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Mar 26, 2009 06:37 AM

Fine dining in clearwater area?

We will be in clearwater beach in april and a couple of nights we will head out without the kids.

After reading a bunch of posts we were thinking about the following;

Restaurant Hapa
Belleaire Grill & Wine Bar
Cafe Ponte

Are these good choices? Any better suggestions? Thanks

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  1. I have always enjoyed Cafe Ponte myself. I think Chris does a great job.


    1. I've also been a big fan of Cafe Ponte. I live in NW Tampa, so I don't get over there very often. However, it's always been a favorite -- especially the ossobuco and the roasted fig and prosciuotto tart.
      As for the other two, I haven't been to either one, but I've heard good things about them both. Bellaire is owned by a former co-worker of mine who was meticulous on details, which is a trait that I'm sure translates nicely in his new venture.
      Hapa was a place I asked about for my wedding anniversary and received a huge mixed bag of reviews. Apparently, the concept of the place is great, but the execution is lacking. What's more, the place is buried in some cheap strip mall on Tampa Road.
      My suggestion: Try Caretta's at the Sandpearl Resort. A buddy of mine went recently and he absolutely loved it. Great service, great food, and a terrific atmosphere.

      1 Reply
      1. re: RBTampa

        Thanks - leaning toward cafe ponte. Any additional feedback from others on Hapa would be appreciated.

      2. I think all three are good choices. Cafe Ponte has become our special occasion spot of choice. We also love Hapa (and, contrary to RBTampa's post, have never found "the execution lacking"). Bellair Grill is a good choice as well, but the prices are so reasonable for the quality of food and service that I really don't think of it so much as a "splurge" restaurant as a great place to go on a weeknight when we want a great meal with a good wine flight at a reasonable price. We enjoy Caretta as well, particularly for the atmosphere (great views of the beach in beautiful digs), but the food is somewhat overpriced due to the real estate and the sushi in particular is ho-hum (Kiku, across the street from Caretta, has far superior sushi if that's what you're in the mood for).

        1. Hapa is very different than the others. It is a small intimate restaurant and run by the owners Bret and Nina. Bret is the chef and takes personal care of his customers. The level of personal attention is unmatched IMO. The food is wonderful and presented beautifully

          1 Reply
          1. re: scubadoo97

            thanks to all - sounds like I need to ditch the kids several nights and try all three!