St. Pete Beach and Tampa Recommendations
Hi everyone - DC 'hound here looking for advice.
I'm staying in St. Pete Beach at the Sirata Resort with my Beloved for MLK weekend. He lived in Tampa as a kid many moons ago, and has some fond memories of the place, particularly of the Colombia Restaurant and Shell's. He also has a craving for Cuban sandwiches that we just can't quite satisfy here in DC.
I've looked the the board here, and it looks like people have mixed reactions to Colombia, and that the preference seems to be the Ybor City location. Is that still true? Does the view/atmosphere beat the one in St. Pete Beach?
Shell's -- well, it seems like folks on this board aren't so keen on that restaurant. I've seen other suggestions for seafood places, namely:
Ferg's Beach Shack
Any other suggestions? A decent seafood place with good live (blues preferred) music would be ideal, as the Beloved loves good blues as well.
I'd really like to make this trip special for him since we'll be taking a hike down memory lane during a much needed getaway from the chill up here, so I would be eternally grateful for any suggestions.
Thanks in advance!!
If you're looking for a funky place with music and seafood (typical Florida chow), try Skipper's Smokehouse in Tampa. Mostly blues instead of jazz, but always something interesting going on.
As far as the Colombia is concerned, the original location in Ybor is still the best. A bit heavy on tourists this time of year, but they updated the menu a few years back and the service is still first-class. Don't know if they still do the flamenco show at night? If you want good roast pork, however, stay away from the Colombia. The best in Tampa is one of the Pipo's locations. Typical cafeteria-style but always great roast pork.
Also maybe drive up the beach a bit and hit Salt Rock Grill. It's worth the 20 minute drive. I would skip Shells altogether. One of my favorite beach hangouts is Caddy's on Treasure Island.
There is a Shells just down the road from the Sirata on Gulf Blvd. I think it's connected to the Travel Lodge. What few people know is that you can walk to the Swigwam, a bar with music on the wknds., at the back of the Travel Lodge (or whatever the hotel is) on the beach and order from Shells. They drop it off and you can eat it in the comfort of real driftwood and have a mudslide at the same time. This should give you music and Shells at the same time. Even if you don't eat at Shells be sure to go to the Swigman for the music.
There is often music at the Ka'Tiki on Sunset Beach (island hop to Treasure Island, your next island north of SPB). It is not always good music, sometimes downright awful, but it is free and you can hear it from the road and decide if you want to partake. You are likely to hear blues there. Skippers is also a good suggestion although a bit of a drive from SPB. The Ringside Cafe in downtown St. Pete also has live music.
The Floridian on Treasure Island makes a decent Cuban. Ask for it pressed. There is a cuban restaurant on W. Gulf Blvd. with palm trees, tropical exterior, but I've not heard anything good about it, and have heard it's pricey. So eat there at your own risk.
Don't forget Ted Peter's on Pasadena Ave. just off of St. Pete Beach. Excellent smoked fish, good burgers, and a real institution.
Ferg's Beach Shack is closed with the possibility of the property being turned into condos.
For a good Grouper sandwich, Dockside Dave's is now located on Gulf Blvd. on St. Pete Beach in the old Alfredino's.