Five Courses: Home slices in Clearwater, Tampa & more

New pizza and Italian restaurants around the area, plus more in food and drink.

click to enlarge Clearwater Beach's Opal Sands Resort will house Sea-Guini and Sand Bar. - Meaghan Habuda
Meaghan Habuda
Clearwater Beach's Opal Sands Resort will house Sea-Guini and Sand Bar.

Two new waterfront food and drink destinations — Sea-Guini and Sand Bar — will occupy the soon-to-open Opal Sands Resort on Clearwater Beach. The luxury hotel, which offers panoramic views of the Gulf, is set to open at 430 S. Gulfview Blvd. this month.

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Sea-Guini, a coastal-influenced restaurant serving innovative Italian and seafood offerings, will highlight seasonal delicacies. Focal points of the fine-dining concept include a large brick pizza oven and homemade pasta-making station, and cocktails and local craft beers will also be on hand.

Sea-Guini Executive Chef Todd Holender, known for creating dishes with artistic quality and complex flavor profiles, made his way to the state’s west coast to join the Opal Sands family by way of the Florida Keys.

At the Sand Bar restaurant and bar, where patrons will have direct access to the beach, lighter, more casual cuisine will be featured. An extensive tropical cocktail program, as well as draft beer, will accompany the food lineup.

• Another Italian haven, Casa Cosenza, has launched in Oldsmar at 3705 Tampa Road. The eatery features a modern, minimalist interior and uses ingredients imported from Italy in its cooking. Plus, the bread, pasta and cheese are made in-house daily.

Casa Cosenza’s menu gets right to the point; it’s divided into hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, salads and sides, pasta, soups, meat and fish, and desserts, including chocolate-covered profiteroles. Lunch specials are served Monday through Thursday, and the kitchen can accommodation vegetarian and gluten-free diets.

• Restaurant and sports bar Boston’s officially morphed into Tampa Joe’s at 9316 Anderson Road near the beginning of January. A mashup of Midwest values and Tampa casual with a lingering New England spirit, it has a new look but remains a meeting place for Patriots fans.

The bill of fare, modeled after a something-for-everything restaurant in the heart of the Midwest, showcases bar food favorites, laid-back American dishes and a wide pizza selection. Choose from creative flatbreads, stromboli, specialty pies and “dream-your-own” versions. Oh, and Mike’s Pies.

• Downtown Clearwater’s Basil Fusion Bistro, which CL covered back in July, recently debuted with Vietnamese and Asian fusion cuisine. In digs that are intimate and relaxed, the indoor-outdoor restaurant at 623 Cleveland St. carries items such as bahn mi (a veg-friendly version, too), stir-fry noodles, Hawaiian French toast with pineapple compote and braised pork belly sliders.

• Margaritas and other Mexican tastes are being served up at Los Mexicanos, also headquartered in Clearwater at 2325 Ulmerton Road. Ohana Cafe, a health-conscious, Hawaiian-influenced restaurant previously located in Palm Harbor, premiered in its new Dunedin home at 1452 Main St. Lutz gained a fresh hangout, dishing grub and live entertainment at 16411 N. Florida Ave., called Twisted Rooster Bar & Grill. In South Tampa at 111 S. Dale Mabry Highway, the region’s first Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. is close to completion. And Brandon's Fuzzy's Taco Shop, another restaurant brand making its way to the area for the first time, opens its doors at 2874 Providence Lakes Blvd. on Feb. 15. 

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