Downtown St. Petersburg, Fl has been undergoing a major transformation or renaissance over the past few years. There is a new youthful energy, exciting new restaurants and bars, a creative vibe with great art and street art and a revitalized downtown. You can stroll the streets to find, funky boutiques, craft breweries and hip cafes. Eating in downtown St. Petersburg, FL offers so many options to choose from. My recommendations include:
Located in downtown St. Petersburg in the Sundial St. Pete shopping center that features an IMAX theater, shops and restaurants, is Sea Salt which is known for its oysters and oyster bar. 183 2nd Ave. N.
Cassis: Located at 2nd and Beach Dr. (170 Beach Drive NE), this is an attractive bistro with a large outdoor seating area. Their happy hour drink specials are very reasonable making it “the” place to go. Their bakery next door is very popular as well for baked goods, pastries and ice cream.
The Mill: This downtown restaurant from 2015, at 200 Central, is a great spot for lunch or dinner. They offer a farm-to-table menu with craft cocktails and wines. They offer sandwiches, burgers, salads and larger plates. I had a great tuna entree for lunch with a local friend.
Mazzaro’s Italian Market: This is a perfect place to stop for a latte before hitting the highway after touring. It is a popular market with wonderful pastries, biscotti and more where you can grab one and enjoy it over a coffee at their coffee counter. All of their coffee is roasted on site. It is located northwest of downtown at 2909 22nd Ave. N.
The Wooden Rooster: Located downtown at 104 2nd Ave. NE, they feature crepes, sandwiches, salads, soups, coffee, wine and beer.
Another recommended place is Brick & Mortar – Kitchen & Wine Bar at 539 Central Ave. run by the husband and wife team of Jason Ruhe and Hope Montgomery and featuring new American dishes.
Fresco’s Waterfront Bistro is a perfect spot to eat overlooking the downtown pier and boat harbor. 300 2nd Ave NE. They are open for lunch, dinner and brunch on weekends.
In the Warehouse Arts District, The Cider Press Cafe offers raw, gluten free and vegan cuisine at 601 Central Ave. The Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops is a great spot for a popsicle break at 627 Central.
Craft beer is becoming very popular in the Tampa Bay area. Here you will find over 88 microbreweries with more on the way. The Craft Beer Trail website is a great resource for beer lovers.
Two downtown St Petersburg breweries worth exploring include:
Cage Brewing at 2001 First Ave. S. in the Grand Central District and Cycle Brewing at 534 Central are good options to try. Cycle Brewing, with a brewery and taproom, makes a number of IPAs, lagers, porters, ales, and stouts with many aged in old whiskey barrels.
Urban Brew and BBQ, formerly Urban Comfort, at 1939 Central in the Grand Central District, offers their own brews, southern barbecue and comfort food. Also getting good press is Green Bench Brewing Co. which specializes in IPAs and ales and has a taproom and large beer garden. 1133 Baum Ave N. Intermezzo Coffee Shop & Cocktails, is a fun hybrid coffee shop and cocktail bar at 1111 Central Ave.
I just saw a show on television featuring 3 Daughters Brewing at 222 22nd St. S. I will check it out on my next trip!
Other recommended spots include The Mandarin Hide for excellent cocktails, Kahwa Coffee with several locations downtown, Birch & Vine for great wine and new American cuisine and Ichicoro Ane, a stylish basement-level restaurant offering izakaya-style small plates, ramen and creative cocktails. 260 1st Ave S.
The Washington Post has several excellent recommendations. For Italian specialties, Il Ritorno at 449 Central Ave. gets good reviews as does Paul’s Landing at The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg with waterfront views. Bodega is a popular casual restaurant featuring Latin American street food at 1120 Central Ave. Their latest article in February, 2020 recommends Nitally’s for Thai-Mex fusion cuisine and Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish founded in 1951 and serving house-smoked fish, burgers and beer.
Another recommended highlight is the St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market where you will find a large selection of fresh produce, prepared foods, plants and crafts along with live music.