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Clearwater: Where would you eat before a show at Ruth Eckerd?

We're going to see Bill Maher this Saturday, and will be driving over to Ruth Eckerd Hall from South Tampa. Where should we have dinner? I'm not looking for an exhaustive list of places to dine in Clearwater, just your favorites--where would YOU go this Saturday night?? (TIA!)

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  1. I like Vincenzos on Enterprise just to the east of McMullen Booth Rd. This is about 3-4 miles north of RE Hall.

    You might want to check the opening time as I think they are closed in the afternoon.


    1. Panos Kouzina at McMullen Booth and 580- a little further North than Vincenzo's. Cute but relatively casual Greek and Italian cuisine. I think Ban Thai is also around McMullen and Enterprise for Thai food and then there's Ponte's Tuscan Grill on the opposite side of McMullen if you want nicer, nouveau Italian.

      1. no question Ponte Grille is great check it out on the internet. They also have the best restaurant in the bay Ponte cafe

        1. I'd go just a couple miles north of Ruth Eckerd to Safety Harbor and dine at Green Springs Bistro, which is one of my local faves.

          1. Hope it was a good show. To set the mood for Larry the Cable Guy THIS Saturday at RE, I'm thinking the original Hooters in Clearwater ,although I may want to dumb it down a bit.

            1. I'd goto Ponte's Tuscan Grill on McMullen Booth Road. This restaurant is run by one of the premier Tampa chefs. Everything is done with care and they do some original items, not just the same old standards.

              2 Replies
              1. re: gfr1111

                I like the Tuscan Grill as well, but I must report that the last time I was at Cafe Ponte, the waiter told us that Chris Ponte sold his interest in Tuscan Grill and intimated that the split with his partners was acrimonious and that the food is not up to Chis Ponte's standards. This is just hearsay, I realize, but it came from a seemingly reliable source. So, I don't think it's accurate at this point to say Tuscan Grill is "run by one of the premiere Tampa chefs" anymore. . . . Anyone else out there have the scoop?

                1. re: laurie

                  Not necessarily "scoop" but the website for Ponte's Tuscan Grille no longer references Ponte's Tuscan Grille -- just Cafe Ponte and CP Catering.

              2. Tio Pepe's gets my vote. It is close and wonderful. Try the grouper (or whatever fish) a la rusa. There are many reviews on here, just do a search.


                1. Tio Pepe's is a no-brainer for me. But another option with a slightly longer drive from Ruth Eckerd is Saint Larry's. It's on 19, just a bit north of Nebraska on teh west side of the road. Small little place tucked away in a corner, but excellent food. Disregard the cheesiness of their website...the restaurant is nothing like it. I've always wondered why the website is like that, it doesn't mesh with the vibe of the restaurant. If you order fish, get it "Diane Jackson Square" style with crawfish and a white wine sauce. Friggin' excellent.


                  1. No doubt for me it must also be Green Springs Bistro in Safety Harbor (my home town...) We are 10 minutes to Ruth Eckerd which is great! Green Springs chef is CIA trained and offers a great menu of regional gulf coast specialites. My current favorites are the veal chop (I know...I'm going to he*l for eating veal, but it is sooo good!) And the other is a tuna steak with this killer Thai slaw. I LOVE Cafe Pont (too far to drive quickly to Ruth Eckerd) I have had 2 bad meals at their Italian location in Safety Harbor.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Chow Harbor

                      I'm particularly partial to Green Springs Bistro's shrimp -n- grits. . . . yummmmmmmm. . . .