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Heading to Orlando, St Petersburg/Clearwater and Tampa – looking for healthy everyday eats and chow-worthy hole-in-the-wall finds

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Heading to Orlando, St Petersburg/Clearwater and Tampa – looking for healthy everyday eats and chow-worthy hole-in-the-wall finds

BokChoi | Jan 14, 2009 12:40 PM

In search of:
• Chow finds for <$15 per plate
• Healthy eats for a month
• Seafood focus (fresh and preferably raw)
• Orlando/Clearwater/St Pete’s/Tampa near Hotel and Beaches
• Good grocery stores/bakeries near hotel/beaches

Greetings from up North. My family and I will be having a reunion of sorts and vacationing in Florida for a month in February. As a result, I wanted some recommendations on cheap/great value everyday eats that will keep me in a healthy condition. Being from Toronto, we are very accustomed to value eats with meals generally being under $10. I understand that will be hard to come by South of the Border, but I am sure you foodies will know where to find the gems. Most of my family prefers “safe” recommendations (seafood is a must during the trip though not exclusive, but I believe they want to keep mains < $20), whereas I would prefer to go off the beaten track and taste just about anything. Seeing as the family has one car, I would appreciate some recs that are close by to one another so that I can grab some more adventurous food, while they hit the clam shack.

They have done quite a bit of research on where to dine, and I will list them below. Please let me know if they have a good list culminated, or if there are places they should avoid/add to the list.

Here are the places we are staying at:

Orlando: 5858 International Drive
Clearwater: 22950 Hwy 19N just North of Hwy 60

Criteria:

Family: safe recs with heavy focus on seafood
Me: Anything goes though I have a rather low tolerance of heat (Indian food is great, but something like suicide wings are out of the question). As well, I would appreciate some recs on places serving healthier fare (sushi, etc.), but no salads or cold sandwiches that I could easily assemble myself. Most of the time, I would like to keep the meals within $15 for a main (a month eating out can add up), but would also be willing to try good places periodically for more ($35 a main, but of course oyster bars would be more). I love raw food (oysters, fish, beef) and dislike pork or meat heavy dishes (ribs, BBQ) with tonnes of sauces, fat or salt (but I do like gourmet burgers like Shake Shack in NYC, clam bellies from Cape Cod and poutine from Montreal). I would also welcome bakery and grocery/food specialty store recommendations so that I can make my own sandwiches and/or sushi.

I will be eating with them most of the time, so would appreciate any great value seafood recs.

Places they’ve listed to try out:
St Pete’s
• Ted Peter’s Famous Smoked Fish
• PJ’s Oyster Bar and Seafood Restaurant
• Fetishes
• Firehouse Bar and Grille
• JoJo’s in Citta
• Garden Mediterranean Bistro
• Maritana Grille
• Shell’s Seafood
• Bonefish Grill
• Chateau France
• Café Largo
• Joe’s Stone crab
• Fourth Street Shrimp Store
• Integrity Organic restaurant
• Crabby Bill’s
• St Pete’s Beach Wharf
• Hurricane’s Seafood Restaurant
• Guppy’s Seafood Grill
• Lobster Pot
• Frenchy’s Café/Rockaway Grill
• Bobb’y Bistro and Wine Bar
Orlando
• Sushi Hatsu
• Little Saigon
• Hong Kong Vietnamese & Chinese restaurant
• Le Coq Au Vin
• Season 52
Tampa
• Carmine’s Restaurant and Bar
• Big City Tavern
• Columbia (7th Ave)
• Bob Heilman’s Beach comber
• Water Unique sushi
• TC Choy Asian Bistro
• Cappy’s Pizzeria
• Ciccio & Tony’s
• Pane Rustica
• St Bart’s Island House
• Bern’s Steak House
• The Palm
• Samurai
• Lucy Ho’s
• Golden Treasure (Poinsettia Ave) Clearwater
• Rockaway Grill

Places I am currently eyeing:
• Izziban sushi of Orlando
• Some of the recs on this thread (though quite a few are out of the way since my food quest is not a priority for them): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/442914
• And I am looking at some value eats here: http://www.scottjosephorlando.com/

We will be hitting a variety of beaches while we are there, so recommendations near good beaches and the hotel are most welcome. As well, anywhere between those points would be great. I know this was a long post, but I wanted to make sure you had all the information I could provide in order to produce some great results. Thanks for making it through this post.

Thanks in advance for your recommendations.

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