HOME > Chowhound > Florida >

Discussion

GrillSmith or Bonefish?

A long-time friend and I are going on our first more-than-friends dinner date. Goosebumps, nervousness, and total excitement!! We narrowed it down to these 2 places. I'm hoping to get some insight into which restaurant would be better and why. I haven't been to either one in awhile, so I'm not familiar with the menus, management, etc. It would be one of the locations in the Clearwater area.

Hope you all can help me out with this one! Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I like bonefish, very nice simple atmosphere, and decent food. I like my cooking better, but I have to admit good overall food for seafood poultry and beef. Went to GrillSmith but didn't enjoy it. For a first dinner date I like comfort and bonefish is relaxing, just a nice atmosphere for me.

    1. I will go the opposite direction and say that I enjoyed GrillSmith more than Bonefish Grill. Bonefish was a nice meal, but at GrillSmith I though the meal was better and I enjoyed the atmosphere more.

      1. Wow! This is a tough call. Good luck on making a selection and surviving the big date.

        Personally, I love Bonefish. Certainly, it's lost a little of its edge since Outback bought the St. Pete concept, but it's still one of favorite places to eat. In fact, my wife and I will often go just for drinks and appetizers. From the bang bang shrimp to the mussels, they do a nice job. The entrees, while still terrific, need some more jazz. I've been going there for so long that it all just seems sorta redundant. For example, the specials are almost always the same. Sure they'll use a different fish, but the sauces and preparations are all the same. I'd just like to see more variety. And, this is my biggest complaint about all Outback-owned joints, LESS SALT! Remember Paul Lees? Damn!

        As for Grillsmith, I always want to be wowed there, but never have been. The food is decent (good Thai shrimp and grilled Salmon), the atmosphere is nice, and the beer selection is great, but the food just leaves something to be desired. Their chimichurri is way too oily, mashed potatoes are way too dry, and service is way too slow. But even with that being said, I still like the darn place. The only problem, however, is that it doesn't knock my socks off -- especially considering some of their prices for entrees.

        1. Unfortunately, I'm only familiar with the Tampa locations... but I find both the atmosphere and the food to be far better at Bonefish than Grillsmith. To me, Grillsmith is more generically chain-y, and the food is mediocre. Bonefish feels clubbier and w/b a better date place, IMO.

          1. Both are good chain restaurants. Bonefish has more of a "date" ambience. I did not have a great service experience at Grillsmith in Clearwater but have at their Tampa locations. Bonefish has consistently good service and food.

            1 Reply
            1. re: LJBTampa

              I second the service. I think when I met the owner, did some marketing for them they pride themselves on that. Very intimate but casual atmosphere, pleasing and inviting. Service and consistency.

            2. Between the two, I'd choose Bonefish for your date. To me it has more of a romantic feel than GrillSmith. I don't eat at Bonefish much anymore, but I know the Saucy Shrimp and mussells are always tasty and consistent.
              Have fun on your date!

              1 Reply
              1. re: ivanova

                Ditto on the shrimp and mussels, I think that is what I had last time

              2. Angi311,
                I'd go for Bonefish Grill. It has a nice, romantic atmosphere and the food is consistently good. I agree with one poster that if you go there a lot, you will find that they don't change the menu much, but for a first date, Bonefish Grill is an excellent choice.

                At least at the Tampa locations, they're always packed on weekends. I am not sure if they take reservations or not. If you can't make one and go on a weekend, be prepared for a wait, but they have a nice, if busy, bar.

                1. In the Orlando area we have the utter confusion that there is a Bonefish and also a Fishbones.
                  Fishbones is a bit more upscale and the service is far better. Last time we tried the Bonefish in Longwood, the place was quite busy. About half way through our mediocre dinner, the male server threw an empty doggie box on the table along with the check and surly commented, "You aren't going to eat all that. Take it home" An email to the management brought the usual company response, "Sorry about that"

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: reinaldok

                    A lot probably has to do with location, management and time of year. Which goes for any chain restaurant.