The Food Issue: The CL stars guide

Jon Palmer Claridge’s best-reviewed restaurants from 2012-2014, from 3.5 stars on up.

click to enlarge Elevage in Tampa, one of JPC's 4.5-star restaurants. - CHIP WEINER
Chip Weiner
Elevage in Tampa, one of JPC's 4.5-star restaurants.


Each week I hope to capture the dining experience, both good and bad, using Goethe’s three questions: What were they trying to do? How well did they do it? And finally, was it worth doing?

The answers to these questions translate into my five-star system as follows:

1 = Poor
2 = Fair
3 = Good
4 = Excellent
5 = World Class

While Tampa Bay currently has no world-class restaurants, there’s one in Orlando (Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort), and there’s a five-star-worthy chocolatier in Belleair Bluffs.

And as the CL Stars Guide list demonstrates, we’ve got plenty of terrific food.

This list shows restaurants that I rated at 3.5 stars or more from mid-June, 2012, when I began reviewing for CL, to the first week in June, 2014. Any restaurant getting three stars or above is one where you can confidently spend your money. But for the purposes of this guide, we made 3.5 stars the cutoff point, indicating restaurants going the extra mile to be more than just good — good-plus, if you will.

So check the list, read the CL reviews online and see what you think. Flaws that bother me might not be a big deal to you, while tastes I swoon over might leave you cold. This guide may confirm your opinion of your own favorite places, or lead you to places you’ve never tried.

In any case, get out of the house to try something new. A world of exciting flavors awaits you.

Note: I’ve yet to dine at a few restaurants that, by reputation, are likely to have made this list if I had. So, Mise en Place, Restaurant BT, Pellagia Trattoria, Yummy House and others: I look forward to making your acquaintance.


About The Author

Jon Palmer Claridge

Jon Palmer Claridge—Tampa Bay's longest running, and perhaps last anonymous, food critic—has spent his life following two enduring passions, theatre and fine dining. He trained as a theatre professional (BFA/Acting; MFA/Directing) while Mastering the Art of French Cooking from Julia Child as an avocation. He acted...
Scroll to read more Food News articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]