I’ve put together this list of all my favorite places to eat in St. Pete. I’m a huge supporter of keeping it local and think that eating local is the best way to get the feel of a city. St. Pete is has been my home since 2013 and I’m so excited to share my personal haunts and go-to hangouts for food that reminds me I’m back home again after long trips away.
1. Kissin’ Cuzzins: This place is a local greasy spoon that has been here for decades. It’s not about the ambiance but it’s all about the food! I’ve never had a meal here I didn’t like! And the service is always quick. On the weekends, don’t be put off by the line out the door, it moves quickly.
My Favs: Blackstone Benedict, Southern Pride & Hashbrown Casserole (a.k.a. “crack hashbrowns”)
2. Lenny’s: This one isn’t in St Pete, it’s in Clearwater (about a 20 minute drive north) but the drive is worth Every. Delicious. Bite. Another joint that’s been in the area for ages. It’s a family owned New York Jewish style diner and completely quirky. These guys don’t take themselves too seriously as there are practical jokes hidden around the restaurant and a balloon animal guy on the weekends. Its charm and kitsch are sweet but don’t let that mask their all-star menu! The one thing they do take seriously is the food! There is ALWAYS a crowd (and when I say crowd, I mean a CROWD) for a wait, but they are quick. Again, don’t be dismayed by what looks like a mob at the door. That’s a GOOD sign.
My Favs: Cheese blintzes, potato pancakes, and ask for the relishes for the table! The cucumbers & pickles are EVERYTHING!
3. Trip’s Diner: This place is open for all day and everything is yum! Go in the afternoon or evenings to avoid the morning rush. This place is a cute and clean take on the old diner feel. There aren’t many things I’ve tried here that I haven’t ordered twice!
My Favs: Breakfast Cuban & Chicken Salad Melt
MFA Café: For a really unique option, head to MFA Café located in the Museum of Fine Arts in downtown St. Pete. Brunch is only served on the weekends which makes this place an extra special outing. It’s a bit more pricy but I love the glass atrium, right on the water, and if the weather is nice you can sit outside. And did I mention it’s in a museum?! #perfectdatespot
Hollander Hotel: I discovered this breakfast on a staycation and now go back all the time! First, if you’re looking for a cute place to stay, look no further than this historic boutique hotel. They put out a delish spread in the mornings for breakfast. As a local, I pop in and just pay for the buffet or sit at the pool bar with drinks in the evenings. Definitely worth the stop in for breakfast!
My Favs: The Breakfast Buffet & Cocktails Poolside
Chile Verde: Y’all! This is some legit Mexican food. Chile Verde is located in an old gas station and they don’t hide it. But the food is where it’s at! I haven’t had something to disappoint yet.
My Favs: Quesadillas (with braised pork and all the fixings) & Horchata
Bodega: Your search for the perfect Cuban sandwich is over! You can’t come to Florida and not try a Cuban. It’s a staple and for good reason. I’ve searched high and low for the best Cuban sandwich in town and keep coming back to Bodega for this Cuban Dreamboat. #rickyricardo Anyone?
My Favs: The Cuban. Obvi.
The Avenue: This place has so many yummy options but I really enjoy the burgers here. I like the uniqueness of their menu and it feels like they’ve really taken their time to curate an original taste to their menu, which is so refreshing when it comes to bar food.
Mazzaro’s Italian Market: Ohhh Mazzaro’s. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways! First off, this is Italian grocery will whisk you off to Tuscany and make you forget your in Pinellas County! There’s a coffee counter, an Italian bakery (complete with cannoli of course), and a ROOM of just wine AND cheese! Need I say more? Most locals pop in and do their grocery shopping here, but you can also grab a few of the prepared dishes so you can have a bite before you shop. This I highly recommend or you’ll be finding yourself with a case of eyes bigger than your stomach.
My Favs: Where do I start!? IF I HAVE TO narrow it down, the Marinated Garlic Cloves at the olive bar and the Cannoli Cake (my annual birthday dessert of choice) at the bakery
O’Maddy’s: This place is just a short 10 minute drive out of St Pete in a small neighborhood called Gulfport. It sits right on the water and most seating is outside. On a pretty day, head there in the late afternoon so you can watch the sunset over drinks and delish bar food. Living near the ocean, I get asked a lot where you can find the best seafood and this is always one of my go-to recommendations. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy the smell of the salty air before you dive into your freshly caught entrée!
My Favs: Beef on Weck (Hands down the best one you will find outside of its homeland, Buffalo, NY)
The perfect outfit for dinner:
Hawkers: This place brings Asian street food into a super cute and hip location in St. Pete. I love the vibe in this place. The first time I went I was sick and didn’t really feel like eating. I had the Tom Yum soup with hot sake and literally went back the next night because I was craving it! The food is fresh and unique. This place is Asian Soul Food!
My Favs: Roti Canai (flat bread & curry sauce) & Tom Yum Soup
Dr. BBQ: I didn’t know what to expect at first but I should have expected the unexpected! This place knocked my socks off! I would label it Bougie BBQ. This place is so well done and the attention to detail is what really blows me away. I’m not a big BBQ eater but I could eat here every night of the week.
My Favs: Garlic Roasted Cauliflower Soup, Go Chu Jang Sticky Ribs & the Southern Belle Cocktail
BellaBrava: This place has affordable Italian dishes on Beach Drive, which can be a pricey street. Again, I’ve never had a meal I didn’t love here! The flatbreads & salads are bomb. Sit on the street and people watch over a glass of vino when the weather is nice.
Cassis: I fell in love instantly with this place from the street because it reminds me of Paris. The décor is straight out of a turn of the century French restaurant and it brings me back to France every time I walk by. So honesty alert, I may just be biased because I’ve fallen in love with the place BUT the food seems pretty legit to me! Sit inside for the ambiance of old Paris or sit outside right next to your lover, facing the street demanding the attention and jealousy of your onlookers. Either way, it’s a win-win! #ParisianRendezvous #RelationshipGoals
My Favs: French Onion Soup, Braised Escargot & Beef Bourguignon (only available on Tuesdays)
Oishi: Don’t let the neighborhood fool you, Oishi is the best deal in town when it comes to sushi! This place is so neat! They renovated an old IHop and made it into this cool sushi bar. The walls are covered in incredible murals, there are beautiful fish tanks, and a fun koi pond right out front. If I was a kid, I probably we beg to go here all the time because there’s so much to take in! This whole place is just art. The building, the food, presentation is EVERYTHING here. The sushi is perfection and I hear the hibachi is on point.
My Favs: Kamakazi Roll & Salad with Ginger Dressing
Ceviche Tapas St. Pete: This place is a good time. You can have ceviche and tapas upstairs and then head downstairs to Che for flamenco dancing. I prefer to sit on the patio while dine on Spanish sharables and drink Sangria. For affordable pricing go on Tapas Tuesdays. Flamenco downstairs is on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 7 to 2am.