5281 Park St. N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33709
A veritable dining institution in St. Petersburg, ask any local where to find the best Middle Eastern cuisine and you’re bound to hear Beirut Cafe as the response. Despite a lack of alcohol on the menu, the owners will happily allow you to open your own bottle for only $5. Wraps, entrees and homemade desserts are all masterfully prepared here, both in terms of flavor and presentation. Don’t miss the falafel if you are a fan of these popular fried chickpea balls. The foule, pita, hummus, spinach pie and baklava count among the other popular dishes. One of the few authentic Lebanese restaurants in Tampa Bay, we can consider Beirut Cafe a pleasure for the senses.
420 W. Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33606
The Oxford Exchange symbolizes a fabulous combination of disparate concepts: a classy European atmosphere, a relaxed eatery, a bookstore, an interior design boutique, tea from Teabella and coffee from Buddy Brew. The wide open lobby and dedicated private dining space make this the ideal business lunch meeting place. In terms of food, try the lobster BLT for an uptown take on this downtown classic. The service can be hit or miss and some complain about the cuisine for its butter and salt quotient, so if a fan of lighter meals, try to avoid buttery or salty dishes. Originally, Oxford Exchange allowed diners to open one bottle of their own for free, a policy that has since been replaced with a $15 corkage fee.
768 N. Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
With more than 25 years of experience in the restaurant business, the family behind Villa Maria knows how to properly run a dining establishment. For top-quality Italian in Clearwater, look no further. Villa Maria is the local pizza expert, gaining praise for both crust and toppings. Other specialties include the baked ziti, fettuccine alfredo, eggplant parmesan and the steak salad. A cozy atmosphere, vegetarian menu items and a take-out option make this a favorite spot for clients with particular tastes. Finally, no corkage fee means a maximum can be spent on your dining experience.
717 S. Howard Ave.
Tampa, FL 33606
With a nominal $16 corkage fee, 717 South is another great BYOB option for a refined modern Americana steakhouse-style meal. A variety of delicious salads await, as well as the exotic Chilean sea bass and shrimp, pistachio-crusted lamb and Szechuan duck breast. An eclectic yet classy decor and prime location in the famous SOHO neighborhood, on South Howard Avenue itself, reflect this original restaurant’s unique menu. Problems with service are a thing of the past, as the restaurant seems to have found an effective wait staff.
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