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Jul 28, 2010 05:34 PM

St Pete Beach FL

Driving into Tampa area is acceptable, and I have looked at Tampa threads, but I'm really interested in what is there at St Pete Beach. We're hoping to relax relax relax so don't want to deal with traffic and such more than necessary.

Did a google maps walk through and see a number of restaurants pretty close. Bella Habana Cuban, Snappers Seafood Grill, Caribbean Bay Cafe, Sweet Gallery Candy / Ice Cream, Agave.

Also had recommended to me the Seahorse for breakfast and see the pelicans, Sea Critters for dinner, Sea Hags for a shrimp dinner, and Caddy's on Sunset Beach in Treasure Island over Blind Pass Bridge.

Really hoping to have
1. A great Cuban sandwich.
2. Some really awesome tapas - I understand some places have wine and tapas afternoon weekday specials, but so far both recommendations we've received are clear across Tampa from St Pete Beach. Surely somewhere nearer is good, too?
3. Some good, old fashioned, dig in seafood. Not looking for posh, looking for a place that focuses on good fresh seafood served up simply. Paper napkins more than fine.
4. One completely awesome, totally Florida dinner. We'd like this dinner to be an event and plan to spend an entire evening, plus around $35 - 40 each plus drinks.

Edit: Any suggestions where we might get a couple pounds of large shrimp, some scallops, and crab or lobster to cook up in our kitchenette in the hotel?

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  1. Cuban - Floridian on Treasure Island
    Tapas - Ceviche in downtown St. Petersburg
    Dig-in seafood - Mid-Peninsula Seafood on 49th Street in St. Petersburg
    Blow out dinner - Maritana in the Don Cesar

    I'm not so sure I'd recommend Caddy's for their food. Drinks on the beach yes, food not so much.

    3 Replies
    1. re: TIGirl

      Thanks for the recommendations, we'll bear that in mind about Caddy's.

      1. re: TexanGert

        Keep in mind that at Ceviche in downtown St. Petersburg, they have a tapas bar downstairs that is open all day long. It is called Pincho y Pincho. It is closed to what I remember as a tapas bar from Spain than any other in the other. Plus they have breakfast also.

        1. re: RibDog

          I love Pincho y Pincho...and their cava sangria is amazing!

          I also tried another (newer) tapas place on Indian Rocks Beach a couple of weeks ago that was really nice....Tapas Garden and Wine Bar (it's about a 12 mile straight shot up the beach from St. Pete Beach). The tapas selection is not as broad as that of Pincho, but everything we tried was delicious and the ambience was lovely. The best part is, there's a cheap beach trolley that runs from St. Pete Beach to Clearwater Beach at regular intervals throughout the you could actually take that and be able to enjoy as much wine as you want without designating a driver. ;)

    2. Here are some additional recommendations which are close by:

      Mexican on St Pete Beach - Agave
      New Tex-Mex in Gulfport which is near by - Peg's Pizza Cantina
      Mexican in downtown St. Pete - Red Mesa Cantina
      Florida Style Seafood - Ted Peter's Smoked Fish (St.Pete/Pasadena) and Walt'z Fish Shak (Madeira) - These two are both outstanding....
      More Upscale Seafood - Madfish (St.Pete Beach) and Middle Grounds Grill (Treasure Island)
      Ceviche in downtown St. Pete is going to be the closest and best Tapas. Try Cafe Alma for non-Spanish tapas.

      Sea Critters seems gross inside to me, I had a bad experience there and so have others. Check out the reviews, before going.

      Red Mesa Cantina
      128 3rd St, Saint Petersburg, FL

      Walt'z Fish Shak
      224 Boardwalk Pl E, Madeira Beach, FL 33708

      5200 Gulf Boulevard, St. Pete Beach, FL 33706

      Middle Grounds Grill
      10925 Gulf Blvd, Treasure Island, FL 33706

      Peg's Pizza Cantina
      3038 Beach Blvd S, Gulfport, FL 33707

      Cafe Alma
      260 1st Ave S Ste 100, Saint Petersburg, FL 33701

      1 Reply
      1. re: fepey

        I've been there several times and I highly recommend it. The food and service are great!

        Red Mesa Cantina
        128 3rd St, Saint Petersburg, FL

      2. For a seafood retail market, consider either Mid-Peninsula Seafood or Sav On Seafood. They are both on 49th St. S. in Gulfport which is not far off of SPB. Plus, keep in mind that you will not find any stone crab this time of year as they are out of season right now.

        BTW, Mid-Peninsula will cook up whatever seafood you want at their place. They are both a seafood market and a seafood restaurant. A VERY casual place with rolls of paper towels on the tables which sounds like what you might be looking for.

        7 Replies
        1. re: RibDog

          It all sounds awesome, so looking forward to this trip. Too bad about the stone crab, guess we will have to make do with all the other great seafood. :)

          Saw Agave, easy walk from our hotel, so glad for the recommend. Thanks for the warning on Sea Critters. I had noticed Mid-Peninsula when I played around with google maps, they look interesting. Will make sure to come back and let everyone know all about everything. We get back on the 12th.

          1. re: RibDog

            It has been a great week and I really want to thank each of you for helping to make it that. We didn't make it to all the restos, but we did make it to:

            Mid-Peninsula Seafood - great, tender cracked conch, crispy tender calamari. The catfish was a big change for us, coming from Texas and used to a cornmeal breading. Loved how light it was. My scallops had a beautiful sear you can only get with really fresh scallops. The garlic-y shrimp scampi was buttery without being greasy. Really a great place, excellent service.

            Beach Snoballs - really yummy, lots of flavor, nice, big snoballs, plenty of syrup. Great cool down on a hot day.

            Cerviche - the upstairs was closed because they put something on the floors that made them too slick to walk on. The bar was open with loads of safety rugs out. If anyone knows the recipe, for the sauce on the escargo wrapped in chicken, or even just the name of it so i can hunt for a recipe, it was so good I wanna bathe in that stuff. Loved the food so so much. The sangria was to die for.

            Beverly's La Croisette - Florence Benny was just wonderful. Thick slice of ham, perfectly cooked eggs, toasty English muffin. Fluffy, creamy grits without a hint of gummy. Service was prompt, professional, personable. Great place if you can squeeze in for an early breakfast around all the locals eating and gossiping.

            Bella Habana - had been told to visit for their Cuban food. They appear to have closed up. Spiced pork sandwich at the Floridan lived up to the claim it is addictive. So tender and great flavor. The deviled crab was just fine, but I didn't not think it did the pork justice.

            Ted Peter's Smoked Fish - yummy. Can definitely see why they have such a great reputation. I swear there was a crowd every time we passed by.

            Skidders - This place is all diner retro except you get the feeling that is just the way it has always been. Best coffee we had the whole visit. So few places know what egg over medium means, but they arrived perfectly cooked without any need to explain. My husband loved his omelet so much.

            Wanted the Sunday brunch at Don Cesar but was told the season's over, not doing it anymore. So...summer is over the end of July? On what planet? Had Sunday brunch at the Tradewinds Palm Court resto instead. So nice, really felt pampered from the moment we arrived. They had a swordfish dish infused with ginger that was just awesome. The buffet was just lovely, beautiful presentation, very tasty.

            Larry's Ice Cream was sinfully good. Thank goodness for the tiny tiny portions or I would never fit in my jeans again. Obviously they have to charge extra for the service of delivering the world's smallest sundae.
            Ok, seriously, one of our waffle cones was a reasonable double dip. Double dip cone number two and the sundae hubs ordered were prepared by a different counter person.. Did not understand why the expensive sundae my hubby ordered was so tiny. They fit the entire thing in a 12 oz dart cup with the flat lid on, neither the sides nor the lid of the cup were touched by the ice cream, and she bragged about it like she did us a favor. My double dip amounted to a little bit of one flavor down in the cone with a dollop that barely peeped above the top of the cone. And that was it.

            Beach bar at the Beachcomber - Very nice hamburgers, cooked well, fresh, crisp lettuce, tasty tomatoes. Fries were tasty, skip the potato salad. Pina coladas weren't from a machine, which I found surprising. Certainly not a gourmet experience, but a great way to enjoy the sunset. Kelly at the bar was a sweetheart.

            La Croisette
            7401 Gulf Blvd, St Pete Beach, FL 33706

            Skidder's Restaurants
            5799 Gulf Blvd, St Pete Beach, FL 33706

            1. re: TexanGert

              Nice report, and it's because of your queries that I'm now acquainted with Joan and Don at Mid Peninsula Seafood and can get a fix of cracked conch across the bridge!

              Mid Peninsula Seafood
              400 49th St S, Saint Petersburg, FL 33707

              1. re: TexanGert

                Great report! If you're still looking for Cuban food, beyond a Cuban sandwich, try the Habana Cafe over in Gulfport.

                Habana Cafe
                5404 Gulfport Blvd S, Gulfport, FL 33707

                1. re: TexanGert

                  Oh, and the "end of season" comment from the Don - I don't think they meant the end of the summer season - they meant the end of "tourist season". Summer is low season here - winter is high season :-)

                  1. re: TexanGert

                    Thanks for the report. So often we don't know if our recommendations work out for visitors to our area. Sounds like a pretty good dining trip overall. Y'all come back.

                    1. re: TIGirl

                      Already planning the next trip, just finished setting up the alerts for low fares. The food was just awesome, and we loved the beach. St Pete is a great place to relax. My one question for the next trip is where to get an exceptional picnic packed for us and is it allowed to fire up a mini habachi on the beach at Shell Key? We did ok making sandwiches in the kitchen in our hotel room, but thought it might be fun next time to have something a tad more romantic as we will be traveling sprout-free. :)