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Orlando & Clearwater/St. Pete choices

I live on Treasure Island (a tedious 30 minute drive from Clearwater fyi). You've skipped a great place right on TI: Middle Grounds Grill. Go there, you won't be sorry. Eat at the bar so you can people watch and listen to the live music.

Two more on TI: lunch at the Floridian. Order a cuban sandwich and black beans and rice. You can thank me later lol! Also, for a divey place with great food, try the VIP. A hole in the wall bar, order golden margaritas and either the wet burrito or the Chicago burrito.

P.S. On a "staycation" once we went to Ravenous Pig (wonderful) Tu Tu Tango (the teens will like it) and Yellow Dog Eats (for lunch, it's cute and wholesome and casual - too hot for their patio but there's seating inside too). Also in Orlando is K Restaurant. O My! Check it out!
http://krestaurant.net/

Aug 12, 2014
joan in Florida

St Pete Beach restaurants recommendations? -- June 28-July 5

P.S. The Island Grill and Raw Bar, on Tierra Verde (between St. Pete Beach and the sunshine Skyway bridge) has great reputation, and they are offering a groupon right now for raw oysters....consider that :)

https://www.groupon.com/biz/gulfport-...

Jun 24, 2014
joan in Florida

St Pete Beach restaurants recommendations? -- June 28-July 5

Wow! You've really done your homework.

Dinner: Your recs are all over the place. Always call Waltz before going, as they are often closed. Castile is so new, don't know if it's open yet. Pearl is not staid, is owned by a Moroccan chef, but I like Middle Grounds better. Rum Fish is brand new also, I've heard good things - its inside a big hotel, the Tradewinds. I've had drinks and bar food at their outside patio, it was pricey but good. Rum fish has a giant aquarium as one of their walls, but I've heard it's cloudy still til they get the balance correct.

Lunch:
Best cuban in the area, by far: The Floridian on Treasure Island - takeout or eat on their patio. Two great Italian places called Verducci's or Tuttorosso at the north end of StPB, both same owners - worth a visit for lunch or dinner. Sea Porch (preferred for dinner over Maritana Grill - both at Don Cesar) is good.

Breakfast/Brunch:
Beverly's or Jackie's. Jackie's if you want unlimited Mimosas (after 11 AM), or Beverly's for delicious diner fare. I disagree with Jimonthebeach (sorry Jim!) about Ted Peters and Chill and I do think Jackie's is awesome for either dinner or Sunday brunch. Sometimes her service is hit or miss, but I've been treated great last two times.

Dying to try 1200 chophouse! Steaks baby!

Bakeries: yep you gotta go to Mazzaro's. Its in the middle of St. Pete but you will be glad you went. Casa is much much closer so you may want to try them too, but don't neglect Mazzaro's. FYI: the Verducci's guy, above, just bought a third building and is planning a St. Pete Beach Italian market like Mazarros'....ask if you go...

Have fun!

Jun 24, 2014
joan in Florida

Tampa. where would you go

Of your list, I'd choose Sideberns first, then Mise en Place. Sideberns has never disappointed. Edison's was just okay, Capital Grill and Ocean Prime are great corporate places, but let's try local!

Jun 19, 2014
joan in Florida

Where to Find Wine in Keg in Florida

If these folks don't have wine on tap, they may know whether it exists in Florida:

http://www.floridawine.com/index.htm

They are located in South Pasadena, near St. Pete Beach. Cute shop.

Jun 03, 2014
joan in Florida

Orlando/Sanford restaurant help - which of these should make the cut?

FYI we went to Ravenous Pig with a toddler. When we called to make the res, they informed us they had no facilities, no high chairs etc for children. When we arrived they greeted us warmly, the waitress brought out a plate of bacon for the little one (how cool was that? hard to keep adult hands off!). Although her parents had to tuck her between them in the booth, a great time was had by all. I'd bring well behaved children again.

May 09, 2014
joan in Florida
1

Panzarotti

Check out the second item "Tutto Frito". This place is delicious, their antipasta is wonderful, you choose from the fresh showcase...St. Pete Beach.
http://www.allmenus.com/fl/st-petersb...

Oops....just realized you wanted SOUTH Florida...sorry, but it might just be worth the trip!

May 02, 2014
joan in Florida

Bizarre Experience at Michael's (Sarasota)

I agree it's weird. You'd think they'd clean at the end of the night, in case there was a real mess that needed tending to...I don't think it would be enough to stop me from going back, but a high end restaurant (or fast food for that matter) should know better than to clean during the open hours.

Feb 20, 2014
joan in Florida

English Breakfast?

Haven't been, but Madeleina Cottage in St. Pete Beach is British all the way:

http://www.madeleinacottage.com/index...

Feb 17, 2014
joan in Florida

Beach town with best food?

Well, the tough part is, you will encounter many many spring breakers in April. I would switch it a little south, to my neck of the woods - Treasure Island. Less built up, less breakers, and there is everything you need. Also, nearby (a couple miles inland) is the very cool town of St. Pete. On TI there is Middle Grounds (high end seafood), the Pearl (good Moroccan and continental), the Floridian (best Cuban sandwich), Waltz (low end seafood), Riviera and 1200 Steak Houses (St. Pete Beach, about 1 mile south)many beach bars within walking distance, Beverly's Le Croisette (breakfast heaven), and a few others. Go to VRBO and check out the offerings - especially Sunset Beach, the southern end of TI. Houses are more fun than hotels anyway! Have fun. Clearwater Beach has the Sand Pearl beachfront resort, with very high end (good) restaurants inside. TI Hotels don't have great restos in them....

Feb 03, 2014
joan in Florida
1

Sumptuous brunch in Sarasota, St. Pete or Tampa

I have been twice to the Sunday brunch across the street from the Vinoy, at 400 Beach Seafood and Tap House. The price is lower, and perhaps not quite as sumptuous, but the service was excellent and the people watching first rate. You can sit outside or in, and yes they have unlimited champagne!

Nov 19, 2013
joan in Florida

Downtown St Pete's with a group

You have lots of choices and depending on where you're from, well you could be from anywhere - dining outdoors could be wonderful this time of year. My fave is Cassis (since the boss is paying), but Bella Brava is fun too. More of a walk, but lots of Greek fun, is Acropolis. They have sidewalk seating and an upstairs balcony.

I also like Cafe Alma, but indoors only. If weather does not cooperate, that could be a good destination. Oops, just checked and they are closed on Mondays.

Monday is usually very quiet downtown.
Have fun!

Nov 15, 2013
joan in Florida

Bern's Booked - Where to go?

I would suggest the original Columbia restaurant in Ybor. I think the kids would enjoy the flamenco shows, which are daily except Sunday (I cheated and checked the website). More fun than a boring old adult chain steakhouse...

You do need reservations, but it would be a great destination with very good food. A real classic!

http://www.columbiarestaurant.com/fla...

Nov 12, 2013
joan in Florida

St. Pete Beach breakfast/dinner/dessert recommendations?

Best breakfast places on SPB are across the street from one another, at the intersection of Corey and Gulf blvd: Beverly's and Frog Pond. I like Beverly's better - FP is more expensive and the portions are ridiculously huge, and they charge to share. But food is excellent at both. Chill and Steam are on the same corner - after you eat walk east on Corey and window shop a bit.

Best dinner place is Middlegrounds Grill on TI just a couple miles north - better than all the others recommended here, in my opinion. Sit at the bar, people watch, and order the fresh fish Oscar of the day - it will be topped with soft shell crab, asparagus, and hollandaise. Live music on weekends. Mmmmm...

I must warn you about the CW Aquarium. We found it awful - concrete tanks with sad looking creatures. They are planning a complete upgrade, but until then it's not worth the price of admission (and someone with us googled and found buy one get one coupon online, so we only paid $10 each - still not worth it). Unless you're a Winter The Dolphin fanatic, then it might be worthwhile...

May 13, 2013
joan in Florida

Need a recommendation for a celebratory restaurant near Tampa

For some reason your reply did not show up until after I posted my rec. Agree with rhnault again! Armani's would be really special, and their service is beyond wonderful.

Mar 22, 2013
joan in Florida

Need a recommendation for a celebratory restaurant near Tampa

I agree with rhnault, especially about brunch. This works well for older folks, who generally like to eat their large meal early in the day. I live on the other side of the bay, Pinellas, and we recently took our 80 yo mother-in-law for brunch to 400 Beach Seafood - great food, lots of toddlers running around, and the service was very attentive, they don't just abandon you. We sprung for a helicopter ride at the nearby Albert Whitted airport for her and one grandchild too - she loved it.
Champagne included too :)
Unless she's a steak and wine lover, I'd skip Bern's - you're looking for service here. Another great service restaurant in Tampa is Capitol Grille, but not sure about their acceptance of children...I bet they do it well though. Have fun!

Mar 22, 2013
joan in Florida

Florida restaurant reviews and Trip advisor

" I feel those who could be on here helping with that have moved more into the blogging sphere"

I loved your post, and agree with everything except the above statement. I think you missed Facebook: some posters in my area (Tampa Bay) have formed a group on facebook that is great for reporting local finds, what you ate today, what we made at home, where can I get equipment, etc, complete with photos and a great back-and-forth. No advertising, just great discussions. The heavy handed moderation here has been quite a turnoff. (I'm shocked this thread has survived this long in fact, as it does not meet the (too) strict guidelines for the Florida message board: must be about food, not the discussion of other boards).

Mar 04, 2013
joan in Florida

Florida restaurant reviews and Trip advisor

I agree with the TA ranking being way off. Kind of weird, the order does not reflect reality - but the verbiage in the reviews can be quite helpful.

I also think TA comes from the world of tourism - you have reviews from all over the world for a particular area, whereas Chowhound message board format is a better way - tourists pose the questions and mostly locals respond. A great back-and-forth that is quite helpful.

With the advent of Facebook, combined with the (in my opinion) extreme heavy-handed moderating going on here, folks cannot express themselves freely. In fact, because this thread is not about actual chow, I'm pretty sure it will be either deleted or moved to the food media page, where it will wither and die...

I have heard that Yelp charges restaurant owners to delete bad reviews and/or ads from competitors appearing on their page.

Mar 03, 2013
joan in Florida

St. Pete

MUST go to the Floridian on Treasure Island for cuban sandwiches. Also agree with Middlegrounds, but sit at the bar, they usually have a live singer and the people watching is fun. Also the restaurant owner is into exotic cars, so check out the parking lot on the way in. Also, you might try the Pearl - they have tapas (bar only) and Moroccan food as well as the usual date night food.
I like VIP for Margaritas and their wet burrito. I have been treated rudely at Agave, but their food is delicious.

Yay O'maddy's!!! Sit outside no matter what.

Cocktails and bar food at Sea Hag's (on the bridge at the south end of Treasure Island) - they often have fantastic bands. And for a sip (no food) of gritty local yokel, hit up Katiki on Sunset Beach. You should be able to walk there - if you can't walk home, call Jimmie's Free Beach Rides for an open air tip-only ride home. Have fun!

Feb 03, 2013
joan in Florida

2 days and 2 nights in Tampa – Suggestions Please!

I agree with Andy, don't know if kvilla is being sarcastic, but Bern's is not pretentious, it's the real deal. Sidebern's is $$$, true, but quality all the way. And when was the last time kvilla ate at Columbia? They have improved greatly and they also are "the real deal".

I guess it doesn't matter anyway since the OP visited three months ago....

Jan 08, 2013
joan in Florida

Indian Shores Area

Here's a great discussion, pretty current info: Have fun!

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/875265

Jan 06, 2013
joan in Florida

The Palm in Tampa, a review

I have not eaten at the Palms, but dined twice at the Capital Grille, and it seems similar. The food was excellent, but the service was a combination of dreamy and impeccable - they even choose napkin color based on what the lady is wearing, so no lint. Now who woulda thought of that?

Have you eaten there and how do they compare? Just curious (budget no longer allows for $$$$, but maybe someday again!).

Dec 30, 2012
joan in Florida

Great seafood recommendations in Tampa or nearby places?

Since you mentioned a long drive to Frenchy's, for stone crabs, be sure to call first. Stone crabs are very hard to get right now, and they may be out.

Gotta laugh at your screen name!

Dec 21, 2012
joan in Florida

St Pete Locally Grown Market

Your photos are beautiful, and they make me hungry!
My paleo daughter will love this. Am curious to know how you liked the products...and if you felt it was a good value. Thanks for posting.

Dec 07, 2012
joan in Florida

Used the great sugg here for trip to Tampa this week ...

I enjoyed your report, and thanks for reporting back on your finds. Although I live on the other side of the bay, so did not contribute to the suggestions, I smiled because you're right, Mis En Place has a weird entrance. It's actually on the back side of the building, but you'd never know that, especially if you go after the office is closed, as you probably did.

So next time, go around the block and check it out, because it's a don't miss.

Gotta get to Pach's, sounds delicious.

Dec 03, 2012
joan in Florida

Downtown St Petersburg - Mahaffey Theater dinner recs needed ASAP

I agree with all of Rib Dog's recs, and especially Cassis (my favorite). Also, check out BellaBrava. What you could do is just walk the sidewalk (Beach Drive north of theMahaffey) and check out the outdoor scene at Cassis, Bella Brava, Parkshore, and even go as far as 400 Beach Seafood. All have outdoor seating and ya can't go wrong!

Nov 08, 2012
joan in Florida

Can anyone beat a Publix Sub?

Hi floridaeater - I can see why, without the tomato relish, you'd be underwhelmed - especially with the bread situation. I'm sure you're right about that. As for Original, I haven't had their pizza in years so I cannot say. Next door is VIP - if you like Mexican they have a great "Chicago Wet Burrito" and their gold margaritas...well don't plan on driving after one of those! By the way, since you'll be in TI, you could also check out the cuban sandwiches at the Floridian (on 107th on the right on the way towards the beach). My favorite Cuban around, and be sure to get the black beans and rice cup to go with. Have fun!

Oct 19, 2012
joan in Florida

Can anyone beat a Publix Sub?

I have to strongly disagree with your opinion of Williams Subs. I love their spicy tomato relish, and the bread is fresh fresh. It ain't Amoroso's, but what is? That reminds me, next time you're nearby, there is a vegetable stand in the parking lot of the Walmart adjacent to Williams Subs. They have a section of Greek foods, and occasionally they have these wonderful loaves of Italian bread for $1.99. Do yourself a favor and pick one to take home.
I live on Treasure Island, and there is an Original Pizza, located across the street from the Bilmar. Their subs are very good (I get the cheesesteak usually but hubby gets the Italian - loves it!). You may want to check them out also.

Oct 17, 2012
joan in Florida

St Pete Butcher Shop

Wow, I checked out the photo gallery on their website. Never been, but this place looks like the real deal. I was looking for seafood pics but couldn't find any, but that meat case and homemade goodie cases looked enticing! Also, one of the pics shows "dry aged beef" available. Let us know how you like it, floridaeater.

Sep 16, 2012
joan in Florida

Best Tampa restaurant to propose or place that can do private beach dinners.

Two places come to mind:
The Maritana Grill, inside the Don Cesar resort on St. Pete Beach, very classy and they know how to treat their guests. I'd give them a call and tell them what you have in mind, I bet they'll accommodate your great idea.
Also, although it's in Tampa - not at the beach, on the top floor of the Grand Hyatt (near the Tampa airport) is Armani's. Years ago my hubby took me here for our anniversary, and it was extremely romantic - rose petals on the table, a suggestion by our waitress to take our time and check out the view from the outside patio during our dinner (now what restaurant wants you to wander away from your table during dinner?), even a signed card from the staff. And the food was wonderful (although the chef has changed since) - I still remember the antipasta case - a round showcase where you just pointed and they put it all together and brought it to your table.

Good luck, you are very romantic, I'm sure she'll say YES!

Aug 26, 2012
joan in Florida