Looking for the best places to eat in Clearwater, Florida? Though it’s most famous for its beautiful beaches, Clearwater has some amazing restaurants too. From shrimp and beer at an old bait house to fine dining with a sunset view, these are some of our favorite Clearwater restaurants.
Thanks so much to these restaurants for hosting me and my guests. All opinions are 100% my own.
I love living in southwest Florida, where it’s just a quick drive to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Usually when we want a beach day, we just head to one of our local Sarasota beaches like Siesta Key.
Sometimes I want to get out of town though, even if I don’t go very far, and one of my favorite escapes is to Clearwater Beach, Florida. With beautiful white sugar sand, fantastic hotels and lots of activities to choose from, it’s the perfect spot for a romantic kid-free getaway, girls weekend or a family beach vacation.
Best Places To Eat In Clearwater, Florida
No matter what kind of vacation you’ve planned, you’re going to need to eat. In fact, finding new Clearwater restaurants to try out is one of the best reasons to visit. There are so many great ones and each time I discover something new. From restaurants with a laid back, relaxing atmosphere to fine dining in a “living room”, these are some of the best places to eat in Clearwater, Florida.
- Clear Sky Beachside Cafe
- Frenchy’s South Beach Cafe
- The Bait House
- Clear Sky On Cleveland
- The Living Room On Main
- Ocean Hai
Clear Sky Beachside Cafe
If you’re vacationing in Clearwater, you should try to eat at the Clear Sky Beachside Cafe at least once. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, we decided that a breakfast here would be a great way to kick off our vacation.
If you like Bloody Mary’s, you’ll want to start with the Bloody Mary bar. Available weekends, there are more garnishes to choose from than you’ll have room in your glass! You can toss in peppers, shrimp, cheese and lots more. My hubby is a pretty big Bloody Mary fan and he was impressed with the selection (though they probably had to refill the shrimp when he was done with it!).
There are plenty of options for breakfast. I wanted to go the healthy route so I ordered a vegetarian egg white omelet. I was a little surprised to see green beans in the mix but I like them so it totally worked for me.
My hubby is a big seafood fan so he went with the Coast Watch, a seafood omelet with shrimp, crab, scallops and more. He’s always happy when he can start the day with seafood and he really liked his breakfast too.
I may have to indulge a little next time because the couple next to us ordered a french toast dish topped with berries that was to die for. Though I was happy with my healthy omelet, I definitely had a little breakfast envy!
Frenchy’s South Beach Cafe
So many of my friends recommended Frenchy’s that we’ couldn’t go to Clearwater and not try it. Frenchy’s has four locations in Clearwater but we checked out Frenchy’s South Beach because it was closest to our hotel. Located across the street from the beach, you can sit on their large patio and enjoy the weather or eat inside if you want to get out of the heat.
The first thing we tried were the crab fries, since that’s what Frenchy’s is famous for. They toss beer battered fries in garlic butter and parsley, then add garlic aioli, Old Bay seasoning and snow crab. These were SO good and if you only order one thing, it has to be this!
For lunch, I chose a Sesame Tuna Salad. Sesame seed crusted seared tuna is served over fresh greens with a soy ginger sauce and sesame dressing. The tuna was cooked perfectly and the dressings enhanced the flavor. I don’t even need to look at the menu when we go back. I’m getting this every time!
In addition to the crab fries, Frenchy’s is known for their grouper sandwiches too. Jon ordered the Super Grouper, which is like their traditional grouper sandwich, only bigger. It must have been good because there was nothing left when he was done.
The menu also includes tacos, platters, and baskets with chicken or seafood. It’s very family friendly and the children’s menu has all the traditional kid favorites like grilled cheese, chicken fingers and cheeseburgers.
The Bait House
You know when you have a favorite vacation spot and there’s one restaurant that you HAVE to go to every time? The Bait House is that place for us my hubby agrees that this is definitely one of the best places to eat in Clearwater, Florida.! Don’t go expecting anything fancy. It’s just an old bait shack at the end of a pier that was transformed into a restaurant years ago. That’s why we love it so much though. It has charm and just feels like “old” Florida.
The Bait House has a full menu with seafood, sandwiches, tacos and more but their boiled shrimp is so good, we’ve never actually ordered anything except shrimp and beer. It’s the perfect place to just sit back and enjoy the view!
The bonus is that this restaurant is located right next to where the boats come back from the fishing tours. If you bring your fresh catch, The Bait House will prepare it for you.
Cooters Restaurant & Bar
Cooters Restaurant & Bar is one of those restaurants that really has that down-home Florida feel! We discovered it years ago and it’s a regular stop when we head to Clearwater. You can’t help but have a good time in this casual, laid back atmosphere.
Nothing says Florida like seafood and at Cooters, crab is the specialty. If you like stuffed mushrooms, theirs are some of the best! They’re filled with crab meat and covered in melted cheese and were a big hit among my friends.
Photo Credit: Aileen Clark | AileenCooks
I’m not big on chicken wings but theirs were really good! Order them the traditional way or try the Honey BBQ or Tequila flavors.
Photo Credit: Krystal Butherus | Sunny Sweet Days
If you really like crab, go straight for the crab legs. Voted “Best Crab In Tampa Bay”, you’ll totally get why after one bite.
Even if you don’t like seafood, Cooters has plenty of other foods to choose from, including steak, chicken and ribs.
Kids are welcome too and the kid’s menu includes go-to favorites like chicken fingers, mac & cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches. There are also kid friendly seafood choices like snow crab and fish and chips. The best part is that kids meals come in a frisbee, giving the kids something new to play with on the beach the next day.
Photo Credit: Ali Gilbert | Mom Explores SW Florida
Cooters is in a central location and walking distance from Pier 60 and many of the other hotels in the area. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a casual place place to eat with great food and a fun atmosphere.
Read my full review of Cooter’s Restaurant here.
Clear Sky On Cleveland
While it’s tempting to stay near the beach, Clearwater’s Clear Sky On Cleveland makes venturing out totally worth it. It’s located in the trendy downtown section of Clearwater, which is growing into a cool little spot to hang out. When you walk through the front door, it looks like any other restaurant. The food will be good but if you’re looking for an amazing atmosphere, ask to be seated in the Garden Room.
The atmosphere is what makes this one of my favorite places to eat in Clearwater. I loved the design of this dining room and it really felt like we were in a garden courtyard. The brunch/lunch menu has lots of great choices and offered everything from omelets and pancakes to salads and sandwiches.
I thought about ordering the the crepes with fresh berries (how yummy does that sound?) until I saw the Brie BLT. Made with applewood smoked pork shoulder bacon, brie, lettuce and tomato on sourdough bread, it was every bit as delicious as it sounds!
The corn beef and hash is one of their specialties so we had to give it a try too. I’d never tried corned beef before but I liked it more than I’d expected. My friends said that it was some of the best they’d ever tasted. We ordered the side dish to share but you can also get the skillet and add extra ingredients such as veggies or eggs.
Save room for dessert because the cake with fresh berries can’t be missed. Our group finished this off in no time!
This is one of the best places to eat in Clearwater if you’re throwing a brunch or having a shower. It’s all about the atmosphere and this place has the best!
Don’t feel like driving? One of my favorite ways to get around Clearwater is the Clearwater Jolley Trolley Hop on from the beach or near your hotel and it stops right in front of the restaurant. It’s totally budget friendly too, costing just $2.50 a ride or $5.00 to hop on and off for an entire day.
Read my full review of Clear Sky On Cleveland here.
The Living Room On Main
Dunedin is a cute little town just a few miles north with lots of cute shops and restaurant. If you feel like taking a break from the beach, it’s a great place to explore. I’d wanted check out The Living Room On Main because it had such great reviews. With live music and a unique look, I knew it would be perfect for our date night.
Like the name implies, this restaurant is designed to look like a living room with eclectic lighting fixtures, books, and knick-knacks that you’d expect to find on your grandmother’s bookshelves.
Our waitress stopped by to take our drink orders. While she was there, she explained the concept of the “living wall”, a working garden that grows on the wall of the dining room. It provides the lettuce for salads, drink garnishes and any other greens that the recipes may call for. It was pretty cool and I’d love to have one of these in my house, though with my black thumb I doubt it would last long!
Date night always starts with a cocktail and I chose one of their specialty craft cocktails. Made with coconut rum, butterscotch liqueur, pineapple juice and muddled pineapple sage picked right from the living wall, the Pineapple Express was one of my favorite cocktails of the trip. I really loved the unique flavor of the butterscotch and if you like your drinks on the sweet side, I highly recommend this one.
There was a good variety to choose from, such as lamb chops, seafood risotto, stuffed portobello mushroom and more. Kid-friendly options included chicken drumettes, sliders and feta & spinach meatballs. Of course, I’d been so enthralled with the living wall that I had to start with the Off The Wall salad. Where else can you get a salad with ingredients picked straight from the wall?!
We decided to share a couple entrees and ordered the Miso & Ginger Grilled Salmon Tacos and Steak & Shrimp Brochettes. The brochettes are skewers of grilled Angus beef tenderloin tips, jumbo shrimp, portobello mushrooms, peppers, onions and fingerling potatoes with gorgonzola fondue on the side. The meat was tender and seasoned so perfectly that we didn’t even need the fondue.
The salmon tacos were just as good. We love ordering foods that have an Asian flair and these flour tacos were filled with salmon, Asian pear slaw, pineapple BBQ, ginger sticky rice and a jalapeno Pico de gallo. They were really tasty and one of our favorite things on the menu.
These may be considered small plates but there was plenty of food for the two of us. We even left a little room and I couldn’t pass up the Mary Margaret Chocolate Marquise Cake, a chocolate mousse cake topped with another layer of chocolate and served over a raspberry sauce. It was as decadent and rich as it sounds…a chocolate lovers dream!
This was a great place for a date night but The Living Room On Main is very family friendly too. My girls would have loved the living room decor and the live music. If you have furry friends, bring them along because they’re welcome too!
If you want something even fancier, try Ocean Hai in the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach. Overlooking the ocean, you should make a reservation just before sunset for the best views.
Christine, our awesome waitress, really knew her menu so I went with her drink recommendation. I was pretty glad I did because this Maui Mule, a twist on the traditional Moscow Mule, was really good. Served in a pineapple-shaped copper mug and garnished with a flower, it was almost too pretty to drink (but I didn’t let that stop me!).
Since the drink had been so good, I went with Christine’s suggestions for the rest of the night. We tried the Tiger Roll with spicy salmon, shrimp, and asparagus for an appetizer. It’s one of their most popular appetizers and if you like sushi, you’re going to love it.
Dinner was a Mahi-Mahi served over whole grains with macadamia, charred pineapple and lobster nage (lobster sauce). I love any dish that incorporates macadamia and this one did not disappoint. It was delicious!
My husband had the lamb, which he really enjoyed.
I usually skip dessert but when I heard they served a Lemongrass Creme Brulee, I couldn’t say no. Creme Brulee is one of my favorite desserts and I really loved this Ocean Hai version.
It didn’t have the crunchy shell that you’d normally get with creme brulee, but it was creamy and sweet and well, it DID have a macaroon!
The service at Ocean Hai was great, the food was delicious and you can’t beat the view (which is why you want to go before the sun sets). Dinner here is on the pricier side but if you feel like treating yourself while you’re on vacation, it’s totally worth it.
From living rooms to bait houses, there are no shortage of great places to eat in Clearwater. Have you been? What Clearwater Restaurants would you add to this list?
Want more tips for planning your Florida vacation? Check these out…
Where To Stay In Clearwater: Wyndham Clearwater Grand Review
Best Things To Do In Sarasota, Florida
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