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Feb 27, 2010 12:55 PM

Seeking St. Petes/St. Petes Beach recs: NOT the usual ones, however

We frequently visit family members living in St. Petes Beach and have been to all the old standbys. After an absence of several years, we're looking for some new and different suggestions: fresh seafood, but not "Snappers-style" bulk-produced early-bird joints, ethnic or regional fare, good pizza, and, for one nice evening out, the nicest hotel restaurant (the Don CeSar has gotten very expensive through the years).

So, let's hear from some of the natives with their favorite suggestions.

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  1. A new place in St. Pete Beach worth checking out is Ocean Breeze, on Blind Pass road overlooking the Blind Pass Bridge (almost Treasure Island). The new owners have completely renovated and updated the old and tired Mulligan's along with the menu. Great tapas menu - everything is $8 - and lively atmosphere. Had some terrific fresh fish the other night as a special, with shrimp. And a tapas of fall-of-the-bone ribs. Terrific place, good value.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Bergerman

      I agree Bergerman, we liked Ocean Breeze too - also enjoy Sea Hag's across the street, their live music is always interesting. Besides the usual beachy music, I have heard both Motown and Bluegrass bands there - quite a switch from the old school Buffett one man bands making the rounds here. And Sea Hag's food is decent as well.

      famdoc, my fave pizza place is Original Pizza on Treasure Island (takeout only except for one table outside). If you want to sit down, give Vito and Michael's a try, on Blind Pass Road, they are very good.

      The nicest hotel restaurant IS at the Don. There is a new one north in Clearwater called the Sand Pearl, supposed to be wonderful, at a new resort there. But that does mean a 40 minute minimum drive each direction.

      Also, don't know if you've tried Mad Fish on Gulf Blvd in SPBeach, they've been around a couple of years and have a good rep.

      Sorry we can't be more helpful, there's not the much that fits your criteria unfortunately...

      Ooh I almost forgot, there are some good Mexican restaurant now on SPBeach, especially Agave. Check out their tequila selection. Also, Wildwood BBQ is new (in Postcards resort) and a couple of hounds here love it....

      1. re: joan

        So, back from SPB and a visit to Ocean Breeze.
        First and foremost, Ocean Breeze is a bar and a bar scene is what you'll find there.
        Young people at the bar in various states of undress, more young people on the deck, where there's a view of the water and, often, live music.
        Sat outside at the start of our visit, but couldn't identify a bartender and, when I did, couldn't get his attention. Seemed as if he was enjoying Ocean Breeze's food and drink nearly as much as I wanted to.
        Moved inside and a cheerful waitress took our drink order: no locally brewed beer on the menu! Seems a bit sub-par for a place like this not to offer at least one local brew (not even an Ybor City, let alone a Tampa Bay). After taking our drink order, she informed us that it "could be a few minutes" since the bar was busy.
        We ordered four tapas: breaded and fried oysters in Sriracha (good), shrimp with a mango dipping sauce (very good), po'boy shrimp sliders (very good) and pan-seared scallops on skewers (very good).

        All tapas are $8. Four dishes should suffice for a light supper for two people.

        1. re: famdoc

          Famdoc, sorry you didn't like the atmosphere/service at Ocean Breeze. I'm surprised with the "young people" comment, but then again, it's spring break month - at the beach, and so it is to be expected... When we went, everyone was 40 and up. And so was the music.

          How about ethnic, seafood, pizza and hotel restaurant? Where did you go for those and how was it?

          1. re: joan

            We had Ted Peters smoked fish, which was great, as always.
            We ate at the Marchand's Grill at the Vinoy in St. Petes. Terrible experience.
            Lousy service, poor food preparation. You can read my review on

    2. I love Middle Grounds Grill on Treasure Island...great fresh and imaginative seafood entrees. (1/2 off on all wines on Wednesday nights don't hurt either.:-) Fetishes on Gulf Blvd in St. Pete Beach has the best crab cakes I've ever had and the service is perfect. I second Agave as being some of the Mexican food in Tampa Bay, much less just on the beach. Also, don't miss dessert at the New Orleans Sno Ball place next to Middle Grounds--fantastic homemade sno-balls that taste just like the ones you get off of Jackson Square.

      1. Thanks For the tips, We will be going back to Agave we we get there in two weeks. It is our favourite is St Pete Beach.