It’s time to head to Florida for some city exploring. I’m flying into Miami at the end of April and we’re planning on hopping from city to city for 3 weeks. I’m pretty excited to see the gulf coast and to check out towns near Tampa and Clearwater.
A lot of my friends have asked me why I’m doing these trips to Florida. Well, frankly, it’s because I want to see if I like it enough to move there. Currently, I’m land locked in a Western state and I really want to be somewhere that I can easily go sailing from. From what I can tell, Clearwater or a town close to there, might be the right place for me.
I’m figuring that I could buy a condo for 1/2 what my condo in Nevada would sell for, and then spend my money on a nice 40’ sailboat. And to top it off, I could possibly get a place with a boat slip right outside. That would be my dream!
But, this article is not about my plan of moving, but more about my exploratory trip to the Clearwater FL area to check it out. While there, I’m looking forward to dining at some new places and experiencing new restaurants. All kinds of new restaurants.
I’m not aiming at any category of restaurant. I want to try everything from gourmet food trucks up to fine dining restaurants. So, I hope that I get some ideas from people that live in or visit the Clearwater area to tell me what’s what.
So far, I’ve decided on a handful of restaurants and beach bars that I have to go to. Top of my list is…
Pearly’s Beach Eats on Papaya St in Clearwater. This place looks so awesome. And the pictures of the food that restaurant patrons have taken is making me hungry. So I looked at their online restaurant reviews and they look stellar. This place is certainly worth grabbing a lunch from. So, let’s do this thing! I will be there, sitting under an umbrella, sipping a nice cold drink, wearing a tank top and flip flops. I figure that I need to have the right attire!
I need some cajun & creole! That’s why Crispy Cajun made my list of Clearwater restaurants to try. Can anyone say gumbo? I certainly will. These guys have a nice little location at 2097 Drew St., Clearwater. The most expensive meal on their menu is $16.99 and the choices around $10 will blow your mind. I seriously want to try their fried chicken, catfish, gumbo, and jambalaya. Bring it all!!! I do want to comment that I really like their website and the online menu is one of the better that I’ve seen from any Clearwater FL restaurant. Kudos.
Seems to me that there is no fine dining restaurants in Clearwater. I am a little surprised that the really high end dining is not apparent in Clearwater. Looks like you have to run into Tampa to hit Bern’s Steakhouse Restaurant or something. I have a buddy in the restaurant hood cleaning business in Clearwater. I think I’ll double check with him to see what he thinks of fine dining on the Florida Gulf Coast. Maybe he’ll know of something that I am overlooking.
So, instead of looking at Yelp, I looked to Google and did a search for ‘Fine Dining Clearwater FL’ and I came up with a few restaurants that are not full blown high-end, but pretty close and without packing the fine dining restaurant prices. I’m going to look into each one of these eventually. For now, here is a list of the ones for me to check closer.
Forlini’s Restaurant. Italian food and it sounds pretty good. Biggest worry I have is that the restaurant reviews are not amazing. 3.7 out of 5 stars. Hmm. I hope somebody that has eaten here will give a note in the comments as to whether we should or shouldn’t try this restaurant. I’m not planning on being in Clearwater too long, so I need to make sure I’m excited about the restaurants that we try.
How about Caretta on the Gulf? This is another restaurant in Clearwater that nears the level of fine dining restaurants but does not have the high prices. Apparently, this restaurant is at a resort called Sandpearl. It is located at 500 Mandalay Bay Ave. They claim to be Clearwater’s only AAA Four-Diamond restaurant. But, they serve meals all day long and with a fairly pricey dinner menu. Not sure if I’ll go there or not.
The Maritana Grill is another Clearwater area restaurant which is located in a hotel. Online restaurant reviews for Maritana are stellar and I like the decor of the hotel. So, maybe this is another one worth visiting. It’s located at 3400 Gulf Blvd in St. Pete Beach Florida.
I found an interesting twist in Clearwater restaurants with Yacht Sensation. Apparently it has fine dining and it’s on a boat? It’s a little confusing but it seems that they do Tampa Bay tours while you dine. There are not many reviews, and the review rating is a little low – so it’s hard to use the internet to judge this one. From what I’ve seen, parking is very expensive ($25) and that cocktails are way too expensive (like $20 for a mixed drink). So I think I’m going to pass on this one. Even though it is one of the only restaurants in Clearwater that its listed on Yelp as a Clearwater fine dining restaurant.
That’s my list for now. I hope you found it interesting. If you’re familiar with Clearwater dining and you have any suggestions for anything from breakfast to late night munchies, I’d certainly hope you’d comment below.