After months of watching its construction and anxiously awaiting this new restaurant’s addition to downtown St. Petersburg, we finally got to enjoy it, one week after its grand opening. Currently, reservations are only for parties of 7 or more, so we arrived early and checked in with the very friendly and upbeat hostess. The wait list was computerized, sending our cell phone an SMS text message when our table was ready. Perfect, considering there was a crowded hostess stand area and a line out the door.
The decor was modern, edgy, and eclectic, but most importantly, an inviting space. Tables and the dining area were large and roomy, but the bar area felt a little tight. It was difficult to stand and grab a drink at the bar, so try for a coveted bar stool. The bar was equipped with flat screen televisions to watch sports. The covered, outdoor seating area along the sidewalk was spacious and the service was great. We didn’t have to wait long to get our drinks and food.
Our waitress suggested that we sip a signature moonshine cocktail or one of the many wines or craft beers on tap. The craft beers were posted on a screen resembling an old fashioned train schedule board. It looked really neat! The menu is not too short and not too long…just enough items to please anyone. Our group had mixed tastes when it comes to food, so it was great to find a cool, new, hip place with a menu that satisfied everyone!
We were seated outdoors. Dining “al-fresco” was comfortable with agreeable Florida weather. Just off the sidewalk, it was a great spot for people watching. Even though we were outside, the service exceeded expectations.
Now for the eats!
We started with hot, freshly fried oysters. This crowd pleaser was a generous portion of “chicken fried” oysters, house-made pickles, with whole grain, mustard aioli. Wow, the aioli was super delicious.
The “Pho rolls” were described as steamed, house-made bao, chili hoisin, and marinated beef…Another winner!
Next, we had a side of kale Caesar salad with sardines, lemon oil, and sourdough croutons. We love kale so we really enjoyed this side salad.
The filet-o-fish of the night was Lane Snapper, and it was grilled on top of a salty and sweet raisin chutney barley.
For our main courses, we ordered “Key West pinks”…Stillwaters’ take on shrimp and grits…a group favorite. The shrimp were plentiful and cooked to perfection.
We shared a side of “Creole Mac n Cheese” which was very rich and creamy and only lightly seasoned, not spicy…but still very good. Mac n Cheese is always so yummy.
The dessert menu had us drooling even before we ordered! We chose the black cherry and dark chocolate bread pudding with vanilla-bourbon flavored ice cream…It didn’t come with much ice cream, so we asked for more and our server was happy to oblige.
Stillwaters Tavern is located in downtown St. Petersburg, directly on Beach Drive in Restaurant Row and just a few blocks from the newly renovated and developed Sundial. There is valet parking in front for $5 with validation. We will definitely return to try more items on the menu, and are especially looking forward to trying some of the daily specials…Our waitress raved about the “Meatless Monday” special.
PPP Tip: Get a few complimentary beer samples to try before making a selection–we were glad we did because we were more adventurous and found a new favorite!
Overall: The prices were reasonable, making Stillwaters a good value for the area (we think that most restaurants on Beach Drive are overpriced). The food and service exceeded expectations, especially considering we dined during opening week. We hope to return sometime soon!