Best Lunch in St. Petersburg / Clearwater

Where to Skip Out for Lunch in St Petersburg/Clearwater

Going out for lunch by its very nature can be complicated. If you're working, you're probably under specific time constraints, but if you're not working - or here on vacation - you're lucky because you can pick and choose where and when to venture out in the middle of the day. As you would expect, St. Petersburg/Clearwater offers a host of options to select from.

A longtime favorite with locals and visitors alike, Dockside Dave's and Sea Critter's Café offer good food in a casual, family-friendly atmosphere. Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish, of course is another obvious choice because it's been on the scene since 1951 and is renowned for its smoked fish.

Another favorite is Beverly's La Croisette on St. Pete Beach, where the food - and the friends are topnotch.  

Then of course, there's the historic Loews Don CeSar boasting two top choices: Rowe Bar, the newest darling on beach and the classy Sea Porch Café.

No matter where you wander you're sure to find the perfect place to satisfy any craving. 


St. Petersburg
Photo courtesy of Michelle da Silva Richmond

Striking black and white décor paves the way to the classy ambiance and a delightful dining experience at O'Bistro, a popular neighborhood hangout, which not only dishes up tasty food, but features a seductive martini bar where you can get 20 specialty cocktails. It's a perfect lunch spot - with or without the martinis. Soups, salads, creamy quiches and juicy hamburgers are just some of the large variety of menu choices. For something out of the ordinary, try the grilled salmon BLT or the deep dish spinach pie made with feta cheese and topped with a flaky garlic crust. The Mix and Match menu allows you to combine two items for a very affordable price. Desserts, of course are a "must" with choices ranging from seasonal cheesecake, carrot cake, chocolate mousse crepes and more decadent delights.

Recommended for Lunch because: The atmosphere is chic, the food is tasty and the prices are very reasonable.

Michelle's expert tip: For a really good deal, try the Mix and Match menu, which allows you to combine to delicious choices.

Read more about O'Bistro →

Tarpon Springs
Photo courtesy of Mykonos

If you happen to be visiting Tarpon Springs when you're in the St Pete/Clearwater area, be sure to stop for lunch at popular Mykonos - a truly authentic slice of Greece on these Florida shores. Everything from the Avgolemono (chicken lemon soup), to the Mousaka (ground beef, eggplant, potato, layers with cream topping), Keftedes (fried meatballs served with rice and vegetables) - and more - are authentic. Desserts are homemade and feature traditional favorites such as freshly made baklava, Greek cookies and other treats. The atmosphere is definitely laid-back, but that's part of the charm. It's also very family-friendly and the service is excellent.

Recommended for Lunch because: Mykonos has been a popular dining spot in Tarpon Springs since it opened in 1991 and is renowned for typical Greek dishes.

Michelle's expert tip: There are many other options, but be sure to try any one of the typical Greek dishes.

Read more about Mykonos →

Cristino's Coal Oven Pizza
Photo courtesy of Cristino's Coal Oven Pizza

If you're looking for the real deal when it comes to authentic Italian cuisine made from scratch with fresh ingredients, this is the place. The Cristino brothers - who happen to have been born in Bari, Italy - have managed to successfully bring Italian specialties to this restaurant since it opened in 2007. A coal oven delivers five different kinds of pizza, for which they are legendary. The dough is made from scratch, they are hand-tossed and you can build your own, if you want specific ingredients. Paninis and pastas also head up the list of favorites and salads and appetizers are bountiful. Desserts are delicious, but the homemade gelato is a special crowd-pleaser.

Recommended for Lunch because: The atmosphere is laid-back and it serves some of the best pizza in the area.

Michelle's expert tip: Be sure to try their quattro fromaggi pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella, goat cheese, ricotta, gorgonzola, basil and oregano.

Read more about Cristino's Coal Oven Pizza →

Mazzaro Italian Market
Photo courtesy of Michelle da Silva Richmond

Aisles studded with fine cheeses, crusty, brick-oven-baked breads, fine wines, fresh seafood and a variety of meats pave the way for a delicious lunch experience in this family-style restaurant. If you're in the mood for cheese, be sure to check out the cheese room with more than 300 selections from around the world. A satisfying lunch menu boasts everything from soups to salads and hot or cold sandwiches and a charming patio promises the perfect spot in which to enjoy it. For something out of the ordinary for the area, try the typical New England lobster rolls and authentic lamb gyros.

Recommended for Lunch because: It's an Old World experience and draws locals and visitors alike throughout the year.

Michelle's expert tip: Be sure to check out the cheese room for a selection of more than 300 cheeses from around the world.

Read more about Mazzaro Italian Market →

St. Pete Beach
Rowe Bar
Photo courtesy of Loews Don Cesar Hotel

St Pete Beach's newest kid-on-the-block of eateries is tucked into the Loews Don CeSar, aka the "Pink Palace." Named after the hotel's developer Thomas Rowe, the diverse bar bite menu offers 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 you can kick back and take in the spectacular scenery.

Recommended for Lunch because: It's the newest-kid on the block of St Pete Beach restaurants, yet it's located in the iconic Loews Don Cesar.

Michelle's expert tip: Step back to the 20's with a Julep or hand-crafted cocktail, shaken the way they were back then. This is one beach bar without a blender!

Read more about Rowe Bar →

Madeira Beach
Dockside Dave's
Photo courtesy of Dockside Dave's

Casual, laid-back typical Florida surroundings offer the perfect backdrop for fresh seafood, burgers, salads, sandwiches and more, promising the perfect lunch spot. The blackened grouper sandwich always draws a lot of fans and has earned kudos from many local and regional publications. Fish, shrimp and shellfish are always in demand. For meat eaters, the burgers are delicious and the onion rings always get rave reviews. Soups (try the grouper Cesar), salads and appetizers include tasty crab cakes, zesty jalapeño poppers, grouper bits and fried calamari. Soft drinks, draft or bottled beer and an ample wine selection provide the perfect accompaniment.

Recommended for Lunch because: The atmosphere, the food, the service are all winners. It's the perfect place to simply chill out and savor the scenery and the food.

Michelle's expert tip: Don't miss the award-winning black grouper sandwich. It's an award winner!

Read more about Dockside Dave's →

Beverly's La Croisette
Photo courtesy of Beverly's La Croisette

Friendly and casual, Beverly's has been popular on St Pete Beach since it opened in 1989. Beverly herself is on hand to see that things run smoothly and to dish up some perennial favorites, such as the renowned croissant burger, made with eight ounces of beef, sour cream, grilled onion, tomato and cheddar cheese. served on a hoagie roll. Salads are made to order and rank as favorites - not only for their catchy names (Joan of Arc, Hail Cesar and more), but for their tasty fresh ingredients. Wraps and a large variety of sandwiches are also crowd pleasers. The Monte Carlo, a petite filet mignon topped with Brie, served on a toasted English muffin and spread with Dijon mustard and mayo is a favorite. Homemade quiches also have a large following.

Recommended for Lunch because: It's one of the most popular places on St Pete Beach because the food is fresh and the atmosphere is friendly.

Michelle's expert tip: If you're feeling creative, try the "Build a Burger." They start you out with half a pound of fresh grilled beef and you add the trimmings.

Read more about Beverly's La Croisette →

Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish
Photo courtesy of Ted Peter's

This St. Petersburg mainstay has been drawing diners to its low key, no-frills establishment since 1951. Sure you can get burgers, hot dogs and chicken but the real draw here - as the name implies - is the legendary smoked mullet, mahi mahi. salmon and mackerel. The fish comes with obligatory - and delicious - sides of German potato salad, made with a recipe which hasn't ever changed. You can also opt for a savory Manhattan clam chowder as your first course. Frosty beer and soft drinks tie everything together. Dining is outdoors - at picnic tables - and service is cash only.

Recommended for Lunch because: Any restaurant that's been successfully serving food for 65 years is a winner and it's an area landmark.

Michelle's expert tip: Be sure to try their smoked fish spread. It's legendary!

Read more about Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish →

St. Pete Beach
Sea Critters Cafe
Photo courtesy of Michelle da Silva Richmond

Tucked along the water, this laid-back café with island-style picnic-table dining beckons with deck dining and an ample menu, sure to satisfy every craving. Signature choices include lobster pasta, crab cakes and delicious lobster rolls along with a wide variety of fish selections. If seafood isn't your "thing," you can also get chicken, steaks, fresh sandwiches and delicious chicken quesadillas. Frosty margaritas and other signature drinks lead the list of full bar options and refreshments. This family-owned restaurant also offers free boat dockage for diners and has been a staple on the popular Pass-a-Grill scene for many years. It's a favorite with visitors and locals alike.

Recommended for Lunch because: It's been a popular dining option for visitors and locals alike who are in search of a casual, island-style, delicious dining.

Michelle's expert tip: Try the homemade key lime pie. It's a favorite!

Read more about Sea Critters Cafe →

St. Pete Beach
Sea Porch Cafe
Photo courtesy of Loews Don Cesar

A long time favorite, the charming Loews Don CeSar has been luring locals and tourists alike into its halls since the 1920s. Not only does it evoke moments from the area's history, its modern-day amenities have garnered it a permanent spot of all time favorite places to visit. Sea Porch Café offers the perfect lunch op in a gracious garden-themed setting with views of the Bay as a perfect setting for the blend of dining delights offered here. Crisp salads, tasty sandwiches, toasty paninis and "light bites" (try the goat cheese fritters, with acai poached pear salsa, toasted pecans and wildflower honey) are just a few of the offerings. Decadent desserts and chilled signature cocktails add the perfect finale to any lunch.

Recommended for Lunch because: It's tucked into one of St Petersburg's most iconic settings and dishes up delicious cuisine, along with beautiful vistas.

Michelle's expert tip: For mesmerizing beach views (and of course people watching), sit outside - and just go with the flow.

Read more about Sea Porch Cafe →


Meet 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...  More About Michelle