No matter what your culinary inclination, St Pete has developed a vivid foodie scene over the past few years, unveiling a plethora of dining options - both indoors and out. Not only will you discover the freshest seafood, you'll be treated to a host of other appealing options - often with beautiful sunset vistas thrown in.
If you want something casual, be sure to check out Crabby Bill's with its laid-back ambiance, tasty fresh seafood and fun atmosphere, both indoors or out. Yet another casual vibe offering a mix of seafood and comfort food can be found at PJ's Oyster Bar, just one block off of St. Pete Beach.
For something more upscale, you can't beat the award-winning Maritana Grille in the historic Loews Don CeSar Hotel, where you'll uncover an ample menu along with a classy ambiance, or Spinner's Rooftop Revolving Bistro atop the Grand Plaza Hotel where you'll be treated to dining with a slowly revolving panorama.
And while you're at the "Don," stop by The Rowe Bar - the latest addition to the beach's dining outlets - for frosty designer drinks and delicious light bites. The sunsets aren't too shabby, either!
The Rowe Bar
St Pete Beach's newest kid-on-the-block of eateries is tucked into the Pink Palace, aka Loews Don CeSar. Named after the hotel's developer Thomas Rowe, the diverse bar bite menu boasts a selection of coastal cuisine highlighting littleneck clams, poached Maine lobster, crab cake sliders, ceviche, and a delicious Mahi Mahi Reuben. If seafood isn't your thing, you can opt for Cajun dry rub ribs, island steak Cesar or a Wagyu burger made with spiced bacon and cheddar cheese, served on a brioche bun, accompanied by bleu cheese French fries. Hand-crafted cocktails are a specialty with eclectic concoctions - many of which were popular in the 1920s when the Don was built. A bi-level deck anchored by a long linear fireplace stretches across the porch, leading to a deck above the sand dunes where guests can kick back at one of three fire pits while taking in the spectacular sunset. (727-360-1881)
Jimmy B's Beach Bar
One of St Pete Beach's most popular restaurant-bars, Jimmy B's, located in the Beachcomber Hotel is a self-styled "Mecca for surf, sun and fun" and whether you're young or simply young at heart, this is the place to capture good times along with scenic sunsets. Food is served daily from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. with a menu ranging from shrimp cocktail, quesadillas and burgers, to salads, pizzas, paninis and chicken or fish platters. Desserts are decadent and the kids' menu is varied enough to please the smallest visitor. A wide selection of canned and craft beer, specialty drinks, designer cocktails, frozen blends and wine keep the party going. Popular local bands are featured nightly. ((727) 367-1902)
PJ's Oyster Bar
This hole-in-the-wall restaurant just steps from St Pete's beach, has been serving some of the freshest seafood in the area for generations. The vibe is definitely casual, but this family-owned eatery is especially good anyone in search of tasty food, good value and plain old-fashioned fun. Fresh seafood - delivered daily - leads the list of favorites, from oysters, shrimp, crab, lobster and clam strips to tasty flounder, grouper and more. Not a fan of seafood? No problem! Pasta, ribs, steak, chicken and amazing burgers are sure to satisfy you. Not-to-be-missed desserts include key lime or peanut butter pie and sea salt caramel cheesecake. This restaurant has a full service bar, but it is primarily a family restaurant. ((727) 367-3309)
Hurricane Seafood Restaurant
What started in 1977 as a small family beach bar built on the site of a 1912 bath house offering a modest 10-item menu, has blossomed into a popular dining experience, drawing not only locals, but visitors from around the globe. Started by the Falkenstein family from Baltimore who brought neighborhood favorites to their new venture, the Hurricane has since morphed into three stories - including a top floor boasting 360 degree views - and two distinct dining venues. Lunch and dinner are served with the ground floor - the original Hurricane - geared more to families. Options range from light bites, sandwiches, soups and salads to hardier seafood platters, pasta and more. Level two offers an "upscale" dinner experience with tasty treats such as gator bites, lobster ravioli, snow crab, the popular "Mom's 1945 crab cakes," and a host of other favorites. ((727) 360-9558)
Whether you go morning, noon or night, this Spanish-style restaurant tucked into the Hotel Zamora - one of St. Pete Beach's newest - features contemporary fare with Spanish, Mexican and Mediterranean touches. Breakfast offers typical favorites, while lunch showcases tapas, sandwiches and salads and dinner serves a variety of seafood, chicken, beef and pasta. Sunday brunch offerings run the gamut of traditional treats to more exotic choices such as fried oyster eggs Benedict, pulled pork hash and the Blackout BLT - peppered bacon, bloody Mary aioli, fried green tomatoes and a fried egg on pumpernickel. You'll find an ample list of designer cocktails, martinis, wines and beer, sure to satisfy every mood. When night falls, slip up to the 360° Rooftop for lighter fare, frosty drinks and stunning panoramic views.
Spinners Revolving Bistro
Perched on the 12th floor atop the Grand Plaza Hotel on St. Pete Beach, this upscale restaurant combines the best of fine dining and pleasing vistas - especially at sunset. The slowly revolving lounge and bistro takes about 90 minutes to do its 360 degree tour - long enough to enjoy your meal in a semi-formal, yet casual atmosphere. Open daily for lunch and dinner as you might expect, the lunch menu highlights lighter fare such as tacos, wraps, sandwiches and salads. Dinner is a celebration of fresh seafood, hand-cut steaks, chicken and signature pasta dishes. Specialty drinks, a host of "designer" martinis and an ample wine and beer list are noteworthy. ((727) 360-1811)
Guy Harvey's RumFish Grill & Bar
This popular restaurant located at Guy Harvey Outpost - a Trade Winds Beach Resort - dishes up tasty food throughout the day. Breakfast is well stocked with the usual favorites, while lunch and dinner showcase salads, sandwiches, salads and burgers as well as a fresh roster of seafood selections. An varied choice of pasta, meat and poultry complements the well planned menu. Decadent desserts such as molten lava cake and key lime pie are an added attraction, while "liquid desserts" feature chocolate cream pie or bananas foster martinis! While the food is the obvious draw, 33,500-gallon aquarium covering one wall is a unique touch. (844-786-3474)
You won't find any frills here but what you will find is fresh seafood, home-style cooking and fabulous sunsets along the way. The atmosphere is laid back, seating is at picnic tables, but savvy diners have been flocking to this St Pete eatery for generations because they appreciate the good food and fun times. Crab, oysters, shrimp and a host of other denizens of the sea lead the list however, "landlubbers" will appreciate the burgers, ribs, steak, chicken, tacos and crisp salads. Domestic, draft and craft beers, margaritas and a host of chilled specialty drinks promise refreshing accompaniments. Gorgeous sunset views are an added treat! (727-360-8858)
Sea Porch Café - Don CeSar
Whether you decide to stop by this beautifully appointed restaurant tucked into the Loews Don CeSar for breakfast, lunch or dinner, you can't go wrong. The unrivaled beach views and lush garden ambiance combine with excellent service and tasty food to assure the perfect dining experience. Breakfast stands out with delicious cinnamon Monkey Bread, coconut pancakes, Cuban bread French toast and other "staples" with which to kick-start your day. The brunch menu pairs breakfast favorites with sandwiches and salads, while lunch and dinner dish up tasty choices including pulled pork quesadillas, fish tacos, tuna tostadas, sizzling NY strip, seafood, crisp salads and lots more. (727-360-1884, 866-728-2206)
Always a favorite with locals and visitors alike, the iconic Loews Don CeSar's award-winning restaurant is at once romantic and classy and renowned for its excellent service, extensive wine list, contemporary menu - and dazzling aquarium lining the wall where you might just spy the resident eel, CeSar. The AAA Four Diamond award-winner showcases contemporary American cuisine punctuated by fresh seafood selections. For a truly unique experience, book the Chef's Table and enjoy the tailor-made menu brought to you by Maritana's culinary team. Sip fine wine and enjoy the savory selections ranging from snapper with lemon risotto, Maine lobster, scallops with quinoa risotto and other selections from the sea. Meat lovers will enjoy rack of lamb with gnocchi, venison with butternut puree, tender fillet mignon and more. Decadent desserts are de rigueur. (727-360-1882)
About Michelle da Silva Richmond
Michelle da Silva Richmond is an award-winning travel editor and member of the Society of American Travel Writers and other journalism organizations.
She has written hundreds of articles for newspapers, consumer and trade magazines and in-flight publications. In addition, she has co- authored and contributed to many guide books and was a weekly travel columnist for a metropolitan Connecticut daily newspaper.
Growing up abroad, combined with a colorful career as a Pan Am flight attendant fueled her wanderlust and passion for travel.
She lived in Mexico City for nearly 20 years and has visited nearly 100 countries. Her bags are always packed.
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