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Five questions about food in St. Pete's - bakery, barbecue, soul food, sushi & espresso

  • spigot May 20, 2007 08:57 PM
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Hi folks. I've done plenty of searches here and found good info, but I've still got a few questions. Please take a crack at any or all of these; your help is much appreciated. (And for context, I'm fine with holes-in-the-wall AND high-end; I really dislike tourist traps. The Trailhead Park area is home base, so it's a bonus for me if recommendations are near it.

1. Where can I buy good bread? (Bagels, baguette, croissant, rye, it's all good....)

2. I've read about lots of good places in Clearwater etc., but is there any good barbecue in St. Pete's itself?

3. Any soul/southern food recs in St. Pete's, and does anyone have an opinion about Shirley's, Soul Food Fantasy or Dirty South?

4. Best sushi and/or ceviche?

5. Any good espresso within 20 blocks of Central & 34th? What about really good takeout - especially Cuban, Middle Eastern, sushi, or panini?

Thanks in advance - much appreciated :-)

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  1. 31st and Central has a great Jamaican carry out, mazzorro's Italian market for great bread, Sushi is average. Downtown has a great tapas restaurant named " cerviche" that has good cerviche

    1. 1. Bread - Best in St. Pete is at Mazzaro's on 22nd Ave. N. around 26th St. Bagels at St. Pete Bagel co. on 4th St. N. around 70th Ave. Croissants at Cafe Mozart on 4th around 69th Ave.

      2. BBQ - None that are stellar.

      3. Soul/southern - Atwater's Cafeteria in South St. pete.

      4. Sushi - I like Hook's on 9th around 13th Ave.

      John

      2 Replies
      1. re: RibDog

        Not sure where "St. Pete's" is, but in St. Pete, Hook's is definitely the best sushi ;-)

        1. re: carissarene

          Oh that's hilarious - I haven't yet stepped foot in the state, but I'm already committing faux pas........ arg! Thanks for the correction :-)

      2. Mazzaro's also has good espresso. 2909 22nd Ave N. You have to get there
        early on Saturday for the bread. It goes fast.I don't have the luxury of going during the week since I work in the opposite direction.
        Also Cuban Delight has great cuban food. 30th Ave and 49th street. You can eat in or get anything take away. Agree with the Hook's recommendation and there is no BBQ
        that I know of that is worth mentioning.

        1. Thank you guys - these are great. Keep 'em coming if more stuff occurs to you.

          1. Mazzaro's is terrific for bread of all kinds, and there's a great Italian bread shop on St. Pete beach in the same building as Gigi's on Gulf Blvd (sorry, blanking on the name..it's Monday.) Best BBQ I've found in St. Pete is Tim's BBQ on 34th St. S @ 16th Ave. S--but it's nowhere near as good as Grandma Flossie's over in Tampa. Hook's, Tokyo Bay Sushi and Kiku in Clearwater are my favorite sushi places in St. Pete--Water sushi in Tampa is good, too. Welcome to St. Pete!

            2 Replies
            1. re: laboheme

              The St. Pete Beach Italian bakery is Casa del Pane. It's about a mile north of the Don Cesar on the East side of Gulf Blvd. - has a red sign. Its breads and focaccia are excellent! Agree with comments on Mazzaro's - it's worth a drive if you're a foodie. They have great meatball and other subs (huge - a steal at $5). A great Italian market!

              1. re: Gator Tom

                >>Agree with comments on Mazzaro's - it's worth a drive if you're a foodie. <<

                I go into sensory overload every time I go in there. I love their pizza, lasagna, sandwiches, olive oils. cookies, biscotti, ravioli, anti pasto salads. I could go on and on and on about Mazzaro's. Not to mention their wine and cheese room.

                Frank

            2. 1. St Pete Bagel for bagels

              2. Sushi - I have been enjoying Sushi Zen (Korean)

              AND WHAT is the deal with the lack of BBQ in the St Pete area? Plus, I tried swinging by Champions BBQ in Seminole on my way home from work tonight, but they area gone/closed!

              6 Replies
              1. re: Little T.

                Man, I saw that coming on Champion's.

                John

                1. re: RibDog

                  I agree completely with the recs for Mazzaro's, and not just for bread. Everything I've bought there has been wonderful.

                  I also agree with the poster who recommended Big Tim's for 'cue. It might not be world-class, but I think it's pretty good.

                  Shirley's is very good. I don't claim to be an expert on soul food, however I love her food.

                  If you are in St. Pete the first weekend in June, try to attend the Taste of Pinellas festival at Vinoy Park. It's a blast! There will be booths run by many local restaurants (including some that have been mentioned in this thread) selling smaller portions of their specialties. It's a great opportunity to try lots of different foods, especially things from restaurants that you might not otherwise get to try.

                  1. re: debbed

                    Pray tell, where is Dirty South???? I love that someone named a restaurant that--simple genius.

                    Good BBQ--Dunedin--Friday's and Saturday's only til he sells out: Eli's at 360 Skinner Blvd. True Delta south style--sweet, sweet, sweet man. Great atmosphere (walk up shack/eat on picnic tables under live oaks) too!

                    1. re: debbed

                      debbed, I think I read about it on CH, although it may've been in the St. Petersburg paper.............

                      Dirty South Soul Food
                      2924 5th N
                      Saint Petersburg, FL 33713, USA
                      (727) 209-1800

                      1. re: debbed

                        Amen on Eli's !! BTW, he closes NLT 6 pm. Pit Boss in Palm Harbor is decent, also. Since I moved to Clearwater four years ago, I have searched diligently for good 'Que and, other than these two, I have found NOTHING in Pinellas County.

                        A half hour east in Tampa, there are 3 joints that I can recommend: Good - Kojak's (medium flavor) on Gandy; Better - Jimbo's (sweet) on W. Kennedy; Best - Big John's Alabama Barbecue (sorta hot). Grandma Flossie's, about half way to Brandon, used to be good - don't know if it's still open.

                        I don't agree that Big Tim's is any good - but if one can't leave St. Pete, I guess it will have to do !

                        BTW, has anyone noticed that all 'Que joints are named after someone e.g. "Bubba's" ?

                        1. re: shurshot

                          Just so you know, the Pit Boss is closed in Palm Harbor on US 19. The center is getting a facelift but Pit Boss is gone.

                          John

                  2. Thanks to everyone for your suggestions here :-)

                    Here's a quick rundown of places I've tried so far, and my impressions of them:

                    - Cafe Alma - appalling bad food, although apparently lots of people disagree with me :-)
                    - Z Grille - really very good nouveau Mexican; good salsa, salads, steak, tacos
                    - Lucky Dill - good lunchtime deli, particularly good pastrami
                    - Atlanta Bread Company - fine for grilled sandwiches at lunch
                    - Ceviche - crowded and a bit of a meat market, but perfectly good tapas
                    - Primi - terrific simple Italian. Nice primavera, carpaccio, gnocchi. Great redhaired waiter.
                    - Mazzaro's - it's not that exciting IMO, but it's a good market; good bread, condiments, etc.
                    - Bonefish Grill - very corporate chain, my sea bass was a little overcooked
                    - Zapata's - truly entertainingly bad, especially the service - worth the trip!

                    I haven't really gotten as far afield yet as I hope to: this weekend I'll be in Tampa and Clearwater for Cuban and tacos, yay.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: spigot

                      If you are still in St. Pete try Ted Peters on Pasadena for the smoked mullet. It is heavenly! I know this is not a category you were asking about, but it is one of the few places left to get this gulf coast tradition.

                    2. 1. Where can I buy good bread? (Bagels, baguette, croissant, rye, it's all good....)
                      Definitely Mazzaro's and Casa Pane on St. Pete Beach

                      2. I've read about lots of good places in Clearwater etc., but is there any good barbecue in St. Pete's itself?
                      dunno....:-( haven't found one yet

                      3. Any soul/southern food recs in St. Pete's, and does anyone have an opinion about Shirley's, Soul Food Fantasy or Dirty South?
                      Shirley's is good..

                      4. Best sushi and/or ceviche?
                      Ceviche at Ceviche downtown St. Pete

                      5. Any good espresso within 20 blocks of Central & 34th? What about really good takeout - especially Cuban, Middle Eastern, sushi, or panini?
                      Espresso at Mazzaro's and Pia's in Gulfport (segafredo). They also have excellent paninis and simple but delicous italian food.