Saturday, January 20, 2018

Need to make a pit stop?

World of Beer

100 Fourth St. S, (727) 823-2337

More than 500 American and import craft beers, ales, lambics and stouts from around the world, with a 40-draft lineup that changes on a regular basis at this most recent location of the successful craft beer bar. Food delivery available from nearby vendors.

MacDinton's Irish Pub

226 First Ave. N, (727) 565-0544

New downtown St. Petersburg outpost of the popular Tampa Irish bar serves as official viewing site for U.S. soccer events.

400 Beach Seafood and Tap House

400 Beach Drive, (727) 896-2400

The large-scale Beach Drive restaurant is affordable, it's accessible and it comes at seafood from lots of directions: There's sushi, fried baskets, lots of steamed king crab and lobster. It's glamorous but not stuffy, a lively place to run into a who's who of St. Petersburg, with views of North Straub Park and great sidewalk dining.

9 Bangkok Restaurant

571 Central Ave., (727) 894-5990

This mainstay of downtown St. Petersburg's dining scene for more than a decade offers dependable Thai and sushi dishes. The decor inside is no-frills, but the food is anything but. And lunchtime always features a special.

Acropolis Greek Taverna

515 Central Ave., (727) 823-1010

This is not a place for quiet conversation, except at lunch. Pretend you're at a Greek wedding and join in the festivities. What's not to like? Fun atmosphere, reasonably priced Greek standards.


204 Beach Drive NE, (727) 895-5515

With its hip location along Beach Drive, it offers an affordable contemporary Italian menu that leans heavily on wood-fired pizzas (note the one with the fried egg) and boldly flavored and rustic pastas. Sidewalk seating expands the seating options, and a lively bar keep it among downtown's most active nighttime scenes.

Cafe Alma

260 First Ave. S # 100, (727) 502-5002

This touches the tastiest parts of every coast: sausages and bean casseroles from Spain, eggplants and beets from Italy, bouillabaisse and mussels from France and the lamb tagine across the sea. Smart drinking, friendly bar plus a Saturday brunch.

Cassis American Brasserie

170 Beach Drive NE, (727) 827-2927

It has stunning decor, a lovely bar and umbrellaed sidewalk tables. Executive chef Jeremy Duclut's culinary approach at Cassis is classic French brasserie staples with a handful of American comfort foods in the mix.

Columbia Restaurant at the Pier

800 Second Ave. NE # 4001, (727) 822-8000

This branch of the original Ybor City location, the oldest restaurant in Florida (started in 1905), occupies the fourth floor of the Pier. Feast on its signature 1905 salad (mixed with flair at tableside) and paella as you sip sangria. An added bonus is the view.

Fresco's Waterfront Bistro

300 Second Ave. NE, (727) 894-4429

This restaurant at the base of the St. Petersburg Pier has a menu long on seafood and chops, but every dish gets extra touches of herbs, pine nuts and fine sauces. Pasta is simple, but right.

Gratzzi Italian Grille

211 Second St. S, (727) 623-9037

Whatever your favorite Italian dish is, it's likely you'll find a plate of it here, but don't be afraid to venture off from the classics. The restaurant serves a signature dish, the Cavatelli Bada Bing, in a tableside preparation that is a show for the whole dining room.

Kahwa Cafe

204 Second Ave. S, (727) 821-1942

Kahwa creates its own coffee blends right in St. Petersburg for distribution to coffee shops and direct to consumers. Stylish and sophisticated, the cafe is one of the hippest spots to be seen relaxing in the sunshine. For food, salads are fresh-tasting, if a little small; plus sandwiches are available.

Parkshore Grill

300 Beach Drive NE # 104, (727) 896-9463

Outside tables offer a view of the bustling namesake park. Plates emerge from the open kitchen as finely crafted American cuisine with a twist. Think beef Wellington, grilled lamb chops, lobster pasta, or pan-seared scallops, only this version is sweet and tender, circling a mound of sauteed baby spinach with the rich smokiness of Southern greens.

Red Mesa Cantina

128 Third St. S, (727) 896-8226

The menu is divided into ceviches, a raft of soft tacos (all inexpensive and on delicious housemade corn tortillas), soups and salads, a few sandwiches, a pile of miscellaneous appetizers and a short list of mid-priced entrees, all reminiscent of the sophisticated Mexican fare offered at the flagship Red Mesa. The upstairs bar, Push Ultra Lounge, has a rooftop deck.

Bishop Tavern

260 First Ave. N

The Bishop is a tavern with a velvet rope on weekends. An early 20th century tin ceiling looms above the bar that has an eclectic selection of beers on draft. With drink specials, this is a hopping hangout for college students and professionals after work.

Z Grille

104 Second St. S, (727) 822-9600

The decor is dominated by a 10-foot bamboo halfpipe with artwork from local tattoo artist Evil Don. For food, think Dr Pepper fried ribs, deviled eggs that come revved up with crab meat or avocado and bacon, or a bacon-lettuce-avocado-seared-sea-scallop tomato salad called the B.L.A.S.T.

Durty Nelly's Irish Pub

149 First Ave. N, (813) 220-1799

The gang at Durty Nelly's is young, fun and friendly. Imports are the only beers on tap and bottles are a mix of domestic and import. The bar is fully stocked with the necessary liquor to make a stiff drink, and the wine is minimal.

Moon Under Water

332 Beach Drive NE, (727) 896-6160

The signature dish at this British-style pub is chicken tikka masala (said to be "Britain's true national dish"). The regular chicken curry is something of a party, arriving with a hot metal bowl of saffron-hued basmati, another of dusky curry, a crisp, peppery pappadam and an oblong of warm naan. The competition for a table can be pretty fierce during prime hours.

The Independent

29 Third St. N, (727) 820-9514

It's become trendy for haters to knock this slick little bierhaus, one of the hotspots that helped lead to downtown St. Pete's revival in the mid-'00s. But there's a reason it drew praise during a 2008 New York Times travel story on St. Pete: People are always sipping from its impressive beer menu at the sidewalk tables.

Ceviche St. Pete

95 Central Ave., (727) 209-2299

That cocktail of marinated fish is only one item on the biggest spread of hot and cold tapas. Crowds and food are fast and fun: olives, quail, sherried chicken livers and albondigas. Try the sangria.

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