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40+ Best St. Pete Restaurants For Every Occasion (+Desserts!)

Rachel HannahFebruary 24, 2022
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You will find just about any type of restaurant in downtown St. Pete. It’s a melting pot of people, cultures, and cuisine. Many award-winning chefs from around the world have started their own restaurants in St. Pete which have made it the perfect city for local, international, and fine dining. There are always new restaurants opening so as a reviewer it’s been tough to keep track of them let alone decide where to visit next. Besides the many sit down restaurants in this list I also wanted to draw attention to the carryout and dessert spots!

Breakfast & Brunch

Taproom at the Hollander Hotel | DTSP

The Taproom inside of the Hollander Hotel is one of the most overlooked breakfast restaurants in St. Pete! I absolutely dig the prohibition-themed dining room, there’s so much attention to detail. I will continue to keep this place as staple in my rotation because of the serving sizes, flavors, options, and reasonable prices. The menu has both traditional and healthier breakfast choices and a cocktail menu that highlights Bloody Mary’s, their coffee comes locally from Kahwa Coffee roasters in St. Pete. You can park conveniently in the hotels parking lot.

The Library | DTSP

Bring the gals (or pals 😉 ) to the classiest brunch restaurant in downtown St. Pete. The Library, located inside of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital is a tasteful library-themed dining room. You’ll pay a little more for the ambiance and may have trouble finding parking on the weekends but it’s nothing coffee can’t fix, right? The eggs benedict is one of their most popular dishes and I’ve fallen victim to it as well, delicious! I’d advise making reservations midweek to avoid a long wait!

Craft Kafe | DTSP

Craft Kafe is an entirely gluten-free light breakfast restaurant in downtown St. Pete. Even though I’m not gluten-free their breakfast sandwiches are tasty and all of the syrups in their lattes are housemade. What sticks out to me is the communal-like atmosphere, especially on the weekends. It’s the right vibe for anyone; cyclists, dog walkers, or just catching up with a friend.

Datz | DTSP

Datz is a chill, hip American eatery that has an almost overwhelmingly large menu with flavor-bursting creations is well suited to anyone who wants an excuse to eat upscale junk food. They don’t do basic here! There’s also a special weekend brunch menu with just about anything you could imagine. They have lots of large tables so it’s a great restaurant in downtown St. Pete to accommodate large groups.

The Hangar | DTSP

Come to The Hangar inside of the Albert Whitted Airport if you’re looking for a casual brunch restaurant in downtown St. Pete with a unique atmosphere. You can watch planes take off and land right in front of you while you dine. The menu is pretty standard for breakfast and lunch but I enjoyed the taste of The Hangar Hamburger and pasta salad.

Fine Dining Restaurants for Special Occasions

Lingr | Waterfront Arts District

Lingr gives off speakeasy vibes in restaurant form. This tucked-away restaurant in downtown St. Pete is inside an unsuspecting white building with discrete signage. It took a minute for me to realize that Google didn’t take us to the wrong place! The owner and Top Chef winner, Jeffery Jew, adds his Nordic and Asian heritage to the menu. The layout of the menu, unique cocktails, unusual spices, and flavor combinations made for an incredible dining experience. It was the first time meeting my boyfriend’s parents in person and it was a great spot for talking!

Parkshore Grill | DTSP

Parkshore Grill is a fantastic upscale lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch restaurant in downtown St. Pete with inside and water view seating on Beach Drive. The Parkshore Picnic is one of the best lunch deals in the city. It includes a select entree, salad, and mini dessert for $25. The Grilled Beef Tenderloin was tender and flavorful!

Spinners | St. Pete Beach

The newly revamped menu at Spinners is often discussed as one of the best St. Pete restaurants on the beach. Three words, REVOLVING DINING ROOM. Ironically, I didn’t catch on to the “spin” concept until a few minutes after we had been seated, pretty sure I looked like a shocked tourist, haha.

You’ll be able to see 360-degree views from the 12th floor of the restaurant as it slowly roates. The food is good but not mind-blowing, you’re 100% coming for the view, especially during sunset! Make sure to make reservations at least a couple of days in advance because they don’t accept walk-ins for the tables with the views. There’s also a more casual outdoor patio on the floor below if you want to feel that ocean breeze!

1200 Chophouse | St. Pete Beach

1200 Chophouse has a reputation as being the best restaurant in St. Pete for steak. Their steak is prepared just the way you like it inside a 1200° broiler, seared to perfection. Ask your server for a wine pairing that will perfectly suit your order. Since 1200 Chophouse is right across the street from St. Pete Beach there is no formal dress code.

Buya | DTSP

Buya is the only place that I would recommend in St. Pete to get ramen from. The meat is tender and the broth is flavorful! They also have a wonderful cocktail menu. The restaurant vibe is moody and industrial with a focal point Japanese mural on the back wall.

Tropez | DTSP

Tropez is an all-around gem. They have a diverse menu that puts a unique twist on popular dishes. I’m so glad I didn’t let a few negative reviews discourage me from trying it out. Tropez is also one of the best St. Pete restaurants for happy hour. They do half off wine bottles on Wednesdays and half off craft cocktails for locals on Thursdays from 6-10. 

Bella Brava’s | DTSP

I would consider Bella Brava as a cult classic among locals. When I first moved here it was always being recommended to me and now that I’m a local I find myself doing the same thing to visitors and new residents. Everybody likes Italian, right? Their service and preparation of the food are always consistent. The portions are large and the prices are more reasonable than a lot of the other nicer restaurants in downtown St. Pete. I would recommend the Stuffed Gnocchi alla Vodka and a glass of their Sassoregale Sangiovese red.

Semi-Casual

LemonGrass Sushi Thai Tapas | DTSP

You know the times when you’re really craving sushi but your significant other or friends don’t like it? LemonGrass Sushi is one of the best Thai restaurants in St. Pete with a menu that can everyone can enjoy. It’s seriously massive. Their lengthy list of sushi is served in whole rolls or halves. Beyond sushi, they have noodles, Thai and Asian dishes, hot and cold tapas, and desserts. I would also highly recommend their Thai tea.

Seadog Cantina | Gulfport

For Americanized Mexican food I was pretty impressed with Seadog Cantina. This restaurant is near downtown St. Pete, about a 10-minute drive to the small town of Gulfport. Seadog is popular for its craft brews and margaritas, oh my goodness, the spicy mango was to die for. Plenty of seating for busy nights indoors or outside by the waterfall. The chips that come with the salsa are seasoned with sugar, not salt. Interesting, but it works. The braised short rib in both the Enchiladas Roja and Baja Burrito was flavorful.

Happy Hour is Mon-Fri 4-7 and live music happens frequently.

Tryst Gastro Lounge | DTSP

Tryst looks like a casual bar from the outside yet it’s actually a full-service restaurant in downtown St. Pete on Beach Drive. Let me tell you, neither department slacks. The menu is eclectic and rotates based on seasonal ingredients. If you love craft cocktails and daily happy hour (say what!?) you’ll want to come here. I couldn’t put down Gingers Lane so I immediately ordered a second, Walk Off The Pier! Their appetizers and flatbreads were also a hit with my group.

Stillwaters Tavern | DTSP

The rustic modern design combined with the lively energy makes Stillwaters Tavern perfect for dinner dates and casual hangouts. The menu is a higher-end American roadhouse cuisine that incorporates local ingredients and housemade specialties. It’s located directly across from the pier so it’s easy to walk to activities before or after eating. I first went for happy hour cocktails and came back for my free birthday meal which sold me on their food! The battered red snapper with homemade tartar sauce was dreamy, the best fish and chips I can remember having in a long time. The mac & cheese and artichoke kale dip were also winners. The severs have always gone above and beyond for my table each time I’ve visited!

Matteo’s | DTSP

Welcome to pasta heaven! There are so many different red and cream sauce pasta variations, gnocchi, and traditional Italian entrees. They cook their pizzas in an original pizza oven from Italy. The prices are a bit steep but portions are large so come hungry! Or check out Matteo during their Monday Madness, 50% off ALL entrees (besides the truffle gnocchi). It will be busy so prepare for a wait.

  • Open for dinner
  • No reservations

4th Street Shrimp Store | 4th St. N

Best underrated St. Pete restaurants for FRESH seafood! The environment is laidback with colorful memorabilia inside. There’s indoor/outdoor seating and a market connected off to the side. The menu is huge with affordable pricing and daily specials. The Mahi Mahi bowl, clam chowder, and hush puppies were delicious and well seasoned! The Sunken Gardens are right across the street if you want to hit two spots in one go. 😉

Cappy’s Pizza | Grand Central

The midwest and east coast unite at Cappy’s Pizza. This is the restaurant in downtown St. Pete for both Chicago-Style and New York-Style pizza! Before trying Cappy’s I wasn’t much for Chicago-Style, but now theirs has a hold on me! The building is a small converted house so the atmosphere is unique but seating is limited so try and arrive early or order to-go.

Casual and Carry Out

El Huarache Veloz | Pinellas Park

I kinda gave up on finding authentic Mexican restaurants in downtown St. Pete but my friend who’s originally from Orange Country, CA got me onto El Huarache Veloz. God bless her. It’s a true hole-in-the-wall gem, at $2 per taco, you won’t find a better deal! I tried the chicken, steak, and marinated pork tacos and the pork was my favorite! I upgrade to the meal which comes with beans and rice and added on a kid’s size homemade Horchata and it was huge, I can’t even imagine how big the large would be, haha! All that food for around $12.

The Floribbean | DTSP

The Floribbean serves Caribbean-style cuisine in a laid back airy atmosphere with pops of color. This restaurant is by far one of my most frequently visited restaurants in downtown St. Pete. It checks all my boxes and then some. Healthy, fresh, bold flavors, and fast through the line. You can even order for pickup and delivery. I basically order the same thing every single time, the lime braised beef just melts in your mouth and the lime crema rocks! If you like fresh coconut milk ask to sample the coconut ginger lime cooler and you’ll end up buying a full size.

Deccan Spice | Clearwater/Feather Sound

Daryl, my boyfriend, is Indian and so far Deccan Spice has proved to be the most authentic tasting Indian food when he’s craving a taste of home. It’s great that they offer different levels of heat for us Americans who can’t handle a lot of spice. We’ve always ordered for delivery but the inside is upscale and spacious.

Ohio Pizza Parlour | Pasadena

This one is for all of you Midwesterners. The Ohio Pizza Parlour is one of the only St. Pete restaurants that dish out proper midwest thin and crispy pizzas with edge-to-edge toppings. Their menu has lots of different combinations and classics and you can also build your own. They even have ones with cream cheese! I topped mine with their hot honey oil drizzle, it was so good, there’s definitely a good amount of kick to it. The staff was super friendly while we waited for ours to bake.

Hawaiian pizza in cardboard box in front of bright pink wall with photo of electric green mushroom

Fo’Cheezy Twisted Meltz | DTSP + St. Pete Beach

Grilled cheeses are somewhere at the top of my guilty pleasure/comfort foods. I can’t believe there’s a whole restaurant that revolves around grilled cheese sandwiches! Perfect drunk food considering their downtown location is right around the corner from the bars. I honestly couldn’t picture anything on the menu not tasting good!

Bodega | DTSP

Did you know that the Cuban sandwich wasn’t actually invented in Cuba? It was invented just across the bridge in Tampa! There are so many restaurants in St. Pete that sell them but I know for a fact Bodega’s Cubans are incredible. The bread is sooo fresh and crispy and the flavors are to die for. They also have vegan protein options, fresh juices, and a cocktail bar.

Secret menu item: Ask for half limeade half iced tea. If you like Arnold Palmer's you've gotta try it.

Gateway Subs | Historic Kenwood

Gateway Subs is one of the newest and best delis in St. Pete and they have already caused a wave of excitement throughout the city, I’ve already been a handful of times. Their meats and cheeses are cut per order and the toppings always look fresh. A whole sub will keep you full for a while. They also sell salads, breakfast sandwiches, chips, baked goods, smoothies, and coffee (the full espresso bar is coming soon)! Each one of the staff members I’ve interacted with has been beyond friendly. Their sign on the wall even says “We are epicureans who value good business and treat people like people.”

Small Plates & Drinks

In Between Days | Grand Central

One of the most intimate and sensory experiences you will find in St. Pete. You can’t help but fall in love with in between days, the first Toyko-style listening bar to open in Florida inside of an unmarked blue house. Traditionally, listening bars are spaces created to sit back, relax, and listen. The details hold true to their origin. The lighting is dim, the space is cozy, and the music is played on vinyl. I’ve almost tried the whole menu and nothing was a letdown. The sake-based cocktails, Japanese milk bread with honey butter, and a snapper small plate are at the top of my list. It’s an expensive spot but the experience and quality line up.

2340 1st Ave S, St. Petersburg, FL 33712

Dracula’s Legacy | DTSP

A very unique gothic (as the name hints) wine bar in the heart of downtown. It’s off the beaten path so even though the inside is small you’ll have a good chance at a table. The servers have a lot of knowledge about their wine selections and helped my friend and I make selections we loved! The charcuterie board at Dracula’s was one of the best and largest I’ve tried and it came with chocolates! Say less.

Birchwood Canopy | DTSP

The award for best rooftop bars in downtown St. Pete goes to… Birchwood Canopy! From the top, you’ll see the entirety of Tampa Bay and Beach Drive. During the daytime it’s a casual place to hang out and grab some light bites but as the sun sets the crowds begin to come in and it quickly feels like you’re at an exclusive lounge. Renting a private cabana here will really elevate any upcoming special event you have planned. Wednesday is for the ladies! From 7-10 enjoy 1/2 off Frose.

Healthy & Fresh

Fresh Kitchen | 4th St. N

Build-your-own style bowls and fresh juices. I’m such a sauce person and Fresh Kitchen’s creamy white ginger sauce is always the right move!

Better Byrd | 4th St. N

“The best damn fried chicken in the bay.” Better Byrd offers bowls, sandwiches, wraps, and salads. One of my favorite “fun” healthy alternatives when I want to eat out. They also have so many enticing sides but I’m addicted to the truffle garlic fries and the gluten-free chicken tenders which I like to pair with their “better ranch”. While it is not solely a gluten-free or vegan restaurant a lot of their items are.

Bolay | 4th St. N

My dad first introduced me to the Bolay location in Ft. Lauderdale, I loved it so much that I made a special stop in Orlando on my move to Florida just to get Bolay. Just recently they’ve opened another one of their restaurants in St. Pete. The marinades on their proteins and sauces are so flavorful and make sure to save room for the strawberry chia seed pudding–so light and fluffy!

Squeeze Juice Works | DTSP

Juices, Mylks, Coffee, Tea, Smoothies, Light Food

You know how ordering a smoothie from a new place can be kinda risky? It’s either really good or really bad. I feel like everyone likes their smoothies made differently. The smoothies from Squeeze are more liquidy and creamy, which is just how I like em’. They make their nut mylks in-house and have a lot of unique add-ins such as pine pollen and rose water which is in my favorite smoothie, “I Am Love”.

Pacific Counter | DTSP

Made-to-order poke bowls, sushi burritos, kombucha. Pacific Counter was my first time trying a poke bowl and I was a bit nervous about how the raw fish was going to taste but the ahi tuna was super fresh and melted in my mouth. This is a popular weekday lunchtime restaurant in downtown St. Pete that often has a line out the door! There’s a small inside seating area inside and out.

CALI St. Pete | 4th St. N

A fresh west coast American cuisine. CALI has one of the most unique menus for clean fresh food. On top of the classic bowls and salads that you’d expect from a healthy restaurant they also have fun sides and personal pizzas. I love the atmosphere, everything is so bright and modern. Tuesday is Taco Tuesday and during the weekends they have brunch and live music. Be sure to order a round of XL-sized mimosas for your group!

Treats & Desserts

Paciugo Gelato & Cafè | Downtown

The best gelato in St. Pete! There are tons of flavors and if you are dairy-free Paciugo has a very wide selection to pick from, 3 fruit flavors and 5 regular ice cream flavors. You can really have fun here because they allow up to 4 different flavors in a cup! There’s nice seating outside and sometimes you’ll be able to hear live music from down the street.

colorful gelato case

Valhalla Bakery | Downtown

Everything made at Vahalla Bakery is vegan but you can’t even tell! There are desserts, pastries, and savory snacks. I went for the cookie butter blondie it was crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. The fluffy frosting brought together all the textures perfectly!!! Think about sharing the larger treats or splitting them up into two servings because they are very sweet!

Bright ICE | 5th Ave & 34th St + Pinellas Park

Everything about this little ice cream shop is a delight. The textures, colors, and furniture keep the space modern and happy. The ice cream is homemade and almost all of the flavors are nontraditional. During the holidays you’ll be able to try new seasonal flavors! They encourage you to try as many flavors as you like and they don’t skimp on the portion. There are even a couple of dairy-free options and dog-friendly vanilla so the whole fam can enjoy!

Parking can be a little tricky but you can always park in the back lot behind the building if the front spaces are full.

two paper ice cream dishes with bright ice worded on sides with menu on wall in background

Mam G’s Bakery | Kenneth City

Mama G’s Bakery is a true hidden gem. They are family-owned and operated so I don’t mind the small inconvenience out of downtown to get here. I was searching for bakeries with homemade sourdough and I scored big time. Each loaf of bread is under $4. Nothing beats freshly baked bread! They also make fresh pastries, personal pizzas, and phenomenal espresso drinks. I get excited every week when it’s time to buy another loaf and grab a latte!

6114 54th Ave N, Kenneth City, FL 33709

Beans & Barlour | DTSP

If you want over the top, Beans & Barlour is coming up with the wildest ice cream creations, some of which are boozy! The size of their shakes is a sugar coma waiting to happen, it definitely could be split among two people. Beyond their ice cream, there’s also coffee, tea, cocktails, and NY bagels which they have shipped in from NY.

Mazzaro’s | DTSP

A St. Pete local staple. This authentic Italian market will keep you entertained for hours. The highlights are their bakery, coffee bar, wine cellar, cheeses, olives, pre-made dishes, and deli where you can order fresh sandwiches and eat them on their covered porch.

These are the best St. Pete restaurants in the city! Phew… that was A LOT of food, now I’m hungry! Which of these St. Pete restaurants look the most delicious? If you’re from the area let me know your favorites below, I’ve still got quite a few spots left to try!

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