New downtown St. Petersburg Asian restaurant opens next week

The pan-Asian spot is located at the bottom of the Ponce de Leon Hotel downtown, where Ceviche used to be.
Pan-Asian steakhouse Fortu opens soon in St. Petersburg.
Pan-Asian steakhouse Fortu opens soon in St. Petersburg. [ Courtesy of Benson Hospitality Group ]
Published Nov. 16|Updated Nov. 20

More than a year after it was announced, St. Petersburg pan-Asian steakhouse Fortu is set to open Nov. 22, with a grand opening planned for Dec. 5. When it opens its doors next week, it will be in a limited-capacity, soft-opening mode. It won’t be open on Thanksgiving on Nov. 23.

Fortu is located in the former space of Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant in the Ponce de Leon Hotel on Central Avenue and Beach Drive. Ceviche moved to 332 Beach Drive NE in 2021.

The restaurant is owned by Shan Bakrac, who also runs Top Slice Pizzeria and Black Cattle Burger. All three restaurants are operated under the umbrella of Benson Hospitality Group. Bakrac is the son of the Ponce de Leon Hotel’s owner, Savni Bakrac, and told the Tampa Bay Times in 2022 that opening Fortu is a full-circle moment for him, as he was a food runner at Ceviche in his youth.

The upscale spot will feature flavors from Japan, China, Korea and Vietnam, a selection of Wagyu steaks and a raw bar.

It’s located at 95 Central Ave. and will be open from 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Reservations are available for the dining room and patio seating at