Keep the beach vibe going on your vacation by dining out at a popular cafe, tiki bar or upscale restaurant right on the water. From laid-back beach bars along the Gulf beaches to downtown St. Pete restaurants with a view of Tampa Bay, you'll have plenty of waterfront dining options. All of the restaurants on our list offer patio dining or outdoor deck seating (and most have an indoor option, too).
Casual Beachy Dining Classics
Vibe: Frenchy's restaurants are practically institutions in the St. Pete/Clearwater area. All of them are beachy-fun, but Frenchy's Rockaway Grill (right on the sand) and Frenchy's South Beach Cafe (on Beach Walk) have great Gulf views, too. Frenchy's Saltwater Cafe, with a view of the Intracoastal Waterway, also has a dog-friendly back patio. All of the Frenchy's restaurants offer open-air dining.
Insider Tip: Frenchy's is known for their fresh grouper caught right from the Gulf of Mexico. You won't want to leave without tasting the garlic crab fries, which Food Network Star Alton Brown claimed as one of his favorite dishes in Clearwater!
The Palm Pavilion
Vibe: An open-air Gulf-front landmark on Clearwater Beach, The Palm Pavilion is an ideal spot for sunset-gazing on Clearwater Beach. The Palm Pavilion has been a staple on Clearwater Beach since 1926 and has a come-as-you-are vibe. Flip-flops are more than welcome at this easy-going bar and grill! Enjoy shaded, open-air dining.
Insider Tip: The fried gator bites and wasabi scallops are delicious!
Hurricane Seafood Restaurant
Vibe: This landmark in tiny Pass-A-Grille offers multi-level panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico. The Hurricane is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and this casual place showcases a menu that has something for everyone. Dine inside, or choose covered patio or open-air deck seating.
Insider Tip: It's the perfect spot to watch the sunset, grab a grouper sandwich and a cold local craft beer.
Vibe: Grab a picnic table, hoist the umbrella and take in the sights and sounds of this outdoor beachfront eatery. The embodiment of Pass-a-Grille Beach's low-key, old Florida vibe, Paradise Grille offers everything from burgers and wraps to smoothies and craft beer.
Insider Tip: Stick around for sunset, when one lucky guest is chosen to ring the ceremonial bell exactly 15 times at the precise moment the sun sinks into the Gulf.
Restaurants with a Tropical Vibe
Ozona Blue Grilling Co.
Vibe: A huge wrap-around dining deck, marina and water views, and a pool (yes, we said a pool!) are the highlights of Ozona Blue, a popular family-friendly restaurant in Ozona, just north of Dunedin.
Insider Tip: Order Firecracker Shrimp and the fish tacos, take a dip in the pool, then come back for some cool Key lime pie.
Billy's Stone Crab Waterfront Restaurant
Vibe: Locals love this harborside restaurant in a quiet neighborhood on the island of Tierra Verde, just a stone's throw from the beautiful beaches at Fort De Soto Park. Of course, Billy's Stone Crab offers succulent stone crab but you'll also find delicious steaks and lighter items on the menu.
Insider Tip: If live music is your thing, then you'll love listening to all of your favorites here. Three open-air dining options are offered - the rooftop loft bar, a picnic patio area and the Caribbean bar (which can be enclosed in the event of inclement weather).
Vibe: Explore the retro style, casual vibe and amazing views that come together for a great time dining on the water. Located on an inlet in St. Pete Beach with views of Blind Pass and the Gulf, Woody's is so close to the water that you may see a dolphin pop up to say hi! There's plenty of outdoor dining at picnic tables shaded by umbrellas.
Insider Tip: Order the legendary Buffalo wings while listening to live entertainment Thursday through Sunday.
Vibe: There's almost always a beach party vibe at Crabby Bill's, so there's no need to ditch your beach duds. Enjoy the sweeping views of St. Pete Beach from almost every seat in the house! You'll have the option of both indoor and outdoor seating.
Insider Tip: Enjoy your Philly-style grouper sandwich and a cold one while enjoying the sunset from the rooftop deck.
Upscale Waterfront Dining
Bon Appetit Restaurant
Vibe: You can't go wrong at this local favorite in Dunedin that's been voted "Tampa Bay's Best Waterfront Restaurant" and among the "100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America." Come to Bon Appetit for lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch in an atmosphere of relaxed elegance, all with a spectacular waterfront view.
Insider Tip: Yes, it's possible (and a good idea) to make a reservation, but a tip that dining on the outdoor terrace is first-come, first-served. There's also a waterfront bar you can relax at while waiting for a table.
Island Way Grill
Vibe: With its signature style, Island Way Grill offers slightly more formal waterfront dining on the Clearwater Harbor. "Formal" doesn't mean stuffy, though - the restaurant's dress code is along the lines of Tommy Bahama shirts for the guys and sundresses for the ladies. Outdoor seating is available.
Insider Tip: Enjoy one of the best Sunday brunch spreads around. Fresh seafood, omelet station, sushi bar, oysters on the half shell and a deluxe waffle station will keep you coming back for more!
Vibe: Views, views, views! As the name Sandbar would suggest, this prime spot on Clearwater Beach is directly on the Gulf. It's also got a swanky-yet-chill vibe. When you dine at this restaurant connected to the Opal Sands Resort, wear your best South Beach-inspired ensemble while you sip tropical cocktails and share small plates with friends. This upscale tiki bar has outdoor dining aplenty.
Insider Tip: You'll find some of the best drinks on Clearwater Beach here. Get the biggest bang for your buck with pre-dinner appetizers and drinks - and enjoy an out-of-this world sunset.
Tate Island Grill
Vibe: Stroll up from the beach or poolside at this beachfront cool-and-casual haunt located at the Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater Beach. Enjoy a delicious wrap, hummus or a refreshing beverage. Tate Island Grill offers plenty of shaded, outdoor seating.
Insider Tip: Stay for sunset to check out some live music and the nightly ringing of a ship's bell.
Caretta on the Gulf
Vibe: For a more refined experience, dress up just a bit and head to stylish Caretta on the Gulf on the Sandpearl Resort's main floor. You'll be raving about this AAA Four-Diamond restaurant with its seasonally inspired menu. Both indoor and outdoor seating is available.
Insider Tip: Enjoy tasty fresh seafood and steaks. If you're feeling really fancy, enjoy some Siberian caviar.
Sea Porch Cafe
Vibe: Stop by The Don CeSar Hotel for a seaside chic menu with ceviche, local seafood and wood-oven-baked Cuban bread!
Insider Tip: Sea Porch Cafe is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner so enjoy a brief hiatus from the beach or pool either inside or outside under the swaying palm trees with Gulf of Mexico views!
Waterfront Restaurants at the New St. Pete Pier District
Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille
Vibe: Named after the main character in Randy Wayne White's popular marine-biologist-turned-detective mystery series, it's no wonder that Doc Ford's plays up an adventurous vibe. It's a great place to savor Florida-themed fare on the St. Pete waterfront. Find your next great meal at the southern end of the Pier's Overlook area.
Insider Tip: Order the Yucatan Shrimp and a Mojito and enjoy the breeze off Tampa Bay. Dining is available both inside and out.
Fresco's Waterfront Bistro
Vibe: Dock your boat or come on foot to this family-friendly restaurant with great views of yachts and sailboats. Enjoy gentle breezes off the bay when you dine at the open-air deck. You'll find Fresco's just to the north of the Pier entrance.
Insider Tip: Their happy hour not only includes half off select drinks on Monday through Friday, but also some of the best waterfront views in St. Pete!
Vibe: Waterfront elegance is the name of the game at Teak, the nautically themed restaurant on the fourth floor of the Pier structure. Foodies will appreciate this new offering by Chuck Prather, proprietor of the well-known Birchwood on St. Pete's Beach Drive, home to Birch & Vine and The Canopy rooftop bar. Expect small plates and entrees influenced by Floridian and Southern culinary traditions.
Insider Tip: After dinner, enjoy a nightcap at Pier Teaki, the Polynesian-themed rooftop tiki bar above Teak in the Pier building.
Surf and Turf in Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores
Guppy's on the Beach
Vibe: This Indian Rocks Beach staple is a study in casual refinement, but it's serious about offering a delicious menu of options. Guppy's is best known for its fresh fish selection including local Gulf grouper piccata, Florida lobster tail, and shrimp and grits. Find plenty of shaded, outdoor dining.
Insider Tip: Steak lovers will enjoy the filet mignon dressed in garlic gorgonzola butter!
Salt Rock Grill
Vibe: This fine dining establishment with views of the Intracoastal Waterway stands as a St. Pete/Clearwater landmark, known for excellent service and food. Salt Rock Grill's menu features both specialty seafood from around the world as well as the freshest of local catches. Steak lovers will also find some nice selections.
Insider Tip: If you're a wine aficionado, you'll want to order a nice bottle from their impressive wine cellar, which can be seen from the dining room.