4 lunches, 4 dinners in St Petersburg
Please recommend lunches and dinners for St Petersburg in early December. We are frugal but adventurous. Mr Shallots is somewhat picky, we lived in New Orleans for a decade so spicy and if he can't distinguish the ingredients he'll try them are sort of the limits.
Lunches close to downtown would fit our schedule.
A special local seafood restaurant would be a good option.
For lunch in downtown, Gioia Italian Deli on 1st Ave. So. or Lonnie's sandwiches on Central both offer something a little different. Gioia's owner/chef has great credentials, their soups have always been wonderful and great eggplant parmigiana sandwich. The owner of Lonnie's moved down from Wisconsin IIRC, and serves interesting sandwiches on a wild rice bread.
An easy drive from downtown up 4th Street will bring you to El Cap, a local institution with outdoor dining and great burgers, sandwiches. Also up that way is Red Mesa and Pepins. I prefer Tio Pepe in Clearwater for Spanish food, but Pepin's is fine, closer to you and their lunch is an affordable way to have the experience.
For smoked fish and a taste of an old Florida experience, Ted Peters on Pasadena is delicious and distinctive. I always get the mullet, but there are now other types of fish offered. Big enough to share! Many love their burgers too. Small indoor area if chilly, most of the seating is outdoors. They close on an odd day, Tuesday perhaps? Call ahead to be sure.
There are many good Cuban places in Tampa, but La Teresita in Pinellas Park on 66th is closer to St.Pete and casual, inexpensive and very tasty. Get a Cuban or a Media Noche and a bowl of caldo gallego and a side of plantain - yum!
Have a great visit!
I noticed the frugal in your note and think some of the suggestions posted might not fall into that catagory. My suggestions for downtown are:
Tangelo's - great pork cubans
Grillside Cafe - Southern
Old Northeast Tavern
I heard Table reopened with lower prices (I'm not sure if it is true)
http://www.themoonunderwater.com/ - on Beach Dr., casual nice outdoor patio facing Straub Park features British, Indian and American food.
Fresco's at the base of the Pier (easy to miss because its facing the Marina) and Cha Cha Cococnuts (very casual beach/bar food end of the Pier upstairs) - great views