Five Courses: North Pinellas ripe with new restaurants and more

Dunedin Coffee Company & Bakery, Palm Harbor's Le Gumbo and other food and drink spots open.

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In the heart of downtown, Dunedin Coffee Company & Bakery has started serving local coffee, baked goods and gelato next to Rosie's Tavern.

The cozy shop at 730 Broadway, owned by Elena Kapetaneas, offers fresh-baked coffee cakes, scones and other goodies daily (even gluten-free and vegan items), as well as savory fare like hand pies, biscuits served with sausage gravy and quiche.

On the beverage end, there's a standard selection of caffeine that includes iced coffee, Americanos and espresso macchiatos to accompany specialty "freezes" in flavors like caramel java and raspberry. Those who can't control their sweet tooth can also choose gelato by the cone, cup or pint, plus inside sandwiches or the coffee-based dessert, affogato.

At 355 Scotland St., Dunedin's PhoEdin is also up and running. Patrons order their Vietnamese eats — shrimp fresh rolls, pork belly bánh mì and tofu pho among them — from a walk-up window, then chow down in the purple-painted restaurant's open-air dining area.

• In Palm Harbor, Le Gumbo Cajun Cafe does up food New Orleans-style. Owners and Palm Harbor residents Paul and Tracy Cianci opened their eatery May 20, featuring a Cajun-Creole spread of favorites such as red beans and rice, crawfish étouffée and jambalaya. A chicken salad po' boy, Cuban sandwich, veggie gumbo and muffuletta round out the creative and international offerings, and there's hot or iced café au lait and baked goods, too.

Mizette Lebanese Grill has introduced "authentic food made with love" to Clearwater in sleek, casual digs. Falafel, shawarma, hummus and tabbouleh are the restaurant's highlights at 30051 U.S. Highway 19 N., as are the two house specialties: yogurt dip and garlic paste.

Another Clearwater newbie, Umai Cafe, is operating in the former home of a Quiznos at 601 S. Fort Harrison Ave. Filling sit-down or takeout orders, the attractive dining spot's grub ranges from 50-plus sushi rolls to Japanese entrees (think chicken katsu and yaki udon) to hibachi plates.

• Latin American and contemporary American cooking techniques collide to create the chef-inspired fare from downtown Safety Harbor's Coastal Cantina. The new indoor-outdoor restaurant launched June 4 where Harborita Cantina used to be at 519 Second St. S., and its lineup includes braised pork shanks, paella and an array of tacos and sandwiches. House wines, signature cocktails and bottled beer drive the drink list.

Ten minutes away in Oldsmar, the 40-seat Cafe Mezze, formerly known as Ybor City's Istanblu restaurant, divides its Mediterranean menu into sections like appetizers, grilled items, house specialties and vegetarian dishes at 4013 Tampa Road. Specifically, there's a variety of kebabs, moussaka, a mixed vegetable grill and lamb chops.

• Meanwhile, in Hillsborough, Bawarchi Biryani Point opened a few days ago at 2020 W. Brandon Blvd. In a contemporary, fast-casual setting, the Indian food-slinging Brandon eatery, part of the national Bawarchi restaurant chain, specializes in hyderabadi dum biryani, which is often called "the king of all biryanies."

Bawarchi, which translates to "the chef," also offers curries, Indo-Chinese noodles, lunch specials and way more for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.

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