Paciugo: Homemade Italian Gelato
Do yourself a favor and indulge in some yummy gelato! With a vast array of flavors, it gets confusing, but you can pick 3 to a small cup:)
Favorite Dish: My fave is the Affogato -with espresso and gelato in a large cup to share:) You can also do this with italian hot chocolate+gelato, a more decadent version that's memorable!
Kahwa Coffee: Delicious treats at an awesome local cafe
If you're looking for a spot to sit and watch the world go by, while sipping some delicious espresso drinks and eating some yummy croissants or biscotti, Kahwa is your spot! There are 2 cafes in downtown St. Pete, 2 in Tampa and 1 in South Tampa and this place is just blossoming!
Favorite Dish: Cafe Mocha, Iced Latte, Cheese Croissant, any of their sandwiches!
Mazzaro's: Amazing Italian deli+market
This huge market is the size of a warehouse! The market includes a hot deli, fresh homemade pasta, salads, bakery and espresso bar + tons of choices to take home. An interesting local spot - be prepared to wait during lunch hour! Grab a ticket, order at the counter, pay at the patio to eat there beside the old fountain.
Favorite Dish: Sandwiches
Run by 3 individuals of french, vietnamese and chinese origin the food here is a reflection of their backgrounds. This cute little cafe gives you that awesome big city casual cafe feel indoors with its modern white interiors, and a relaxed intimate garden cafe feel outdoors. We enjoyed their inspired menu on Valentine's evening - the baby bok choy in garlic, the pork and chive potstickers and a ratatouille stew...mmm! Lots of Pho options that nearby tables seemed to love, and some amazing dessert that i need to go back for! Here is a link for more tips:http://www.yelp.com/biz/al%A9sia-restaurant-saint-petersburg-2
- Food and Dining
Nitally's Thai-Mex Cafe: Creative + Delicious Thai-Mex
Finding this place in Tampa Bay was awesome! If you live here for a while, you'll come across delicious food options, but after a while you'll notice they are very similar - grouper, blackened or grilled? This place is an absolute delight - while you might find creative, passionate cuisines in larger cities - it's a rarity to find inspired chefs willing to take the risk in a medium sized city. Lucky for us, husband-wife Nit and Ally took the chance and enriched our lives that much more:) Try the Mexican sushi rolls, the pad thai curry and the chipotle basil burritos...note that their food is on the hotter side -so if you cannot handle spice, say 1 or lower for the spice level! Go there on a weeknight, weekend/holidays get too busy for this little joint to handle. Also a great spot for vegetarians - be sure to let them know of your special dietary needs. Large portions, so make sure you are available to enjoy it the next day;)
Favorite Dish: Pad Thai Curry, Mexican sushi rolls
Bella Brava: Gem on Beach Drive
Walking down Beach drive makes for a blissful spring day. However, when its time to eat - the restaurants on that strip are a let down - overpriced and uninspiring. After multiple meals around the area - Bella brava is a fun lunch/early dinner stop - good italian, tasty and well-priced. If you are willing to walk a bit more/drive out of main beach drive - you have many more options.
Paradise Grill - Pass-A-Grille Beach
Paradise Grill is located right on the beach in Pass-A-Grille. They serve simple breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, along with ice cream, beer and other drinks. We stopped in for a beer on a beautiful holiday weekend. We had two Longboard Lagers from Hawaii's Kona Brewery for about $10. Then we sat along the water and enjoyed the waves, the sun and the people.
The Paradise Grill had live music, and there was a craft market (called the Beach Bazaar) next door, so there was plenty to see and do.
South Beach Bar & Grill -- or Screwie Louie's?
Madeira Beach is home to South Beach Bar and Grill, one of two bars in the St. Pete area owned by a guy who guys by the handle Screwie Louie. We were just driving along the beach and saw that the South Beach Bar and Grill was busy at breakfast time, so we stopped in. Even at 10am, the bar was packed and there were probably 75 customers filling the huge outdoor deck. We sat way back in the back, overlooking one of the neighbor's yards.
We started with coffee and grapefruit juice, then Laura ordered blueberry pancakes with a half order of corned beef hash, and I had a sausage and cheese omelet with potatoes and toast. The hash was likely from a can, but fried to crisp outer shell, just as I like it. The omelet was big and very good, and the potatoes surprisingly tasty. Unfortunately the pancakes were undercooked and slightly gooey in the middle... not good.
Service was good, even though it was busy.
India Grill - Central Avenue, Downtown
India Grill in downtown St. Pete, open since 2005 and in its current location since 2009, has received numerous accolades including Creative Loafing's Best Indian Cuisine of Tampa Bay 2010 & 2011. The space is lacking character, with its industrial metal trim, plain white suspended ceilings, and minimalist Indian decorations. The wait staff seemed confused throughout our dinner, going table to table with food asking guest if they ordered it. The food was tasty, but my meal was disappointingly overcooked. The naan breads, were fantastic, though!
I had a Kingfisher Lager beer, in a huge 22 ounce bottle. We started our meal with the Peshawari Naan, a slightly sweet bread stuffed with nuts and raisins ($4); it was really tasty. Laura had the Chef’s Special Biryani $14, which was fantastic. This dish featured rice and herbs cooked with spicy meat, chicken & shrimp.
I had the India Grill Special Tandoori Platter ($15); this mixed platter features tandoori specialties such as chicken tikka, boti kabab, seekh kabab, tandoori shrimp & tandoori chicken served on a hot iron plate. The shrimp was tasty, the lamb kabob tasty, but all of the chicken was dry and overcooked. Somehow, the vegetables on the same platter were undercooked!
Overall, decent food in a plain restaurant with confused staff. Not a great mix. At least our drinks were left off the bill.
Three Birds Tavern - 4th Street
We've driven by Three Birds a number of times, and it always looks like a fun spot, both busy and unique. One night I finally ventured over to St. Pete looking for something different and Three Birds seemed like a great option. We parked in the small lot out back then entered onto the big porch. The hostess seated us inside the surprising small dining room between the fireplace and the bar. During our stay, we noticed another room behind the bar with pool tables and other games.
We started with a few beers I with a hefeweizen, ma with a local St. Pete beer that tasted a bit like a Hoegarden. For dinner, ma had the seared tuna sandwich with sweet potato fries, and I had the filet mignon sandwich with regular fries. Both were excellent and plenty big. The sweet potatoes were a great dessert, and we left the bar stuffed.
The menu is small, but it offers tradition pub favorites such as burgers and fried fish, along with more gourmet options like a seared tuna sandwich, a filet mignon sandwich, seared duck breast, and pork flat iron. They offer 18 tap draft beers including Guinness, Fuller's ESB, Carlsberg, Boddington, New Castle, Spaten Pilsner and Stella Artois, along with local brews from Cigar City and St. Pete Brewery.
Red Mesa Restaurant - 4th Street North
Red Mesa has great Mexican food! Maybe some of the best in St. Pete.
In 2011, Red Mesa had a booth at the annual "Taste of Pinellas" music and food festival, held at Vinoy Park, along the water in St. Pete. I was very impressed with the food. We had had their awesome beef tacos, lots of shredded beef on a soft taco for $3.50.
The menu contains a bit of everything from tacos, quesadillas, and burritos to Cuban empanadas and even grilled tofu steak.
In 2011 Tampa Bay Metro Magazine named Red Mesa the "Best Mexican Combination" restaurant in the Tampa Bay area!
Parkshore Grill is a very nice restaurant along Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg's waterfront area. The inside is very modern and classy, while they have a huge, casual al fresco dining area on the sidewalks of St. Pete.
We stopped here for a nice lunch before visiting the Salvador Dali museum a few blocks away. We started with a few drinks--mimosas ($5 each) and local Cigar City Jai Alai beer ($4.50). For lunch three of us enjoyed two shrimp avocado wraps ($9) and a crab avocado salad ($12). The food was excellent and the service flawless. Our meals were reasonably priced, but we did select some of the cheapest dishes on the menu. Meals here, even lunch dishes can easily run you $20 or $30.
In 2011 Tampa Bay Metro Magazine named Parkshore Grill the "Best Sidewalk Cafe" in the Tampa Bay area!
Seasons Cafe and Bakery, Pinellas Park
Season Cafe doesn't open until 12 June 2011, but we got to try a sneak peak of their food at the 2011 version of the annual "Taste of Pinellas" music and food festival, held at Vinoy Park, along the water in St. Pete. We agreed their Vietnamese sandwiches were the best and most unique food at the festival, though also one of the most expensive at $6 for a half sandwich. The sandwich featured three kinds of pork and a duck pate in a French roll with homemade mayonnaise.
The concept is a modern twist ona traditional Asian cafe. The founders are Vietnamese, and the food certainly has a Vietnamese flair, but it extends far beyond this nation of unique and tasty foods.
400 Beach Seafood and Tap House - Downtown Tampa
400 Beach is known as one of the best restaurants in downtown St. Pete, and it has a prime a location along the waterfront. They offer "relaxed coastal cuisine" along with 24 beers and 48 wine varieties. Their meals include grouper, crab cakes, salmon, scallops, shrimp, mahi mahi, oysters, sushi, tuna, tilapia, steaks, burgers, and more. All Fish Entrees can be sauteed, grilled, blackened, Mediterranean-style, scampi butter, or citrus soy.
In 2011, 400 Beach had a booth at the annual "Taste of Pinellas" music and food festival, held at Vinoy Park, along the water in St. Pete. They had a great location, very close to the stage, and they had great food. We tried the unique lobster macaroni and cheese ($4), which was served in a large bowl and very tasty.
The owners of 400 Beach also operate Parkshore Grill and The Hangar, located in St. Pete, and The Pub in Indian Rocks Beach.
"The Melting Pot": INDULGENCE ON A STICK :)
If you like food on sticks - even better if you can dunk it ---- then HEY --- "THE MELTING POT" is THE place to come.
Here fondue becomes a memorable four-course dining experience, where you can really dip into something different. Enjoy a choice of four flavorful fondue cooking styles and a variety of tasty entrees, including tender beef, boneless breast of chicken, duck, lobster, shrimp, scallops, salmon and much more. All are available in many different combinations with a variety of special dipping sauces. Cheese fondues can be ordered separately and are included with the purchase of any combination dinner. Along with every entrée, you’ll get breads, savory vegetables, and even a choice of three different fresh salads. As if that’s not enough to whet your appetite, you’ll also love the Melting Pot’s wide selection of creamy, mouthwatering chocolate fondue desserts. In addition to the Melting Pot’s ever expanding fondue menu, there’s also a growing list of fine wines. So come, relax and dip into an exciting new experience at the Melting Pot.
Favorite Dish: CHEEEEEEEESE FONDUE! ola la --- and not to forget desert !!!!!!! Chocolate dipped strawberries and grapes!
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