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Al fresco dining in downtown St. Petersburg

Florida

St. Petersburg, Florida: Downtown’s Restaurant Renaissance

By: Samantha Crespo

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  • States:
    Florida

Taste downtown St. Petersburg’s culinary revival at these area hot spots, located within a delightfully walkable landscape

In recent years, downtown St. Petersburg has resurged, with an expanding art scene and an influx of residents and visitors. Talented chefs have moved in too, launching restaurants that reflect their unique styles and a passion to create distinct spaces locals love to gather in.

The Mill

Southern ingredients get an artisanal, upscale treatment – and playful names – at brunch, lunch and dinner here. Try “The Breakfast Club” cheese and charcuterie platter, featuring house-made sausage and smoked salmon, local honeycomb and Florida orange marmalade, or “The Naughty Bits,” seared foie gras with blueberry anise cornbread. Whatever you order, start with a craft cocktail.

To present an artisanal take on Southern cuisine, The Mill combines ingredients made in-house with local, seasonal delicacies.

To present an artisanal take on Southern cuisine, The Mill combines ingredients made in-house with local, seasonal delicacies.
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Brick & Mortar

This intimate space packs big flavor: Chef Jason Ruhe calls on his Cuban and Indonesian heritage to create a diverse offering that’s inventive and ingredient-driven. Imagine leek and goat cheese mousse with beet-cured salmon, or house-made noodles topped with slowly braised oxtail. Request a sidewalk table – plus a glass of wine or a local craft brew – to soak in the vibe of Central Avenue.

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Stillwaters Tavern

The menu mixes global influences with traditional “comfort foods,” especially in dinner specials such as chicken and waffles or duck pot pie. Lunch shows off local specialties including Gulf of Mexico fish ’n chips and a Cuban sandwich layered with mojo pork. Bonus: Stillwaters partners with local farmers and its patio grants an eyeful of tony Beach Drive.

The harvests of local farmers and fishers inform the menu at Stillwaters Tavern.

The harvests of local farmers and fishers inform the menu at Stillwaters Tavern.
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Red Mesa Mercado

This colorful, social hangout fits right into its lively surroundings in downtown’s EDGE District. Yet, the kitchen gets serious, crafting ultra-fresh Mexican cuisine to order featuring house-made tortillas. Try the guacamole breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs and pickled jalapenos; at lunch or dinner, pair sweet white sangria with a crisp taco stuffed with grilled zucchini, poblano pepper and queso fresco.

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Souzou

This sleek spot serves Asian fusion delicacies from noodles to sushi. Drop in at lunch, dinner or in between: The daily “Sunset” menu, offered from 5-7 p.m., presents a delicious sampling of Souzou’s craft cocktails and sushi – try a lychee martini with a Sandbar roll featuring freshwater eel and cucumber.

Sushi at Souzou

Sushi at Souzou
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Getting There

The St. Petersburg/Clearwater area is served by two international airports – St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) and Tampa International Airport (TPA) – making flying in and out simple. These gateways to paradise feature service from more than 30 airlines, competitive rates and efficient facilities packed with amenities. Direct international flights are available from Panama, London, Frankfurt and Zurich.

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