Sure, Clearwater Beach, FL, is known for its gorgeous sugar sand. It’s known for its picturesque sunsets. But what about when you’re hangry and want to know where to eat in Clearwater Beach? Where do the locals eat? I took one for the team, loosened my belt, and hit all of the best places to eat in Clearwater Beach and Clearwater. Here are my top picks for the best restaurants for foodies in Clearwater Beach.
When I travel, I want to eat where the locals eat. I want to dive right into a city’s culinary scene and walk away smiling. When it comes to Clearwater Beach, there are so many really good restaurants that it’s hard to narrow down which ones to visit. Here are my favorites to consider for your next visit to Clearwater Beach and Clearwater, FL.
1. Where to eat in Clearwater Beach: The Donut Experiment
The Donut Experiment is just that: made-to-order culinary donut creations. Here’s how: start with a cake donut, then choose from six glazes and 17 toppings. and you won’t get donuts that have been sitting on the shelf, either. Each one is specially made as you order. You don’t have to visit just for breakfast, either.
Tip: get creative when you visit! If you like spicy, order one with Sriracha. Want a blast from your childhood past? You can’t go wrong with vanilla icing topped with Fruity Pebbles.
2. Where to eat in Clearwater Beach: Cooters Restaurant & Bar
Regarding the name, I have to get this out of the way. Cooter is a nickname for turtle in Clearwater Beach.
Once you get past the name and the entrance, what you’ll find is a laid back atmosphere and fun menu. Yep, it’s heavy on seafood, but there’s plenty to choose from if you’re not a fan.
Appetizers We Loved: Cooter’s Famous Wings and Hot Crabby Shrimp Dip. If you’re adventurous, try the Gator Bites.
Entrees to Try: Fresh Gulf Grouper and Either style of Crab Legs, Alaskan or king Crab. Not up for seafood? The Chicken Pasta Alfredo is really good – and the size is very generous.
3. Where to eat in Clearwater Beach: Salty’s Island Bar & Grille
Salty’s is a great spot for lunch (it’s only been open for a short time but is winning plenty of awards!), but my pick is to visit for breakfast. With plenty of fresh beach air and no glass windows to impede your view, grab a seat by the “window” and enjoy the food.
What to Try: Avocado Toast. It’s hearty and flavorful and comes with two eggs, any style. Add a Peach on the Beach Smoothie from the Smoothie Bar and I was full until lunch.
4. Where to eat in Clearwater Beach: Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber
If you’re looking for a nice place to clean up and visit, my pick is Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber. The owner hailed from Ohio (not that it’s my reason for visiting but it was fun to know!) and wanted a dining experience with home-cooked menu offerings.
Appetizers We Loved: The Wedge Salad and French Fried Onion Rings
What to Order: Back-to-the-Farm Chicken. Since 1910, the iron skillet-fried chicken has been the popular offering. Add in mashed potatoes, gravy, veggies, and cream slaw and it’s a hearty, delicious meal. You’ll also find plenty of steak and seafood choices, too.
5. Where to eat in Clearwater Beach: Marina Cantina
If you’re headed to Clearwater Beach Marina for a fishing or dolphin-watching excursion, walk across the pier and check out Marina Cantina. It has two levels, but on gorgeous days the Rooftop Bar area is perfect. Another restaurant that’s so laid back (casual dress is just fine), it offers a menu heavy on Mexican cuisine. I have no problem with that.
Appetizers We Loved: Queso Fundido or a Trio of Empanadas. The Guacamole is also a good bet. Marina Cantina has award-winning Chips and Salsa that make for a great starter before the main meal, too.
What to Order: White corn tacos filled with everything from chicken to short ribs. Again, grouper is huge in Clearwater Beach so the Grouper Cakes with cilantro slaw and Veracruz rice is a no-brainer option.
6. Where to eat in Clearwater: Clear Sky on Cleveland
To visit Clear Sky on Cleveland, you’ll have to head to Clearwater proper. It’s absolutely worth it, though. The menu has a global take, so you’ll fine everything from PB & J Brussel Sprouts to Grilled Octopus. Clear Sky is open for Brunch, lunch, and dinner.
Appetizers to Try: You can’t go wrong with French Brie, Deviled Eggs, and Hummus with Naan Bread.
What to Order: The Club COC (Turkey, bacon, Havarti cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato and gochujang aioli on choice of wheat or white bread) or an Oven Baked Naan Flatbread. The Classic Margarita is really good.
Disclosure: I was hosted by the gang at Visit Clearwater, Florida, to give you fine folks the scoop on where to eat when you’re in town. All opinions and photos are my own! #MyClearwater #BestBeachTown