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Jan 31, 2014 08:49 PM

Beach town with best food?

Former Floridian but currently living in Brooklyn- needing some sunshine in my life so planning a trip home in early April. Spending most of the trip in central Florida where my friends and fam live but I'd like to spend about 3 days at the beach. I have never had a real specific allegiance to any particular beach but my guy really like Clearwater. For me a vacation is so much about food that I'd just like to assure we'll be in the proximity of a variety of delicious food options. Also important that it not be completely overrun with spring breakers given it's going to be the first weekend of April, does that rule out Clearwater? Must have at least one really great breakfast option, low end and high end seafood option, oysters, a place with a decent wine list, maybe even a steakhouse. Also should be a town within two and a half hours of Orlando, so no panhandle or south Florida cause that's just too far to drive! I know we can't be talking hotels much in here but any suggestions for decent restaurants in hotels would be great! Hope I've been specific enough! Here's some of my orlando favorites to give you some insight in to my tastes.
Pom poms, Tako Cheena, Ravenous Pig, Sushi Pop, Roy's, 4R, Luma, peach valley cafe, bosphorus, lee and ricks, yellow dog eats

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  1. I am fond of the restaurants on Amelia Island.

    1. You like several of my Orlando favorites (the Pig, 4R, Bosphorous, Tako Cheena, Pom Pom's), and I am a huge fan of Clearwater Beach. Powdery white sand, beautiful blue water, and Frenchy's for wonderful seafood in several locations up and down the beach.

      I'm not familiar with any other restaurants in the immediate area, but I'd happily eat all my lunches and dinners there.

      1. Well, the tough part is, you will encounter many many spring breakers in April. I would switch it a little south, to my neck of the woods - Treasure Island. Less built up, less breakers, and there is everything you need. Also, nearby (a couple miles inland) is the very cool town of St. Pete. On TI there is Middle Grounds (high end seafood), the Pearl (good Moroccan and continental), the Floridian (best Cuban sandwich), Waltz (low end seafood), Riviera and 1200 Steak Houses (St. Pete Beach, about 1 mile south)many beach bars within walking distance, Beverly's Le Croisette (breakfast heaven), and a few others. Go to VRBO and check out the offerings - especially Sunset Beach, the southern end of TI. Houses are more fun than hotels anyway! Have fun. Clearwater Beach has the Sand Pearl beachfront resort, with very high end (good) restaurants inside. TI Hotels don't have great restos in them....

        2 Replies
        1. re: joan

          Loooove Treasure Island. Lucky you!

          1. re: joan

            Joan, you turned me on to Rosie's Clam Shack in Pinellas Park several years ago, for which I am grateful! Rosie the biker babe sold the restaurant shortly after she remodeled the bar area, but the new owners are staying with the New England seafood theme.
            I also recommend the grouper sandwich and cracked conch at Mid-Peninsula Seafood in St. Pete.

          2. You say the vacation should be about the food... then the best Grouper Sandwich is at "Frenchy's" on Clearwater Beach. They are known for it. Sit in for great music... sit outside on the beach and watch the sunset. Now if you want to fancy it up for a one of kind gourmet experience then you would have to drive into Tampa and go to Bern's Steakhouse. ( ) They have their own farm for some of the produce and a legendary wine cellar known around the world. It's an experience. They will take you on a kitchen tour if your ask. You will need a second reservation for the desert room. They serve you luscious desserts and incredible cordials or coffee in beautiful quiet private rooms. If you are a foodie you shouldn't miss the experience.

            1. Thanks for all the advice! Looks like we're leaning towards east coast beach as opposed to gulf because of proximity to orlando. Any thoughts on cocoa, Daytona beach shores or ormond?

              2 Replies
              1. re: CheeksandLeeks

                Google New Smyrna Beach restaurants. for example - Cork and Bottle, Spanish River Grille, SoNapa, Golden Biscuit (breakfast), Off the Hook, Outriggers, Café Verde, Gnarly Surf Bar, Mi Mexico, Bostons Fish House to name only a few. You'll thank me later!!

                1. re: CheeksandLeeks

                  Delray has some good restaurants... Bamboo Fire is great.