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Dec 28, 2008 12:00 PM

Coming to Tampa Bay for the Super Bowl?

Any chowhounds coming to the Bay area for Super Bowl?
Want a little help on where to eat?

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  1. Yes, please. All I really know about is Bern's, but not sure if we can get a reservation. We will be staying in Pinellas but will have a vehicle. We especially need places for breakfast and dinner. Most of my party is coming from California, so places with lots of fresh fish are welcome. No meat eaters in the crowd. Thanks.

    6 Replies
    1. re: breakaway

      Where in Pinellas? Around Indian Rocks there is Guppies and Salt Rock Grill. Up around Dunedin you should tr Mystic Fish.

      I don't get down to St Pete, but there are quite a few good places there I'm sure.

      Traffic and Urban Sprawl are always an issue in this area. Let us know where you'll be staying and we can help a little better

      1. re: sarge

        I'm not sure where in Pinellas precisely, but it could be near Clearwater. We have transportation, so location is less important than the quality of the estabishment. We are going to Bern's for dinner on one night, so that leaves dinner for 2 other nights. At least for Saturday night, I would like a more upscale place as I will entertaining clients. Thanks.

        1. re: breakaway

          If you are staying around Clearwater, then Salt Rock Grill in Indian Rocks Beach or Mystic Fish in Dunedin would be within reasonable driving distance, and would both qualify as upscale suitable for entertaining clients. I wexpect you will wind up ranking Bern's third place if you try both of these

          1. re: breakaway

            Tampa Bay area Chowhounds will steer you to a lot of either nondescript or downright rundown neighbs in the name of Chow. For one-time visitors, a lot of the places mentioned on this thread will be seriously out of the way. "Worth the drive"? Well, that's a matter of opinion. IMO, places locals will journey to are not worth the effort for tourists. Similarly, if you're going to Bern's one night and that's kind of where your bar is set, China Yuan won't do, but Salt Rock will. Please do indicate where you'll be staying and whether you like dives to help everyone narrow down their suggestions.

            1. re: Miss E

              I must beg to differ. when i travel, I understand that the best food is almost always at "nondescript" or "run down" places everywhere i go. Whether I'm in Tampa, New Orleans, or San Diego, the best places are those that are ignored by most major publications and will probably never get Michelin stars or write-ups in Zagat's. Whether i want excellent ethnic food or BBQ, that rule rarely fails.

              It is one thing to steer people clear of these middling (but delicious) places with excellent food because someone indicates that they want fancy or trendy stuff, but in my mind it runs against the very spirit of Chowhound (as I understand it) to only send visitors to the bright, trendy, and more expensive places.

              When I have visitors form out of town, we go to China Yuan, Trang Viet Cuisine, Antojitos, Chopstix, and Brocato's--- and occasionally we also go to the Columbia and Bern's. Food is the key. I don't pay attention to decor much and real estate even less, and my guests appreciate that.

        2. re: breakaway

          Hi breakaway, there's some excellent information in past threads regarding seafood joints in the area. Some widely agreed-upon places include Guppy's (mentioned below) on Indian Rocks Beach, Mid Peninsula, Ted Peter's (awesome smoked fish), and Wild Shrimp Company (drive up joint near Tropicana Field-fried shrimp, po boys, gumbo!) in St. Pete, Crazy Conch Cafe and Billy's Stone Crab in Tierra Verde, You can get really fresh seafood (live tanks!) at two phenomenal Chinese restaurants: ABC Seafood in St. Pete and China Yuan in Tampa. Another place worth checking out in St. Pete is the Parkshore Grill. You can dine al fresco facing the pier and the water. Also next door to some fine gelato.

          Breakfast. Skyway Jack's in St. Pete. It's a local institution.

          sasserwazr: I think you'll garner more recommendations if you can narrow things a bit. For example, if there's a particular type of food you'd prefer, or whereabouts you'll be staying and how far you're willing to go (you'll have a car, yes?).

          I can speak for Tampa and St. Pete and say we have pretty decent Thai, seafood, Chinese, pizza, Indian, Middle Eastern, and even Ethiopian.

        3. Bern's is the local whale, but there are many other really good places in the tampa area. One place I'd suggest is Ted Peter's, they do smoked fish which seriously good. They have been around since forever, it is a local institution. If you go up to Tarpon Springs stop in the Rusty Bellies, they are under the same ownership as the seafood market next door. Its not fancy but for sure its fresh. For breakfast try the Frog Pond, take a paper as you are going to wait - its worth the wait. When go to the Frog Pond be sure you are hungry as their omlets are six egg monsters. Hope you enjoy our neighborhood.

          1. Just went to Grille 116 in Carrollwood. Very nice, hip experience. NY strip is worth every penny. Amazing 100% grass-fed organic aged beef. Definitely worth a look for someone trying to escape the stuffy (yet amazing) Bern's that everyone will be rushing to.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sasserwazr

              I totally agree with you about Grille One Sixteen -- had the very best yellow fin tuna EVER there. A little pricey, but worth it.

            2. If staying in Pinellas, The best alternative to the beaches is Parkshore Grill. Amazing location, the freshest fish features and wide variety menu from steaks and chops to seafood.

              7 Replies
              1. re: gobucs

                Thank you all for your comments. We are going to Bern's Friday night and Cafe Ponte Saturday. Was thinking about a nice Italian place for Thursday. Are any of the following worthy: Laughing Cat, Pelaggia Trattoria, Cafe Paradiso, La Terrazza. Thanks

                1. re: breakaway

                  Laughing Cat is a solid choice and it will be nice to see Ybor City before it gets too crazy. Never been to the others. But if you want the best high-end Italian go to Armani's. Unbelievable. Donatello's is another $$ Tampa fixture that you will sure to be happy about.

                  1. re: breakaway

                    Another nice Italian choice in Ybor City is's one of my favorites.


                    For New American cuisine in Tampa, I always enjoy Mise en Place...very creative food (for Tampa).


                    1. re: sweet_polly

                      We went to Bernini's and regret going there. It was not very good. The veal chop was full of fat and tasteless. My friend had to load it with chilis. I asked for a vegetarian pasta and was given a bowl of pasta with red sauce...not interesting at all and a rip-off for $22!!. The only good dish was the mushroom pizza. Definitely not great Italian.

                    2. re: breakaway

                      I recommend Pelagia Trattoria. Though we were at Armani's on Christmas Eve and they are back to "Mossimo" quality. Apparently their new chef is bringing back some of the older recipes.

                      1. re: breakaway

                        My votes from that list are Caffe Paradiso and La Terrazza. IMHO, Paradiso has the same quality food as Donatello for less $ and real Italian servers with a fun Italian attitude. La Terrazza is excellent too- cozy, elegant atmosphere.

                        I still don't get the hype about Laughing Cat which I've heard for years and Pelaggia was a big disappointment the last time I went. Plus Pelaggia is nouveau Italian.

                        1. re: rikkikm

                          Funny how restaurant trends work. I was liking Pelagia over Armani's and after my Dec Armani's visit I think I love them again. I still have not been to Caffe Paradiso...

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