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17 Best Downtown St. Pete Restaurants 2024: A Local’s Guide

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Alright, fellow St. Pete foodies! Get your appetites ready because I’m about to take you on a mouthwatering tour of the best downtown St. Pete restaurants! This vibrant Tampa Bay neighborhood is more than just sun and fun. From the coziest corners dishing out your morning caffeine fix to the hoppiest breweries pouring liquid gold, downtown St. Pete is a non-stop flavor fest.

And let’s talk about the restaurants – oh, the restaurants! I’ve eaten my way through the streets of St. Pete (I know, tough job, but someone’s gotta do it) to bring you the greatest hits of the downtown dining scene. Whether you fancy twirling some authentic Italian pasta, diving into delicious surf and turf, rolling up some sushi, or just about anything in between, trust me – you won’t be disappointed!

Best Downtown St. Pete Restaurants

Best Italian restaurants in downtown St. Pete

Il Ritorno

Il Ritorno is a culinary masterpiece that marries the rustic with the contemporary, inviting guests on a remarkable journey through modern Italian flavors. With its rustic-industrial ambiance, the restaurant serves as the perfect backdrop for a culinary adventure that showcases the delicate balance of tradition and innovation.

During our visit, we were enamored by the symphony of flavors that unfolded on our plates. The octopus, tender and artfully prepared, was a stand-out appetizer.

As we ventured further into their menu, the Tallegio Agnolotti emerged as a revelation—a dish where crispy lamb belly blended with charred leeks and chive oil, raising my culinary expectations. I wouldn’t have ordered that typically, but I trusted the guidance of our server, and the dish proved to be an unforgettable work of art that showcased the chef’s mastery.

Jay Luigi

Jay Luigi offers a fast-casual Italian dining experience that artfully marries modern innovation with timeless Italian flavors. With an inviting and relaxed ambiance, they create an atmosphere where guests can savor the rich tapestry of both contemporary and traditional Italian cuisine.

From handcrafted pastas to naturally fermented, wild yeast Roman and Neapolitan-style pizzas, their menu reflects a devotion to quality without compromise. During our visit, we were lured in by the allure of the “Mary” pizza—a delicious combination of mozzarella, ricotta, meatballs, caramelized onion, parmesan, and basil that was nothing short of perfection.

Surprisingly, it was our encounter with the “Don’t Kale My Vibe” salad that truly stole the show, a refreshingly flavorful creation that left an unforgettable mark on our taste buds! This Italian restaurant’s mastery extends from the pizza to the salad, making Jay Luigi a must-visit St. Pete downtown restaurant for those seeking an authentic and unforgettable journey through Italian cuisine.

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 dinner spot.

Best Mediterranean restaurant in downtown St. Pete


Elevating the culinary scene in downtown St. Pete, Allelo stands as a premier dining destination that effortlessly weaves together exquisite flavors, stylish ambiance, and a touch of enchantment. Allelo offers a feast for the senses, boasting a meticulously curated selection of wine by the glass and masterfully crafted cocktails.

Beyond its delectable offerings, Allelo transforms dining into an experience with its captivating themed Wine Nights—an evening of indulgence where a prix fixe menu is thoughtfully paired with exquisite wines from different regions, transporting you to the vineyards of Spain, Portugal, or elsewhere without leaving your seat.

With its fashionable flair and dedication to providing more than just a meal, Allelo allows you to savor the art of culinary craftsmanship in a way that is both tasteful and captivating—a testament to their commitment to making every visit a remarkable journey of the senses.

Best sushi restaurant in downtown St. Pete

The Lure

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!

Sushi from The Lure in downtown St. Petersburg

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.

If you do enjoy good Mexican food, you also need to check out Casa Tina’s in Dunedin!

Red Mesa Mercado restaurant in downtown St. Petersburg

Best hidden gem restaurants in downtown St. Pete

In Between Days

In Between Days is probably one of the most unique (and mysterious) dining experiences you can have in downtown St. Pete. If you go to their website and socials you’ll notice they give no indication of what you can expect for the environment, food, or cocktails!

What I can tell you is you are going to fall in love with this Tokyo-style listening bar and craft sake house. The menu has changed since I last visited (which means I need to go back ASAP), but each dish I had was full of delightful Asian flavors. Their sake cocktails also blew me away!

Aside from the food and drinks, you will be mesmerized by the attention to detail. Part of the intrigue with this awesome downtown St. Pete restaurant is the mystery. So I don’t want to give away too much of the location, you’re going to have to visit for yourself!

If you enjoy mystery and secrecy, be sure to check out some of St. Pete’s fun speakeasies as well!

Lolita’s Wine Market

Lolita’s Wine Market was love at first bite! This cozy spot packs a punch with its vibrant decor and top-notch service. During my visit, the staff went above and beyond, even bringing me the perfect glass of wine tailored to my tastes!

The charcuterie boards are a must-try, showcasing a delightful mix of cheeses and meats. But the real star? The fire and ice ceviche – trust me, it’s a game-changer (coming from someone who recently visited Colombia)! And for brunch lovers, their menu doesn’t disappoint. Plus, the tres leches cake served in a coconut is a sweet finale you won’t want to miss.

Despite its small size, Lolita’s delivers big on flavor and charm. Bonus: they offer outdoor seating with a limited menu, perfect for soaking up the sunshine while enjoying your wine.


I have to give Copa the spotlight it deserves! Combining the authentic flavors of Latin America and the Caribbean. Think tapas with a tropical twist – every dish is a party on a plate! Copa truly creates a culinary journey that is unlike any other St. Pete restaurant. The scallops were cooked to perfection, and the tostones were to die for!

Copa’s craft cocktails are the cherry on top of an already fabulous dining experience. From the moment I sipped on their espresso martini, I knew I was in for a treat. The presentation was on point. And the flavor profile? Absolute perfection! It tasted even better since it was half off for their happy hour 😉


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 Tropez out!

They also have beautiful, fun cocktails! Their signature drink, The Tropez, was my favorite. You can also find them on my list of best bars in downtown St. Pete 😉

Best date night restaurants in downtown St. Pete

Parkshore Grill

If you’ve been here before, you know exactly why it’s on the list of best downtown St. Pete restaurants. Pretty much any holiday, birthday, or date night out 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). It’s definitely one of my favorite date night restaurants in Tampa Bay!

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.

Filet and lobster tail topped with lemon caper butter sauce from Parkshore Grill in downtown St. Pete

King State

King State is a place where the unconventional becomes the unforgettable, they take a bold twist on classic favorites, evidenced by their intriguing King State salad which is drizzled with a distinctive coffee vinaigrette—yes, coffee! It’s that kind of innovation that will leave you smitten, setting the stage for an exciting meal.

Entrees like the pork belly mac and local black grouper are both standout dishes. The pork belly mac did steal the spotlight for its rich, savory flavors and undeniable comfort food charm. As for the bar, their craft cocktails and thoughtful mocktails cater to all tastes, ensuring a perfectly paired sip for every bite.

And, let’s take a moment for the monster chocolate chip cookie, served up with coconut rum chocolate milk. Speaking as a fellow chocolate chip cookie connoisseur, their version is a revelation, teetering between traditional homestyle and sheer cookie nirvana. King State isn’t just a restaurant; it’s an experience that will linger long after the last bite.

The Urban Stillhouse

Be ready for extraordinary EVERYTHING. Service, atmosphere, music, drinks— truly you’re in for a treat at The Urban Stillhouse. Leather sofas, wood-burning fireplaces, an extensive bourbon “library”, and an aroma that reminded me of “home at Christmas time” sets the coziest atmosphere.

Definitely make reservations, because this place books up! I have actually only been here for brunch, but their dinner menu looks amazing too. You will love their bloody mary (they even have a caffeine and B12 infusion that will help pick you right up!), fried chicken, and homemade pickles!

Even if you aren’t a bourbon person, it’s fun to get a flight for the table to experience. The staff also provides education on the best way to enjoy the bourbon. If possible, you’ll want to take a tour of the place! At least wander upstairs to check out “the library”.

If you’re enjoying this post, be sure to check out my Tampa, Florida guide with all of the best bars, restaurants, things to do, and more that Tampa has to offer.

Best brunch in downtown St. Pete

The Library 

You know I couldn’t make a list of the best restaurants in St. Pete without including The Library. The Library 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 (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 as 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.

The vibes here are great for a St. Pete bachelorette party or girls’ brunch!

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 10:30 am-3 pm.

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 New American restaurants in downtown St. Pete

Birch & Vine

Nestled within the stylish embrace of The Canopy in downtown St. Pete, Birch and Vine emerges as a culinary jewel that redefines the art of dining. With a captivating blend of modern design, a breezy patio, and a menu that celebrates New American cuisine, Birch and Vine effortlessly captures the essence of sophistication and culinary innovation.

Having had the pleasure of exploring their menu, from the succulent cocktail shrimp to the heavenly pasta and the phenomenal steak that left a lasting impression, every bite exudes a symphony of flavors that dances across the palate. Their mastery extends to the sea as well, with a remarkable salmon dish that’s nothing short of sublime.

Whether you’re indulging in a handcrafted cocktail or savoring the seasonal fare, Birch and Vine has mastered the art of delivering an unparalleled gastronomic experience. From the first sip to the final bite, their dedication to perfection is evident, promising an unforgettable culinary journey that encompasses the very essence of fine dining—a promise that holds true for every dish, making it a cherished downtown St. Pete restaurant where every choice is the right one.

Best Restaurant with Unique Menu Offerings

Wild Child

Wild Child is a lively St. Pete restaurant and cocktail bar founded on fresh, in-season cuisine and friendly service. This chic restaurant has an eclectic menu full of internationally-inspired dishes and fun cocktails.

Their Korean fried chicken sandwich is PHENOMENAL and includes unique twists like kimchi mayo and shredded cabbage, and the rosemary fries with garlic aioli are a perfect addition. I also had one of the most unique Caprese salads ever with strawberry and rhubarb, the flavors were phenomenal (last photo)! The tuna tostadas are also a solid choice!

For cocktails, I can never stray from the Lost Weekend which is made with fresh watermelon, lime, and agave. You get to choose your spirit, my vote is for mezcal.

Are you ready to experience the best restaurants in downtown St. Pete?!

I trust you’re going to have a fantastic time exploring the best downtown St. Pete restaurants through this curated list! If you’re hungry for more adventures in this vibrant city, be sure to dive into the best things to do in St. Pete. And for a steady stream of Tampa Bay foodie delights and local fun, don’t forget to join me on Instagram @guidedbydestiny!

Until next time, happy exploring and bon appétit! Be sure to check out some of my other local posts before you go:

Free things to do in Tampa

Fun things to do in St. Pete Beach

Best Dunedin restaurants


  1. OMG this post makes me SOOO hungry! I love the way you’ve incorporated so many different kinds of food, and kinds of restaurants (as far as find dining, casual, street food…). This definitely makes me want to visit St. Pete!!

  2. Yumm!! All of these options look sooo good! I’ll definitely have to make some of these stops if I ever make my way down here!

  3. I love the story of Chef Tony! It’s always nice to give back. And that dessert looks amazing.

  4. OMG I wish we’d had more time in St Pete (we only had 1 night)! The Library looks absolutely dreamy – I love places for Sunday brunch and this looks like perfection.

  5. So many restaurants and they all look delivering the best food. I will look for Limoncello cake now whenever I go to Italian Restaurant near where I live. The Volcano Roll at The Lure looks to die for.

  6. These all look like incredible places to eat, and since it’s near dinner time for me you’re making me even hungrier!

    1. Hey destiny,
      Heading to tampa/st pete next weekend for my 30th birthday with some girlfriends, where are some fun bars to go to? I added some suggestions!

  7. All of these restaurants look amazing! I definitely need to visit St. Pete. I heard it is such a fun and quaint place in Florida. 🙂 Great guide!

  8. Allelo St. Pete says:

    Thank you for featuring Allelo in this wonderful guide!

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