Local’s Guide: 23 Best Restaurants in Downtown St. Pete, FL

Downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, is a true food-lovers paradise, offering an unmatched culinary scene with new gourmet dining spots around every corner. As former downtown residents, we were spoiled for choice regarding the finest restaurants in downtown St. Pete within walking or biking distance.

After years of stuffing our faces at the premier dining locations in central St. Pete, we’ve compiled this list of the top 23 eateries and best restaurants you must try when visiting this sunny seaside city. From tapas bars to noodle houses, you’ll find all kinds of cuisine among St. Petersburg’s best restaurants.

My All-Time Favorite Restaurants in Downtown St. Pete

These restaurants top our list regarding the best food in downtown St. Petersburg. We’ve returned to these dining spots over and over.

1. Ceviche


Without a doubt, Ceviche is my favorite restaurant in downtown St. Pete. This delightful Spanish tapas restaurant on Beach Drive serves bold flavors in a casual yet chic setting. Their menu features classic tapas like Patatas Bravas and inventive fusion dishes. And with a huge selection of unique cocktails like the Spanglish, they also win as the best bar downtown.

Whether dining with friends or on a date night along the downtown waterfront, Ceviche always impresses. This larger location allows for more seating, expanded menu offerings, and delicious meal experiences.

Address: 332 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Hours: Sun-Thurs, 11 am-10 pm; Fri-Sat, 11 am-11 pm

Price Range: $$

2. Trophy Fish

Trophy Fish

Look no further than Trophy Fish just north of downtown for the freshest Florida seafood in St. Pete. Operating out of what resembles an enchanting secret garden, Trophy Fish changes its menu almost daily based on what high-quality sustainable seafood they can source.

Start your meal with hush puppies or their famous fish spread before selecting your entree from various preparation methods for the day’s fresh catch. They offer great alternatives for non-seafood lovers, too! Expect vibrant atmospheres paired with a uniquely casual order-at-the-window dining experience.

Address: 2060 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33712

Hours: Weds-Thurs 5-10 pm, Fri 4-10 pm, Sat-Sun 12-10 pm. Closed Mon & Tues.

Price Range: $$

3. Mazzaro’s Italian Market

Mazzaro's Italian Market

For delicious Italian grab-and-go meals, look no further than the legendary Mazzaro’s Italian Market, ranked #1 on TripAdvisor for years. This specialty food market features a mouthwatering deli section with a hot food bar and freshly prepared portions of pasta, quality meats and seafood, espresso drinks, gelato, and much more.

The relaxed cafe-style seating inside or on their covered patio is ideal for casual lunches or dinners any day of the week. We’ve been visiting this St. Pete staple for years – whether shopping for our weekly groceries or sitting down to their award-winning lasagne.

Address: 2909 22nd Ave N, St. Petersburg, FL 33713

Hours: Mon-Fri 9 am-5 pm, Sat 9 am-2:30 pm. Closed Sundays.

Price Range: $

4. Pacific Counter

Pacific Counter

For a refreshing taste of the Hawaiian Islands, Pacific Counter’s poke bowls bring island vibes to downtown St. Pete. This casual spot for build-your-own poke bowls gives you your choice of sushi rice base, raw fish or other protein, and unlimited toppings & sauces to craft your perfect tropical lunch or dinner.

After a day exploring downtown, we frequently stop in for their mouthwatering bowls bursting with flavors. And it’s not a bad option for a healthy meal on the run, either! They also have locations inside Tropicana Field and throughout Tampa Bay.

Address: 660 Central Ave Unit 101A, St Petersburg, FL 33701

Hours: Open Daily 11 am-9 pm

Price Range: $

Best Italian Restaurants in Downtown St. Pete

From upscale dining to casual slices, downtown St. Pete does Italian food exceptionally well. Here are our favorite restaurants to get your pasta & wine fix!

5. BellaBrava


Hands down, BellaBrava is my pick for the best Italian restaurant downtown. I may be slightly biased, having worked there for years, but all bias aside – this place nails tasty yet creative Italian-American dishes in a lively ambiance. It’s a prime date night spot on Beach Drive overlooking the waterfront, though the food quality remains top-notch for all occasions.

Standout menu items include the wood-fired pizzas, Beef Carpaccio starter, and crowd-favorite spaghetti & giant meatball entree. Just save room for their homemade tiramisu for dessert! This new, larger location also allows for more seating, so arrive early for the best views.

Address: 204 Beach Dr. NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Hours: Sun-Thurs 11:30 am-10 pm; Fri-Sat 11:30 am-11 pm

Price Range: $$

6. Il Ritorno

Il Ritorno

Foodies seeking a fine dining experience will relish Il Ritorno’s seasonal prix fixe Italian tasting menus, allowing their expert chefs to shine with the best local ingredients. Under the helm of celebrated Chef David Benstock, expect creative reinvented Italian cuisine in a sophisticated yet relaxed ambiance.

Be sure also to check out their cocktail menu – their mixologists craft unique Italian-inspired drinks not found elsewhere in town. With such intricate preparation and locally sourced ingredients, meals at Il Ritorno don’t come cheap – but for special occasions, accepting nothing short of the best Italian dishes in downtown St. Pete.

Address: 449 Central Ave N Suite 101, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Hours: Tues-Sun 5-9:30 pm. Closed Mondays.

Price Range: $$$

7. Old Northeast Pizza

Old Northeast Pizza

For no-frills New York-style pizza by the slice, Old Northeast Pizza is a longtime local secret gem serving up hot, greasy, cheesy pizza perfection since 1993. Tucked away on a sleepy corner of the Old Northeast neighborhood adjacent to downtown, expect no-fuss counter service and casual seating at this small pizzeria pumping out huge pizzas to perfection day and night.

After a night out downtown, I can’t resist loading up on their garlicky hot wings, hot antipasto salad, and piping hot pepperoni slices. And with such proximity, it’s an easy detour to make on your way home! Cash only.

 Address:718 2nd St N, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 

Hours: Sun-Thurs 11 am-10 pm; Fri-Sat 11 am-12 am 

Price Range: $

Best Asian Restaurants in Downtown St. Pete

While Asian cuisine in downtown St. Pete may be limited compared with other major metros, these two restaurants serve up Southeast Asian street food & ramen worthy of any foodie’s attention when in town.

8. Hawkers Asian Street Food

Hawkers Asian Street Food

Hawkers Asian Street Food brings the exotic flavors of the night markets of Singapore and Malaysia to Central Ave in downtown St. Pete. As a small fast-casual chain with several locations throughout Florida, it has remained a go-to for residents craving authentic Asian hawker fare.

Their menu includes Chinese BBQ pork bao buns, pad Thai noodles, and Malaysian curry laksa soup. I personally never tire of their rainbow array of dumplings! Expect vibrant flavors with Southeast Asian influences in a hip casual environment. Happy hour specials on their creative tropical cocktails are a bonus.

Address: 1235 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33705

Hours: Sun-Thurs 11 am-10 pm; Fri-Sat 11 am-11 pm

Price Range: $$

9. Buya Ramen

Buya Ramen

For steaming hot bowls of authentic Japanese ramen noodles, Buya Ramen on Central Ave satisfies any noodle craving! Their cozy little ramen-ya specializes in rich, flavorful broths and homemade noodles in various traditional styles.

Beyond ramen, I adore starting my meal with their perfect steamed pork belly buns and refreshing seaweed salad. Quick and casual, Buya remains a go-to lunch spot downtown for a comforting meal that never disappoints. Just get there early, as their small shop fills up fast!

Address: 911 Central Ave Unit 102, St Petersburg, FL 33705

Hours: Closed Mondays; Open Tues-Sun 12-9 pm

Price Range: $$

Best Mexican Restaurants in Downtown St. Pete

With sunny Florida being so close to Mexico and the Caribbean, downtown St. Pete boasts many tasty options for tacos, margaritas, and more! Here are the top Mexican & Latin restaurants to check out.

10. Red Mesa Restaurant

Red Mesa Restaurant

The OG Red Mesa location, found just north of downtown, remains a local favorite for hearty portions of Tex-Mex and Mexican dishes for affordable prices. Their enchiladas, burritos, and other specialties hit the spot when only traditional favorites will do. Start your meal with their Queso Fundido dip and fresh-made chips/salsa before tucking into entrees sure to fill you up!

Address: 4912 4th St N, St. Petersburg, FL 33703

Hours: Mon-Thurs 11 am-9 pm, Fri 11 am-10 pm, Sat 10:30 am-10 pm, Sun 10:30 am-9 pm

Price Range: $$

11. Red Mesa Cantina

Red Mesa Cantina

For a lively night out tasting Latin fusion flavors, head to Red Mesa Cantina on 3rd Street South downtown. The menu incorporates Caribbean and Mexican inspirations for plenty of nibbles to share. Their fish tacos, ceviche, and cantina nachos pair perfectly with a watermelon margarita or two!

Happy hour runs all night on Wednesdays, too – beware, the house margaritas sneak up on you fast! Red Mesa Cantina brings tasty handhelds in a vibrant, upbeat atmosphere, great for gathering groups of friends or weekend brunching.

Address: 128 3rd St S, St Petersburg, FL 33701

Hours: Daily 11 am-9 pm; Fri-Sat open until 11 pm

Price Range: $$

12. Red Mesa Mercado

Red Mesa Mercado

For fast-casual Mexican eats, try Red Mesa’s little sister Mercado on Central Ave, serving tacos, quesadillas, burritos, and bowls made to order. Located conveniently next to Tropicana Field, their fresh, authentic street-style Mexican cuisine shines through with every quick bite. Customize your meal exactly as you crave with ample proteins, toppings, salsas, and more!

Address: 1100 1st Ave N, St Petersburg, FL 33705

Hours: Sun-Thurs 9 am-9m; Fri-Sat 9 am-10 pm

Price Range: $

13. Grand Hacienda

Grand Hacienda

Newer Mexican dining addition Grand Hacienda stuns with artistic decor both inside and outside. Their expansive menu ranges from traditional tacos and enchiladas to modern fusion offerings like ceviche and Baja fish dishes. Match your meal with frosty margaritas and soak in the vibrant atmosphere!

Address: 399 11th Ave N, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Hours: Mon-Thurs 11 am-9 pm, Fri 11 am-10 pm, Sat 9 am-10 pm, Sun 9 am-9 pm

Price Range: $$

14. Bodega

No list of the best eats in St. Pete is complete without Bodega and their legendary Cuban sandwiches! This casual cafe expanded recently to meet local demands for its masterful Latin-Caribbean-inspired sandwiches and plates. Pop in for an authentic taste of Cuban culture. The new location now has more indoor and patio seating options in downtown’s Edge District.

Address: 1180 Central Ave, St Petersburg, Florida 33705

Hours: Weds-Sun 11 am-9 pm. Open until 11 pm on Fridays & Saturdays.

Price Range: $

Best Restaurants in Downtown St. Pete for the Experience

While cuisine remains paramount, the overall restaurant experience shouldn’t be overlooked. These hot spots downtown excel not only in food but also in vibrant atmospheres.

15. The Avenue Eatery

The Avenue Eatery

The Avenue in downtown St. Pete functions primarily as a lively sports bar with decent pub fare, but it’s trivia nights on Tuesdays that make this place truly shine. Gather a group of friends to test your random knowledge and enjoy drink specials as you aim for bragging rights and gift card prizes! Their indoor/outdoor setup also makes this pet-friendly spot suitable for dogs to tag along.

Address: 330 1st Ave S, St Petersburg, FL 33701

Hours: Mon-Thurs 5-11 pm; Fri & Sat 11 am-3 am; Sun 11 am-11 pm

Price Range: $$

16. Oak & Stone

Oak & Stone

Downtown St. Pete’s hottest new dining attraction is Oak & Stone’s self-serve beer wall, tapping over 50 rotating craft beers. Upon entering, load funds onto a wristband that activates beer taps to sample as much or as little as you desire.

Beyond novelty, Oak & Stone also prides itself on serving quality pub food with recommended options like Prosciutto & Fig Pizza. For beer lovers, this interactive experience in downtown’s Edge District can’t be beat!

Address: 199 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Hours: Sun 10 am-11 pm; Mon-Thurs 11 am-11 pm; Fri & Sat 11 am-12 am

Price Range: $$

17. Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille

Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille

Situated picturesquely along the downtown St. Pete waterfront at the new Pier, Doc Ford’s offers fresh handcrafted Florida seafood and cocktails with unbeatable views. Named after a fictional biologist character in a mystery novel series, this island-inspired eatery captures tropical vibes through and through.

The menu runs the gamut of Sunshine State specialties, from grouper sandwiches to fish tacos to conch fritters. Just beware, waits can run over an hour on prime weekend nights – make reservations in advance for parties over 2! Happy hour runs daily, too, for even more wallet-friendly deals.

Address: 612 2nd Ave NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Hours: Open Daily 11 am-10 pm

Price Range: $$

The Best Breakfast/Brunch Restaurants in Downtown St. Pete

To fuel all your morning adventures downtown, these restaurants will start your day with coffee, pastries, avocado toast, and so much more!

18. Cassis American Brasserie

Cassis American Brasserie

Sophisticated French-American bistro Cassis excels for brunch along downtown’s scenic Beach Drive. Their menu bursts with sweet and savory morning favorites from omelets, quiches, and breakfast croissant sandwiches to brioche french toast, waffles, and specialty pancakes like their Bananas Foster.

Dine along the open-air patio with views of Tampa Bay, or enjoy the chic decor inside this downtown staple. Their baked goods and coffee drink menu shine as well! Just arrive early, as lengthy waits without reservations are common on weekend mornings.

Address: 170 Beach Dr. NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Hours: Tues-Wed 11 am-12 am; Thurs & Sun 11 am-1 am; Fri-Sat 8 am-1 am

Price Range: $$

19. Trips Diner

Trips Diner

No frills, greasy spoon Trips Diner has served hearty, no-fuss breakfast and lunch downtown for 65+ years. Bellying up to their counter for build-your-own omelets, pancakes, home fries, and biscuits offers that old-school dining nostalgia with flavors to match. Cash only and expect a wait, but it’s a can’t-miss STP staple!

Address: 2339 MLK St N, St. Petersburg, FL 33704

Hours: Mon-Fri 7 am-3 pm; Sat & Sun 7 am-9 pm

Price Range: $

20. The Wooden Rooster

The Wooden Rooster

For a fresh take on breakfast by Beach Drive, the Wooden Rooster crafts sweet and savory crepes alongside artful sandwiches and salads. Their variety of fillings, like mixed berry, lemon curd, and Nutella, allow unlimited sweet and savory combinations for a delicious start to your day exploring downtown. It’s worth stopping into this cute spot before strolling the waterfront!

Address: 104 2nd Ave NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Hours: Open daily 7 am-7 pm

Price Range: $$

21. Maple Street Biscuit Company

Maple Street Biscuit Company

This small Southern chain dishing out fluffy biscuit sandwiches makes the perfect fuel stop before or after a Tampa Bay Rays game. Close to Tropicana Field, Maple Street Biscuit Company allows diners to customize biscuit sandwiches with biscuit, protein, cheese, egg style, and toppings – both savory and sweet. 

These messy delicious biscuit creations feel like home, from the Five & Dime with fried chicken to the Squawking Goat with goat cheese and apple butter. Locals love this spot in downtown’s Edge District for quick yet delicious breakfast and lunch bites.

Address: 662 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Hours: Open daily 7 am-2 pm

Price Range: $$

Best Dessert Restaurants in Downtown St. Pete

Save room for something sweet at these downtown dessert shops crafting some of Florida’s finest!

22. Beans & Barlour

Beans & Barlour

For boozy milkshakes, ice cream, and sweet creations, Beans & Barlour brings the fun with tipsy twists on classic desserts. Those 21+ can spike milkshakes and floats with spirits, but worry not. The non-alcoholic combinations shine just as bright. With rotating flavors always debuting, like Key Lime Pie or Chocolate Babka, visiting multiple times is a must! Conveniently located right on Central Ave downtown.

Address: 407 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Hours: Sun-Thurs 8 am-3 pm; Fri & Sat 8 am-10 pm

Price Range: $

23. Paciugo Gelato

Paciugo Gelato

No visit to downtown St. Pete is complete without artisanal gelato along Beach Drive from Paciugo Gelato. Their cases churn out 40+ flavors of rich Italian-style gelato and sorbets daily. 

Grab a cup or cone, then stroll the downtown waterfront, taking in views of Tampa Bay for an idyllic treat. Rochefort dark chocolate and salted caramel remain long-standing go-to’s of mine, but their vibrant fruit flavors shine as well. Pure happiness resides here!

Address: 300 Beach Dr. NE #120, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Hours: Mon-Thurs 12-10 pm; Fri 12 pm-11 pm; Sat 11 am-11 pm; Sun 11 am-10 pm

Price Range: $

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Is St Pete expensive?

St. Petersburg can be expensive due to the high demand for waterfront property and its popularity as a tourist destination. However, affordable areas exist too.

Why is St. Petersburg, FL, so expensive?

St. Petersburg real estate is pricey due to high demand and limited waterfront property. Tourism also drives up housing and dining costs in the downtown area.  

Is downtown St Pete a good place to live?

Yes, downtown St. Pete is trendy, thanks to its vibrant restaurant scene, art galleries, nightlife, walkability, and waterfront parks.

Why is St Pete so popular? 

St. Pete is so popular for its beautiful beaches, cultural attractions like the Dali Museum, outdoor recreation, the craft beer scene, and lively downtown with great dining and events.

What celebrity lives in St. Petersburg, Florida? 

Wrestler Hulk Hogan, model Niki Taylor, and MLB player Dwight Gooden are celebrities rumored to have homes in the St. Petersburg area.

What food is St Petersburg, Florida, famous for?

Popular St. Petersburg foods include fresh Gulf seafood like grouper, crab cakes, and shrimp. Cuban sandwiches are also a local specialty.

From the finest dining spots to casual grab-and-go eats, downtown St. Petersburg offers no shortage of top-notch eateries to delight your tastebuds morning, noon, and night. This coastal Florida city offers vibrant dining experiences to rival major metropolitan hubs – without the big city price tags!

The creative culinary scene here embraces fresh seafood, global flavors, and independent restaurants that encapsulate the laidback yet spirited vibe of the Central Gulf Coast. So next time hunger calls when exploring downtown St. Pete, never fear – this guide’s got you covered on the best places to eat!


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