At my office, I’m often referred to as the “mayor of St Pete” because I quite literally sing its praises at any opportunity.
For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of visiting my beloved town, let me give you a quick overview. St Petersburg, Florida sits at the Southeast side of the little thumb of Florida (Pinellas County.) Sandwiched in between St Pete Beach and Tampa Bay, St Petersburg has become an eclectic, vibrant city, full of artists, great food, and wonderful people.
As many of you know, I love to eat. Though, due to some of my recent dietary restrictions from Crohn’s Disease , I don’t get to indulge as much as I used to. I still go out as much as I can, and modify with what I need.
Here’s my list of favorites and a great thing to order at each:
- Best Date Night: Il Ritorno– This spot is my all time favorite restaurant. They offer a chef’s tasting where the chef decides your meal. Everything is thoughtfully crafted, and incredibly tasty. They ask you if you have any food allergies or don’t like particular foods to try to build the tasting to your liking. My personal favorite dish that I’ve had was a bone marrow topped with tuna tartare and watermelon radishes. They also have a burrata caprese salad that’s unreal. This is my #1 recommendation to anyone coming to The Burg.
- Best Burger: Engine No. 9– Holy burgers, Batman! Their menu is chalk-full of gourmet burgers with amazing combinations. My personal favorite has always been the “Chubby Duck” which is a burger topped with foie gras, Brie cheese, and carmalized onions. It’s greasy, and fattening and worth every bite.
- Best for Every Taste: The Lure– One side sushi, the other, everything else. This place is perfect for a group of people who can’t decide what they want for dinner. Everything I’ve tried has been amazing. My go-to order (regardless of if I’m sticking with sushi or not) is the DTSP Roll. It’s salmon, cream cheese and, are you ready for this?, PICKLES! Dont knock it until you try it. It’s freaking amazing.
- Best Hole-in-the-Wall: Nitally’s ThaiMex Cafe– Thai + Mexican= holy shit delicious. And spicy. And did I mention delicious? We can walk here, which is dangerous but also great so we can walk off the HUGE portions. My absolute favorite is the Panang Mole with ground beef. Pro tip: Order a fusion burrito (panang mole is an option.) The dish actually comes with TWO full sized burritos.
- Best Gluten Free: Craft Kafe– I couldn’t make this list without including a place that caters to folks who have to modify their meals on the reg. Craft Kate is a fantastic coffe shop that offers ALL gluten free baked goods. And I guarantee you can trick all of your friends into thinking that what they’re eating has to contain gluten… it’s that good. I’ve had my fair share of gluten free goodies, and I’ll be the first to admit that a lot of them taste like shit. Craft Kate is the exact opposite. Anything you order will be delicious, but I think the best thing is probably the chocolate cupcake. Or the Twix thing. Or cranberry loaf. Just order a bunch and enjoy all of it.
- Best Vegetarian/ Vegam: Love Food Central– Another little spot we can walk to, Love Food Central has a warm, welcoming vibe. All of their food is vegan and gluten free, though you’d never know. Best thing, hands down, is their Pulled BBQ Jackfruit sandwich. They also have a selection of baked goods that are for sure baked by gods.
- Best Oyster Experience: Empire Oyster– Ok, this one is really specific. You can probably guess what you’ll get here, but this is such a cool concept. It started as a pop-up in one of my favorite cofffee shops (that turns into a bar) Intermezzo Coffee. They bring in oysters from every coast, and teach you which are which and what pairs best with them. And, it’s super affordable for oysters. $1 east coast, $2 west coast. So for like $20 you can put down over a dozen boutique oysters.
- Best Coffee Shop: Black Crow Coffee– I’m sitting in this coffee shop as I type this blog. This place is exactly what I want in a coffee shop. Local roasts, a sense of community and welcome, local art on the walls, great music, mismatched chairs and tables… It’s a spot where you want to just sit and sip for a while. Located in the Historic Old Northeast neighborhood, it’s tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Beach Drive. They even sell, you guessed it, gluten free goodies! (Regular goodies too)
So that’s my list of favorite restaurants in St Petersburg. Or at least one of many of my lists. We’re so lucky to live in a spot where so many amazing chefs are setting up shop. There’s new restaurants popping up every month and we set our sights on trying each one. Do you have a favorite we should try? Have I convinced you to come to The Burg yet?