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Largo/Seminole/Pinellas Park Suggestions?

t
TampaAurora May 11, 2008 05:57 PM

I'm moving out to Largo (Seminole rd between Ulmerton and Park if that helps) in June and need suggestions for eating out around Pinellas County. I am used to driving to Pinellas County every day for work, so driving for dinner is not a large concern. My favorite Tampa haunts have been Pho Quoyen and El Taconazo, but frequent many others of all food types. I am looking for great foods of all types and service rates high on reasons to return. Thank you all for your suggestions!

  1. r
    Robert R May 14, 2008 03:10 PM

    I've been out in the Largo/Seminole area having lived in both towns for the last ten years. The culinary landscape is nowhere near the cutting edge that you see in Tampa. Both in terms of ethnic and and non ethnic cuisines, the daring around here will usually fail. We had a place called the Satay House in Seminole - Malaysian. They made some very unique dishes - nasi goreng, beef rendang. It lasted about two years. We had a Joffrey's coffee, part of a small chain, and Largo was not able to support it. That was on Seminole Blvd. The owner made very nice coffee drinks- better than Starbucks, but it is gone. Another independent coffee place, The Caffeine Gourmet on West Bay Dr in Largo, which had nice baked goods and which roasted their own coffee beans unfortunately just closed. The chains, Chili's, Applebee's, Olive Garden, and fast food chains flourish - but not the daring ones. Mama Fu's was open on the corner of Ulmerton and Seminole for about one year. It has been gone for about two years. While nothing fantastic, they did make some fairly simple but satisfying noodle dishes, and it was good for a quick cheap meal.
    We have lost two bbq places in the last year. Champions BBQ, in the location of the former Rogers BBQ opened with quite a lot of fanfare. I thought it was pretty good. We also had a small outlet of Pinellas Park's Boss Hog's Ribs on Seminole Blvd in Seminole, but it lasted only a few months. Even Marble Slab creamery, a small chain that is kind of like Coldstone, only much better, which was in Largo Mall for a long time, is now gone.
    You might be wondering why I'm listing closed restaurants. It is to prepare you for the restaurant world around here. Mediocrity in general reigns supreme around here.

    Vietnamese: There was one in Largo, on Walsingham, now gone. Fortunately, Pinellas Park is chock full of Vietnamese places. Ben Thanh 4200 62nd Ave N and Pho Quoyen-the Pinellas Park branch on Park Blvd are not at all mediocre. These are about a 20-25 minute ride from where you'll be in Largo.

    Thai: Plenty of decent Thai places. The nearest one to you is Tum Nuk Thai at 11002 Seminole Blvd in Largo. This is a mainstay in my takeout world. They make a noodle dish called Rice Noodles with Snow Peas that has a slightly sweet taste, and when it is at its best, is full of little pieces of basil. Their Prig Khing Chicken has pieces of ginger in a full flavored brown sauce. Their egg rolls are made with chicken and are very crispy.
    Thai Basil with two Largo locations (1700 West Bay Dr. would be slightly closer to you)makes a very nice Chili Jam dish. The other dish I ofter get there is called Spicy Tofu and also has ground chicken, green beans, mushrooms and basil in it. They have a couple unique appetizers, Cheese Rolls which are a little like a fried cheese blintz, it has a little shrimp in it, and comes with a raspberry dipping sauce. Another is the Toasted Tortilla, which has ground shrimp and chicken mixed into a deep fried tortilla. Being down in Seminole, I don't make it up to either branch of Thai Basil too often anymore, but the owner, Lily, is a very kindhearted person.
    T'Asia at 10555 Park Blvd is one of three Thai/Sushi combo restaurants in Seminole. They make good Sushi and they also have Thai and Japanese entrees on the menu. I often get the Chicken with Eggplant, which also has lemongrass, mushrooms, snowpeas in a nice brown sauce.

    Chinese: We are not anywhere near the world of Tampa's China Yuan, Yummy House or TC Choy's. As good as those places are is as bad as the Largo/Seminole/Pinellas Park area is. I can honestly say, there is not one good Chinese sit down restaurant in the area. I have been to all of them. Instead, I have found a decent little take-out only place that is a notch better than a lot of similar type places scattered around Pinellas. It is called Golden Star at 10805 102nd Ave in Seminole, just west of Seminole Blvd. They are also very accomodating. My 6 year old likes lo mein but there can't be any vegetables or she won't eat it. They are very good at doing this and it still tastes good. Their mixed egg drop/wonton soup is far better than any of the sit down places in the area. The Lake Tung Ting Shrimp has broccoli, snow peas in a light white sauce and lots of shrimp.

    Italian: Very poor. I've been to nearly every one in the area. I don't think there is a good Italian place anywhere in Largo or Seminole. One, Angellino's which also has a Palm Harbor location recently closed in Largo. This place had decent food and very large portions - mainly red sauce.
    In Pinellas Park, Campanella's at the corner of 49th St and Park Blvd has decent red sauce dishes and very good pizza.
    I am excited to try Da Sesto's at 7199 66th St N. I happened to be driving by there yesterday and picked up their takeout menu. It looks pretty interesting, fresh pastas in a variety of sauces. They also have small lunch pizza's at around $5.00 each, such as Pizza Margherita with soup or salad for only $4.95. They also have a "Pasta Bar" for lunch with 4 pasta's with soup or salad for $5.95. I will try this soon.

    Indian: None in Pinellas Park or Seminole. The nearest are about a half hour away at Tri-City Plaza at the corner of East Bay and US 19. The two there are Deeya, which has changed hands several times, and Raga which is new. I haven't been to Deeya in a while, but they always had decent food. I tried Raga's lunch buffet recently as the Restaurant was mentioned positively in a recent St. Pete Times article. I wouldn't try the lunch buffet again. Not a lot of choices. Only two non vegetarian dishes and one was Tandoori Chicken that was as dry as a bone. The vegetarian dishes all looked ok, but were really below average upon tasting. Good Indian food can be spicy without being spicy in a hot pepper sort of way. In Tampa there is a place called Cilantro's. Even their mild dishes are a little spicy, in that they are full of flavor, with tastes of ground cardamom, and little pieces of cumin and ginger, etc. Not on Raga's buffet. The Vegetable Korma, which should be redolent of ground nuts, and light spices, often sultanas as well, was instead a sour vinegary dish. Afterwards, I walked over to Deeya, which is in the same plaza and looked at their lunch buffet. Everything looked much better there. The tandoori chicked looked a lot fresher and their dal dish was made with red lentils, which turn to a golden color when cooked. I could see whole pieces of cumin in the mix.

    Pizza: Charlie and Millie's on Seminole Blvd in Largo has very good extremely thin crust and Michele's Chicago Pizza on Walsingham in Largo has very good Deep Dish Pizza in a variety of styles and crusts. Her thin crust is good, too, as are her chicken wings.

    Fresh Fish: I go to Dockside Dave's in nearby Madeira Beach. It moved about 10 minutes closer a few months ago. A great blackened or fried grouper sandwich with lovely onion rings and waffle fries. Their chowders are also very good.

    Fine Dining: Again, nothing too special. The local Boulevard Bistro on Seminole in Seminole has some nice dishes, but not too many other places. I haven't tried Marlin Darlin yet in Bellair just west of Largo on West Bay, but I hear it is good.

    If you have any other questions about specific cuisines, I could let you know if any are around.

    If anyone has any other ideas, they would be much appreciated as I go to many of these places a lot and feel like I have mined the area dry.

    16 Replies
    1. re: Robert R
      JacksonSP May 15, 2008 06:40 AM

      Wow. Epic post Robert. I feel the same way about the Largo/Seminole scene, I eat mainly lunch in the area but so many promising spots have closed. I recommend driving a few miles to Clearwater to try some of the smaller Mexican restaurants that are still authentic. One such place did open on Seminole Blvd. a couple of months ago, Mariscos El Pulpo 2, at 8740 Seminole Blvd. I've only eaten there once for lunch and it was a little above average. Will need to try it some more before I can pass judgment though :-)

      One of my favorite sandwich spots in the area is Seminole Sub Shop. A variety of cold and hot subs, good burgers, and gyros/greek salads. Never had a bad lunch there. It's at the intersection of Walsingham and Seminole Blvd.

      1. re: JacksonSP
        r
        Robert R May 15, 2008 08:03 AM

        I've tried Mariscos El Pulpo 2 a couple of times and it is pretty good, not quite as authentic as the places in Clearwater, though. Seminole Sub Shop does make very good gyros.
        I actually noticed just this morning that there is going to be a new Indian restaurant called Curriez on Park Blvd just east of Starkey/Park St in eastern Seminole. The sign says, "opening soon". We'll see how it is.

        1. re: Robert R
          t
          TampaAurora May 16, 2008 04:34 PM

          I tasted their tandoori chicken at the Taste of Seminole...flavorful and moist. Their masala was rich and flavorful as well.

          1. re: TampaAurora
            r
            Robert R May 16, 2008 06:59 PM

            I was thinking of going to Taste of Seminole, but had other plans that day. I didn't think I saw any mention of Curriez in the fliers. It is good to hear that you enjoyed it-gives me something to look forward to.
            I know that the chain restaurant Roadhouse was there. Interestingly, I heard today that nearly the entire chain closed on Wednesday due to bankruptcy. When the servers showed up for work Wednesday, the doors were padlocked. I have no specific info on the Seminole location, however.

            1. re: Robert R
              t
              TampaAurora May 18, 2008 05:29 PM

              I admit I was worried when I saw Moe's there...Curriez was about the only chow-worthy food I tasted. There was an Italian place with homemade garlic rolls that were good too, but I lost the menu and the name.

          2. re: Robert R
            t
            TampaAurora Jun 23, 2009 12:55 PM

            Just checked out Mariscos El Pulpo. My husband and I were the only customers in the place which is a shame because their burrito ranchero was delicious. Reminded me of the great hole in the wall smothered and covered Mexican of my childhood - in Deland, Fl where there is a sizable Hispanic community due to the agriculture in the area. Or at least that's as far as my high school Spanish got me while ordering in those restaurants. Many of those places closed as well, but there is a resurgence of good dining there too after years of nothing due to changing and expanding palates. I didn't care for their chicken tamales, but my SO loved them. We'll be back.

        2. re: Robert R
          p
          proboscidian May 18, 2008 01:08 PM

          No good Chinese? You must not have been to ABC Seafood, on 54th St N as you're heading toward 275 from 19. Just as authentic as China Yuan or Yummy House. Try the salt and pepper shrimp - the shrimp are live in a tank.

          For Italian, try Pronto's Deli on Belcher at Nursery. During the day they have sandwiches, pizza and calzone, and at dinner they have all kinds of good things. The pizza with goat cheese is my favorite thing there.

          1. re: proboscidian
            r
            Robert R May 18, 2008 04:40 PM

            You're right, I haven't been to ABC Seafood yet, but have been wanting to try it. I have heard this is the real deal. A few years back there was a Vietnamese restaurant there which was pretty good. ABC is a good ways away from me about 30-45 minutes, but I did forget about ABC when I made my blanket statement about Chinese in the area. It is surprising given the number of Pinellas Chinese places that so few are any good. Are there any others you would recommend?

            I have tried Pronto's Deli and they do make good subs and other Italian specialties, but it is more of an Italian grocery/carry-out place with a few tables.

          2. re: Robert R
            t
            TampaAurora Jun 23, 2008 11:40 AM

            Thank you for your complete report on food in the area. I got worried when I asked my landlord what was good in the area and he mentioned chains. So far, I've been here a week and have been to Pho Quoyen and Golden Star. My SO and I are looking forward to mining out the list. You all have made me much less concerned about moving away from my comfort foods!

            1. re: Robert R
              j
              JaneSwift Oct 30, 2008 03:02 PM

              I would give Raga another try. Their buffet is fantastic and has quite a variety. Maybe its changed since the last time you were there. Sunday buffet is grand - south indian food is cooked in front of your eyes. Raga by far is my favorite Indian restaurant.

              1. re: JaneSwift
                r
                Robert R Oct 30, 2008 06:55 PM

                Jane,

                I will likely try the buffet on Sunday, as per your advice - also Pinellas has little South Indian cuisine now - so that would be a nice change of pace.

                I tried their lunch buffet right after they opened and it was below average then, but I will give it another chance as per a few positive reviews I have been seeing on Chowhound.

                Robert R.

                1. re: Robert R
                  r
                  Robert R Nov 4, 2008 03:01 PM

                  I went to the Sunday brunch buffet this past Sunday at Raga, and it was much improved. The tandoori chicken was fresh and moist. The buffet had better choices on it and most everything tasted good. They had a woman making masala dosa (crepes filled with potato) at one end of the buffet. These were very tasty.
                  They had a few appetizers and a soup on the buffet. There were a few veggie dishes, the best was the matar paneer - peas and homemade cheese. The sauce was very flavorful and was quite spicy for a buffet. The meat dishes were the Tandoori chicken, boneless curry chicken, and spicy Indian meatballs. My 6 year old daughter loved the chicken curry which was mildly spiced, but tasty. She loved it so much she just mentioned it a few minutes ago. The meatballs tasted like they were made out of beef rather than lamb. They did have some heat to them as well. Other than the Dosa, there wasn't too much specifically South Indian. A couple of the appetizers appeared more Southern and perhaps spicy meatballs would be considered Southern.
                  Bottom line: A very nice Indian buffet.

                2. re: JaneSwift
                  d
                  daveclements Oct 31, 2008 06:51 AM

                  Hmm, I've long been trying to find a decent Indian restaurant in Pinellas, so I'll be sure to give this one a go!

                3. re: Robert R
                  l
                  LJBTampa Nov 5, 2008 09:22 AM

                  I can second Boulevard Bistro. Had a great dinner there. Truly loved the roasted garlic white bean spread they served with the bread.

                  1. re: Robert R
                    t
                    thirdshore Mar 15, 2009 10:33 AM

                    Gotta agree - Michele's Chicago pizza is really good. I always order thin crust sausage and onion but the State Street Special is excellent. And you can hang at the counter with a can of 'pop' and get all the local gossip.
                    Also let's not forget the awesome pizza at The Untouchables. They're just north of W Bay on Clearwater-Largo Rd. Also my DW absolutely loves their red spaghetti sauce. Says it's like real Chicago and be sure to ask for extra sauce.

                    1. re: Robert R
                      m
                      msitterson Apr 4, 2009 05:59 AM

                      Greek: The BEST Greek around is Greek Village restaurant adjacent from the Seminole mall. Homemade greek salad dressing (delicious and low fat) and tzatziki sauce (yum). They even have belly dancers on the weekend. Its family owned and operated and I have never been disappointed with anything on their menu.

                    2. r
                      rikkikm May 15, 2008 09:48 AM

                      Da Sesto's definitely. It's been since 2006 when I worked over there, but I was able to make do with a couple of places. Frida's Bakery on Ulmerton for sandwiches, bakery items (natch) and breakfast. Bella Italia Pizzeria on Starkey and Feola's on Ulmerton are standard pizza/Americanized-Italian places, but the food was decent, large portions and I was won over by the homey-ness of them and neighborly service. Bella Italia had great soups too. Ulloa's on Belcher near Ulmerton was ok for Mexican, but it might be worth the drive up to La Cabana del Tio on Drew st. I used to venture far afield on my lunch breaks- the beaches weren't too far and of course fuel prices weren't what they are now. You also have Cajun Cafe on the Bayou on Park- decent food and great casual fun. Thuy Cafe is on 34th St. N next to Mekong for Bahn Mi sandwiches and boba tea. Mekong's not bad for Vietnamese. And you can always make a trek to Mazzaro's- so nice to go during the week and not have to fight the crowds.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: rikkikm
                        r
                        rikkikm May 15, 2008 11:59 AM

                        Oh yeah, and Ivory Mandarin Bistro for Chinese. It's in Dunedin though.

                        1. re: rikkikm
                          r
                          Robert R May 15, 2008 05:49 PM

                          I've been meaning to try Thuy Cafe. Do they only make the classic Bahn Mi sandwich or do they have other sandwiches? Do they have only the classic boba tea or do they have several flavors of tea in which they put the boba? Do they have any other menu items?
                          By the way, I do love La Cabana del Tio. I think Laurie may have been the person who discovered this place. What a find. I love watching the ladies making the corn tortillas by hand. Their al pastor is especially flavorful. Their empanadas are to die for.
                          Mazzaro's is one of a kind-essential for certain hard to find ingredients and generally a fun time, but the last couple of visits I feel the service has been lacking. I don't appreciate that "I'm doing you a favor by waiting on you" type of service. A woman that I work with lives around the corner from there and goes there a couple of times a week and agrees that the service is in decline there.

                          1. re: Robert R
                            r
                            rikkikm May 16, 2008 07:53 PM

                            It's been a while since I was at Thuy Cafe. I believe they have different sandwiches available- maybe some salads but I don't really recall. I think there were also different flavors of boba available, but again, memory fails me.

                            1. re: rikkikm
                              m
                              makymark02 Nov 5, 2008 11:37 AM

                              The have i think 8 sandwichs including the classic and alot of flavors for the tea and can be ordered with ot with out the bubbles

                        2. s
                          sarahew1 May 15, 2008 04:12 PM

                          for good 'real 'Mexican, check out El Toro Negro. I think technically its in Kenneth City, but it's really close to you...i believe its on 54th street?
                          corned beef corner is a good deli at the corner of park and baypines. great reubens and i hear their potato salad is good although im too much of a wuss to try it.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: sarahew1
                            r
                            Robert R May 15, 2008 06:01 PM

                            I've only been to El Toro Negro once. The food was very good. Their al pastor pork was nowhere near the league of La Cabana Del Tio, however. Cabana's is chopped more finely and is in a darker sauce with hints of possibly pineapple, cumin and oregano. El Toro Negro's is much dryer and less flavorful. Pretty much everything else at El Toro Negro was good though and if I remember correctly, they put a dollop of the queso fresco cheese onto the beans which really elevated them.

                          2. l
                            largo_lass May 20, 2008 09:27 AM

                            Ex-NY'er Italian Food Recommendations: DaSesto's on 66th St. just south of Park is fabulous for anything. Sesto and crew make you feel like family. Best gelatto anywhere! For REAL NEW YORK PIZZA you have to try A'Amore on 66th St. at 92nd. Best crust anywhere for pizza and calzones. Great wings and Shrimp Scampi. Try his tomato pie, just tomatos and spices, no sauce, no cheese, you'll crave it forever. He cooks like he wants it to taste from italian childhood in NY. Only drawback is hours of operation, normal lunch and dinner hours only. The food is great, the NY attitude is free :o). Pronto Deli on Belcher just north of Nursery also great. They make the only meatball sub I ever liked. Baseball sized meatballs. Caprese salad large enough for 2. All food is homemade. Her biscotti (when she has time to make it) is wonderfully light and full of nuts. For real bagels and bially's, try Stu's at Belcher and Ulmerton, across from CVS. No late afternoon hours here tho, go in the A.M.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: largo_lass
                              t
                              TampaAurora May 20, 2008 06:03 PM

                              I used to frequent Stu's until recently when I began to watch how the prepared their food...no handwashing - even in between taking money and food and no cleaning of utensils between spreads. Both of these are huge pet peeves of mine.

                              1. re: TampaAurora
                                t
                                TampaAurora Jun 14, 2008 04:21 PM

                                A student let me know the last day of school that Stu's has become much more glove-friendly. I can't wait to go back!

                            2. t
                              TampaAurora Jun 16, 2008 07:11 PM

                              What are the go-to - the reliably good - places in the area? I am not looking for cutting egde or high prices, just places to get my three meals a day that will not disappoint.

                              1. r
                                RedBlur Jun 23, 2008 01:35 AM

                                Is Grillmarks still there in Largo? I know when Nick Pappas owned that place the food was always good. But I haven't been back since he sold it.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: RedBlur
                                  r
                                  RibDog Jun 23, 2008 05:21 AM

                                  Yes, it is still there.

                                  John

                                2. d
                                  doctorsorders Feb 25, 2009 05:56 PM

                                  The best Italian food I have ever had outside of Italy was at Casa Ludovico, which is in Palm Harbor. Its pricey, but well worth it. Small, Romantic, and wonderful.
                                  Give it a try and let me know how you like it!

                                  1710 Alt 19
                                  Palm Harbor, FL 34683
                                  Phone: (727) 784-7779

                                  1. s
                                    sunkissedbabe43 Mar 5, 2009 07:14 PM

                                    I just have to throw out Fuji Yama. I went there a few weeks ago with my dad and it was incredible. Fresh sushi, beautiful sashimi display, and they also have thai dishes. I would highly recommend it =)

                                    21 Replies
                                    1. re: sunkissedbabe43
                                      r
                                      Robert R Mar 7, 2009 08:43 AM

                                      I found out that there is a new Indian restaurant in Pinellas Park that just opened a few days ago. It is called Taste of Punjab. The address is 6540 Park Blvd Pinellas Park, FL 33781. Phone 727-545-4103. It is located in what used to be Dragon Express. I got their takeout menu last night, but didn't order as I recently did takeout from Curriez, also on Park Blvd, but in Seminole. The taste of Punjab menu has beef on it, which we don't tend to see too much around here. The prices are a little bit lower than some around here, but not by much. I will try to make it out there in the next couple of weeks or so. I believe they have a lunch buffet for $8.95.

                                      By the way, I have found that Curriez has improved a lot over the last couple of months. Their food, in general has a lot of flavor. I enjoy their Palak Paneer and their Chicken Bhuna. Their Mulligatawny soup is very tasty. They did make their takeout soup portion a lot smaller recently. I wish they would put a little less butter in the rice, also. Their lunch buffet is kind of on the smaller side, but everything has tasted good when I have been. There's not much on it, usually Tandoori Chicken, one other chicken dish, perhaps 2-3 veggie dishes, rice, naan, and one dessert such as rice pudding. The buffet is in the $8-9 range.

                                      Robert R.

                                      1. re: Robert R
                                        t
                                        TampaAurora Mar 7, 2009 07:13 PM

                                        Let us know if you like Taste of Punjab. Just saw them open up and have been curious.

                                        1. re: TampaAurora
                                          j
                                          JoshRogan Mar 12, 2009 03:14 AM

                                          I went to the Taste of Punjab the weekend it opened. As soon as I set eyes and smelt the food, I knew it was the real deal!! Since then.I've been back 6 times, and have enjoyed all the food. Lamb Vindaloo, is very hot, if you want it!! Jalfrazi, and Bhuna were excellent. I went to Curriez 5 times all in all, and had to give up. The food does not taste good to me in there. After India Grille closed down on Williams Park, downtown St. Petes, I thought we were doomed!! But thankfully Taste of Punjab has opened, so I don't have to travel all the way downtown either now!! Oh, and by the way, I tasted the Mulligatawny Soup in Curriez, and left it after one spoonfull. I had never eaten MS that was so tasteless!!

                                          1. re: JoshRogan
                                            r
                                            Robert R Mar 12, 2009 05:35 PM

                                            Josh,
                                            I also think Taste of Punjab is the real deal, having had one takeout order so far. I was just saying that Curriez has improved a lot since the shaky first few months. I will say that my first order at Curriez was so botched up that most people would have never gone back, whereas my first order from Taste of Punjab was nearly flawless. But Curriez is so close to me and I love Indian food so much that I have been there probably 20 times. Pretty much every time I've gone its gotten a little better. The first two times I ordered soup at Curriez, I didn't think they were so great, but the last few times I have ordered the Mulligatawny hot and it has come out very well, although of course, now that it is better, they shrunk their takeout portion to a few ounces and it is $3.50 for that small serving. It wasn't until the very last visit that they shrunk the serving. It used to be enough for two people to share, now it is barely enough for one, so I may not order it again.
                                            I haven't been to Taste of Punjab enough yet to fairly compare it to Curriez, but am impressed that Taste of Punjab has its act together right from the start. I am happy to have two options nearby.
                                            I do also want to note that I went back to Raga's lunch buffet recently, and again, I was not very impressed. The dishes had very little flavor. They do a nice Sunday buffet, but I have been to the lunch buffet twice now and have not enjoyed it either time. My wife actually got up in the middle of the meal and left without eating much and went shopping while I finished my lunch. She was very disappointed in Raga's buffet.
                                            Deeya, in the same plaza, Tri-City Plaza does a much better lunch buffet-actually one of the better ones in the area. It has several vegetarian dishes and usually about 3 chicken dishes. There is often an appetizer as well. Sometimes they even have a spicy dish on the buffet. Most everything is very well flavored at Deeya.

                                            1. re: Robert R
                                              j
                                              JoshRogan Mar 13, 2009 06:59 AM

                                              Robert, I am just not impressed with the flavor of Curriez food. I have never seen Mulligatawny soup look so light colored. It had a hot spicy taste which I like, but then I realized, that was it, nothing!! I asked for a Lamb Vindaloo, and the server said, Oh, thats very hot you know? I said, yes, please ask them to do it as hot as they can make it!! I knew the outcome......bland!! I have heard that the owners were not restauranteurs before, and thats why it will take a while. But after eating curried food since 1976, I know what I like, and ToP is a pretty good Indian Restaurant, and the fact that they've owned a restaurant before, shows!!
                                              I don't just like hot spicy curries either, I am a fan of Rogan Josh (never?)
                                              and all manner of curries, in fact I am addicted. I was so excited when Curriez opened, but after one meal, my wife would not go back, so I had to visit the place on my own, to see if it got better. I think the service got worse over time, as there were so many new faces. Anyway, I would have had no choice, but now ToP has opened, there is no reason for me to go there.

                                              1. re: JoshRogan
                                                m
                                                msitterson Apr 4, 2009 05:42 AM

                                                Robert and Josh - I too am a huge Indian fan and am thrilled to have two restaurants to choose from. The service at Curriez has always been lacking and I always order off of the menu. As a vegetarian, I judge most Indian places by my favorite dish - Baigan Bharta. Curriez does a great version. I hope Taste of Punjab offers it and does it even better. Can't wait to try it.

                                                1. re: msitterson
                                                  r
                                                  Robert R Apr 11, 2009 11:30 PM

                                                  I am not a vegetarian, but I would say Palak/Saag Paneer is a similar yardstick dish for me. Curriez makes Palak Paneer, it is a very in your face, more toothsome style of spinach and cheese. Taste of Punjab makes Saag Paneer and theirs is silky smooth and creamy. They are both spinach, cheese and Indian spices, but are really none too similar. Curriez is a little more in the style I tend to prefer, but Taste of Punjab's version is a great version in its own right and I love that they both exist. I have tried both on multiple occasions and will continue to do so. I will say that one time Taste of Punjab made the most delicate and creamiest version of either dish that I have ever had. Was it ever good. Recently, I had a great version from Curriez that I asked be extra spicy. It had the "reddish tinge" that I love in a spicy Palak Paneer. These are two good Indian restaurants when they are on. Note that Taste of Punjab is more consistently "on" but Curriez food at its best can be a bit more bold.
                                                  By the way, I also like Baigan Bharta (eggplant). Curriez does make a nice version. I have yet to try TOP's.

                                                  Robert R.

                                              2. re: Robert R
                                                j
                                                JoshRogan Apr 14, 2009 05:38 PM

                                                Robert, I too am addicted to Indian food, and have been since 1985. I just feel that theres something missing from the food at Curriez. I tried it 5 times and gave up, my wife went once and that was it. But ToP has ver flavorful food. Oh, I just wanted to say taht I passed Curriez last week and theres a sign out side saying "Live music Friday Saturday & Sunday" Uh? live music in an Indian Restaurant, that will definately keep me out of there. What next Karaoke?

                                                1. re: JoshRogan
                                                  r
                                                  Robert R Apr 14, 2009 06:35 PM

                                                  Josh,

                                                  What are your favorite dishes at TOP? Do you get soups or appetizers there? I like their Vindaloo, Jalfrezi and Rogan Josh. I like their appetizer platter a lot. FYI, the music at Curriez is a keyboard player.

                                                  Robert R.

                                                  1. re: Robert R
                                                    m
                                                    msitterson Apr 16, 2009 07:54 AM

                                                    Okay, I finally ordered out from TOP and it was good. My husband said he likes Curriez Tandoori Chicken better. My Baighan Bharta was good - very different from Curriez. I like both versions. I must say the owners (I'm assuming) at TOP were extremely nice and accommodating. I called just as they were closing (between lunch and dinner) and they still put my order together. I do like the rice at Curriez better. I will have to try more at TOP before I can choose a favorite.

                                                    1. re: Robert R
                                                      j
                                                      JoshRogan Apr 17, 2009 04:51 PM

                                                      You sound like you have a similar taste to myself in indian food. Lamb Curries are nearly always my favorites, I love Rogan Josh, their Vindaloo is good, but not hot enough. Vindaloo should be so hot, most people cant eat it! It was originally a Portugese dish taken to Goa by sailors. It never had potatoes in it either, but because aloo means potato in Indian, they assumes it should have them!! Jalfrazi is also good. Their Tikka Massala's hot is very good, as is their Butter Chicken. I like the really hot curries, but also the milder dishes are very good. I have eaten a Phal and a Tindaloo, which I wanted to see if I could manage them, and I did!!
                                                      ToP appetizer platter is good too, as are most of their apps. I am over the moon that there is good indian food in Pinellas Park at last.
                                                      A keyboard player while you are in a Restaurant Robert? Another reason why I would not use the place. I prefer dinner and conversation with my wife, over someone playing with their organ, haha!!
                                                      Just in case you are wondering why I have 2 different dates of when I started eating curried foor is that before 1985 I had not visited an indian curry house, the previous 10 years was only microwave indian meals which I used to add chilli, haha!!

                                                      1. re: JoshRogan
                                                        r
                                                        Robert R Apr 17, 2009 10:42 PM

                                                        Josh,

                                                        Was the Phaal you had at TOP as I did not see it on the menu when I was there. I like my curries really hot and usually ask places to make it "Indian Hot". Then I usually order one of the dishes more mild to offset the really spicy one.

                                                        I still like a lot of the microwave meals. There is a nice Indian market in the Sweetbay strip mall in Largo on E Bay just east of Keene. It is a few doors down from where Lee Roy Selmon's was when it was there.

                                                        I go to this place every several weeks to stock up. They have a nice assortment of frozen items. Samosa's of different sizes and fillings, frozen naan's, a few other frozen appetizers. They have a nice selection of frozen entree's and also the non-frozen microwaveable entrees. They usually have fresh chilies. On occasion they have homemade paan - breath fresheners made with herbs. They also have lots of ingredients if one was inclined to cook their own curries. I used to do this, but it takes a lot of time to make good curry. Lots of spice roasting and grinding. I don't have that kind of time.

                                                        1. re: Robert R
                                                          j
                                                          JoshRogan Apr 20, 2009 07:52 PM

                                                          Yes Robert, Iv'e been there a few times. In the freezers, they sometimes have frozen dried fish. You bake it in the oven to make it crispy, I love it, although it's not everyones favorite!! Smells a lot worse than it tastes, very salty. ToP does not have a Phal. and curiously the owner does not even know what it is. He even asked if it was something you wore? I downloaded information on it, and gave it to them. Saturday, I had Butter Chicken, hot, and tonight I had Lamb Vindaloo, Indian Hot. It was fantastic, although nowhere near as hot as I can eat it. Something they will do for you thats not on the menu is a Bullet Nan Bread. OMG its hotter than the Vindaloo!!! My wife had Chicken Tikka Massala, Hot, and our friend had Gobi Aloo. She got the Bullet Nan as well, and it made her eyes water. It has Green Chili Peppers (I think) dotted around it.

                                                          1. re: Robert R
                                                            j
                                                            JoshRogan Apr 20, 2009 08:01 PM

                                                            Oh, if you want to cook your own, just west 2 doors away from Nickel City is another Indian Market, and you can buy jars of Pataks Curry Paste in all kinds of flavors. You basically have all the spices you need in a jar, and all you do is add either Tomatoes, and Onions, and maybe Yoghurt. You kind of make your own Curry, but don't have to buy jars of ingredients. Quite often, I won't add any meat, and after the curry is finished. Put it in the fridge overnight, as anyone know, curry tastes better the longer it's kept?
                                                            Well then if say you want to add Chicken, just grill some chix pcs in a pan, and add some of your paste you cooked the day or two before, and use it as a marinade, and you have yourself a Restaurant style curry, which you have, almost made from scratch!!

                                                            1. re: JoshRogan
                                                              r
                                                              Robert R Apr 21, 2009 06:07 PM

                                                              Josh,

                                                              I've seen that store, but I thought it was more of a Caribbean store for some reason. I will have to check it out. I also use those Pataks Sauces. I will have to order the Bullet Naan the next time I'm at TOP. I ordered from them Sunday night and it was very good - as usual. I tried the Tikka Masala Hot.

                                                              1. re: Robert R
                                                                j
                                                                JoshRogan Apr 24, 2009 07:31 PM

                                                                No, its Indian. Quite often one of the owners or their parents I think, cook Samosas and other dishes and sell them at the register. Very good!! I think the store on Keene is better quality, but being closer to home is easier. I don't know if you like chips and salted peanuts, well there are plenty of Indian nibbles. Bombay mix was always a favorite, and they have plenty of those in this store, some of which are very spicy!!

                                                                1. re: JoshRogan
                                                                  t
                                                                  triff Apr 24, 2009 08:39 PM

                                                                  At the Indian store on Park Blvd. (near Nickel City and almost across from the Wagon Wheel Flea Market), they recently added the "Deep" brand of hot mix, which we could not find easily since leaving Chicago over two decades ago.

                                                            2. re: Robert R
                                                              s
                                                              somnambulant Apr 25, 2009 01:33 PM

                                                              Another quick and delicious Indian option are the Jyoti brand canned goods. Doesn't sound great, but wow are these the best non-restaurant Indian you'll ever try. My favorites are the Dal Makhani and Madras Sambar (yellow lentils w/vegetables). These dishes are impeccably seasoned and perfect if you don't want to cook or go out. Amazon carries these and has great prices by the case (In fact I just ordered a case each of the two lentils; thats how good they are.)

                                                              http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&s...

                                                2. re: Robert R
                                                  PorcinePrincess Mar 27, 2009 01:57 PM

                                                  I really love Taste of Punjab... everything I have tried on and off the buffet has been wonderful. Prices are low and reasonable...

                                                  1. re: Robert R
                                                    e
                                                    Erikg40 Apr 25, 2009 08:36 PM

                                                    I went to Taste of Punjab with the wife. I took advantage of the all you can eat $8.95 buffett and my wife had the Lamb Vindaloo. We liked the food very much and the staff were very friendly. The prices were reasonable. Having come from NYC and had longed for the real deal we were pleasantly surprised by TOP. We would go back and we highly recommend them for authentic Indian Cuisine.

                                                  2. re: sunkissedbabe43
                                                    m
                                                    msitterson Apr 4, 2009 05:54 AM

                                                    Sushi Fune on Starkey Road (corner of Bryan Dairy - Publix shopping center) is wonderful. Family owned and operated and always delicious - be sure to try the Dragon Roll and the Tuna Tataki - yum!

                                                  3. k
                                                    knowsit Mar 9, 2009 09:28 AM

                                                    I lived in that area for 24 years and worked in a few restaurants too. I will list a few of my favorite haunts.

                                                    At the beach:

                                                    PJ'S Oyster Bar- Indian Rocks- Great little locally owned seafood house. Big selection of food and the ribs are very good too.
                                                    Conch Republic- Redington Beach- I can't say enough about this place. Really good and reasonable prices. Try a pitcher of homemeade sangria. The seafood gumbo is the best around.

                                                    All U can eat:

                                                    The name escapes me, but it is a chinese place right at the corner of 113th and park Blvd. It is at the corner of the Seminole Mall. Very clean and a great selection.

                                                    Mexican:

                                                    Carmelitas- several location but family owned. The closest on to you would be on Park Street. It is in a strip center in between Park Blvd and Tyrone Blvd.

                                                    Fine Dining:

                                                    Grille 131- in the Portabello strip center at the corner of 117th and Park Blvd. Newest brainchild of the local food legend Bob Spoto. Most of his staff have worked with him over the years at various locations. He has always been known for his great steaks.

                                                    Pizza:

                                                    I must agree with RobertR. Charlie and Millies and Michele's Chicago are the only great pizza around. I like thin crust and both places are really good.

                                                    Hope this healps.

                                                    17 Replies
                                                    1. re: knowsit
                                                      r
                                                      Robert R Mar 9, 2009 06:49 PM

                                                      A couple of months ago, my wife brought home some cold pizza from work that a co-worker had brought in for a party. I sampled it and thought it quite good. I asked her to find out where the pizza was from. I have been there a few times since then. It is called Mama's at 9047 Starkey Rd, in Largo. It is north of Park Blvd and south of Bryan Dairy. Their phone # is 727-398-8010. Their Pizza is something akin to a New York Style. Fairly thin crust and a tasty sauce and a good amount of cheese. They have an 18 inch Pizza, and when you have a slice of this, it reminds me of Pizza I've had in NYC - the large floppy slices.

                                                      1. re: knowsit
                                                        m
                                                        msitterson Apr 4, 2009 05:51 AM

                                                        The best seafood place in Inidan Rocks Beach is Keegans - it was featured on Food Network. Every night (after 5 pm) they offer 4 daily caught specials. It doesn't matter which special you pick, because they are all awesome! Its one of those places that you would drive right by - extremely casual and laid back. Expect to wait for a table if you get there after 6 pm, but its worth the wait.

                                                        1. re: msitterson
                                                          BeaN Apr 4, 2009 09:54 AM

                                                          is it still good since the ownership changed hands?

                                                          1. re: BeaN
                                                            m
                                                            msitterson Apr 5, 2009 08:38 AM

                                                            I didn't know the ownership changed, but it was just as good as before when I went last month.

                                                        2. re: knowsit
                                                          s
                                                          somnambulant Apr 11, 2009 01:00 AM

                                                          Carmelita's has got to be some of the worst Mexican food I've ever had. Tasteless and mediocre at best.

                                                          For good Mexican try El Maguey on 66th just south of Park Blvd, or Los Compadres on Gulf to Bay, just east of the monster shopping plaza (GulftoBay/US 19)

                                                          -----------
                                                          2nd Deeya all the way- solid Indian food.. will try ToP soon

                                                          Pizza:
                                                          Have to mention Feola's on Ulmerton - very good although sometimes the cheese/toppings slip of when there's too many toppings.. it's best to just order standard NY cheese.. absolutely delicious sauce & great crust.

                                                          Country Pizza Inn on 66th just south of East Bay (19 access road) has some really tasty pizza as well-

                                                          Also Pizza Bella Napoli just west of the Tri-City plaza is quite good, as is Valentino's on East Bay west of Belcher. A'amore on 66th excellent too.

                                                          Chinese: well it's basically a take-out place but New China Beach on Ulmerton just east of US 19 is really good. Also (I know it's a chain!) Pei-Wei (66th St & around 15th ave) has a nice variety of Asian dishes- cheap and big portions; it's casual sit down & take-out. I always enjoy it. Good for us vegetarians.

                                                          Greek: How can you go wrong with Athenian Garden (22nd ave w of 66th)? Great greek salad, abs. delicious dressing.. good falafel too.

                                                          Faros Greek Italian Grill on Starkey south of Ulmerton is a very nice sit-down Italian and Greek restaurant.. really good pasta dishes- very nice atmosphere too- try it!

                                                          What else? Someone mentioned Frida's on Ulmerton - great place for coffee (1 lb coffee for $7.99 too; this is where I get my coffee beans!) and gread salads and paninis! (very nice staff too- nice place to chill they have wifi also)

                                                          For Thai I like Thai Bay on East Bay west of Keene (Starkey). Great dishes for vegetarians and great curries.

                                                          1. re: somnambulant
                                                            r
                                                            Robert R Apr 11, 2009 11:46 PM

                                                            Just an FYI: Faros is no longer. They went out of business approx 6 months ago.
                                                            Ironically, one of your other favorites, Athenian Garden took over the spot on the west side of Starkey, just south of Ulmerton. I was there a few months ago just after they opened. I had the mixed vegetarian platter. It was pretty tasty (falafel, hummus, baba gannoush, stuffed grape leaves, pita, etc) but it seemed a little overpriced for the amount of food.

                                                            Speaking of Greek, my cousin loves Country Pizza Inn. Pretty much every party he throws he has their pizza at. There is some kind of greek style vegetarian pizza that they have that he always orders. It is called "Arthur's Pizza". It has spinach and feta and is it ever good!!!

                                                            Robert R.

                                                            1. re: Robert R
                                                              m
                                                              msitterson Apr 12, 2009 07:57 AM

                                                              I've been to the Athenian Garden on Starkey multiple times since they bought Faros - just down the road from my house. Its good, but its not great. Their eggplant on pita w/tzatziki is far too greasy for me. The Greek Village's eggplant on pita is to die for. I will drive miles out of my way for that sandwich...yum!

                                                              1. re: Robert R
                                                                s
                                                                somnambulant Apr 12, 2009 10:15 AM

                                                                Oh that's too bad about Faros.. I only went there once, and thought it was great.. but, that's good news about Athenian Garden moving in! I love their salads and falafel and now don't have to drive down to Tyrone!

                                                                Yeah there's some quality about Country Pizza Inn's pies that's hard to put my finger on. I don't really know what makes it so tasty, but you just seriously want to eat piece after piece until you're finished with the whole damn pie lol. Yeah, the spinach/feta is good; I usually just order the veggie pizza- it's really great

                                                              2. re: somnambulant
                                                                m
                                                                msitterson Apr 12, 2009 08:07 AM

                                                                Thanks for the tip on El Maguey. I just found their menu online and see they have tacos de pescados (fish tacos), so I will have to give them a try. Coming from San Diego, I still haven't found a good fish taco around here. I drive all the way to the Red Mesa Grill on 4th Street for their shrimp tacos. By the way, Dockside Dave's has a regular "special" of fiery shrimp tacos and they are AWESOME!

                                                                1. re: msitterson
                                                                  s
                                                                  somnambulant Apr 12, 2009 10:26 AM

                                                                  Yes I love El Maguey- great stuff- I usually order the cheese (i ask them to add onion) enchiladas.. comes with rice and beans.. but if you're vegetarian make SURE to request the whole beans, as the two other versions both have bacon/etc.. I also get their burrito mojade (wet burrito) w/red sauce and ask them to vegetarianize it (not on menu), and it's usually fantastic, always w a nice variety of freshly sauteed veggies + the usual rice/beans (again request whole)

                                                                  Another decent place (while not as authentic and def. more americanized) if you're in a pinch is Nuevo Vallarta in the Howard Johnson on US19 just S of the 49th st interchange. Not bad.

                                                                  You guys may crucify me (heh), but I do enjoy Sweet Tomatoes once in awhile. If you're really in the mood to eat (and I mean you can do some eatin here), it's actually pretty decent food, and great for us vegetarians. I actually love their salad bar.

                                                                  1. re: somnambulant
                                                                    m
                                                                    msitterson Apr 12, 2009 11:00 AM

                                                                    Just got back from El Maguey and I was not disappointed. The fish tacos were fresh and tasty - not quite the "Baja" style that I am accustomed to... The portions are HUGE and the complimentary chips and salsa (red and green) are great. The price can't be beat. Can't wait to take the hubby here. Thanks for the recommendation. :o)

                                                                  2. re: msitterson
                                                                    s
                                                                    somnambulant Apr 12, 2009 11:02 AM

                                                                    Fish tacos? Ahh you're one of those pesky-vegetarians! Please excuse the really bad pun. :) all in jest

                                                                    Glad you enjoyed El Maguey!

                                                                    1. re: somnambulant
                                                                      m
                                                                      msitterson Apr 13, 2009 06:43 AM

                                                                      After 13 years of strict vegetarian eating, I decided to add fish back into the diet...just once or twice a week. Next time, I will request the "off menu" veggie burrito mojade...sounds great! :o) Thanks again!

                                                                    2. re: msitterson
                                                                      t
                                                                      TampaAurora Apr 12, 2009 06:54 PM

                                                                      Can you post their menu? My google search is coming up empty.

                                                                      1. re: TampaAurora
                                                                        s
                                                                        somnambulant Apr 12, 2009 08:02 PM

                                                                        Here ya go:

                                                                        http://taqueriaelmaguey.com/EN/menus....

                                                                        The address on the website is wrong (4327 66th); that's their old address. They are up the road north now on 66th just south of Park Blvd on the east side.

                                                                    3. re: somnambulant
                                                                      j
                                                                      JoshRogan Apr 24, 2009 07:49 PM

                                                                      If you want quality Mexican food, try Red Mesa on 4th st, St. Petes, never seen the place empty!! Pizza's, Yuck. Tons of tasteless cheese on stale bread, definately not a fan. I'm guessing you have'nt been to Faro's for a while? It is now another Athenian Garden, they have 4 locations now I think? I am not sure how well this one is doing, I have been many times, but there never seems to be many people in there. I hope they stay as most of the food is pretty good.

                                                                    4. re: knowsit
                                                                      m
                                                                      msitterson Jul 16, 2009 08:44 AM

                                                                      Just went to Grille 131 last night. The ambience is very nice and the service was good too. Every table gets a complimentary loaf of french bread along with some liver pate, red pepper hummus, and smoked fish spread - all were delicious. We ordered the Shrimp Volcano appetizer and it was really, really good. I was glad we decided to share it, because the serving size was big enough to be its own meal. A house or caesar salad is included with your dinner. The house salad is an iceberg wedge with tomatoes, kalamata olives, and shredded carrots/cabbage on the side. The caesar salad had a big chunk of a homemade cheese cracker on top. I ordered the sea bass entree and my husband ordered the red snapper. Both were cooked to perfection and oh so tasty. And because the waiter heard me mention that it was my birthday, he gave us both a complimentary piece of flourless chocolate cake with raspberry sauce. Needless to say, we were stuffed. I will definitely be back for more.

                                                                    5. t
                                                                      TampaAurora Mar 20, 2009 09:56 PM

                                                                      Chicago Grill - on the corner of Belcher and Ulmerton facing Ulmerton (same plaza as the dreaded Carmelita's) may be my new favorite place on this side of the Bay for cheap eats. I stopped their before driving across the state for a funeral/family reunion and knew we needed to get some real food but didn't want to have to clean up the kitchen again. Their Italian beef was incredible. I never knew a simple beef on bread could taste this good and I grew up on Philly Cheese steaks.

                                                                      19 Replies
                                                                      1. re: TampaAurora
                                                                        r
                                                                        Robert R Mar 21, 2009 01:08 PM

                                                                        Chicago Grill has a hot dog called the "Chicago Firedog". The hot dog itself has hot pepper in it, it is topped with sweet grilled onions and spicy whole "sport peppers". It is served on one of those poppyseed hot dug buns. YUM!!!

                                                                        1. re: Robert R
                                                                          t
                                                                          triff Mar 21, 2009 01:55 PM

                                                                          I was born in Chicago and spent almost 4 decades there, so am SO glad "Mayor" Bruce is cooking up some fine Chicago hot dog store food at his Chicago Grill. I've been going there almost since he opened, and even my daughter who moved BACK to Chicago last year, has not found as good a hot dog as at Bruce's, she told me recently! How's that for an endorsement?! My fav is to drag it through the garden, hold the sport peppers and celery salt, but add cold kraut!

                                                                        2. re: TampaAurora
                                                                          d
                                                                          DesignPro Mar 22, 2009 09:45 AM

                                                                          Hi all, I found this site last night as we were looking for delivery chinese food in seminole/largo area. We called Golden Star. I lived for 18 years in MD around the corner from one of the top 10 or so chinese restaurants in the country so have really had a terrible time here adapting to life without good chinese. The Golden Star food was not bad, especially for the end of the night..we got our delivery after 10pm. I'll try it again for sure. I got chicken chow mein which used to be a staple for me. The fried noodles were good but there was a bunch of soggy cabbage in the chow mein and not enough bean sprouts or celery. My friend's Moo Goo Guy Pan was much better, cooked perfectly. The pork fried rice isn't at all what I care for so next time I'll go with plain white rice instead.

                                                                          But here is why I am really writing. I can NOT believe that one of you has not mentioned Colonial Corner Hoagie Shop in Pinellas Park. It's at 7201 49th Street Pinellas Park... tele 727-541-4300 has a little tiny parking lot...on an angle and small sign. You must be coming from the south to get into the parking lot easily.. This place has perfect Philly cheese steak submarine sandwiches. Now, know this the place has been there for years and years, it's tiny..like 5 tables, they only take cash (or checks in a pinch) and it is not a looker. But it is incredibly clean, you'll love the sense of humorof the place and you'll fall quicky in love with the owners that are there all the time. Now if you're headed to a job interview...wait until after...you will smell of grilled onions when you leave. So Robert R...please go because I want to read your review. I live around the corner literally from Tum Nuk Thai in Largo on Alt 19 and I always order that rice noodle dish with peppers too and I always ask for extra basil on it because that is what makes it.

                                                                          And lastly, I see no one talks much about breakfast here. Fridas is the best bagels, donuts and danish in the county. But the Golden Bear on Starkey makes a mean omelet with spinach and feta and Suzie Q's on Alt 19 is just plain fun with basiecs and solid fare.

                                                                          Can anyone tell me where to find good dry wings in this area? The only place that is at all consistent and fresh is Beef O' Brady's in Seminole but I get cranky when I'm charged for the blue cheese which isn't fresh and extra again if I order a second sauce on the side. I like to get them both blackened and with the garlic sauce so they're double flavored...and of course order them well cooked so they're delightfully crispy.

                                                                          1. re: DesignPro
                                                                            d
                                                                            DesignPro Mar 22, 2009 10:01 AM

                                                                            Oh I thought of one more place. It's real girly but the food is so good...Wildflowers Cafe...they're quiche is fantastic.

                                                                            And of course E&E Stakeout Grill in Belleair....the best.. steak...order the Rodeo steak and enjoy.

                                                                            1. re: DesignPro
                                                                              r
                                                                              Robert R Mar 22, 2009 04:30 PM

                                                                              DesignPro,

                                                                              I've never heard of Colonial Corner Hoagie Shop and I drive by there all the time. I will try to make it out there sometime in the next couple of weeks. Look forward to a good Philly cheese steak.

                                                                              I've been meaning to try Wildflowers Cafe, I hope to try it in the next few months. I have two young children, and only have breakfast time on the weekends, so quaint little breakfast places are hard to pull off. In general, the breakfast places around here are kind of so-so. Lenny's and Yanni's in Clearwater and Skinny Rooster in Largo are a few that rise above the norm. People say that the Frog Pond on Redington Beach is good, but haven't made it out there yet.
                                                                              My kids actually like Perkins the best. Perkins has a nice kids menu and the breakfast food is actually better there than most of the diners I've been to in Pinellas - mainly more for the consistency than anything else.

                                                                              Having grown up in Western NY, the wing scene around here is nothing I focus on. Back home, people go out for wings. Here, wings are mainly a side dish.
                                                                              The three best places here that I have found are pizza places - Your Pizza Shop in Largo(by the Pinecrest Golf Course), Michele's Chicago Pizza in Largo and Roma Village in Bay Pines. I always request the spiciest they make. Michele's has a mild wing that actually is sweet rather than savory. My kids like that wing (and so do I). All three of these have some sauce (not technically dry), but are not swimming in sauce.

                                                                              As far as Chinese, I've been going to Lucky Star at 4175 66th St N, technically St Pete, but not far from Pinellas Park. They have a regular and an "Authentic" Hong Kong Menu. The regular menu has a really good classic Hot and Sour soup -the best I've had in Tampa Bay. It actually is hot and sour. The General Tso's chicken and the other basics are well represented there. They have dishes like tasty snow pea tips with garlic (very healthy) and those more daring things like Jellyfish appetizer and Chicken Feet.
                                                                              I don't know why all of the good Chinese places in Tampa Bay have to have this authentic component (which I do enjoy). Up north, in Upstate NY and also in the DC area, where I lived 20 years ago, there are plenty of great places that serve the classic Americanized style of Chinese food. Places that make great chow mein, great Lo Mein, great wonton soup, etc. Not around here.

                                                                              1. re: Robert R
                                                                                d
                                                                                DesignPro Mar 24, 2009 06:53 PM

                                                                                Thanks Robert,
                                                                                You can eat outside at Wildflowers...so go now while the weather is good. My Mom gets the monte cristo at the Skinny Rooster and it's ridiculous...a mountain of sandwich. I usually get half gifted to me afterward.

                                                                                If you ever get over to the other side of Florida...like Delray then you must try the Bru's Room for wings. They half fry them, half grill them. They are so heavenly you'll dream about them for months. There are other locations of this restaurant but the Delray one is my favorite.

                                                                            2. re: DesignPro
                                                                              t
                                                                              TampaAurora Mar 22, 2009 05:45 PM

                                                                              I love Frida's! I haven't had a single thing there that I didn't enjoy. A friend and I were going to have lunch there today, but it was too crowded to park so we ended trying the buffet up at Taste of Punjab. The service was good, and the buffet was checked and refilled as needed without problem. The saag paneer was wonderful! The Bombay Aloo was delicious as well. The rice was cooked well. I was a bit surprised to see veg pakoras on the line as well. The chicken dishes were good, but they weren't something to write home about. I want to try them off the menu rather than the buffet before I write the chicken off. I'm really hoping for this Indian place to succeed.

                                                                              Does the Colonial Corner Hoagie Shop call their steak sandwiches submarines or hoagies? I'm willing to try their food - but not a Philly cheese steak called a sub? It's like calling a po'boy a grinder!

                                                                              1. re: TampaAurora
                                                                                d
                                                                                DesignPro Mar 24, 2009 06:44 PM

                                                                                Hi TampaAurora,
                                                                                They call them hoagies...it's in their name. Hey, I grew up in New Hampshire where as it seems you know they call subs...grinders...and milkshakes ....frappes. Just try it and then tell me what you think.

                                                                                And, if you like Fridas I have to mention that if you are down on the beach to go to the Lighthouse donut shop on Indian Rocks beach. They have breakfast covered and close at 1pm I think. And...they have drive through for when you can't get a parking spot.

                                                                              2. re: DesignPro
                                                                                j
                                                                                joan Mar 26, 2009 01:00 PM

                                                                                I totally agree: Colonial Corner is the BEST!

                                                                                - Signed,
                                                                                Joan from Philly

                                                                                1. re: DesignPro
                                                                                  r
                                                                                  Robert R Mar 30, 2009 02:15 PM

                                                                                  DesignPro,

                                                                                  I went to Colonial Corner Hoagie Shop today and got the Cheesesteak Hoagie.
                                                                                  This was a very well made sandwich. The gentleman asked me what I wanted on it, and I stated, "whatever they would have in Philly". It had the beef, nicely chopped up with very tasty grilled onions which were mixed on the grill with the beef. They used I believe white american cheese, but I suppose you could order it with provolone as well. There was also a little bit of ketchup!? on it . It actually worked as another flavor component.
                                                                                  This sandwich had a couple of attributes that great sandwiches usually have:
                                                                                  1. It forms a perfect unit and the sum is greater than the parts. The meat and onion mix of which I ate a couple of forkfuls off the sandwich was by itself very good. But the magic was when it was on the roll, the hoagie roll's interior became soft and mushy from the juice of the meat, and the cheese helped to hold the meat and onion mix into place and it was very easy to eat.

                                                                                  2. The second half of the sandwich was better than the first half. The more you ate, the more you wanted. It is a pretty large sandwich, 9 inch sub and it went down fast and easy. I could have easily eaten another one right then and there.

                                                                                  Robert R.

                                                                                  1. re: Robert R
                                                                                    j
                                                                                    joan Mar 30, 2009 06:07 PM

                                                                                    Robert R, your description is making my mouth water!!!
                                                                                    But may I make a gentle correction? What you had was a cheesesteak. A "cheesesteak hoagie" , which happens to be my favorite version, is the cheesesteak you describe (no ketchup tho) plus mayo, lettuce and tomato. Jersey tomato if you can get it :)

                                                                                    Glad you enjoyed!

                                                                                    1. re: joan
                                                                                      j
                                                                                      JBethell Apr 1, 2009 01:35 AM

                                                                                      IMO, Delco's in Dunedin is MUCH better than Colonial Corner.

                                                                                      1. re: JBethell
                                                                                        d
                                                                                        DesignPro Apr 5, 2009 08:27 PM

                                                                                        ok so now I have to try this place in Dunedin...

                                                                                        thanks for the tip

                                                                                        to the person that likes the greek salads...have you tried the ones that they sell at Johns Produce on Walsingham Road? The part of Walsingham near Heritage Village. They're pretty tasty.

                                                                                        And thanks for the tip on wings...that place is nearly across the street from me and I've never been in there.

                                                                                  2. re: DesignPro
                                                                                    m
                                                                                    msitterson Apr 4, 2009 05:45 AM

                                                                                    Good wings? As a vegetarian, I cannot personally comment; however, all of my meat-eating friends RAVE about the wings at Time Out Bar and Grill on Oakhurst Road in Seminole. Its actually very family friendly with pool tables, dart boards, shuffleboard, and tons of video games. Good luck on your wing quest.

                                                                                    1. re: msitterson
                                                                                      r
                                                                                      Robert R Apr 4, 2009 06:33 AM

                                                                                      I have driven by Time Out Bar and Grill many times but have never been in there. I will try to get over there in the next few weeks.

                                                                                      Robert R.

                                                                                      1. re: Robert R
                                                                                        m
                                                                                        msitterson Apr 5, 2009 08:40 AM

                                                                                        Great! I'm curious to hear your critique.

                                                                                        1. re: msitterson
                                                                                          t
                                                                                          triff Apr 6, 2009 07:27 AM

                                                                                          Last time I was there it was SO cigarette-smoky! Had to leave...but can't remember if this was before or after the ciggy ban in certain places. Is the air more breathable there now? Nothing turns me off faster from a potentially tasty meal, than smoke. It has also always been a problem when dining al fresco (which I prefer), when the patio diners can smoke. So much for fresh air!

                                                                                          1. re: triff
                                                                                            m
                                                                                            msitterson Apr 7, 2009 10:15 AM

                                                                                            Smoking is still permitted. I too am a non-smoker, but the place is so big that it doesn't bother me...especially if you go in the back room - away from the bar.

                                                                                        2. re: Robert R
                                                                                          c
                                                                                          Check Please Apr 15, 2009 11:20 AM

                                                                                          Also try the hamburgers at Time Out. The last one that i had there was great!

                                                                                  3. r
                                                                                    raydines Apr 2, 2009 03:34 PM

                                                                                    I unfortunately do not live there any longer, and can not recall the name of the restaurant to save my life. It is a lovely small Thai place off of Park Street and Park Blvd. If you are driving on Park towards Seminole, it is on the right hand side just past the Mc D's with the weird Arches. It is very small inside, well priced, and the food is always delicious!! Anytime I go home for a visit, I always make sure to stop there at least once.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: raydines
                                                                                      m
                                                                                      msitterson Apr 14, 2009 08:13 AM

                                                                                      Its called Bangkok Cuisine. I've never been in there, but I've heard good things. Every time I've tried to go, they haven't been open - they close at 2 pm and reopen after 5 pm. I guess I'm always hungry for Thai at the wrong time. :o)

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