Clearwater: Dinner recommendation before concert on Friday?
Hi, Clearwater Chowhounders!
We are going to a concert at Ruth Eckard Hall on Friday evening and are staying on Clearwater Beach. I would love some help with a dinner recommendation for that evening and am hoping you guys can help us out. We'll have a rental car and are open to going out before or after the show, depending on what's available and open in the area. The concert starts at 8:00 p.m., so a late dinner would be very feasible for us, but I'm not sure if there are many options that will serve that late. Your insight would be greatly appreciated.
We're open to any kind of cuisine, but would prefer to keep our entree price point to $25 or less. We both love Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, and Italian. Also, fresh seafood will be great since we're coming from Ohio and don't get a whole lot of that up here! It is a date night for us, a little romantic ambiance would be nice too!
Any recommendations or suggestions are welcome. Also, if you have any thoughts on how dressy the venue will be on a Friday evening for a jazz concert, please feel free to share! Thank you in advance.
If you decide to dine on the beach, I would also recommend Al & Stella's (on Mandalay, in the same building as Kiku) for OUTSTANDING Italian and Shor at the new Hyatt for awesome seafood with beautiful views of the beach and gulf. If you don't want to hedge your bets traffic-wise and prefer a resto on the mainland on the way to Ruth Eckard, you might like Rumba on Gulf-to-Bay and Keene. They have a varied menu, including some good seafood dishes, and a very pleasant outdoor patio. I love their new oysters bienville appetizer.
I would recommend eating closer to the venue- it's a good half hour drive from the beach and your hotel, and that's under optimum conditions- never mind a Friday evening in the spring. If you get stuck coming off the beach, you'll be screwed. You don't want to be stressed-out before a jazz concert!
Vincenzos (2454 N. McMullen-Booth Rd) or Johnny's (2907 SR 590) are both about 10 minutes away from REH and very good Italian. There's a Bonefish Grill at 2519 N. McMullen-Booth Rd, halfway decent but it can get crowded before a show so go early if you do.
As for dress, this is Florida so anything goes (you'll see people dressed to the nines in little black dresses and high heels next to T-shirts and flip-flops) but I usually wear dress pants and a nice blouse, something comfortable. DH in in dress slacks, polo shirt.
I'm going to the show too, see you there!
I think we'll take your advance for Friday night, ignat. It's been 10 years+ since I've been back to Clearwater, but have heard that traffic this time of year is a nightmare. I shared the menus with my finance last night and Vincenzo's pizzas had him drooling, so I think that's where we'll be headed.
Also, thank you for the head's up on the dress code. I love the casual Florida attitude and attire! We'll see you there!
Thanks, laboheme! Those are both great ideas for the nights that we can stay close to the beach! Kiku looks phenomenal and we both love sushi. Since we're not staying at the Sandpearl that will be a great way to check it out! The firepit, a cocktail and a snack sounds right up our alley!