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Best Italian restaurant in downtown St. Pete
Gratzzi Italian Grille
If you want good Italian food, this is the spot, which has indoor and outdoor white tablecloth seating available. They have your favorite classics alongside their own unique creations. If you order the cavatelli bada bing (which I highly recommend), you get dinner and a show as they prepare the dish tableside. Whatever you do, you absolutely cannot leave without ordering a piece of their limoncello cake! It’s so light and fluffy, with just the perfect amount of sweetness and lemon flavor.
Aside from having amazing food, when COVID hit Chef Tony closed his doors to the public, but offered free meals Monday through Friday to hospitality employees who were left jobless. He gave nearly 8,000 complimentary meals to those in need and even gave out gift cards for people to get groceries, so go show some love to Chef Tony and his staff!
Best restaurant for seafood and views in downtown St. Pete
Fresco’s Waterfront Bistro
You will not be short of options here! Fresco’s provides you with an extensive food (and cocktail) menu. I always try something new and have yet to be disappointed. Their blackened grouper and Ahi tuna are at the top of the list. No matter what dish you try, start with a cup of their lobster bisque— so light and rich with flavor. Having good food and interesting cocktails would be enough, but Fresco’s goes the extra mile and provides you with waterfront views as well, making this a great lunch or sunset spot.
Best sushi restaurant in downtown St. Pete
In the mood for sushi? Get over to The Lure. The vibe here makes you just want to hang out and chill, maybe even shoot some pool (they have a table!). But, back to the sushi— I highly recommend the Vesuvius aka Volcano roll. It has crab, cucumber, and cream cheese inside and is topped with avocado, baked dynamite, eel sauce, and spicy mayo. They had me at baked dynamite. There is plenty of variety with rolls to choose from (all with notably fun names), but they also offer tapas and other internationally-inspired cuisines too!
Best Mexican restaurant in downtown St. Pete
Red Mesa Mercado
Red Mesa is a great option if you’re craving some Mexican eats. I’ll be honest with you, Mexican food isn’t really my thing. Taco Bell was pretty much the extent of my cravings for Mexican food (shush, I know most people hardly consider it that) until I found Red Mesa. Red Mesa Mercado’s taco salad was a spiritual moment when the first bite passed my lips. The chipotle Caesar dressing they top the salad with has just the right amount of kick. And BONUS: they always have a lovely seasonal sangria to pair with whatever dish you choose.
Best hidden gem restaurant in downtown St. Pete
Left Bank Bistro
Enjoy French cuisine on their quaint patio. Sitting outdoors, you will definitely get Parisian bistro vibes. Plenty of land and sea (and vegetarian!) options to choose from. If you aren’t too familiar with French cuisine (like myself), no worries— the staff is extremely helpful in guiding you on what may be the best dish for your palette. The environment is classy, yet warm and inviting. I can personally attest to the French onion soup and bouillabaisse. Our server recommended a French martini (not on the menu) when I didn’t see a drink that caught my eye, and it was right up my alley! It includes vodka, pineapple juice, and Chambord (a raspberry liqueur). So if you don’t see anything you like, don’t be afraid to ask for suggestions!
Internationally-inspired shared plates that are SO unique! Items like mini Cuban fritas and “French onion soup” dumplings (SO GOOD) are two of my favorites from their eclectic menu. If you’re looking for a fun twist on your favorite dishes, definitely make sure to check this spot out! They also have beautiful, fun cocktails! Their signature drink, The Tropez, was my favorite.
Best special occasion restaurant in downtown St. Pete
Pretty much any holiday, birthday, or other type of celebration we are going to be in the St. Pete area for, we want to go to Parkshore Grill. Located right on Beach Drive, it’s such a beautiful spot to enjoy the patio for dinner (indoor seating is available as well). Their menu is contemporary American cuisine, and they always have interest-piquing specials. But, if you like surf ‘n’ turf you need to get “The Parkshore.” It comes with a filet and lobster tail. Their lobster is extremely tender, and their lemon caper butter sauce takes it to another level (truly the best I have ever had).
One of mine and Remi’s favorite things to do here is try an appetizer and/or a small salad, and then we split “The Parkshore.” Something that I love about this place is that they are always so kind to split the meal for you and bring you each your own plate.
Quality ingredients, beautiful presentation, and it definitely passes the vibe check. The steaks are cooked to perfection and full of delicious flavor. The sides are also extremely notable (the roasted mushrooms especially). Plenty of yummy, interesting cocktail options as well as an extensive wine list. If you’re hoping for a deliciously prepared steak on your special night out, this is the best steakhouse in St. Pete.
Best happy hour restaurant in downtown St. Pete
Hawkers Asian Street Fare
Fun, friendly, and artsy vibe that fits its location in the EDGE district. Stop here Monday through Friday between 3-6PM and fill up on delicious $4 small plates that include chili garlic edamame, spring rolls, crispy tofu bites, and more! They also offer $4 off specialty cocktails alongside a few other drink specials. Hawkers feels very social and is a great spot to grab a few drinks and bites with friends.
Half off bites and shareables? See ya there! Monday through Friday 4-7PM you can get half off these menu items. From lettuce wraps to buffalo wings, The Avenue is a snacker’s dream. Seriously, your favorite classic appetizer is most likely going to be found on their menu, and it’s all so good. On top of their happy hour, they also have daily specials you can check out here! Another great thing about The Avenue is that it’s right next door to Park and Rec, so you can work up an appetite before snacking or burn off what you just noshed on.
There is such a fun, lively atmosphere here that you really do feel like you’re on vacation. They have happy hour Monday through Friday 4-7PM and it includes some of their best items (in my opinion) for $6! Wings, sliders, their skinny dip (lobster dip), fiyaaahhh cracker shrimp, and my all time favorite, their under the sea nachos. Along with food specials, No Vacancy also includes $4 drafts, wine, and bubbles and $5 wells during their happy hour.
Sea Salt has an elevated dining experience with a raw bar, wine cellar, and tableside service (they will filet your fish at the table). When you go during happy hour (3-6PM), you can nibble on their amazing culinary creations for a fraction of the price. I am sure this place would be great for a special occasion dinner as well, but I can only personally vouch for their happy hour— which was in fact bomb. We got their truffled deviled eggs and crab cake, which was full of lump crab meat and paired perfectly with their truffle aioli. They also have more filling items like fish and chips, a swordfish sandwich, and an Angus burger on their happy hour menu as well.
Best brunch in downtown St. Pete
This is my go-to brunch spot. It’s also one of my favorite coffee spots in St. Pete. Aside from the beautifully-presented food that is sure to bring your taste buds joy and the coffee you may just gulp down 3 cups of without realizing (it’s just sooo smooth), the aesthetic here is magnificent. Surrounded by thousands of books that are all slightly different shades of navy blue along with English den-style chairs. Ugh, it’s just such a dreamy environment, and like I said, the food will keep you coming back for more and more. They change out their menu occasionally, but if you have the opportunity to try their sourdough French toast, your taste buds will thank you.
Red Mesa Cantina
Modernized Mexican brunch comin’ right up! As I stated, this is usually not my cuisine of choice, but Red Mesa has given me a new perspective. Enjoy your brunch and cocktails in the courtyard Saturdays and Sundays between 10:30AM-3PM. Their huevos rancheros and huevos con chorizo are very appetizing. They also have tasty bloody marys, and of course sangrias and a variety of margaritas. Can’t decide which to get? They also offer a margarita sangria so you don’t have to choose.
Best hangover cure restaurant in downtown St. Pete
You know when you wake up the morning after a rager and all you want is carbs— that’s not just me right? Anyways, Datz is 100% the answer if you’re feeling hungover thanks to their Datchos (their take on nachos), mac bites, monkey bites (if you have a sweet tooth), and multiple variations of burgers and pulled pork sandwiches (my weakness). To be fair, they also offer delicious sounding salads as well— but I don’t know who has the self control to order one of those with such a mouth watering menu.