St. Pete Beach breakfast/dinner/dessert recommendations?
I'm taking my wife to St. Pete Beach for a short weekend getaway in a few weeks. We'll be arriving very late on a Saturday night and checking into the Postcard Inn, spending all Sunday hanging out there, and checking out on Monday morning to head to visit the Aquarium on Clearwater Beach (and a final lunch at Frenchy's), then back to Orlando.
I'd really love to try Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish on St. Pete Beach, maybe for lunch. But for our one Sunday, can anyone recommend a good breakfast place, a fun, funky, informal restaurant* for dinner, and possibly an awesome place for ice cream or other desserts, ideally on the beach? If we have to drive into mainland St. Pete for a can't-miss meal, I'll consider it, but I'd rather stay closer to the hotel if nearby options are just as good. We don't drink at all, but we love eating at pubs and gastropubs.
*Datz in Tampa is my perfect example of "fun, funky, informal." Somewhere with good burgers and creative takes on comfort food, maybe more local seafood -- but nothing too expensive.
Thank you, everyone. Our first dinner at Datz in Tampa was awesome as usual. Started out with their buttery pretzel bites, I had the "Ty's Two-Fister" sandwich with house-cured pastrami and corned beef, and my wife had excellent chicken and waffles. We also picked up some treats at Dough, the new Datz-owned bakery next door.
The next day in St. Pete, we had lunch at Ted Peters in Pasadena. The burger lived up to the hype, but I can't help but be a little disappointed by the smoked mullet and smoked fish dip. Neither were very salty or strongly-flavored. I'm Jewish, so I compare all smoked and cured fish to the rich, salty, oily delicacies I've had in New York City, so this was just a different kind of smoked fish than what I'm used to (and I usually love Southern-style smoked fish dip).
We had gelato at Larry's Ice Cream on St. Pete Beach that afternoon, which was a real treat. It's hard to find an old-school ice cream shop like that in Orlando, with all the great flavors and varieties -- especially when it comes to gelato. I had two scoops in a waffle cone with different boozy flavors: bananas foster and "cookies and rum."
We were tired that night, so we just had dinner at the hotel, at the PCI restaurant. I'm usually very skeptical of hotel restaurants, but this was perfect: root beer-glazed short rib sliders with bleu cheese crumbles and garlic-parmesan tater tots. My wife ordered cinnamon-rubbed thick-cut bacon (an appetizer) that came out in three giant pieces, more like pork chops than any bacon I've ever had. They were too charred and cinnamon-y for me, but she loved them.
Yesterday we hit Frenchy's Rockaway Grill on Clearwater Beach for lunch, which was probably our favorite meal of the trip, even more than Datz. I loved Frenchy's (a different location) after receiving masterful advice on Chowhound for a business trip last year, and this location's food was even better. We started out with Asian-inspired tuna poke and followed it with "Four Kings": fried grouper, scallops, and shrimp, plus a crab cake. The fried grouper was the highlight. I'm not usually the biggest fan of fish that isn't smoked or cured, but the fried grouper at Frenchy's is out of this world. Everything else was great too (and the tuna poke was an incredible surprise), but that grouper was a perfect way to wrap up our weekend getaway.
joan, I've been to the Clearwater Aquarium before, and we both loved it for what it is -- a rescue and rehab center for injured and disabled animals, rather than a fancy facility or a slick tourist trap. We found it to be a beautiful and uplifting experience, and my wife loved the dolphins and otters. I'm so glad I was finally able to bring her with me.
Best breakfast places on SPB are across the street from one another, at the intersection of Corey and Gulf blvd: Beverly's and Frog Pond. I like Beverly's better - FP is more expensive and the portions are ridiculously huge, and they charge to share. But food is excellent at both. Chill and Steam are on the same corner - after you eat walk east on Corey and window shop a bit.
Best dinner place is Middlegrounds Grill on TI just a couple miles north - better than all the others recommended here, in my opinion. Sit at the bar, people watch, and order the fresh fish Oscar of the day - it will be topped with soft shell crab, asparagus, and hollandaise. Live music on weekends. Mmmmm...
I must warn you about the CW Aquarium. We found it awful - concrete tanks with sad looking creatures. They are planning a complete upgrade, but until then it's not worth the price of admission (and someone with us googled and found buy one get one coupon online, so we only paid $10 each - still not worth it). Unless you're a Winter The Dolphin fanatic, then it might be worthwhile...
Skidders is a great breakfast place on the beach. It is ALWAYS busy which is as good a sign as any. I've never had lunch there but the menu looked pretty good.It's owners are Greek so plenty of Med-style cooking.
For dinner I would heartily recommend Cafe Luna - really superb food in an unflashy restaurant with a great wine list.
For a fun bar with very casual seafood dining I go for the Wharf in Passe-a-grille.
The best place for dinner on the beach that is not a hotel is Snappers Sea Grill. The food is excellent and adventurous. One caution, ask for your sauces on the side. The chef has a heavy hand in my opinion.
Steam Coffee Shop is a good place for breakfast or brunch. They also do tapas and have live music.
Ted Peters is not on the beach but on the way to the beach. Definitely worth a visit.
For funky and a great sunset try The Hurricane Pass-A-Grill. They have a bar topside that is a really nice place to watch the sunset. Gotta have a hurricane.
Have a great time.