Dining in Florida
No matter where you are in Clearwater, you’re always just a short hop from the ocean. The Gulf of Mexico surrounds all sides of this barrier island, a gem in the greater Tampa/Clearwater area. And so when it comes time to seek out dining options in the immediate and surrounding areas, it’s almost a challenge to find a place to eat that isn’t blessed with an amazing waterfront view!
Waves spray many a restaurant in the locality, and the cuisine reflects the shimmering ocean’s magnificent bounty. Yes, of course fish will be on the menu in many a Clearwater establishment. But this is Florida; the food choices reach far, far beyond seafood.
Daring diners can venture to sample some of the regional cuisine and exotic fruits on offer. And those seeking international dishes are in for a treat. Truly, there is little limit to the epicurean delights served up every day by everybody from local fishermen to world-class chefs.
Ready to take a bite out of Clearwater?
Caught From the Surf
Naturally, we must begin our tasteful explorations with the fantastic seafood restaurants found along the Sunset Capital of Florida. There are over a dozen eateries cooking up all things that swim. Fresh catches of the day often make it from boat to plate in the same day. Expect to find local favorites like crab cakes and blackened snapper. Here, shrimp are known as “Gulf Pinks” and come in traditional cocktail form or fried up in batter. Smoked fish dishes are also big here, as are grilled fish (grouper in particular is favored) and raw oysters.
Of course – many folks like all of their fish served up raw! If you’re ready for some of the best sushi in the country, you are in luck. There are no fewer than 25 Japanese restaurants within minutes of driving where you can find the very freshest sashimi and sushi money can buy. You can go with strictly traditional high-end bars to get your yellowtail fix or choose from the bounty of fusion kitchens that offer everything from alternate Asian fare to steaks.
And Now the Turf
And speaking of steaks, Clearwater and the surrounding communities have no lack of outstanding steakhouses and barbeque restaurants. These places take their beef seriously, affording diners thick porterhouses to sink their teeth into. Whether you’re craving Texas style BBQ or looking to check out how they do things down in Brazil, there’s something to satisfy all carnivorous tastes. But it’s not all formal dining. There are scores of other meaty options in the vicinity, from fast food joints and familiar chain restaurants to casual bistros. Our mouths are watering for it all!
By the way – we’re not forgetting our vegetarian friends out there! The vegan movement is alive and well in the Clearwater foodie scene, with some very interesting choices on offer. Many restaurants have veggie-friendly options, of course. But there are lots of places catering solely to the greener side of dining. Wonderful vegetarian restaurants and juice bars are everywhere to be found. Looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth? There are even ice cream joints and cafés that are 100% animal-free.
Let’s Get Exotic
For those who think it’s all about American fare in the Clearwater area, we have a lovely surprise. There are plenty of international cuisine establishments to try. Spanish tapas bars are common and well-frequented. The strong local Italian community makes fresh pasta and unbeatable pizza all day long. Clearwater’s Latino presence means you’ll be encountering fantastic Cuban food as well as treasured Puerto Rican platters. Mexican and southwestern delicacies add their bit of spice to the local scene. Caribbean traditions are also a big deal here, as evidenced by the many Jamaican restaurants in the area. Indian, Greek, French, German…let’s face it: this is a world-class spot for just about any exotic feast your heart may desire.
Naturally, local sources lend themselves perfectly to culinary traditions born closer to Florida. Cajun restaurants stir up mean gumbos and battered crawfish. Ask for some alligator or frog dishes if you’re up for it, too!
Regional and international flavors are varied and robust in Clearwater. Visitors should be sure to work up a taste for these authentic cuisines – you may not find them when you get back home!