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Feb 1, 2005 02:54 AM

Finds in Clearwater/Dunedin/Bellair area

  • j

I will stay in the Clearwater/Dunedin area for the third time in two years, so I read all the messages - pertaining to this area - that were posted on this useful board.

Like many of you, I have been to Frenchy's and I agree, it is a must! Among the restaurants I tried, other than Frenchy's, I really liked the Hogfish (in my opinion, the menu is inventive and the food shooter is a great idea and a fun way to sample the food) and Cafe Alfresco (Dunedin), but I am surprised that nobody mentionned my favorite restaurant: Guppy's (Bellair or Indian Rock).

Having read your messages, I look forward to try Keegan's Seafood Grill, Lenny's, Bobby's Bistro and Kelly's.

In addition to Guppy's, the followings are on my Finds List: Iris's peanut pie(Dunedin), Serious Cookie Company and Tarpon Springs (I forgot the name of the place).

Would any of you kindly share their gourmet finds with me? I will be staying in a condo, so I will be able to cook: is the Wednesday market in Clearwater worth the visit? Is there a fine grocery store in Clearwater (the only grocery store I know is Publix)? Other than the Grouper sandwich, what are the local specialities? I had the best grouper sandwich in Bellair, in a little restaurant with a nice patio located just beside a Thai restaurant. I forgot the name of the place but I can tell you this much about it: great Greek salad and great happy hour specials. It is located on the right side of the road when you leave Clearwater and you go towards St-Pete, it has a yellow sign, it is located between the Blues Brothers Diner and Guppy's. Anybody know that restaurant? By the way, did any of you ever eat at the Blues Brothers diner?

Looking forward to be back in Clearwater Beach and discover new places... I am open to any suggestions.


Julie :-)

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  1. What a pleasure to be asked to refine options based on a visitor who has carefully perused the board! Am looking forward to reading your posts about our area.

    Am going to suggest you skip the Clearwater Farmer's Market and go for the St. Pete's Farmer's Market on Saturdays. I have posted a link below. There are many more vendors with interesting things as well as good booths to find snacks and small meals. If Fisher's Seafood is there, their fish spread is just wonderful. Might be an idea to bring a little cooler with you on this field trip. And, while in St. Pete's, check out Mazzaro's Italian Market, am putting site here: You'll need said cooler here too, great cheese, bread, pastries, olives, I could go on and on. I like and use Publix, but when I want more upscale I go up 19 to Enterprise and shop at Fresh Market. Lovely produce, good bakery, higher end meat.


    6 Replies
    1. re: Coyote

      One more question... I was in Cleveland Ohio recently and I ate at a great restaurant called Brasa Grill Steakhouse (you will find the link below). Brasa is a Brazilian restaurant (Churrascaria). Meat cutters come at your table and serve you meat as much as you want. At the begining of your meal, you are given some sort of coaster with a green side and a red side. When you are ready to eat meat, after you had a few things in the salad bar (asparagus, shrimps, grape tomatoes and bocconcini salad, sushi, etc.) you turn the coaster on the green side and meat cutters start coming at your table. It was such a great experience. The Beef loin crusted with parmagiano was to die for!

      I am wondering if there is such a restaurant in the Clearwater/Tampa area?

      Thanks again!


      1. re: Julie

        I've eaten that at that kind of Brazilian place in NY and in Miami, not aware of one here. More Central and South Americans have settled on the Miami side of our state than on the Tampa side. Cuban food is very good here, especially in Tampa, and also La Teresita in Pinellas Park.

        1. re: Julie
          Tandoori Girl

          Julie, there's an Argentinian steak house in Ybor called El Puerto at 1623 East 5th Ave. They serve huge meat platters from their grill, sweetbreads, sausages, cuts of meat, same concept. Parking is confusing on wknds but they have a lot across the street. I don't think there's a Brazilian place here.

          I like Guppy's too. It's a nice place, nice setting.

          Check out the Island Way Grill if you haven't been. Upscale, lots of open water views. Lunch & dinner.

          Mazzaro's is the greatest grocery. You're lucky!

          1. re: Tandoori Girl

            Thanks Tandoori girl!

            I checked Mazzaro's website and indeed, it looks like a great place! I can't wait to go there and buy some goodies (thanks again Coyote)! Is that the only place like that in the area or there are other gems to be discovered?



          2. re: Julie
            Tandoori Girl

            Julie, there's an Argentinian steak house in Ybor called El Puerto at 1623 East 5th Ave. They serve huge meat platters from their grill, sweetbreads, sausages, cuts of meat, same concept. Parking is confusing on wknds but they have a lot across the street. I don't think there's a Brazilian place here.

            I like Guppy's too. It's a nice place, nice setting.

            Check out the Island Way Grill if you haven't been. Upscale, lots of open water views. Lunch & dinner.

            Mazzaro's is the greatest grocery. You're lucky!

            1. re: Julie

              Texas De Brazil in Tampa in exactly like what you have described! It's delicious!

          3. On restaurants, if you like Thai, I am a fan of Bahn Thai at McMullen Booth and Enterprise. Reasonable prices, very fresh tasting, lunch specials include spring roll, soup and a little beignet kind of thing for dessert.

            If you don't want to go up to Tarpon Springs, and I think you should, I like Costa's there, go to Pappa's Marketplace Cafe at McMullen Booth and Enterprise, I've linked their site below so you can see address and menu. They do a very good Greek salad, the lamb sandwich is excellent.

            If you like Mexican, I would send you to Caramba's on Drew near Hercules. Again, reasonable prices, very good food.

            Will let someone else point you to BBQ but I do hit Sonny's from time to time at 19 and Curlew.

            My new absolute favorite find is Lincoln Heights Bistro, in Safety Harbor on Elm St. Southern cooking, very inexpensive and very well done.

            If you are interested in these spots and need help googling up info on location or phone numbers, just ask.


            6 Replies
            1. re: Coyote

              Forgot to mention my favorite pizza place, Johnny's Italian Restaurant (2907 State Road 590, Clearwater; (727) 797-2940. There are a number of very good high end Italian places around, but since I cook Italian often I don't usually go out for it. Others may help.

              For a real splurge, Cafe Ponte, often mentioned on this board.

              1. re: Coyote

                It is very nice of you, Coyote, to take the time to reply. Thank you for your detailed information! You are so lucky to live in such a nice place!

                When I travel, I always love to visit markets, so I will definately save some time to go the the one in St-Pete!

                I am not a big fan of pizza, but I do like it once in a while. What is special about Johnny's pizza? Should I have the one with all the works?

                Last time I was in Clearwater was in November. It was the stone crab season (yummy). What is in season right now?

                I remembered the name of the restaurant in Indian Rock beach where I had a good Greek salad and grouper sandwich. It is Ace's patio... Have you been there? It was really good, simple, cook to order, and cheap!

                I do like Mexican and I was planning to go to Caramba's since it seems to be a favorite on this board. When I have a sweet tooth, I really like a good churro. One time, I even had one filled with warm chocolate. Any good place for churros?

                What I really love when it is hot, is a good couscous, some chicken shwarma, some hummus or any meal with mango in it. Any place I can find that kind of food in the area?

                Appart from Tarpon Springs (where I have been 3 times), are there any other quaint "villages" in the area? What about orange groves? I have been to one in Seminole, they had great frest juices and ice cream!

                I will let you know what I tought of all those places when I come back from my trip.

                Thanks again. ;-)

                1. re: Julie

                  I've lived in a lot of big cities and Johnny's pizza is the closest I've found in the area to the kind of pizza I used to get in cities with large Italian populations. If you can get that in your area, then you may not need to get pizza from Johnny's. But if the craving strikes, I think this is the best place in the area. My husband loves the plain cheese, I get the vegetarian or the one with eggplant parm on it.

                  Can't really help you with Middle Eastern nearby, but there are good restaurants for that in Tampa if you want to drive over. Andy Huse, a frequent contributor, has a favorite over that way, try checking the board, or maybe he'll chime in.

                  It is still stone crab season, and you are lucky to have missed the period when grouper was not allowed to be caught, should be fine now. Give amberjack a try for a change from grouper.

                  Will check out Ace, don't know re churro. On 19 There is a place called Orange Blossom Groves, with the citrus trees just behind the retail/shipping operation. Good for citrus and ice cream. Have linked info on that below. Not sure on other quaint villages, I understand there is an Amish settlement near Sarasota, may be too far to go, I think more in terms of this area being known for fun beach communities, walking on the beaches, etc.


                  1. re: Julie

                    If Ace's patio is next to the Thai restaurant that I
                    remember, the one with the sliding glass door to enter,
                    then I would recommend that Thai place. They had the
                    best chicken soup with coconut milk and lime juice that
                    I ever had, and their dinners were tasty, too. Hopefully
                    they're still good - it's been more than a year since
                    I've been there.

                    And another 'thumbs up' for Guppy's, too.

                    1. re: Julie

                      Sun groves on sr 580 in Clearwater has great juices and homemade ice cream and lots of citrus to buy! Been there forever and now they have a produce stand out front called Tommys with great produce and reasonable prices.

                  2. re: Coyote

                    For BBQ the best spot is a little smoker on the side of the road in Dunedin off of Main Street called Eli's BBQ! So yummy!

                  3. Not sure if you've been, but Dunedin's Main Street has a nice village feel to it. Kelly's is on that street, so there you go!

                    For seafood in Clearwater, try Ward's seafood market, on Greenwood Ave. They have every imaginable variety. Also, you are in luck, stone crabs are in season until May 15th. You can eat them cold with mustard sauce - they are already cooked when you receive them, or hot with melted butter. But don't overcook or the meat will stick to the shell.

                    I'm the one who always recommends Bobby's Bistro - be sure to post your thoughts if you go!

                    Have a great visit.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: joan

                      Hey Joan,

                      Thank you so much for your tip about Ward's Seafood Market. I looooove mustard so I will certainly try the stone crab with it, except that I do not know exactly what is mustard SAUCE? Can I buy it already made? What brand should I get?

                      About the stone crab, do you have an idea how much I should pay per pound in a seafood market compare to in a restaurant?

                      As for Bobby's Bistro, I will pay it a visit and let you know my thoughts when I come back...

                      Thanks again!


                    2. No doubt, my favorite is Green Springs Bistro in Safety Harbor. The food is spot on. The people are great and the place is a work of art.

                      I also like:
                      Fine Dining:
                      Cafe Ponte, although they are not as great as they used to be...
                      Z Grille - although the chef is testy/inflexible - DT St. Pete
                      6 Tables of Dunedin
                      Island Way Grill - Clearwater Beach
                      Oystercatchers - Tampa/Westhore

                      Korean: Rice - Great grill at the table marinated short ribs - Tampa
                      Thai: Ban Thai (the best is really the Thai Temple on Sundays) - Safety Harbor
                      Viet: MeKong - Pinellas Park
                      Sushi: Kinjo - St. Pete
                      Chinese: ABC Chinese Seafood - St. Pete or Pinellas Park??
                      Mexican: La Chiquanita - Near DT Clearwater
                      Indian: Laziz - Safety Harbor
                      Polish: Perogie Grill - Clearwater
                      Greek: Costa's - Tarpon
                      Tapas: Ceviche - Tampa or St. Pete
                      Breakfast: Lenny's - Clearwater & Yanni's - Largo
                      Brunch: Don Cesar - St. Pete

                      1. Southern Fresh in DT safety harbor is great as well. Southern food and it's owned and operated by locals!