Looking for the Best Restaurants in Clearwater FL? You have come to the right place.
Clearwater Florida is nestled on a peninsula of land that divides Tampa Bay from the Gulf of Mexico. This extremely popular vacation spot is a favorite destination for many who want to escape the cold northern winters. With over 100,000 permanent residents and approximately 5 million visitors each eateries in Clearwater. Be sure to check out some of the best food in clearwater and let us know which are your favorites!
20 Best Restaurants in Clearwater FL You Must Visit!
Rumba Island Bar & Grill
If you’re looking for a spot that serves authentic island cuisine in a lush tropical setting, be sure to check out Rumba Island Bar & Grill. Open every day for lunch and dinner, Rumba is one of 10 restaurants in the bay area run by the Baystar Restaurant Group.
Having that many restaurants means the group can use their own fleet of boats to source fish fresh from the local waters. The kitchen at Rumba puts a seaside spin on many of their dishes, putting out appetizers like Crab Mac & Cheese to Seared Tuna Nachos.
The main menu consists of a variety of sandwiches, Island Rice bowls with your choice of protein, and plenty of fresh seafood dishes. If you’re not feeling the island vibe, there is a selection of grilled entrees such as steaks, ribs, and chicken. The Bar & Grill has happy hour all day every day, weekend brunches, and offers live music most evenings on the tiki bar & deck.
Lenny’s has been a Clearwater standard since 1980. This classic New York style Deli serves some of the best food in the Bay area. Most of Lenny’s hearty breakfasts start with their complimentary baskets of Danish, it’s clear that they want to satisfy even the biggest appetites.
The breakfast menu is available any time they are open and has everything from bagels and benedicts to omelets and blintzes. Lenny’s Famous Bloody Marys and Mimosas are fantastic accompaniments to any dish. On the lunch menu is a variety of deli classic sandwiches – pastrami, corned beef, egg salad and more.
If you want to skip the bread, you can have any of those served on top of their house made potato knish. Lenny’s lunch menu also has a burger bar which starts with a ½ pound patty and then your choice of toppings.
Sunset Grill Clearwater
When we travel, we like to support local, family owned businesses whenever possible. Especially if those businesses serve excellent food at reasonable prices.
This is definitely the case with the Sunset Grill. The family behind the scenes owned restaurants all around the country and has put that expertise into this popular Clearwater café. Sunset Grill is open 7 days a week and serves from a well stocked menu of American favorites.
Breakfast options include omelets, benedicts, pancakes, waffles and more. The lunch and dinner menu offers a huge selection of sandwiches, burgers, and salads as well as house specialty entrees like Liver & Onions, Shepard’s Pie and Bourbon Chicken. Gluten free options are available for those who need them. Make sure you save room for dessert, as they are widely known for their sweets, and especially for their version of Key Lime Pie.
One of the best restaurants in Clearwater FL for sure.
Cristino’s Coal Oven Pizza
For over 15 years, the Cristino brothers have been delighting the Clearwater area with their classic combination of Italian foods. Cristino’s Coal Oven Pizza is open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week and is located just south of the Downtown area.
Besides the Coal Oven Pizzas that they are named for, they also serve Pastas, Paninis, and entrees like Chicken Marsala & Eggplant Parmesan. But the unique pizzas are what keep people coming back time after time. These thin crust delicacies are cooked hot and fast inside the coal fired oven, which infuses a hint of smokey goodness into each pie.
Toppings range from the standard pepperoni and sausage to the more upscale like anchovy, ricotta and even house made mozzarella. If you still have room after your meal, top off your experience at Cristino’s with a scoop of their award winning gelato!
Daily News Café & Restaurant
Sometimes a restaurant can be more than just a place to get a bite to eat. It can also be a gathering place for groups and families, or where an individual can go to meet new friends. The Daily News Café and Restaurant is one of those places.
This European influenced eatery has a comfortable and inviting atmosphere, and the food can’t be beat! Daily News serves foods from Italy, Greece, Germany and Yugoslavia, made in the traditional style of each area. For lunch they have a Quick Lunch Menu with salads, sandwiches and handheld items for those that need to grab a bite before heading back to the office.
Small plate selections include Home Made Fried Dough served with various dips, Thai Sweet Chili Cauliflower and Fried Smoked Gouda. The Dinner Menu includes Pastas, Pizzas and a huge array of grilled meats. For something different, be sure to try the Cevapi – grilled spiced beef sausage links served with traditional Yugoslavian Lepinja bread.
Abe’s Place Tap & Grill
If you like to try and eat where the locals go when you’re on vacation, be sure to check out Abe’s Place Tap & Grill. Abe’s has won multiple awards for their food, including their chicken wings. The wings are so popular that they have an entire loyalty program built around them called the Friends of Abe’s Place.
In addition to wings and other typical bar style appetizers, Abe’s serves Soups & Salads, Burgers & Steaks and more. People love their Buffalo Shrimp Boat – fried shrimp tossed in spicy wing sauce then served over fries and topped with blue cheese.
You’re going to need something to wash down all that delicious food, and Abe’s bar has you covered. They have over 44 beers both on tap and in bottles, a great wine selection, and a full liquor license for making cocktails. To cap it all off, Happy Hour at Abe’s is all day long!
For over 20 years now the Wildflower Café has been serving breakfast and lunch to the Clearwater crowds. The café began as the dream of two close friends who fresh, delicious food in a friendly environment. The result is a highly rated and very popular spot for locals and tourists alike to gather and enjoy some great foods.
If you’re in the mood for breakfast, consider trying the Mile High Baked French Toast served with brown sugar syrup, or the Breakfast Pretzel Roll filled with bacon, eggs and pepper jack cheese. Or if it’s lunch you are after, Wildflower Café serves a variety of savory sandwiches to please both carnivores and vegetarians.
How about a Pastrami and Swiss on Pumpernickel or the Portobello, Provolone and Caramelized Onion served on warm naan bread? For those in a hurry, they have The Market where many of their menu items are prepackaged and ready to grab and go.
Pierogi Grill & Deli
For an authentic taste of old country Poland, stop in and try a bite at the Pierogi Grill and Deli for some homestyle cooking. As you would expect, they are best known for their Pierogis – boiled dumplings filled with your choice of several savory or sweet fillings.
However, the menu does not stop there. Pierogi Grill has some unique items on the menu that you just won’t find elsewhere! Start your meal off with an appetizer like Sausage Chips or Herring Fillets. Or perhaps you’d like to try the Dill Pickle Soup, or one of their 3 types of Borscht?
On the dinner menu you’ll see items like Pyzy, potato dumplings filled with pork and smothered with grilled onions. Another crowd favorite is their Cabbage Rolls, stuffed with ground meat and covered with tomato sauce. Make sure you save room for Streusel! Pierogi Grill serves two kinds – Plum and Hot Apple.
Clearwater Brewing Company
They might be one of the new kids on the block, but Clearwater Brewing Company is quickly developing a dedicated group of followers.
CBC opened their doors in a converted gas station in 2019 after 2 years of construction and developing their recipes. The Brewery and Taproom is located in Old Clearwater Bay on the north side of Downtown Clearwater. The taproom has up to 14 beers at a time, most of which are brewed on site.
There usually are a couple of guest taps where they serve up select beers from other area breweries.For those who aren’t beer fans, select wines are available by the glass as well as soft drinks. CBC is open daily – be sure to check their website for current hours of operation. Live music is often performed on the house stage, and every Wednesday night is Open Mic Night.
Island Way Grill
The tagline on their website just about says it all – “Fresh Seafood, Hand Cut Steaks, Stunning Sunsets”. The Island Way Grill is another one of the restaurants run by the award winning Baystar Restaurant Group. The Grill is located on a small finger of land called Pasadees Key ½ way between Clearwater and Clearwater Beach.
Their waterfront location gives them the ability to showcase the amazing water views The restaurant even has several dock slips available for customers to park their boats while they dine. The upscale menu at Island Way is an array of seafood specialties featuring fish fresh from their fleet of boats, along with several steaks that are seared over the open pit grill.
The raw bar menu is a mouthwatering list of oysters, sushi rolls, sashimi and more. For dessert, the kitchen prepares different flavors of ice cream, crème brulee and cheesecake for each evening’s service.
Salty Crab Bar & Grill
It’s not often that you come across a seafood restaurant that serves breakfast, but the Salty Crab Bar & Grill is there for you no matter what meal you have in mind.
Open daily from 8:30am-11pm, the kitchen is constantly churning out a dizzying array of foods from their many menu options. Where else will you find unique items like Grouper and Eggs or the New Orleans omelet made with blackened shrimp? The lunch and dinner menus at the Salty Crab showcase a wide selection of seafood dishes, sandwiches, along with a long list of tacos and bowls.
The full bar offers beer, wine and specialty drinks (even during breakfast!) like their signature Salty Crab Rum Punch. For the younger crowd, their strawberry, mango and coconut frozen drinks can be prepared without alcohol and are topped with whipped cream and a cherry.
Columbia Restaurant Sand Key
The original Columbia Restaurant has been operated by the same family since they opened back in 1905. While the first restaurant was in Tampa, each additional Columbia location has been equally popular. The Columbia Restaurant Sand Key opened it’s doors in 1989 and has been pleasing the Clearwater dining crowds for over 30 years.
Food at Columbia is heavily by the Casimiro family’s Cuban heritage. Possibly the most famous item on the menu is their house salad, a unique and delicious combination of iceberg lettuce, swiss cheese, ham, tomato, olives and Romano cheese, tossed with Worchester sauce and their house garlic dressing.
From the tapas menu try the Crab Croquetas or the Queso Fundido, a rich melted cheese dish served with toasted Cuban bread. The entrée menu lists several options from both the sea and land. The dish called La Completa Cubana is a sampling of the flavors of Cuba such as roast pork, empanadas, plantains, yucca, beans and rice.
Badfin’s Food + Brew
The beaches in the Clearwater area have been voted among the best in America, making the Clearwater Beach a bustling scene for art and culture.
That sort of influence brings with it the desire for great food and drink, both of which can be found at Badfin’s Food + Brew. This family friendly restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner and serves some of the best Mexican food in the area. Badfin’s list of appetizers reaches far beyond the usual chips and salsa and includes items like the Ahi Tuna Tostada and Smoked Bacon and Ricotta Hush Puppies.
The entrée menu showcases several flavors of tacos, bowls and sandwiches. Signature dishes at Badfin’s include their Baja Steak and Fries and the Primo Grouper Tacos. Vegetarians will delight that several meatless but still delicious options appear on the menu. Shakes and Sopapillas are on the dessert menu for those who want to finish off their meal with something sweet.
Pearly’s Beach Eats
Pearly’s Beach Eats can be found in a converted house with a coastal vibe on Papaya Avenue near Clearwater Beach. The restaurant is a concept developed by 5 friends who wanted to create a place where others in the area could enjoy some of their Gulf Coast favorites.
Pearly’s menu is a mishmash of burritos, tacos, burgers and sandwiches, with a few salads sprinkled in for good measure. People go crazy for their Gnarly Nachos, smothered in queso and served with your choice of BBQ pork or grilled chicken.
Another house favorite is the Bacon Ranch Fries – just what the doctor ordered after a long day at the beach! Desserts at Pearly’s are truly a treat, with choices like thick shakes, root beer floats, and chocolate dipped key lime pie bars. For a real crowd pleaser, choose the Surf Sorbet – either coconut or pineapple flavored sorbet served in its own shell.
When you are craving Mexican food in Southwest Florida, you’ll find you have a lot of choices. Some of the best can be found at Marina Cantina, along with the largest rooftop bar on Clearwater Beach! The Cantina is a great place to join up with friends to grab a drink, have some dinner and watch the sunset.
It’s also a very popular place to go for brunch on the weekends, during which they serve up bottomless mimosas, margaritas and bloody marys. Their menu is highly influenced by the proximity to the Gulf, and features amazing seafood dishes infused with flavors of the Southwest.
Don’t miss the Casa Ceviche – a spicy mixture of tuna, shrimp, scallops & octopus marinated in lime juice and olive oil. Favorites from the entrée menu are the Stuffed Grouper filled with shrimp, scallop and crab stuffing, and the Seafood Enchiladas.
At first glance it might look like just a fishing bait and tackle shop. However, on closer inspection you’ll see there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the Bait House at the Marina on Clearwater Beach.
Since 1940 The Bait House Tackle & Tavern has been serving up all your fish-related needs, from rods and reels to fresh made clam chowder. The kitchen may be tiny but it packs a powerful punch with dishes like Island Fish Tacos, Reuben Sandwiches, and Caesar Salads, all made with the fresh catch of the day.
If you just need a snack, try the Drunken Shrimp served with toasted ciabatta, or their Smoked Fish Spread served with crackers and hot sauce. For those who aren’t in the mood for fish, there are burgers, salads and chicken sandwiches. A wide selection of local craft beers are on tap at the bar, which also serves wine, seltzers and house made sangria.
You get more than just a meal when you step into a Jimmy Hula’s restaurant – you get an entire experience. The menu starts with a plethora of taco choices – filled with either seafood, chicken, beef, pork, or vegetables.
For something completely different try the Johnny Utah taco – packed with smoked pork, mac & cheese, bacon, BBQ sauce, pickles & scallions.
The burger section features two patties piled high with an array of ingredients that varies depending on which selection you make. One messy yet delicious burger called the Burnt Reynolds comes with bacon, cheese, a fried egg, potato chips, lettuce and ketchup.
Side items include Jimmy’s Crack’d Corn, Empanadas, Spring Rolls, and a Fire Roasted Avocado. Jimmy Hula’s is open for lunch and dinner every day of the week, with special brunch items available on weekends.
For a casual seafood meal with great views of the water, there’s no better place for you and your family than Crabby’s Dockside. Formerly known as Crabby Bill’s, for over 20 years this waterfront location has been a go to for many Clearwater regulars.
Open daily for lunch and dinner, their multi-tiered building has plenty of room for your party whether you like sitting inside or out. As you might expect, seafood is definitely the focus of Crabby’s menu. Start your meal off with one of their popular appetizers like their Creamy Crab & Spinach Dip or the Peel & Eat Shrimp.
If you’re having trouble deciding on an entrée, make a combo out of over a dozen options from the sea and land including crab, lobster tail or even a New York strip steak. For dessert their options are Killer Key Lime Pie or the Reese’s Peanut Butter Pie, both of which can be paired with their own house made Sweet Willy’s Ice Cream.
Clear Sky Beachside Café
The Clear Sky Beachside Café is open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and has been voted Best Dining at Any Time of Day.
They claim their breakfast is served with an upscale twist, and the menu proves it. Boasting items like Corned Beef & Gnocci, Lobster Brie Benedict and a Cinnamon Bun French Toast, there are all sorts of decadent treats to choose from to start your day.
Clear Sky lunch and dinner menus offer an extensive mix of Appetizers, Gourmet Pizzas, Signature Paninis, Burgers and Salads in addition to their wide selection of fresh catch entrees. Choose to dine inside or out; or if you prefer to eat at home, all items on the menu are available for take out and delivery.
Whether it’s morning, Noon, or even late at night, the Surfside Taphouse has your dining needs covered. The Taphouse is open from 7am-3am every day of the week so their kitchen is always warmed up and ready to feed you and your hungry friends.
The breakfast menu has a large selection of omelets, benedicts, waffles & pancakes. They even have Avocado Toast for those looking for a trendy start to their day. When it comes to lunch and dinner, the Surfside kitchen is cranking out burgers, sandwiches, tacos and a plethora of seafood entrees.
Crowd favorites include their Meatloaf Cupcake appetizer, the Chicken and Waffle Sliders, and their Blackened Salmon Dinner. The Taphouse bar has over 40 local and national brand beers on tap, along with wine, seltzers and specialty cocktails. Entertainment is a big part of the Surfside experience, with live music starting each evening at 9pm.
As you can see, there are quite a few amazing restaurants to keep you fed during a visit to Clearwater, and this list just begins to scratch the surface! So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!
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