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Helen Freund - Times Food Critic

Times Food Critic

I write about food and restaurants in the Tampa Bay area. When I’m not writing about food or restaurants I’m probably talking about food or restaurants, or, you know, actually eating food at restaurants. I was never a picky eater, and never had a chance to be: Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, saying ‘no’ to things like geoduck sashimi or fiddlehead fern pesto just wasn’t cool. Instead, I tried everything, and have ever since. I studied journalism at the University of Washington and cooking at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. I most recently was the restaurant critic and dining editor of Gambit Weekly in New Orleans - another place where people love to eat and drink. When I’m not eating, I’m probably scuba diving and tagging along with spearfishers, hoping they’ll spear some dinner for me.

  1. Blue crab chilau at West Ybor Barterhouse.
  2. Central Park Food Hall, a three-story food hall, restaurant and event space, is set to open at 551 Central Ave. in downtown St. Petersburg in 2021.
  3. St. Petersburg Italian restaurant BellaBrava will open a second location in the new mixed-use Midtown Tampa development in 2021.
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  5. Rooster & the Till in Seminole Heights features plenty of bar seating and is a good spot for solo diners.
  6. Louisiana Barbecue Shrimp.
  7. A grilled whole fish is served at Paul's Landing in downtown St. Petersburg.
  8. Charred romaine salad at Brick & Mortar in St. Petersburg
  9. The pastas are a highlight at Olivia in Tampa.
  10. The actor Justin Long and his brother, Christian Long, posed for a photograph at Mr. & Mrs. Crab in Tampa on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020.
  11. Rye toast, bacon, tomatoes, potatoes and fresh fruit at the Frog Pond restaurant.
  12. The original Hooters, at 2800 Gulf to Bay Blvd. in Clearwater.
  13. Jan. 30• Iconic Restaurants
    An assortment of variations of baklava, including saraigli, kataifi, flogera and traditional baklava, are available at Hellas Bakery in Tarpon Springs.
  14. Jan. 30• Iconic Restaurants
    Casa Tina in Dunedin serves up Mexican cuisine.
  15. Harley Griffin, 22, right, serves the famous 1905 salad to Tom Shelly, left, and John Skutt while they have lunch at the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City.
  16. An entree of Orange Plum Duck made with crispy duck on a bed of Chinese broccoli, bell peppers, and oranges.
  17. Tequila-based cocktails at Red Mesa Cantina, the downtown offshoot at Red Mesa, which just got its own liquor license.
  18. The Lucky Dill in Palm Harbor is the last remaining restaurant with the brand's name.
  19. Roast pork and yellow rice at La Teresita.
  20. Various tacos at Shaker & Peel: From bottom, clockwise: Tampa Hot Chicken, Flower Power and the Angry Pig.
  21. People wander around the Tampa Heights Market at Armature Works at lunchtime on February 22, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. The 22,000-square-foot market features 14 vendors, including second locations for longtime restauranteurs and several new concepts.
  22. Mazzaro's Italian Market in St. Petersburg has an assortment of local seafood as well as fish from around the world.
  23. Rocca’s mozzarella cart is a showstopper. Chef Bryce Bonsack got the idea while working at a restaurant in Brooklyn. Rebecca Miles creates a dish on the mozzarella cart on Thursday, December 12, 2019.
  24. The gingerbread latte at Intermezzo Coffee.