In St. Pete - Tampa area for a week
My family is renting a beach house in the Tampa Bay area for a week and I'm looking for some suggestions. The house is actually on Anna Maria Island, but we expect to move around the area a good bit for non-beach activities - Dali Museum, cycling, canoeing, etc.
It will be my wife & I (mid-30s) , my parents (late 50s), and my little brother (mid- 20s). Me & the wife consider outselves foodies, having traveled quite a bit, worked on a farm or two, and having lived in a few different areas of the country. My folks & brother, however, live in a very small town in the upper midwest where the choices are few and not particularly inspiring. They are generally excited to try different things, but they're not going to be comfortable in a stuffy place.
So I'm just looknig for some ideas of places that will be fun & interesting... Good ethnic food, Fry shack on the commercial fishing dock, food trucks, greasy spoon diners, etc. We're certainly not afraid to spend if the atmosphere is friendly; conversely, we're also not afraid of eating in a total dive.
So what are your suggestions for interesting places in the area???
Many thanks in advance, and looking forward to visiting your region!
I just returned from a six day trip to this area. Some places we liked:
Waltz' Fish Shak - John's Pass - The whole John's Pass area pretty much sucks (imagine if the Jersey Shore birthed a shopping center), but tucked away near the very back is Waltz'. We came here on our first night and got a seat on the patio, which had a great view. The menu rotates based on what's fresh and available that day. We ordered an ahi tuna appetizer, some boiled pink shrimps, and a bronzed grouper dinner that came with coconut rice and peas and a sweet slaw. Everything was delicious, but perhaps slightly expensive (say, $22 for the dinner, $14 for the apps). The key lime pie was really good too. A glass (or a cup, really - it was huge!) of unremarkable wine was $8.
We ate at Keegan's in Indian Rocks Beach a couple of times. The seafood there is absolutely amazing. We ate stone crabs twice (an absolute must if you are in the area - so sweet and tender!), a seared tuna appetizer with wasabi mayo (again, so tender!), conch fritters, a grouper sandwich, boiled shrimps with old bay... The atmosphere is a little nuts (lots of families), but the food is really good. Try going in off hours, like for a late lunch.
In Tampa, we ate at Datz's Deli twice. Bacon Jalapeno Mac Cheese Croquettes. Sandwiches with real deli meats, not that weird reconstituted loaf stuff. Black and White cookies. Super delicious, decently priced. I had the scallop salad the second time around, and it was drenched with oil, though.
We also had an amazing meal at the Refinery in Tampa. Probably one of the top meals we've had in a while. We had a salad of summer squash, pumpkin seeds, greens and buttermilk vinaigrette. Clams with chorizo. A spicy meatball. Pork belly lettuce wraps. Roasted sturgeon. Amazing desserts. My only complaint? Warm wine. Make sure to get reservations, though. The restaurant is kind of in the middle of nowhere, so there aren't many alternatives nearby.
The wine at A Taste for Wine in St. Petersburg was amazing. A great selection of by the glass offerings. Lovely veranda.
For breakfast, we ate most days at Sweet Sage cafe in Redington Shores, near our hotel. They offered pretty much anything you could possibly imagine, from bowls of fruit and granola to eggs benedicts in twice baked potatoes. Very fast, reasonably priced. Their muffins were particularly tasty. They also offer a special dog menu if you want to bring your pet.
We had brunch at Casa Tina's in Dunedin. It was surprisingly quiet compared to Kelly's down the street, which was completely mobbed. My partner had amazing chilaquiles with eggs, while I had a seafood cocktail of lobster, shrimp and fish - sort of like a ceviche but with seafood that was not cooked in citrus. For $12, it was a fantastic deal.
Stop in at Ginny & Jane E's on AMI. Cute little store, bakery in the back. We loved it!
I agree with t14072, the market in downtown St. Pete is awesome. Like the Sandbar, and love the blackened Grouper @ Star Fish in Cortez!
If you have time after dinner, check out Sea Haggs nearby Star Fish in Cortez, a crazy collection of all things nautical, and more!
Near the Dali Museum is a tapas place called Ceviche. There are a number of places in St. Pete, near the Dali, that are good and on Saturday mornings there is a market. Closer to home, i.e.Anna Maria, Beach Bistro always gets raves, as does Eat Here, the little sister restaurant! We like drinks and a sandwich at the Sandbar, but not more than that, and don't forget to sit outside. Skinny's for burgers in front of the county beach and Mr. Bones for BBQ (we do it as takeaway). Fish is from Star Fish in Cortez and Jose's Real Cuban food further in on Cortez Blvd.for, well, real cuban!