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12 Meals in Tampa/St. Petersburg

We are coming in for 4 days in Tampa/ St. Pete's area and am looking for suggestions for :
1/good seafood
2/ barbecue
3/cuban or other spanish
4/ ethnic
5/ fancy restaurant

Two people, with car; price not an object and extreme foodies. Good food, need not be fancy is fine. One day will be at Dali museum.

Many thanks.

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  1. Let's see:

    1. Seafood - I would choose either Ted Peters or Peninsula Seafood. While I realize these are not fancy, the seafood is good.

    2. Barbeque - I would suggest either First Choice Barbeque in Brandon or Jimbo's in Tampa.

    3. Cuban or other spanish - Arco Iris is my first choice for a casual place and the Columbia in Ybor City or Valencia Gardens in Tampa for fancier.

    4. Ethnic - China Yuan in North Tampa

    5. Fancy - Cafe Ponte in Clearwater or Mise En Place in Tampa.

    I am sure I will get shot for some of my choices but not guts, no glory.

    Hope you enjoy your stay.

    John

    1. One of my favorite places to eat in Tampa is Pho Quyen which is on the corner of Hillsborough and Memorial. Start with the "make your own rolls" and then have a steaming bowl of pho. Pretty much anything on their menu is awesome. The servers are super friendly, the restaurant is clean. You'll be totally happy there and then when you get your check for $25.00 you'll be even more thrilled.

      1. If you're at the Dali museum, stop by the Old Key West Cafe next door for a sandwich and a beer. Very fresh, very delicious, and you can sit outside and enjoy the weather.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Covert Ops

          The Dali has moved ... new location is next to Albert Whitted. I think the Key WEst place was next to the "old" location. From the New, I would go to Ceviche on Central Ave.... enjoy a taste-travel through Spain!

        2. Dockside Daves for the best grouper in the area...been very disapointed with quality of fish from Peninsula Seafood, Cafe Pointe is the best foody spot in the area, Salt rock Grill for great fish and steak with a active atmosphere ( make reservations)

          1. 1/good seafood - Oystercatchers, Salt Rock Grille
            2/ barbecue - Jimbos, Kojaks
            3/cuban or other spanish - Arcos Iris, Columbia in Ybor
            4/ ethnic - Byblos-mediterranean; Acropolis-Greek; Bernini - Italian
            5/ fancy restaurant - Mise En Place; Bern's

            In St. Pete after or before the Dali, Ive had some good meals at Cafe Alma, Fresco's

            1. Many thanks. Any good places for garlic crabs- hard shell?

              how about a good greek restaurant ?

              thx

              1. Cant help with the garlic crabs.
                Go to Tarpon Springs for good greek food. I, personally, like Hellas because the foood is really good; the service is excellent; and the setting is really nice since you can eat inside or out on the porch and watch the human parade along the sponge docks.

                It is a shame that Kojaks and Jimbo's are being touted as our best barbecue. We went to Kojaks for the first time in many, many years for my birthday las year. The quality of the meat was very poor. It was not good. Jimbo's is nothing special either. I personally prefer any of the Rack Shack's in Pinellas County, or, if you want really really downhome southern BBQ, try Georgia Boy's in Oldsmar. Truly a hidden BBQ gem. If you like the higher end semi-BBQ/comfort food deluxe, try Lee Roy Selmon's in TPA.

                14 Replies
                1. re: wishbugger

                  I like Lee Roy Selmon's for barbecue too. Probably more for the comfort food though. I love their fried green tomatoes and their cheese grits. Plus their caesar salad is so full of fresh garlic it's spicy.

                  1. re: rhnault

                    southern bbq sounds great.

                    any suggestions for blues music on friday, sat or sunday night?

                  2. re: wishbugger

                    I have been to Rack Shack a few times and after I get through eating lunch there, I do nothing but belch wood all afternoon. Not my idea of good que.

                    John

                    1. re: RibDog

                      I figure if you're burpin wood, that is a GOOD sign for a BBQ joint. Anyways, I saw For Sale signs on 2 closed up Rack Shacks today. That pretty much is a BAD sign.

                    2. re: wishbugger

                      After living in Greece 20 years, I'd suggest skipping the authentic tourist traps in Tarpon and going to Oasis in Hyde Park instead. The Lebanese food there is closer to Greek food as eaten in Greece! Acropolis, in Ybor or Feather Sound, is good, too. If you're not from the Tampa Bay area you might be shocked at what is called a Greek salad here...just a warning!

                      1. re: proboscidian

                        Watch out for the potato salad in the bottom of your greek salad. It is a tarpon springs thing but is is done all over the area

                      2. re: wishbugger

                        Smokin A's is a good Tampa BBQ joint also.

                        -----
                        Smokin A's Bbq
                        3643 W Waters Ave, Tampa, FL 33614

                        1. re: deet13

                          But note that Smokin A's isn't on W Waters anymore, its at the intersection of Florida and Hanna in Seminole Heights.

                          1. re: jfischer27

                            Yeah, their new location is catty-corner from the ABC Auto lot on Florida ave, just south of Waters...

                          2. re: deet13

                            tell us more? pork? brisket? ribs?

                            1. re: askdrtodd

                              To begin with, it's a dry bbq. Next, the brisket, pork, and the home-made sausage were all good (the brisket was my favorite), and they make their own variety of sauces. Unfortunately though, I haven't tried the ribs yet (I keep buying the brisket plate)...

                              The last time I went there, which was a few months back, I spoke to the owner about how he cooks the brisket. He said they do the dry rub in the evening, then let it sit overnight. Then they come in around 3 or 4 am to start the smoking process, and he said they're ready to begin serving brisket by 11 or so in the morning.

                              And it's one of the few places in town that I've been to in some time that serves up a mess of collard greens as a side dish (it's a love/hate thing).

                              As for the interior of the restaurant, it's spartan, but it was clean; although, it did get a bit smokey due to the wind blowing in from the kitchen.

                              They had a line out the door during lunch, but the service was great in a redneck/homey way.

                              Also parking could be a bit of an issue.

                              1. re: deet13

                                Love collards, love brisket, and love rednecky BFE BBQ lunchy places, thanks for the info deet13!!

                                1. re: askdrtodd

                                  No problem.

                                  IMO, the only thing that could have topped off my plate of fried okra, collard greens, and bbq'd brisket would have been a hot piece of cornbread.

                                  1. re: deet13

                                    THERE'S NO CORNBREAD? blasphemy.

                        2. you might try a search--- we get these questions a lot. I second all of RibDog's recs. I dines at Cafe Ponte for the first time a couple weeks ago and had a wonderful experience. If money is no object, go and splurge! much better than berns in every way.

                          1. barbecue - JRs Floribbean bbq in seffner
                            cuban or other spanish - Black Beans in town n' country or Las Margarita's on hillsborough blvd.
                            ethnic - Mexican - Dona Maria in lakeland (worth the drive for the salsa); Italian - Mario's in Lakeland (completely worth the drive)
                            fancy restaurant - Laughing Cat (dinner) or Della's After Dark in brandon

                            1. For fancy restaurant you can try Sidebern's or BT

                              1. Just a few thoughts for when you are downtown at the museum . . .

                                1. Parkshore Grill - While I have not been myself, I have heard great things about this newly opened restaurant. Plus it is in a great location.

                                http://www.parkshoregrill.com/lunch_m...

                                2. Downtown Thai restaurants - Take your pick. #9 Bangkok, Ratchada Thai Restaurant and Sushi Bar, The King and I, Chiang Mai - all great. I prefer #9 Bangkok or King and I.

                                3. Tangelos - I think they have one of the best Cuban sandwiches around.
                                .
                                4. Z Grille - I love their fish taco's (and their pork taco's too).

                                5. Ceviche Tapas Bar - Bit's of Spanish Heavean. Enjoy great food and Sangria.

                                http://www.cevichetapas.com/

                                6. Fresco's Waterfront Bistro - Watch the boats go in and out while dining on the water. At the very least, stop in to find out their entertainment schedule. They might have the Blues you are looking for.

                                http://www.frescosrestaurant.com/

                                Good Luck!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Little T.

                                  I love Ceviche. The best seats are in the bar area Thurs - Sat. they have live music and serve the complete menu in the bar. Its a little loud - but loads of fun - and yes - they food is very good. MUST HAVE: the pork & veal stuffed peppers in a white sauce - I can't recall what its called in Spanish - but I order it every time there.

                                2. Great blues can bea heard at the Blues Shark on 7th Ave in Ybor City, or Ringside Cafe on 4th Street in St. Petersberg(which also serves a tasty burger). In addition, there are some blues bands that get to Skippers Smokehouse in North Tampa off Skipper Road, a block east of Nebraska Ave.(with interesting Floribean food)

                                  1. We are also foodies, traveling the globe in search of fine fare! He are some of our Tampa favorites:

                                    1/good seafood
                                    Maritana Grill in St. Pete at the Don Cesar (3400 Gulf Blvd.) http://www.doncesar.com/Dining/Marita...

                                    On the Tampa side of the bridge you could do Oystercatchers (2900 Bayport Dr)
                                    http://www.oystercatchersrestaurant.com/
                                    or Sidebern's 2208 West Morrison
                                    www.sideberns.com

                                    St. Bart's Island House is interesting too. South Tampa at 1502 S. Howard Avenue
                                    http://www.stbartsislandhouse.com/men...

                                    2/ barbecue
                                    I have heard people rave about Kojak's House of Ribs (2808 W Gandy Blvd-Tampa), but we were not all that impressed. Taste in the tastebuds of the beholder!
                                    www.kojaksbbq.com
                                    I personally prefer Jimbo's Pit BBQ (4103 West Kennedy Blvd.-Tampa)
                                    http://www.jimbospitbarbq.com
                                    Heck, I like Sonny's too. You can find those everywhere.
                                    www.sonnysbbq.com

                                    3/cuban or other spanish
                                    Well, the popular place would be Columbia Restaurant because it's historic. This is in Ybor (ee-bore) City in Tampa. Go to this one: 2117 E 7th Ave-Tampa!!
                                    www.columbiarestaurant.com
                                    For Tapas go to Ceivche, much better than Sangrias. Ceviche is on Bayshore in the Hyde Park area of Tampa (2109 Bayshore Blvd)
                                    www.cevichetapas.com
                                    La Teresita (3248 West Columbus Drive-Tampa)
                                    http://cuban-food-usa.com/tampa_teres...
                                    Lastly, Arcos Iris also in Tampa at 3328 West Columbus Drive.
                                    http://cuban-food-usa.com/tampa_arco....

                                    There is another Cuban place on the corner of West Kennedy and Dale Mabry Highway. Havana something. It's very good, but I can't remember the name of it!

                                    4/ ethnic
                                    Thai- Royal Palace Thai in Hyde Park-811 S. Howard Avenue
                                    www.royalpalacethai.com

                                    Italian-DEFINITELY Spartaco. WONDERFUL FOOD. Authentic Northern Italian cuisne. Run by Spartaco and his mama who sometimes comes from Italy to cook. This is in South Tampa at 4127 S. Macdill. We come here once a week.
                                    No website

                                    Sushi-We like JoTo's 310 S Dale Mabry Highway
                                    No website

                                    Another that is very, very good is Samurai Blue in Ybor (ee-bore) City. It's on the 2nd floor of Ybor Square. 1600 East 8th Avenue #C208
                                    www.samuraiblue.com

                                    Mexican-Carmelita's. There are four locations in Pinellas County. link: http://www.carmelitas.net

                                    Red Mesa in St. Petersburg is also very good! 4912 4th Street North
                                    http://www.redmesarestaurant.com

                                    5/ fancy restaurant
                                    This depends on what you consider fancy, but some of the ones I've listed are considered "fancy." Here are a some more:

                                    Six Tables-the one on Henderson in Tampa. Make reservations in advance! It only has six tables and is a great experience. Richard and Amy are fabulous! 4267 Henderson Blvd-Tampa
                                    www.sixtablestampa.com

                                    Bern's Steakhouse. You can find a better steak in Tampa, but the appeal is the history of this place. It's in South Tampa located at 1208 S Howard Avenue. Definitely do not miss the dessert room upstairs!
                                    www.bernssteakhouse.com

                                    If you are just about the steak, try Charley's at 4444 W Cypress St, Tampa.
                                    www.charleyssteakhouse.com

                                    We are actually dining at the Black Pearl in Pinellas County for the first time tomorrow for Valentine's Day. We have heard nothing but great reviews. I'll come back and post. The address is: 315 Main Street, Dunedin, FL
                                    http://www.theblackpearlofdunedin.com

                                    Armani's-This is on the top floor at the Hyatt near the Tampa Int'l Airport. Italian cuisine. Very good. - 2900 Bayport Drive. Jacket prefered, not required.
                                    www.armanisrestaurant.com

                                    Chateau France for fine French cuisine. Their frog legs are to die for! It's considered fine dining and I believe they just opened one in Tampa too, but we've always gone to the one in St. Pete. 136 4th Avenue N.E
                                    http://www.chateaufranceonline.com/

                                    If you're willing to go a tiny bit north to Lutz there is Splash! An Ocean Grill. Great food. GREAT! 3973 Van Dyke Road, Lutz
                                    www.splashanoceangrill.com

                                    And if you decide to do pizza one night, Cappy's is awesome! 3200 W Bay To Bay Blvd,

                                    Hope this helps! Happy dining!

                                    ~H.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: HeatherFL

                                      Sorry to be late to the party, but there is a better steak in Florida than the 18 oz dry aged rib eye at Bern's with perhaps the best wine list in the world. Please enlighten me.

                                    2. Updating on the Black Pearl in Dunedin. I wouldn't say it was "fine" dining, but it was quite good. It is a very small place and our server was quite nice. In fact, he has been our server at Chateau France in St. Pete. [sidebar]He told us the Chateau France in Tampa is not nearly as good as the one in St. Pete and that "it's just not the same." [/end sidebar]

                                      We started with carpaccio and the butternut squash ravioli. The carpaccio was not the best cut of meat. It was just acceptable to me. I found the balsamic they paired with it to be a bit too sweet. The ravioli was divine. Our salads were very good and they were dressed with just the right amount of dressing. I had the filet. My significant other had the Lobster thermador. My filet was cooked perfectly. The au gratin potatoes that were served with it were average. They could have cooked them longer and melted the cheese a bit more. His lobster thermador with scallops was quite good. The presentation was very nice too. For dessert we had chocolate crepes with cherries jubilee. This wasn't as exciting as we thought it would be. The filling was not very flavorful, as far as crepes go-they were a bit thick. The cherries jubilee was average.

                                      So that was the experience. I'd recommend it, sure, but not as as a first choice for fine dining in Tampa Bay.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: HeatherFL

                                        thanks for the review of Black Pearl - I know it's well regarded in the area and always been curious about trying it sometime. Tried any other places in Dunedin?

                                      2. LOL- just the Chic-A-Boom Room next door to the Black Pearl for some after dinner drinks.
                                        www.kellyschicaboom.com/ChicABoom/Hom...

                                        We ate at a little Italian place about two years on Main Street that was pretty good. For the life of me, I can't recall the name of it. It was during the Dunedin Art Festival and one of the only places that was open that day.

                                        While eating at the Black Pearl the couple who sat near us raved about a place called La Maison Gourmet. They also offer cooking classes, so I will definitely give this place a try next time over the bridge in Dunedin!
                                        http://www.lamaisongourmet.com/

                                        A note on the Black Pearl. They had a special Valentine's Day menu and they were a bit busy. I don't know if the fact that such things like the potatoes and the carpaccio could be attributed to this or not. Just thought I'd add that notte.

                                        ~H.

                                        1. I think the best Cuban/Spanish restaurant in the area is definitely Ceviche (in both Tampa & St. Petersburg.) Great atmosphere, excellent sangria, and the most delicious tapas dishes!!!

                                          If you're looking for sushi, Kiku on Clearwater Beach is the ultimate experience! I've been to many sushi restaurants, and Kiku has them ALL beat!!!

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: rachelmita

                                            For tapas you can't do better then Ceviche in Tampa Bay that is, and Red Mesa is St. Pete is the best south western. RM is consistently great food and presentation, they will add new items every now and then, but their fish is always the best IMO. Another similarity for both of these restaurants is they both offer great Sangria, order a pitcher! (Only other place with better sangria is the Columbia restaurant, any location.)

                                            La Terrisita has slipped, and it is very dirty. I would have to check but I think they have also received some bad inspections.

                                            Sushi, I second Samurai Blue - there is a roll there in a miso glaze to die for.

                                            HeatherFL is giving good advise for the ones that I have been to so I would stick eith her for the rest of them as well.

                                            If you are in the Brandon area, there is great Thai at Jasmine Thai on the corner of Providence and Lumsden. Great lunch special, you get a spring roll, soup and lunch all for a low price.

                                            1. re: LunasMom

                                              I still like La Teresita. It ain't fancy. Maybe it is dirty sometimes, but if you wrote off every restaurant that ghot a bad inspection there wouldn't be many left. If I'm feeling uptight, I head to Arco Iris or Antojitos. I can't seem to get enough of Teresita's caldo gallego--- is has lots of greens and isn't overwhelmed with meat.

                                              andy

                                              1. re: LunasMom

                                                Although I do love Ceviche, you can do better! (or at least just as well!) Last night I again had fabulous tapas at The Pearl, on Treasure Island. Along with a big pitcher of sangria, we had ceviche, platos Mediterranean, which included hummus, baba ganouche, tabouleh, marinated olives, peppers, artichokes, mushrooms, and eggplant. Served with pita and sliced homemade bread. We also ordered skewers of chorizo/beef/chicken, and a pepper stuffed with chorizo beef combo. Here is the website - however, only the Continental menu is shown, the tapas menu is extensive.

                                                http://www.gotothepearl.com/index.html

                                                Everything was wonderful, the place is really nice, and service very good. They also have full Continental type menu as well as Moroccan tagines etc.

                                                I agree about Le Teresita, I stopped going to the one in Pinellas, the bathrooms were beyond horrible. I agree with Andy that I can overlook a certain amount of lack of housekeeping, but the yuck factor really does matter.

                                            2. Casual seafood: BEST grouper in town, Frenchy's Rockaway Grill on Clearwater Beach. Great place to have a grouper sandwich, cold beer or frozen drink, and sit on the deck with an ocean view.

                                              Ethnic/Pacific Rim: Roy's in Tampa is outstanding!!

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: rachelmita

                                                I think that Roy's is great, but it's a chain. The last two times we've been there it's been a bit disappointing. For good Pacific Rim, go to Pacific Wave in St. Pete!

                                                Link: http://www.pacificwaverestaurant.com

                                                I agree on Frenchy's. I do like it there for a casual atmosphere!

                                                1. re: HeatherFL

                                                  Sure, Roy's is a chain, but it's a small chain and each location has a different chef. Coming from me, it may be a shock, but it is one of the best meals I've had in Tampa.

                                                  -Kevin

                                              2. The best cuban in Saint Pete is on 22nd ave South, it's Habana Cafe, i've been going there for a few years, great service, great prices.

                                                1. If you are extreme foodies, I would pass on Mise en Place, and go straight to Bern's. I was at MEP a couple weeks ago before we went to see Wicked and although the food was good it just didn't stand out. I have been to Bern's many times over the past 15 years in Tampa and even though the service has gone down recently, the food never fails to shine through. I am such a foodie that the last 2-3 times I have gone, I have simply ordered multiple appetizers: Steak Tartare Bern's style is to die for, small is enough for two, Froie Gras is great and price compared to elsewhere great, caviar I like to try a new one each time, and usually my husband gets the sea food of the night. The Steaks are great, and so are the sides. Wine list has no comparison and the dessert room is something you will talk about to everyone. Take the tour when offered before they take you upstairs for dessert.

                                                  Have fun!

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: LunasMom

                                                    For fancy I would add Restaurant Hapa to the list. Small, intimate with great food and service. Chef owned and operated. Non pretentious with some stellar presentation and wonderful ingredients.

                                                    1. re: LunasMom

                                                      Those are the same apps we had when we were there in March for my bday. they were both excellent

                                                    2. La Teresita is fantastic; there's a location in both Tampa and St Pete.
                                                      It's not BBQ per se, but the burgers at El Cap's (4th st, St Pete) are great.
                                                      Ceviche is wonderful, although we were there on a Friday night recently and the noise level was almost laughable; don't go if you're looking for a place to talk.
                                                      Bella Brava can probably go in your 'fancy' category...nice Italian in St Pete.
                                                      Good luck! I"m jealous!

                                                      1. 1/seafood -- Dockside Dave's in St. Pete Beach
                                                        2/BBQ -- First Choice in Brandon
                                                        3/cuban -- las margarita's on Hillsborough Ave. near Dale Mabry
                                                        4/ethnic -- La Cabana del Tio in Clearwater (mexican)
                                                        5/fancy -- Berns

                                                        Downtown St. Pete when you're at the Dali Museum, go for lunch at The Chattaway, an outdoor burger place that's an institution. Very close to the museum. I think they also have grouper sandwiches.

                                                        8 Replies
                                                        1. re: Tandoori Girl

                                                          I apologize for responding to this post which dates from February. This is just an exercise in writing because I doubt the original poster is still waiting for their trip to Florida.

                                                          1. re: Tandoori Girl

                                                            perhaps dec111 will see fit to debrief us with some reviews, and you posting will have prompted him/her.

                                                          2. re: Tandoori Girl

                                                            T-Girl- While I'm thinking of it, tried Las Margaritas for the first time a month or two ago and had a mixed experience, was surprised. When is the last time you've been? Maybe we just ordered wrong or caught them at a bad time. Went to La Teresita a week or so later and, I know this will shock some folks here, had a much better meal.

                                                            As for FirstChoice, always yum. I want to try La Cabana del Tio. Stopped in to El Toro Negro in Kenneth City last weekend for lunch, and food was solid, but seems to have slipped. Almost wondered if change in owners, sign outside was different.

                                                            matt
                                                            FloridaFoodHound
                                                            http://www.flfoodhound.com

                                                            1. re: tastetampabay

                                                              Oddly, I went to Las Margaritas today. I say oddly because I don't go that often and lo and behold, the day i go, you ask. And it wasn't as good as the last time. I think you have to know what to order. Last time I ordered the liver which is cooked in this particular style, the same at all the cuban restaurants. and it was excellent. Today I had trout ala rusa and it was not particularly good. the beans were good and the yuca was good but that did not make up for the mediocre trout ala rusa. maybe teresita is on its best behavior after having been cited for serving non-grouper. The "grouper" on the menu has been typed over with "fish". you know, you just never know what's going on at a restaurant. Too bad about El Toro. La Cabana del Tia is really great, be sure to give it a try. And try Agave on St. Pete Beach.

                                                              1. re: Tandoori Girl

                                                                Thanks for the update on Las Margaritas. We went to Vino E Pasta a few weeks ago (seem to remember you posting about it before) and had a great experience. I can't believe I'd passed it so many times before and had never tried it before. Where abouts on St. Pete Beach is Agave? Thanks-

                                                                1. re: tastetampabay

                                                                  Agave is pretty solid Mexican/Tex-Mex food. Decent fajitas, great queso fondito, fantastic chips, salsa and guac. One of the better places in Tampa for this type of food; but it's more of a crossover and not as Mexican as El Toro Negro or El Taconazo. Coming from the Don on St. Pete Beach, Agave is on the left hand side, about a mile after the public parking lot / Publix. It's in a little strip shopping center next to a laundromat.

                                                                  -Kevin

                                                                  1. re: UptownKevin

                                                                    Cafe Alma is excellent also. Their new chef is outstanding. We go often. Try their new trio dishes. Spanish, Italian... the best sangrias too.

                                                                    1. re: merrymarie

                                                                      I love the healthy wine pours you get at Cafe Alma

                                                          3. Hi, wondering if any of you would be willing to provide some updates on this old thread..in St. Pete today and tomorrow, and Tampa for the weekend. Any places we would regret missing? We like to try ethnic places, also family friendly, and not too formal. Trying to avoid fryer food and eat pretty healthy. Any suggestions? Is Agave in St. Pete's good?

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: MCFAC

                                                              Agave on Gulf in St. Pete Beach is OUTSTANDING...some of the best Mexican food in the area. Some other good ethnic eateries around St. Pete are Jade Bistro (http://www.jade-bistro.com--some of the best Vietnamese food I've had outside of the Slanted Door in San Francisco.), ABC Seafood ((727) 522-1888 2705 54th Ave N St Petersburg, FL 33714--Great Hong Kong style Chinese Seafood), and Ceviche in downtown St. Pete for Spanish wine & Tapas. As far as Tampa goes, Yummy House and China Yuan are great choices for Chinese food and Pho Quyen on Hillsborough does excellent Vietnamese. If you are up by USF, Jai Ho is terrific for Indian. Hope you have a great trip!

                                                              -----
                                                              China Yuan
                                                              8502 N Armenia Ave Ste 1A, Tampa, FL 33604

                                                              ABC Seafood Restaurant
                                                              2705 54th Ave N Ste 3, Saint Petersburg, FL 33714

                                                              Yummy House
                                                              2202 W Waters Ave Ste 1A, Tampa, FL 33604

                                                              Jade Bistro
                                                              2425 Edgewater Dr, Orlando, FL 32804

                                                              Pho Quyen Restaurant
                                                              4749 66th St N, Kenneth City, FL 33709

                                                            2. Hello! We are staying in St. Petes and would love recs of reasonably priced, can't miss places. I am a chowhound who was relocated to Indiana, which is NOT any place that I would recommend for good food, and am interested in all types of food, especially local specialities. I am so excited to eat good food on our trip! Thanks for your recs!

                                                              8 Replies
                                                              1. re: Main Line Tracey

                                                                Tracey,

                                                                Make sure to eat at Bowled in St Pete, Red Mesa, and come over the bridge to Tampa and eat at Pane Rustica.

                                                                -----
                                                                Red Mesa Restaurant
                                                                4912 4th St N, Saint Petersburg, FL 33703

                                                                1. re: askdrtodd

                                                                  Thanks so much for the replies!!!! We tried Agave, AWESOME! We would have driven right by, doesn't look like anything from the outside. At the cross section between local ethnic and foodie hangout, they had the spanish soap operas on in the background. Got a %100 blue agave margarita for about $7, the house was $3.50. Enchaladas Mixa plate was great! We're from the West Palm area, compared to our neighborhood, very reasonable. We'd be there every week if we lived in the area. Looking forward to trying out some other recommendations...

                                                                  1. re: askdrtodd

                                                                    Also tried Pane Rustica, had a terrific experience. Had the watermelon salad, and a flatbread pizza, it was not a regular menu item, had reggiano (I think) and dried fruit on it, topped with arugula. Yum! Also heard a staff member talking about a planned expansion. Sounds like a great place is about to get even better! Will return when we're in Tampa, almost worth the 4 hour drive by itself!

                                                                    1. re: MCFAC

                                                                      Glad you liked it! The small supermarket next door had too much space and Pane didn't have enough, so that worked out really well, they are opening a wine bar area and putting more tables in. I love that place. Next time you go try the burger or po boy (if they have it) on olive loaf, those are killer sandwiches!

                                                                      1. re: askdrtodd

                                                                        WE would like to go out for mexican one dinner. Would you recommend Agave or Red Mesa ??

                                                                        Quality. portion size and for your $..

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                                                                        Red Mesa Restaurant
                                                                        4912 4th St N, Saint Petersburg, FL 33703

                                                                        1. re: palmtree38

                                                                          Agave is more of a Mexican restaurant whereas Red Mesa is more Southwestern. Personally I prefer Red Mesa. The menu is a more unique and the presentation more creative; however I have only been to Agave once so I may not be the best judge.

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                                                                          Red Mesa Restaurant
                                                                          4912 4th St N, Saint Petersburg, FL 33703

                                                                          1. re: Agent Orange

                                                                            So would Red Mesa be more fancy then? As Agave did not have a menu or at least not that I could see on line anywhere.

                                                                            I do like southwest too ! yum

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                                                                            Red Mesa Restaurant
                                                                            4912 4th St N, Saint Petersburg, FL 33703

                                                                      2. re: MCFAC

                                                                        Mad Fish.. Anyone try their mon-thurs early dinner specials? $8.95 dinner with 8 selections. salad . pie and coffee and tea?

                                                                  2. 1/good seafood - Ted Peters has the best food. Frenchy's Rockaway is the best location
                                                                    2/ barbecue - Poppa's on 49th st. in Clearwater
                                                                    3/cuban or other spanish - Arcos Iris or Ceviche
                                                                    4/ ethnic - Red Mesa, Ivory Mandarin Bistro(Ask for a Chinese Menu and The Red Snapper),
                                                                    5/ fancy restaurant - Bern's used to be the staple here but once chef Pierola left it stared going down hill, Cafe Ponte, Mise En Place, Black Pearl, E & E Stakeout(Not as fancy but food is great), Belleair Grill(used to be called Pepper Mill) are all solid choices.

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                                                                    Cafe Ponte
                                                                    13505 Icot Blvd. Suite 214, Clearwater, FL 33760

                                                                    Red Mesa Restaurant
                                                                    4912 4th St N, Saint Petersburg, FL 33703

                                                                    Mise En Place Restaurant
                                                                    442 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33606

                                                                    Frenchy's Cafe
                                                                    41 Baymont St, Clearwater Beach, FL 33767

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Mnash5

                                                                      we loved Ted Peters.. Even bought the tshirt for a DDD novelty.

                                                                      Loved the potato salad. smoked mullet spread. smoked mullet entree.
                                                                      Kids had the cheeseburger. Although people rave about it was nothing special since we have already been exposed to Hodad's in California for the best burgers and they were the best.

                                                                    2. maybe this is where "St Pete's" got started...

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. 1- Keegan's for Seafood (Indian Rocks Beach Area) - if you want downtown St. Pete 400 Beach Seafood House. Or 4th St Shrimp Store - NOT fancy / extremely good. Locals (I'm a lifer) go to Harvey's 4th St Grill (4th & 30th Av N) for the BEST grouper sandwiches... and everything else.
                                                                        2- BBQ: Jimbo's in Tampa ... or go to Preacher's on 4th St at 11th Av N and get take-out - exceptional. Also "Fred Fleming's" Champion BBQ is re-opening on 4th ST near 54th Av N.
                                                                        3. Ceviche -local "chain" of 4 restaurants. One is downtown St. Pete close to the Dali, does great Tapas for lunch or diner... wonderful Sangria. Columbia is the classic Spanish Restaurant. The Tampa/ Ybor City location is the historic fabulous one.. but I prefer the Clearwater/ Sand Key location. There is one in Downtown St Pete at the Pier... but I have not been there in years.
                                                                        4. HaLong Bay... great dimsum-- quite close to what we had in Hong Kong (where the chef is from). Also good VietNamese there. BahnMi next door at Thuy. US19 near 62nd Av N.
                                                                        Greek - go to Tarpon Sprigs for a day. Visit the Cathedral, and the smaller church on Hope St. Mykonos is good. Mr Souvlaki, too. Enjoy the pastries! and the shops.
                                                                        5. Bern's. Without a doubt. A book called "Eating out across the USA" has Bern's as the fial chapter, and the author explains why. Unlike anywhere else i the world. legendary and for very good reasons. Tour the kitchen and wine cellar. enjoy the dessert room upstairs. Marchand's at the Vinoy Hotel (downtown St. Pete) is also good... has won several awards.

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                                                                        Thuy Cafe
                                                                        5944 34th St N # 22, Saint Petersburg, FL 33714-1257

                                                                        Mykonos
                                                                        628 Dodecanese Blvd, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

                                                                        Jimbo's Restaurant
                                                                        1604 SE 46th St, Cape Coral, FL 33904

                                                                        Mr Souvlaki
                                                                        802 N Pinellas Ave, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689