The Tampa Bay area had a pretty strong showing in Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. 2024 ranking.
The crowd-sourced restaurant review website collects user ratings and ranks the ratings, reviews and volume of submissions to spot trends. Florida was a big one this year, with the Sunshine State Yelpers talking up Orlando’s standing-room-only sushi hotspot EDOBOY (No. 44) and pizza lovers in Boca Raton digging the creative sourdough-crust pies at How Ya Dough’n (No. 70).
In the Tampa Bay area, Mio’s Grill and Cafe in St. Petersburg ranked high at No. 12 with its Turkish and Greek cuisine. The fast-casual Mediterranean-American joint is known for its baba ghanouj, falafel, Greek salad and baklava.
The signature dish alone is worth the trip. They will tell you about it: oven-baked hummus ($10.99). Mmm, okay. Pureed chickpeas with tahini, only warm? Hummus is so ubiquitous these days it’s probably offered as a Lunchable.
But then it comes: an oval cast iron skillet on a wooden board, the hummus and its mantle of mozzarella cheese audibly bubbling. Next to it arrives a huge golden balloon, a just-from-the-oven sesame-dusted lavash, which you puncture to allow a whoosh of steam to escape, the whole thing deflating slowly like a birthday aftermath. Rip off a hunk of lavash — watch the fingers, still hot — and swipe it through the skillet. That’s a party.
Coming in at No. 80 is Shaker & Peel in Oldsmar. There are taco fillings such as General Tso’s cauliflower, Korean barbecue beef and hot fried chicken that might not seem traditional, “but that’s because we’re in deep fusion territory here,” Times food critic Helen Freund wrote in 2020. “Homemade tortillas serve as a traditional wrapper for a laundry list of unconventional taco accoutrements.”
The restaurant features a large, wraparound bar, with three glass infusion orbs suspended in the middle. Inside, mezcal, reposado and gin are specially infused for use in cocktails and margaritas. Local craft beer, bottled wine, and wine and prosecco on tap are also offered.
The restaurant’s signature cocktail, the Salt Aire margarita, comes topped with an aerated salt foam.