The Seven Very Best Places to Eat in St. Pete, Florida

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The Seven Very Best Places to Eat in St. Pete, Florida

Are you planning a trip to St. Petersburg, Florida?  Or are you new in town and need to find a great place to eat?  I have had the pleasure of visiting St. Pete twice now during the bleak, Michigan winter, where I have enjoyed some of the most incredible dining experiences.  If you are a visitor like me or a local who needs to check out someplace new, here are the top seven very best places I found to eat in St. Petersburg, Florida, not in any particular order.  The fact is, it’s too hard to number them.  They are all delicious!

#7 Best Place to Eat in St. Pete

Seahorse Cafe

If you want to get your day off to a rip-roaring start, then the Seahorse Café is the perfect place to have breakfast!  This cozy little restaurant is located in the 8th Ave section of Pass-A-Grille Beach, which is part of St. Pete Beach.  St. Pete Beach was named the number one beach in the US and the number 5 beach in the world!

If you are planning a day at this world-famous beach, go ahead and fill up at the Seahorse Café before heading down the teensy short 8th street, which Robert Ripley (from Ripley’s Believe It or Not) once lovingly referred to as America’s Shortest and Most Beautiful Main Street.

Outdoor Seating for the Win!

At the Seahorse, you can choose to eat inside or outside on the patio.  I prefer the patio seating because of the fun view of the bay just across the street.  The lovely little Merry Pier sits right across the street and is busy with fishers and boat traffic, and the local birds are so much fun to watch.

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The Seahorse Café opened in 1938 and was originally a drive-in restaurant.  You won’t find that convenience now, but you will find a delicious breakfast and an excellent Bloody Mary or a Mimosa to begin your day.  Enjoy the cool breeze from the bay while you sip your drink and wait for your breakfast!

My favorite choice is the Corned Beef Hash with a side of grits, although you can’t go wrong with anything on their menu.  The food is excellent, the service is friendly, and by supporting the Seahorse Café, you’re supporting a local legend.

corned beef hash breakfast at Seahorse Cafe - one of the best places to eat in St Pete Fl
Photo credit: Veronicajune Photography

I should also note that the Seahorse has a lunch menu and serves lunch from 11:30-2:30 daily, just if you’re not a fan of breakfast.  Keep in mind that Tuesday is their day off, so you won’t be able to have either if you stop in on a Tuesday.  I learned that the hard way, so now you don’t have to!

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#6 Best Place to Eat in St. Pete

Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grill

Recently, St. Pete completed construction on the downtown St. Pete Pier.  The pier is full of activities that will keep you busy on a leisurely afternoon or evening.  Enjoy your beautiful walk down the pier while enjoying the breeze off the bay, or take the convenient trolley for a whole different experience.  While you’re making your way down the pier to Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grill, be sure and take a peek at the Benoist Plaza featuring the First Flight Monument.

A plaque on the pier commemorating the first commercial airline pilot Tony Jannus
Photo credit: Veronicajune Photography
Airplane statue on St. Pete Pier near Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grill
Photo credit: Veronicajune Photography

As soon as we approached Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grill, I knew this would be a new favorite.  We arrived just as the restaurant opened at 11 am, so we had no wait for our table on the patio, where we enjoyed the view across Tampa Bay.  Workers were bustling and working hard on the pier while we were there, reminding us just how new this restaurant and its location are in the downtown St. Pete area. 

Outside view of Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grill
Photo Credit: DeeAnn Feick

The food was excellent!  I ordered a delicious Cuban sandwich, which was one of the best I’ve had, and I’m a bit of a connoisseur of Cuban Sandwiches.  My dining companions had the Yucatan Shrimp Tacos, a Doc Ford signature dish, and the Citrus Mojo Pulled Pork.  We all shared a bite because food this good is just not meant to be selfishly hoarded.  Of course, we used clean forks and parceled out our tastes before anyone began.  You can’t fool us, Covid!!!  All of these dishes were top-notch!

Pulled Pork Sandwich at Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grill in St Pete Fl
Photo Credit: DeeAnn Feick

Not only did we enjoy the food at Doc Fords, but I would be remiss in not mentioning the delicious drink menu.  Check out this beautiful Jalapeno Margarita.  So refreshing!

Jalapeno Margarita at Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grill
Photo Credit: DeeAnn Feick

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#5 Best Place to Eat in St. Pete

Caddy’s On the Beach

Caddy’s on the Beach didn’t look like much when we first arrived, but I quickly discovered what was so unique about this restaurant on the beach once we were seated.  We arrived just in time to watch the sunset with a drink in our hands.  We heard our name called for our seat as we stood and watched the sun dip below the water’s edge.

Two ladies toasting at Caddy's on the beach - one of the best places to eat in st pete fl
Photo Credit: DeeAnn Feick

Toes in the Sand

I am a Michigan girl, so even though I live just a few minutes from one of Lake Michigan’s beautiful beaches in Holland, I have never enjoyed the pleasure of eating at a restaurant directly on the sand!  There was indoor seating, but we chose an outside spot to watch the sky turn that beautiful blue that you only get for about an hour after the sun sets.  There’s a reason photographers call it Blue Hour.  Just above the amazing oranges of sunset, the darkness rolls in as a deep, delicious blue before being entirely eclipsed by the blackness of night.

The beginning of blue hour at Caddy's Beachfront Restaurant - one of the top places to eat in St Pete
Photo credit: Veronicajune Photography

We sipped our drinks and wiggled our toes in the sand under our table.  The servers came around and clipped small lights onto all of the umbrellas on the tables.  The scene went from a summery bright beach scene to a very romantic, high contrast night scene.  The food was delicious, burgers and chicken fingers with fries, but the atmosphere was even better!

Once we finished eating, we made our way back out to the car.  Along the way, we noted several people enjoying their night out with pets along.  We made friends with a giant Goldendoodle and her companion at the bar, along with her companion, a teensy little Chihuahua.  Both dogs were curled up and enjoying the company of their humans.  The best kind of place is the place that welcomes our canine friends!

#4 Best Place to Eat in St. Pete

Hurricane Restaurant and Rooftop Bar

The Hurricane Restaurant on Pass-A-Grill Beach won my heart immediately when they served up my midday drink in a cute little bucket!  When I asked for a straw, they promptly offered a stainless steel straw for an extra .75 because they don’t use plastic.  I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t love that any more!  Bring on the seventy-five-cent straw!  It even has “Hurricane” etched in the side of it, and where else can you get a fun and functional souvenir for such a bargain price while saving our planet’s ocean life at the same time!?

Once I got over the excitement of my Steel straw, we ordered up hors d’oeuvres to share for a quick lunch.  We were heading for the little craft market across the street called the Art Mart.  The Art Mart is a darling little local craft market that pops up every Saturday and Sunday on the patio area of Pass-A-Grille beach.  Local artisans sell hand-made wares under their little pop-up tents.  If you’re looking for a hand-made treasure, check it out!

Art Mart on Pass-A-Grill Beach near one of the best places to eat in St. Pete Fl
Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor

A Rooftop With a View

The Hurricane, like the Seahorse, is another one of the Pass-A-Grille Historic establishments.  It originally opened in 1977 at the site of the old Casa Bonita Hotel in Pass-A-Grille Beach.  For 40+ years, the Hurricane has been a bright spot for both vacationers and locals, and I mean that literally.  The décor is delightfully tropical and screams of summer fun.  In the evening, be sure to make your way up to the Rooftop bar, where you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the sunset and the town.  We enjoyed a gorgeous sunset over Pass-a-Grille Beach while the Supermoon arose behind us in tandem when we were there.  There are not many places where you can enjoy that kind of double experience!  Be prepared to take the steps if the elevator is down.  It’s quite a hike to the top of that building!

Sunset on the west side of the Hurricane Rooftop Bar - one of the best places to eat in St Pete fl
Photo credit: Veronicajune Photography
Super Moon rising on the East side of the Hurricane's rooftop bar - one of the best places to eat in St. Pete Fl
Photo credit: Veronicajune Photography

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#3 Best Place to Eat in St. Pete

Sea Critters Cafe

You cannot have a trip to St. Pete without a meal at Sea Critters Cafe!  This place is just full of charm, and the food is terrific as well.  My favorite part of eating here was the table on the dock.  Where else do you get to sit right on a boat dock while dining?  But before we talk about the food, let’s talk about their Margarita and their famous Key Lime Pie!!!  Be sure and stop in on a Tuesday between 5 and 8 pm when you can enjoy a $3 taco and a $3.50 house margarita.  You will not be disappointed!  I have to admit I haven’t had every margarita at every restaurant in St. Pete, but I did have one, well, maybe more than one, of these, and I can only say, “Yum!”

Sea Critters Keylime Pie and Margarita
Photo Credit: DeeAnn Feick

I enjoyed the fresh crabcakes, and I saved room for a slice of that delicious Key Lime pie.  Sea Critters also offers the unique experience of cooking what you catch.  If you bring your catch, the kitchen staff will cook it up into something delightful for you!  That’s on my list of fun things to try next time I pay a visit to this special spot!

Sea Critters dock at night
Photo Credit: Melinda Edwards of My Little Light Photography

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#2 Best Place to Eat in St. Pete

Fresco’s Waterfront Bistro

Fresco’s Waterfront Bistro is located right at the new St. Pete Pier entrance, but unlike the Pier, Fresco’s has been here for a while!  Seating at Fresco’s overlooks St. Pete Marina, and the atmosphere and food are delightful.  Breakfast is well-prepared and yummy at Fresco’s.  Check out one of their delicious-looking omelet selections.

If you have lunch and prefer something other than a standard burger, choose from multiple seafood options, including a hot or cold lobster roll or shrimp or grouper tacos.  I couldn’t resist the St. Pete protein bowl with blackened steak and drizzled with a delightful balsamic glaze.  It was a lovely changeup from the usual lunch fare. 

#1 Best Place to Eat in St. Pete

Tiki Docks

The Tiki Docks was hands down my favorite restaurant experience when we visited St. Pete a few weeks ago.  How can you not be charmed by the Polynesian Atmosphere and the many tiki statues that grace the place?  The bright pops of color, the super clean atmosphere, the tiki bar hut, and the many tables out on the patio give this place the most fantastic atmosphere!

We had a fantastic waiter, who was moving and shaking the whole time we were there and made sure our drinks were delicious and readily refilled upon request.  Who could ask for more, right?  Unless, of course, you want to talk about the food.  My dining companion ordered the “Knot A Wedge” salad, which begs the obvious “Hey – I thought this wasn’t a wedge salad” when delivered!  Fortunately, our waiter had a delightful sense of humor, and he played right along with our probably once too often repeated joke.

Fish as Big as Your Head

While we were waiting for our seat, a server zoomed by with a great big, nay, GIANT deep-fried something hanging over the edges of the plate.  Immediately I knew this was the dish for me!  When you’re on vacation, you bring on the deep-fried food!

Fish and Chips at Tiki Docks - one of the best places to eat in St Pete Fl
Photo credit: Veronicajune Photography

I was not even a little disappointed when it arrived and the fish was as big as my head.  The good news is it was as delicious as it was generously large!  Our drinks came in super cute Tiki-shaped glasses, and my only beef was that I would’ve like to have taken one home with me.  Unfortunately, the shop didn’t sell those fun little souvenirs, so I’ll have to go back for another visit to enjoy that cool Tiki glass.  I’ll also be trying out one of these delicious-looking desserts when I go back!  Banana Bread Ice Cream Sandwich?  Yes, please!

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Tiki Docks menu - one of the best places to eat in St. Pete Fl
Photo credit: Veronicajune Photography

Wrapping it all Up

I know there are probably hundreds of delightful restaurants I didn’t get to try while in St. Pete, so please be sure and mention your favorite!  I can tell you that I enjoyed each of these dining experiences and would return to every one of these local favorites!

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