Best Of 2020

'A Soulful Taste: Exploring Tampa Bay's Black-Owned Food Scene'

After a disappointing Google search for “Black-owned restaurants in Tampa Bay,” local journalist Alexandria Jones decided she wanted to shine a light on the local Black-owned restaurant scene that hasn’t quite hit it big on SEO. Her background as a journalist specializing in the food scene came in handy. In two short months, Jones (a CL contributor) cranked out the nearly half-hour documentary,” A Soulful Taste,” including filmed interviews and cooking footage from six concepts throughout the area. Talk about grind. This documentary is an essential watch for those looking to support a somewhat hidden food scene that demands attention due to its flavorful offerings and touching stories. thefrugalistalife.com —Jenna Rimensnyder

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Best of the Bay 2020 Food & Drink: Our critics and readers pick all the best things that made their mouths water in 2020.

Best Hype Beast Eats + Best Not Closed On Sundays: Nebraska Mini-Mart


Food & Drink Critics' Picks

Best 509 Dissent

Best Allergy Free Date Night

Best Bakery Boss Up

Best Bean-y Toilet Paper Drop

Best Bra-less Cochinitas

Best Cheesecake Variation

Best Chef

Best Coffee Shop Boss Who’s More Than That

Best Corn Dog Oxymoron

Best Curbside Chocolate

Best Dish

Best Drinks To-Go

Best End To The Week (That’s Not Happy Hour)

Best Gastronomic Antidote to 2020

Best Gluten-Free & Vegan Bakery

Best Greek Diner That’s Not a Diner

Best Hype Beast Eats

Best Irish Pub That Survived the Quarantine
Best Kosher Food For The Restaurant Worker Soul

Best Local Chef on PBS

Best Local Food Documentary

Best Locally-Published Comfort Food Cookbook

Best Making The Best Out Of A Shitty Situation

Best Meze Plate

Best New Restaurant

Best New Rooftop Bar

Best New Use For An Old Favorite

Best Not Closed on Sunday

Best NY-Style Pizza (St. Pete)

Best Pandemic Opening

Best Pandemic Metamorphosis

Best Pandemic Success Story

Best Pandemic Teamwork

Best Place To End A Date

Best Place To Fill Yuh Nalgene With Beer
Best Place To Own The Libs

Best Pork Shank Showstopper

Best Restaurant Design Revelation

Best Stress Relief Eat

Best Tableside Magic Trick

Best Taco Surprise

Best ‘Tail’ Of Comfort

Best Tiger King Gulp

Best Use Of Beer Cans

Best Way To DIY Japanese Cusiine At Home

Best Way To Support Your Local Coffee Shop While Ity’s Closed And Adapted To Coronavrius

Best Well-Intentioned Knee-Jerk Reaction

Best Winnie-The-Pooh Dessert

Best Ybor City Relocation

Best You Giveth And COVID Taketh Away

Worst COVID-19 Coffee Shop Casualty


Food & Drink Readers' Picks

Best Acai Bowl

Best All-Around Restaurant

Best Bagels

Best Bakery (Bread)

Best Bakery (Pastries)

Best Banh Mi

Best Bar Crawl

Best Barbecue Restaurant

Best Bargain Restaurant

Best Barista

Best Bartender

Best Beach Bar

Best Beach Restaurant

Best Beer

Best Breakfast

Best Brewer

Best Brewery

Best Brunch

Best Brunch For Boozing

Best Burgers

Best Charcuterie

Best Chef

Best Chicken Sandwich

Best Chinese Restaurant

Best Clearwater Restaurant

Best Cocktails

Best Coffee

Best Coffee Shop

Best Cold-Pressed Juice

Best Cookies

Best Craft Beer Event

Best Cuban Coffee

Best Cuban Restaurant

Best Cuban Sandwich

Best Desserts

Best Devil Crab

Best Diner

Best Distillery

Best Dive Bar

Best Dog-Friendly Bar

Best Doughnuts

Best Draft Selection

Best Dunedin Restaurant

Best Eggs Benedict

Best Empanadas

Best Farm

Best Fish & Chips

Best Food Blogger

Best Food Festival

Best Food Truck/Vendor

Best Foodie Instagram Account

Best Fried Chicken

Best Frosé

Best Gourmet Market

Best Gourmet Popcorn

Best Greek Restaurant

Best Grilled Cheese

Best Grouper Sandwich

Best Guacamole

Best Happy Hour

Best Health Food Market

Best Hot Sauce

Best Hotel Bar

Best Hotel Restaurant

Best Ice Cream/Gelato/Frozen Yogurt

Best Indian Restaurant

Best Italian Restaurant

Best Kava Bar

Best Key Lime Pie

Best Kombucha

Best Late-Night Restaurant

Best LGBT Bar

Best Liquor Store

Best Lobster Roll

Best Mac 'n' Cheese

Best Margarita

Best Mexican Restaurant

Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

Best Mini Doughnuts

Best Neighborhood Bar, Hillsborough

Best Neighborhood Bar, Pinellas

Best New Brewery, Hillsborough

Best New Brewery, Pinellas

Best New Restaurant

Best Outdoor Dining

Best Pad Thai

Best Palm Harbor Restaurant

Best Pasco Restaurant

Best Pizza

Best Poke Restaurant

Best Poolside Bar

Best Ramen

Best Restaurant That Delivers

Best Ribs

Best Safety Harbor Restaurant

Best Salad Bar

Best Sangria

Best Seafood Restaurant

Best Seminole Heights Restaurant

Best Smoothies

Best Sommelier

Best Soup

Best Southern Cooking

Best Splurge Restaurant

Best Sports Bar

Best Steakhouse

Best Sushi Restaurant

Best Tacos

Best Tampa Restaurant

Best Tapas/Small Plates

Best Tea Shop

Best Tequila Bar

Best Thai Restaurant

Best Vegetarian/Vegan Restaurant

Best Vietnamese Restaurant

Best Waitstaff

Best Waterfront Dining

Best Whiskey Bar

Best Wine Bar

Best Wings

Best Ybor City Restaurant

See all winners from Best of the Bay 2020.

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'Pint And A Pocket'

Ron DeSantis’ lack of a plan to combat, track and contain coronavirus is extremely bad news for bars and breweries, and while many of them are still navigating the governor’s fuck up, several took Halsey Beshears (DeSantis’ Secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation since Jan. 2019) upon his 509 restaurant license loophole that basically let any bar open if it served food. None pointed out the ludicrousness of the 509 gimmick louder than Dissent Craft Brewing Company which offered a Hot Pocket and pint of beer special to patrons both desperate to get out of the house and pour money into one of their favorite breweries. dissentcraftbrewing.com —Ray Roa

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Winner: SOHO Juice Co. sohojuiceco.com

Second Place: Sweet Soul ilovesweetsoul.com

Runner Up: Escape Root Juicery escaperootjuicery.com

See all winners from Best of the Bay 2020.

Winner: Red Mesa Restaurant redmesarestaurant.com

Second Place: Bella's Italian Café bellasitaliancafe.com

Runner Up: Bern's Steak House bernssteakhouse.com

See all winners from Best of the Bay 2020.

Gourmet Pizza Co.

Netflix and chillin’ with your vegan or gluten-free boo might be a bit cumbersome when you don’t know what takeout to order. Gourmet Pizza Company’s menu is flush with delish options literally anyone can enjoy, and it’s constantly adding new allergy-friendly ingredients. Plus, you can add vegan cheese to just about anything, and you might feel a little less guilty about your carb coma if you opt for the cauliflower crust. gourmetpizza-company.com —Alexis Chamberlain

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7th + Grove, Oxtails

“Rude Boy” is a comfort food supernova. Perhaps because my late mother introduced me to them in my youth, braised oxtails hold a special place in my heart. If you’re a fan of lamb shanks, you’ll be delighted with these. There’s so much collagen that the meat is the lushest imaginable. It sits on a creamy, balanced sage and garlic mash with some braised veggies and crispy cornbread nuggets that have soaked up all the juices, but maintain their crunch. A sprinkling of thin green onions on top finishes off this wonder in style. 7thandgrove.com —Jon Palmer Claridge

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Winner: St. Pete Bagel Co. stpetebagelco.com

Second Place: Bella’s Bakes Cakes and Bagels bellasbakescakesandbagels.com

Runner Up: 18 Bagels Co. 18bagelsco.com

See all winners from Best of the Bay 2020.

Winner: Mazzaro's Italian Market mazzarosmarket.com

Second Place: La Segunda lasegundabakery.com

Runner Up: Alessi Bakery alessibakery.com

See all winners from Best of the Bay 2020.

Winner: Mazzaro's Italian Market mazzarosmarket.com

Second Place: The Cake Girl thecakegirl.com

Runner Up: Bake'n Babes bakenbabes.com

See all winners from Best of the Bay 2020.

Curious Cat Bakery

Curious Cat Bakery owner and one-woman band, Natalia Lima, got crafty once coronavirus forced a switch-up in the small business game. The vegan baker began offering free virtual lessons via Instagram live for all of her bored and ambitious fans practicing social distancing in their homes. On top of lessons, Lima began offering free delivery and weekly pop-up menus for customers (she could safely whip up in her commercial kitchen in St. Pete). Lima also made headlines back in October for making vegan versions of dishes from Netflix's “Great British Bake Off.” Talk about a bakery boss up. curiouscatbakery.com —Jenna Rimensnyder

See all winners from Best of the Bay 2020.