Best Of 2023

Food & Drink

Food & Drink
Winner: SOHO Juice Co.
Finalists: Grain and Berry, Raining Berries
Winner: Red Mesa Restaurant
Finalists:  Olivia, Rocca
The beef is tender and toothsome. The carrots are huge and sweet. The noodles are silky. The onions and scallions add crunch. But it’s the broth that’s the star of this Vietnamese comfort dish, which is really more of a soup than a stew. The broth is nectar of the gods—a sublime mixture of slightly sweet, slightly salty and other elusive flavor elements that can’t be adequately described in words. You must partake to understand. Alesia—a fixture on the west end of St. Pete’s Central Avenue—offers seating indoors as well as outside in a charming courtyard.
Winner: Bacon Street Diner
Finalists: Ubuntu Food Truck, Pete's Bagels and General Store
Winner: Bacon Street Diner
Finalists: The Corner Skillet, Cafe & Grill
Winner: Yummy House China Bistro
Finalists: Hawkers Asian Street Food, Lemon Grass Thai Kitchen
We all know of the ubiquity of “fish and chips.” Beer-battered haddock is a staple with British chips, which are usually thick and hand cut similar to U.S. steak fries. In fact, there are relatively few authentic British pubs across the Bay area. What I have discovered is that Jack’s London Grill—in St. Pete, and celebrating its 10-year anniversary—is an oasis which easily delivers the food that Brits crave. Take that, Covent Garden. Add comfort food favorites, the Scotch egg and the sausage roll to the scrumptious entrees shepherds pie, bangers (sausages) ‘n’ mash with rich Guinness gravy or their delicious variety of hand made meat pies.
St. Pete’s Par Bar is the best breakup bar, putters down. First of all, there are two exits. This also means there are two entrances so that you can be sure the green is clear of your ex putt-putt partner when you show up not to play putt-putt but to watch the Lightning. And when you’re alone watching the Lightning, you can take comfort in the fact that all the bartenders are familiar with your situation. These Par Bar-tenders call it “the curse” actually, because so many of the League Night couples have ended up in the bunker. Which means, you’re in good company. And on finals night, you can watch comedians heckle your ex which will be totally awkward especially when despite the heckling, your ex wins the whole damn thing.
Winner: Tampa Bay Brewing Co.
Finalists: Coppertail Brewing Co., Magnanimous Brewing