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Alfresco Allure: Best Places to Dine Outdoors

Apr 18th 2011 11:00AM / by Nanette Wiser

Breezy April weather encourages dining outdoors, but with so many patios to choose from (Pia's Trattoria, Parkshore Grille, Cassis, Bernini, Gaspar's Grotto), aficiandos opt for alfresco with a waterview. Some places, such as The Wharf, Pub and Salt Rock, allow you to arrive in style from your yacht (or Sea Ray). Whatever the transport, the meal tastes better consumed with fresh air.
Fresco's: Lively crowd and Floribbean cuisine vitalizes any day, especially if you order Fresco's smoked sausage and chicken gumbo, portabello salad tower, siracha marinated amberjack, blackened swordfish etoufee, citrus marinated conch or the haddock po'boy served with Cajun curly fries.
300 Second Ave. NE, downtown St. Pete; 727-894-4429
The Pub : Same owner as Parkshore, Hanger and 400 Beach guarantees quality dishes at affordable prices on the Pub's three outdoor decks. Featuring a weekend breakfast buffet, indoor piano bar and great service, you can't go wrong with the baked oysters Rocks, crab-stuffed mushrooms, smoked fish spread, black and bleu sirloin salad and sunset specials served from 11-6 daily (stuffed flounder, onion-crusted salmon, tomato basil mahi).
20025 Gulf Blvd., Indian Shores; 727-595-3172
Jackson's Bistro : Perfect for brunch, sushi, lunch or dinner, this chic eatery, lush lounge and island bar enhances any rendezvous, romantic or gourmand. Start with the polenta-crusted calamari, salmon carpaccio or crab lobster bisque, then order the wild mushroom marsala, caramelized diver scallops and red snapper or pistachio-crusted rack of lamb (truffled mash potatos).

601 S. Harbour Island Blvd., Tampa;813-277-0112

Salt Rock Grill: Chef Tom Pritchard's seafood dishes, Asian-inspired apps, wine list and stories qualify Salt Rock for Tampa's hall of culinary fame. Often overlooked, the nautical bar, patio and boat docks behind the restaurant serve up all your favorites, even better if its in time for the two for $25 early bird (4-5:30) featuring filet mignon bordelaise, jumbo lump crab cake, coconut crusted shrimp, mussels provencale or salmon croquette oscar, served with salad, dippy bread and dessert.

19325 Gulf Blvd., Indian Shores; 727-593-7625

Sea Critters: Jimmy Buffet decor and ambiance, this laid-back bar/restaurant knocks you out with their rum punch and Bahama Mamas. Surf tender lobster roll or pasta, crab cakes, salmon, kingfish or mahi or chow down on a burger for some island time comfort food.
2007 Pass-A-Grille Way, St. Pete Beach; 727-360-3706


 
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Everywhere Else
Anna Maria Beach Cottages
Epic Hotel Miami
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Crystal River, Florida
Sanibel Beach Resort, Florida
Sonoma Mission Inn

Upcoming Events
San Diego Beer Week
The Old Globe Theater
Newport Jazz Festival
Clearwater Jazz Festiva