When commentators discuss the finest cities in Florida for foodies, they list Miami, Tampa, and Orlando, all of which are huge towns with a range of activities. St. Petersburg, just over the bridge from Tampa, has a vibrant food and beverage scene to match any of the major guys. St. Petersburg restaurants have a vibrant food and beverage scene that can compete with the big guys.
My husband and I have had the chance to sample the top St. Petersburg eateries as part-time residents.
These are eight of our favorite restaurants in St. Petersburg for you to try the next time you visit our Sunshine City.
Not in the mood to dine out tonight? Click here to have Grubhub deliver right to your door from the greatest restaurants in town.
When in St. Petersburg, don’t miss out on the following activities that will let you immerse yourself in the city (get them while they’re hot!):
- Clearwater: Eco-Certified Marine Aquarium General Admission
- Tampa: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Ticket & Multi-Park Options
- Tampa Bay CityPASS®: Save 54% at 5 Top Attractions
- St. Petersburg: 3-Hour Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure
- 1 The Top 8 Restaurants in St. Petersburg
- 2 Which of these St. Petersburg eateries piques your interest the most? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!
The Top 8 Restaurants in St. Petersburg
The Public Library
600 South 5th Street | 727-369-9969
The Library delivers breakfast, lunch, supper, and weekend brunch to the grounds of Johns Hopkins Childrens Hospital in St. Petersburg, with something for everyone at any time of day. The library-inspired restaurant bills itself as a respite from everyday stress, and it is classy and elegant yet being inviting and intimate.
Besides from kale, arugula, noodle, and spinach salads, The Library also provides bespoke salads in which you may choose a base, mix-ins, protein, and dressing. A mild balsamic sauce drizzled over field greens, bacon, apple, and goat cheese yields a salad large enough to share.
The Shaved Sirloin sandwich is served on a fresh, chewy ciabatta bun with roasted peppers, cheese, and The Library’s proprietary Peabody Sauce. Crispy onion straws provide a great crunch.
Cauliflower seems to be on menus everywhere these days, and The Library’s Benne Cauliflower (roasted cauliflower with crispy garlic, spices, and chili sauce) appetizer will make you marvel how the veggie can taste so amazing.
Crispy Avocado Wedges, which I had never tasted before, are crispy on the exterior and creamy on the interior. They’re so delicious that they don’t even require the sambal ginger aioli that comes with them.
Our next visit will be for their famed weekend breakfast, when we will taste the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with fresh berries, warm maple syrup, and sweet cream, as well as the Avocado Toast. Something about creamy whipped avocado sounds so appealing.
The Library is open everyday with indoor and outdoor sitting, and its walk-up counter serves coffee, pastries, and tea. Make a reservation at one of the greatest St. Petersburg restaurants.
NE Beach Dr. | (727) 209-2299
I like a decent tapas restaurant, and St. Petersburg has a winner.
Ceviche, located a block from the bay, has so many meals; over fifty hot and cold plates, that you could have trouble picking. When you peruse the menu, do yourself a favor and order the greatest sangria in St. Pete.
I can’t recommend their ceviche or paella since I don’t eat seafood, but the tapas are a different story.
Begin with the Caesar salad, which is made up of mixed greens, cucumbers, olives, peppers, red onions, tomatoes, and feta and is tossed in a lemon-honey vinaigrette.
Try the Queso de Cabra, a baked goat cheese coated in tomato sauce, if you prefer things hot. Have your sangria on available since you’ll need it to counteract the heat in this meal.
Although not as hot as the queso, the Patatas Bravas, wonderful and perfectly crisp potato pieces slathered in spicy aioli, are just on the verge of being quite spicy.
The smoked paprika-dusted Spanish pork ribs are just excellent, and the Chuletas de Cordero (lamb chops) are not at all gamey. These little meals are ideal for sharing as tapas.
Ceviche is available every day. If the weather is beautiful, sit on the patio to enjoy the scenery and the cuisine at one of St. Petersburg’s greatest restaurants.
| (437) 898-4300
Tropez, located on Central Avenue in Downtown St. Pete, bills itself as an engaging neighborhood hangout with a large menu designed for sharing. The restaurant, a relative newcomer to the St. Petersburg culinary scene, is a candidate for Best New Restaurant in the St. Petersburg Foodies Restaurant Awards.
Their menu, which is intended at sharing, is packed of meals from all around the globe with a Tropez touch.
If you go with a group, consider the Mediterranean Sampler, which includes hummus, tabbouleh, baba ganoush, and cucumber raita, as well as my two faves, Jamon con Dates and Patatas Bravas. Rather of stuffing the dates with almonds and wrapping them in bacon, Tropez stuffs them with smoked almonds and bleu cheese before wrapping them in Serrano ham. These dates are less greasy than bacon-wrapped dates and have a nice balance of sweet and salty flavors with a small crunch from the almond.
The Patatas Bravas seemed to be roasted rather than fried, and the spicy tomato aioli sauce is not too hot.
We split both the Eggs Benedict and the Organic Field Greens salad for breakfast. Candied walnuts, goat cheese, and dried cranberries are blended with a wonderful pumpkin seed walnut vinaigrette to match the field greens.
Nutella & Bacon Stuffed French Toast (with caramelized bananas) and Baklava Pancakes were appreciated by diners at the next table. Pancakes with buttermilk and walnuts, topped with pistachio streusel, whipped honey ricotta, and mint-infused maple syrup. I’d order any of these in a heartbeat.
Tropez features outside seating and offers a variety of deals throughout the week. Tropez is one of the greatest places to dine in St. Petersburg if you want to try something new. On Mondays, they are closed.
Company of Maple Street Biscuits
727-290-6211 662 Central Avenue
Maple Street Biscuit Company, also on Central Avenue in Downtown St. Pete, serves breakfast and lunch comfort meals in an unpretentious environment. Their signature biscuits are light, flaky, and tasty, and are prepared daily from all-natural ingredients.
Squawking Goat, a biscuit sandwich topped with fried chicken, a fried goat cheese medallion, and handmade pepper jelly, is their trademark dish. I recommend serving the jelly on the side so your sandwich doesn’t drown in it.
The Chicken League Both the Five-and-Dime (fried chicken, bacon, lettuce, and tomato) and the Five-and-Dime (club with cheese and a fried egg topping) come with your choice of dressing.
The biscuits and gravy are served with either handmade sausage gravy or shiitake mushroom gravy, both of which have a bite to them. You may set them aside with any of their biscuits or bowls. Try the Three Layer Cake, a hash-brown cake topped with gravy and a fried egg and made with Gouda cheese.
None of this is diet food, but if you’re watching your calories, try one of their salads. The Grazer, a blend of spinach, goat cheese, and strawberries with your choice of dressing, is my personal favorite. Protein may be added to any salad for an additional fee.
You’ll place your order at the counter, and instead of giving you a number, they’ll ask you a daily question (Who is your favorite literary character?). When your dinner is done, they will call out your response (Minnie Mouse).
Maple Street Biscuit Company is only available for breakfast and lunch, and the hours vary depending on location. If you’re searching for a downtown St. Petersburg restaurant, try Maple Street Biscuit for some delicious comfort cuisine.
Italian Market Mazzaros
727-321-2400 | 2909 N 22nd Ave
You could assume you’re in Sicily if you drive up to Mazzaros Italian Market.
Mazzaros is known for its fresh-baked bread and pastries, fresh meat and fruit, cheese, homemade pasta, beer, wine, gourmet coffee, and more. Nonetheless, their deli and coffee bar are located in the midst of the enormous market.
In addition to daily meals, the deli serves twenty-seven distinct hot and cold sandwiches. Try the Hot (in both temperature and flavor) Italian, which comes with ham, pepperoni, salami, provolone, banana peppers, and lettuce on their own bread.
Other sandwiches that piqued my interest were the Meatballs with Sauce and Provolone, Eggplant Parmesan, and Italian Roasted Pork.
Mazzaros also offers a hot sandwich of the week, a panini of the day, and a variety of cold salads at cheap prices. After you’ve decided what to eat, proceed to their outside tables to enjoy it.
Better better, swing by the bakery for a cannoli, eclair, biscotti, or mini-pie to round off your meal.
Mazzaros is open from Monday through Saturday. It may become crowded, so prepare ahead of time. This is one of the top restaurants in St. Petersburg for a taste of Italy.
Stone and oak
727-565-4064 199 Central Avenue
When it comes to pizza, I’m a snob. The crust should be thin but not see-through, chewy but not gummy, and tasty rather than boring. The sauce should have a tomato flavor rather than a garlic flavor, and there should be enough of it plus the toppings to accentuate the crust. Oak & Stone checks every box.
The Basic, covered with sauce, cheese, and basil, to the All The Way, topped with sauce, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, black olives, mozzarella, and Parmesan, are among the fifteen custom-craft pizzas available at Oak & Stone. They elevate a traditional pepperoni pizza by topping it with both crispy and chopped pepperoni.
Try the Popeye, a traditional pizza topped with spinach, roasted red peppers, ricotta, and prosciutto for something a bit different.
Get the Mac n Cheese, a beer-cheese-covered crust topped with cavatappi macaroni, bacon, caramelized onions, and a cheddar cheese mix for something really unique.
Oak & Stone also invites people to make their own pies. Begin with the basic crust and mozzarella, then choose your sauce (red, garlic, or herbed oil) and any number of toppings such as cheeses, veggies, or meats.
For beer enthusiasts, Oak & Stone has a self-serve brew wall with over twenty-five beers available by the ounce. Grab your RFID wristband from your server (restrictions apply), then browse the 40+ brew wall options and pour.
Oak & Stone is open everyday and offers a $9 pizza, salad, and soft drink deal, as well as a daily happy hour from 2-6 pm ($2 off pizzas and 25% off the beer wall) and Ladies Night. There is both indoor and outdoor seating available. If you like pizza and beer, Oak & Stone is a must-see St. Petersburg restaurant.
The Habanero Café
101 First Street SE | 727-321-8855
When the weekends come, we travel downtown to the Al Lang Stadium parking lot for the Saturday Morning Market.
In addition to the fruit, food, craft, and artisan booths, nearby restaurants and food trucks, such as Habana Café, provide a range of fresh, ready-to-eat meals.
Although the market location may not have everything on the restaurant’s menu, it does have some of the greatest Cuban cuisine I’ve ever tasted.
The slow-roasted pork sandwich with grilled onions and mojo sauce on Cuban bread melts in your tongue.
Try the Cuban Sandwich, which consists of delicious ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard pressed on Cuban bread, or a side of perfectly seasoned black beans. The mojo sauce adds a lot of spice, so use it sparingly if you use it.
I can’t wait to sample the Arroz with Pollo a la Chorrera (chicken cooked with Valencia rice in beer and wine) and their award-winning cheesecake flan at their physical location (5402 Gulfport Blvd. S). This is one of the greatest restaurants in St. Petersburg with a Latin flavor.
190 37th Avenue North | 727.898.8226
My son and daughter-in-law eat fresh and love to go out for breakfast, so it follows that they brought me to Ciccio for my birthday. The restaurant, which is nearly concealed on the corner of a major retail complex, provides bowls, tacos, wraps, snacks, and pizzas that will appeal to almost all tastes at any time of day.
The Power Avocado (scrambled eggs, sautéed spinach, smashed avocado, and melted cheddar cheese on toasted bread) was light yet satisfying. But, I believe it required a touch of protein to offer a little more taste; maybe crumbled bacon or grilled ham would suffice.
Try the Tex-Mex Bowl if you want something spicy. Scrambled eggs are topped with black beans, tomato, cheese, guacamole, chipotle sour cream, and crispy jalapeo slices. If you don’t feel like eating a bowl, consider the Border Wrap, which has the same basic ingredients and chorizo but in a wrap.
The Cali Bowl, with scrambled eggs, grilled chicken, crumbled bacon, and Swiss cheese, is a lighter choice with a crown of handmade guacamole. The California Club is the wrap version of the Cali Bowl, served with honey mustard dressing.
I’m going to fast for two days the next time I visit Ciccio Cali so I can sample the San Fran Pretzel French Toast. Sweet cream cheese packed pretzel coated with egg, fried, and topped with whipped cream and strawberries has to have more calories than I need, no matter how light it is.
Ciccio Cali is open every day of the week and features both indoor and outdoor dining. There are additional sites in the Tampa Bay region, but this St. Petersburg restaurant should not be missed.
Bio of the Author:
Christine Cutler is a writer, photographer, editor, guide, teacher, traveler, and international citizen from Ohio. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and their rambunctious Welsh Terrier, but she can’t stay stationary for long. She is the executive editor of Food, Wine, Travel Magazine and teaches special grammar and writing seminars at UNLV, in addition to running her own websites Cold Pasta and Red Wine and Christine Cutler.
Chris considers being a travel writer to be the ideal career since it enables her to travel the globe while working from wherever she is. She has been to three continents, 44 states, 35 countries, and over 850 cities. Chris is an expert in the food, culture, and history of the places she travels. Chris writes on her vast travels throughout Italy as a new Italian citizen. Chris belongs to the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA), the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA), Travel Massive, TravMedia, Phi Kappa Phi, and the Nonfiction Authors Association.