I think is interesting.

          Be sure to take a drive down to Fort DeSoto. Not for food but for beauty. It'll feed your souls !

          1. p
            pinellas native

            4th street shrimp store in st. pete is fantastic!

            4 Replies
            1. re: pinellas native

              Chattaway is wonderful -- worth the trip and best meal you'll have in the area!

              1. re: chow_nova

                I love Chattaway, nice ambiance and good food. Try Pia's Trattoria (Pasta, Panini, Fish etc.) and Backfin Blue Cafe (famous crab cakes ) in Gulfport, Beach Blvd, outside seating, reasonable prices, great food. And also Ted peters for smoked fish... getting hungry...:-))

                1. re: cora

                  El Cap has the best burgers in St. Pete lately; Chattaways has the better ambience, however. Dockside Dave's St Pete Beach is grossly overrated, IMO, or perhaps we were there on a crappy night. The AC wasn't working and the food and service were just bleh. Mid Peninsula has much better grouper on a consistent basis.

                  We are kinda down on the eats here lately--anyone who can give any new tips would be greatly appreciated. Too many subpar meals for too much money. A few of these places need to truly step up the quality for the money, esp. Downtown. I could not believe Primi Urban was voted Best New Restaurant by someone fairly recently...nice people and service but just plain, skimpy pasta dishes that reminded me of the Michelina's frozen dishes I ate in college.

                  1. re: thakrza

                    Which Dockside Dave's did you go to? The new one on Madeira Beach is a lot like the original and I had a great time there recently, but I haven't tried the one on St. Pete Beach. You hit it on an off night, I think. Not to to take anything away from Mid Peninsula, of course! The Pearl on Treasure Island is great. Ted Peter's too. Tangelo's or Good Eats or the coney island hot dog stand for lunch downtown. Mazzaro's for a sandwich. Brisket Basket for sliders. Salad Niciose at Cafe Alma. The guacamole and puerco verde at the VIP lounge in treasure island. the chile relleno at agave in st. pete beach. the coq que vin at gulf bistory in madeira beach. and donughts at the lighthouse donuts at Indian rocks - well worth the drive.