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The 11 Best Restaurants & Clearwater Beach Bars You Have to Check Out!

by | Jul 12, 2023 | 0 comments

Clearwater Beach, Florida, has emerged as a top dining destination for foodies and families alike. Whether you’re in town for a vacation or a local seeking new culinary delights, Clearwater has something for everyone. Here are our picks for the 11 best restaurants in Clearwater Beach.

1. Savor the Sea at Salty’s Island Bar and Grille

When you’re in Clearwater, Florida, and the ocean breeze stirs up an appetite for seafood, Salty’s Island Bar and Grille should be on your radar. This lively restaurant in Clearwater Beach, known for its laid-back island vibe, offers the freshest catch from the Gulf of Mexico.

Menu Highlights

  • Gulf Grouper Tacos: A local favorite, these tacos are filled with freshly caught grouper, served with a tropical salsa that will transport your taste buds to a seaside paradise.
  • Ahi Tuna Bowls: For a lighter yet satisfying option, the ahi tuna bowls feature high-quality tuna paired with crisp vegetables and tangy sauces.
  • Seasonal Fruit Nachos: For those seeking a unique culinary adventure, these nachos combine savory chips with sweet seasonal fruits, creating a flavor sensation unlike any other.

Atmosphere

With an island-themed decor and a bar that serves refreshing tropical cocktails, Salty’s offers the perfect setting to unwind and relish the sea’s flavors.

2. Luxe Dining at Caretta on the Gulf

Caretta on the Gulf is not just a restaurant; it’s a luxurious dining experience that combines stunning views with gourmet cuisine. Located within the elegant Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater, this restaurant overlooks the majestic Gulf, providing a romantic ambiance.

Menu Highlights

  • Seafood Delights: From succulent lobster to fresh scallops, the seafood selections are prepared with artistry, sure to please the most discerning palates. This is a great place to get your sushi fix, too, with many specialty maki rolls on offer.
  • Steak Options: For those who prefer land to sea, their steak offerings are equally impressive with standards like NY strip and Cowboy ribeye, cooked to perfection and served with sumptuous sides.
  • Wine Selection: A comprehensive wine list ensures every dish can be paired with the perfect glass.

Special Occasions

Whether it’s an anniversary dinner, a wedding proposal, or simply a night to remember, Caretta on the Gulf provides personalized service to make any occasion special.

3. Unwind at Island Way Grill

A fusion of elegance and innovative culinary techniques, Island Way Grill in Clearwater offers a dining experience that goes beyond mere sustenance. With a blend of seafood and Asian-inspired dishes, every meal becomes an extraordinary experience.

Menu Highlights

  • Crab Bisque: Rich and creamy, the crab bisque is a must-try, filled with generous chunks of crab meat.
  • Truffle Mac and Cheese: Elevate your comfort food expectations with this decadent dish infused with truffle oil for an exquisite taste.
  • Sushi Selection: Explore a wide variety of sushi options from their full sushi bar, expertly prepared and beautifully presented.

Atmosphere

With its chic design and impeccable service, Island Way Grill is more than a place to eat. From the moment you step in, you’ll be immersed in a culinary journey enhanced by a tastefully curated interior and a view of Clearwater’s sparkling waters.

4. Pizza Perfection at Cristino’s Coal Oven Pizza

Cristino’s Coal Oven Pizza is the go-to place for pizza lovers in Florida. Often referred to as the “Best Pizza in Florida,” their secret lies in their age-old, authentic Italian techniques and the freshest of ingredients.

Menu Highlights

  • Margherita Pizza: Simple, classic, and delicious, the Margherita pizza at Cristino’s is all about the fresh, clean taste of great pizza.
  • Quattro Fromagi: If you love cheese (who doesn’t?), this four-cheese pizza featuring mozzarella, goat cheese, ricotta, and gorgonzola is a balanced, tangy option you won’t want to miss.
  • Cristino’s Salad: Like any good Italian restaurant, the antipasto options are great for cutting through the richness of heavy dishes like pizza. The signature salad at Cristino’s features salami, ham, peppers, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, and a balsamic vinaigrette.

Dessert

Don’t miss their gelato! Crafted with traditional Italian recipes, it’s the perfect sweet note to end a delicious meal. The flavors rotate, offering something new to try each time you visit.

Atmosphere

Cristino’s provides a cozy and warm ambiance. With family-friendly settings and great service, it aims to recreate a little slice of Italy in Florida.

5. Frenchy’s South Beach Cafe: A Clearwater Classic

Frenchy’s South Beach Cafe is synonymous with beachside dining in Clearwater Beach. Known for its fresh seafood and laid-back vibe, it’s a must-visit spot for tourists and locals alike.

Menu Highlights

  • Frenchy’s Garlic Crab Fries: If you enjoy garlic, old bay, and crab, you’ll love these delicious fries.
  • Super Grouper: The Super Grouper sandwich is their most famous dish, made with freshly caught grouper.
  • Fish-topped salads: If you want something lighter but still a signature dish with great ocean fare, try the house or Caesar salad with grouper, shrimp, scallops, mahi mahi, or calamari.

Location

Positioned perfectly along the beach, Frenchy’s offers an incredible view of the ocean, enhancing the dining experience.

Atmosphere

With its relaxed atmosphere and beach-themed decor, Frenchy’s is the perfect place to unwind with friends and family and enjoy a taste of coastal Florida.

6. Chill Vibes at Jimmy’s On The Edge

Jimmy’s On The Edge is a prominent beach bar in Clearwater, known for its stunning rooftop views of the Gulf of Mexico.

Menu Highlights

  • “Over The Edge” Burger: This ½ pound burger is a local take on the American classic cheeseburger, with a fried egg, cheese spread, and afraid egg in addition to what you’d expect.
  • Shark Attack: This tropical drink includes Cruzan light rum, blue curacao, lemonade, pink lemonade, and a float of grenadine.
  • Fish Tacos: Featuring blackened snapper and mango salsa, these fish tacos are a great treat for anyone who appreciates a complex flavor profile.

Location

The rooftop space provides a panoramic view of the beautiful Gulf, making it a perfect location for a romantic evening or a relaxed night out.

Atmosphere

With modern decor and live music on selected nights, Jimmy’s On The Edge offers an unforgettable chill experience that transcends regular dining.

7. Indulge in Exotic Flavors at Rumba Island Bar & Grill

Rumba Island Bar & Grill is a Jamaican-themed haven where you can enjoy exotic flavors and fresh seafood. It’s an unmissable restaurant in Clearwater Beach!

Fish on the pier in Clearwater BeachMenu Highlights

  • Mahi Mahi Sandwich: Get this local favorite grilled, blackened, fried, or jerk style.
  • Jerk Chicken Wings: These delicious wings are gluten-free, flavorful, and great appetizers. 
  • Rumba Salad: a sweet and delicious salad featuring avocado, roasted corn, candied bacon, greens, tomatoes, red onions, & honey-poppy seed dressing.

Ambiance

The atmosphere is lively and colorful, with decor that mirrors the vibrant culture of the islands. Reggae music and tropical plants complete the theme.

Special Events

Rumba often hosts live music and events, embracing the cultural richness of Jamaica. It’s a perfect place to indulge in exotic flavors while enjoying the lively spirit of Caribbean life.

8. Mexican Delights at Marina Cantina

Marina Cantina is known for its Mexican fusion cuisine, offering a variety of tacos, enchiladas, and seafood dishes. 

Menu Highlights

  • Snapper Ceviche: Enjoy this acidic, enticing dish with fresh lime, cilantro, serrano chile, taro chips, red onion, and ripe avocado.
  • Ahi Tuna Tostada: This dish combines fresh Florida seafood and classic Mexican cuisine with seared rare ahi tuna, pepitas, wasabi crema, mojo glaze, crisp corn tortilla, avocado, arugula, and creamy chipotle aioli.
  • Huevos Rancheros: this classic Mexican dish is comprised of fried eggs with corn tortillas, beans, avocado, and fried potatoes with a side of salsa & sour cream.

Location

Located on the beautiful Clearwater Marina, this spot offers a picturesque view of the bay. It’s a perfect location to catch the sunset after a day at the beach.

Ambiance

With a chic and modern design, the rooftop bar provides a sophisticated yet laid-back atmosphere. Outdoor seating, colorful decorations, and a relaxing vibe make it a perfect place for both casual dining and special occasions.

9. Sip and Dine at Badfins Food + Brew

Badfins offers a delightful blend of seafood and Mexican fare. Their craft beer selection complements the menu, offering local brews that pair well with their tasty dishes.

Menu Highlights

  • The Trifecta: Start your meal with the three core dips you know and love: red salsa, Queso, and Guacamole with fresh tortilla chips.
  • Pollo Loco: This is a lively sandwich with a chipotle chili flavor and all the delicious toppings you’d expect on grilled Cuban bread.
  • Mexican Poke Bowl: Sushi grade Ahi tuna is the star of the show, supported by soy sauce, sesame seeds, lime rice, avocado, smoked jalapeno, pickled onions, chipotle lime crema, and more.

Location

Situated close to Clearwater Beach, this restaurant allows diners to continue their beach experience in a relaxed setting, perfect for beachgoers to unwind.

Ambiance

The lively atmosphere at Badfins, fueled by live music and a cheerful crowd, captures the vibrant spirit of Clearwater Beach. Casual and fun, it’s the perfect spot to kick back with friends and family.

10. Bite into Tradition at Okeefe’s Tavern

Okeefe’s offers an array of American favorites with an Irish touch.  So if you’re craving a Guinness and a taste of the Emerald Isle, this is the place to go.

Menu Highlights

  • Corned Beef and Cabbage: This is the most iconic of Irish dishes, served with potatoes and rye bread. 
  • Guinness Meatloaf: a classic meatloaf with mashed potatoes and a Guinness gravy, just like your grandma used to make… assuming she was Irish.
  • Shepherd’s Pie: If you haven’t had this staple before, you’ll find it hearty, savory, and filling. A great way to fill up before or after a busy day out and about on a jet ski

Location

Nestled in a convenient location near downtown Clearwater, Okeefe’s is easily accessible and offers both takeout and dine-in options.

Ambiance

With a cozy and traditional Irish pub feel, the tavern provides a warm and friendly environment filled with nostalgic decor and rich wood accents. It’s a perfect place for hearty meals and good conversation.

11. Gourmet Experience at Sea – Guini

Sea-Guini specializes in upscale seafood. Their seasonal menu ensures the freshest ingredients and innovative culinary creations.

Menu Highlights

  • Citrus Glazed Gulf Grouper: Nothing says Florida like citrus, and the intense lemony flavors of this dish will deliver just that. Lemon-saffron risotto and lemon burro bring this dish to life.
  • Tuscan Pizza: Enjoy a taste of Tuscany with sweet fennel sausage, meatballs, fontina, and mozzarella cheese, all atop a spicy tomato sauce that brings the flavors together.
  • Rigatoni Bolognese: this savory, rich, acidic dish is packed with tomatoes, tender meat, and tangy sheep’s cheese.

Location

Set within the luxurious Opal Sands Resort in Clearwater Beach, it offers breathtaking ocean views and is a convenient choice for resort guests.

Ambiance

The serene ambiance at Sea-Guini is perfect for an elegant dining experience. With tasteful, modern decor and a focus on upscale service, it’s a favorite for romantic dinners or celebrating special occasions. The gentle sounds of the waves add to the overall tranquil and refined atmosphere.

Consider Stay & Play Clearwater As Your Home Away From Home In 

Clearwater’s dining scene offers a medley of flavors and experiences, catering to all palates. Whether you’re indulging in seafood by the beach, savoring pizza in a cozy spot, or exploring international flavors, Clearwater’s culinary landscape promises to delight. So next time you’re in town, remember this guide and embark on a gastronomic journey that captures the essence of this beautiful coastal city.

Join us at Stay & Play for an unforgettable vacation where adventure meets relaxation. After indulging in the delicious culinary delights of Clearwater, there’s no better way to burn off those extra calories than diving into the thrilling watersports fun we offer. From jet skiing and paddleboarding to parasailing, we have something for everyone. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a curious beginner, we’ve got you covered for exploring restaurants in Clearwater Beach. Book your stay today and unleash the excitement of the sea with Stay & Play!

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