HOME > Chowhound > Florida >


Fine Dining/Seafood in St. Pete, Tampa or Anywhere in Between

Hello! I am looking for a fine dining restaurant w. a focus on seafood in the aforementioend areas. This is a gift for my seafood snob, Gulf-living parents. They love Pass-a-Grille and Peck's in Ozello is a classic. I am looking for somewhere a lot less casual w. a focus on fine dining and seafood. It would be great if it was on the water, too. Do places like this exist or does everywhere in this area have the super-casual Jimmy Buffett vibe (don't get me wrong - I love this about SW Florida)?

Thanks in advance?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. There is always Roy's in Tampa.


    1. There is The Columbia at the St, Petersburg Pier, Spanish/Cuban with Seafood dishes. The location at the St. Petersburg Pier overlooks the Bay, with floor to ceiling windows on the fourth level of the Pier (which is an inverted pyramid structure). Really because of the area being a tourist destination many restaurants might be upscale but many people dress very casually. There is also an upscale restaurant in the Don Cesar Hotel on St. Pete Beach.

      1. Hmm. Roy's is a chain with a a Hawaiian theme *shudder*. I checked out the Don Cesar's restuarant and the seafood offerings were meh at best. I was researching some restaurant or another in St. Pete and they were proud of the fact the offered "Hawaiian seafood flown in fresh daily". I won't even contemplate the environmental irresponsibility of that. The irony of flying in fresh seafood from Hawaii to anywhere in state that is an isthmus blows my mind. The Columbia sounds intriguing.

        I guess the moral of the story is that my parents know what they are doing when it comes to eating seafood. ;) I wanted to get them a gift certificate somewhere fancy, but it looks like Peck's in Ozello kicks all these places asses when it comes to seafood.

        1 Reply
        1. re: DarrylsMama

          I'll mention The Hurricane Restaurant at Pass-a-grille. Famous for their grouper sandwiches.

          Did a web search on Peck's and found out it is all the way up in Crystal River, a bit of a drive from the Tampa/St. Pete area.

        2. Pacific Wave on 2nd St S in downtown St Pete is the best upscale seafood restaurant I've been to. They focus on fin fish but also have a nice selection of carnivore choices. The food is consistantly excellent and creative. If you're lucky, you'll be there on a night when they do the Thai tea sorbet as a palate cleanser. Unbelievable!

          1 Reply
          1. re: stpeteguy

            She won't like Pacific Wave either, stpeteguy, as I'm pretty sure that's the place that advertises fresh Hawaiian fish.
            I'd be willing to bet that Peck's actually uses flown-in seafoods as well. (I read that they serve mussels - certainly not local, and almost certainly farmed.) That is the way it is now - the consumer wants more than the limited offerings available locally, so seafood is flown world wide daily.

            Try the Lobster Pot in Redington Shores. But this rec comes with a warning: they serve Maine lobster, Dover sole, Alaskan crab etc in addition to local lobster, oysters, and fish offerings.


          2. Darryl--
            I recently ate at the restaurant at the Don CeSar. It was amazing. The food was wonderful, especially the fish which seemed very very fresh. Also, the service was stellar. and you can't beat that view...before or after dinner take the elevator to the fourth floor and go out onto one of the terraces. They are usually rented out for weekend nights, but you may be able to sneak up. It will take your breath away.

            1. As someone else here said, every seafood restaurant in Florida flies stuff in, and not just shellfish. Stick with Peck's if it's your comfort zone, but you're missing a great place in Roy's--no shuddering necessary.

              1 Reply
              1. One of my favorite restos on the beaches is Guppy's on Indian Rocks Beach, a spot that I don't think gets the attention it deserves. While the digs aren't as swanky as Roy's, for example, your parents can sit on the outdoor deck at sunset, just across Gulf Blvd. from a pristine public beach and the water. Their Sunset Trio is usually fabulous--three mini servings of their evening seafood specials (all of which are meticulously prepared), lined up on a rectangular dish. The presentation is stunning and the offerings are off-the-boat fresh and inventive. Most of the seafood offerings are from local waters, as well.

                Another resto on the water in Clearwater Beach that they might enjoy is Island Way Grill. My last meal there was very good, but I must warn you that I've noticed that the food can be somewhat hit-or-miss during high season. Still, it would definitely meet your upscale requirement, with lovely water views.

                Finally, you might look into Caretta at the swanky brand-new Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater Beach. Gorgeous dining room with fabulous views of the beach and the water. I went for a weekend lunch recently and found the food to be quite good. The crabcakes, for example. were 100% crabmeat--so much so that they had trouble keeping their form. Delish.

                Columbia is "okay," but I personally don't think it's the place to go for good seafood. The one on Sand Key is in a lovely setting, with nice views of Clearwater Harbor. Go for the 1905 salad, the tasty soups, and their wonderful Sangria Cava. But not seafood.

                I would also avoid Hurricane on Pass-a-Grill. Food is mediocre and service leaves much to be desired.

                1. I think Salt Rock Grille is pretty good. It's right on the intercoastal in the Indian Rocks area. I usually order seafood there, but they also have lots of steaks as well. I also like Marlin' Darlin'. It's not exactly fancy, but not exactly casual either. They have some interesting preparations on their menu. They also have a ceviche spoon appetizer ala Jaguar in Miami if you like ceviche. I think you can find menus for both restaurants on the web if I recall correctly.

                  1. Hey Guys! Thanks for all your replies. Caretta seems to fit the bill perfectly. I'll let you know how they feel about it!