There is a beautiful restaurant above an amazing market located just off Central Ave in St. Petersburg. Locale Market is foodie heaven, and I have some experience with being so distracted by it’s offerings that I have completely missed this farm-to-table restaurant just up those stairs located at the end of the (new) sushi island. It’s hard to say whether the delicious, smokey smell of slow cooked ribs and brisket comes from the BBQ area of the retail first floor, or the restaurant upstairs, but either way it is breathtaking. Like, mind-alteringly decadently breathtaking to the point that you will become confused, elated, etc. But, don’t lose your focus. GO UP THE STAIRS!
The menu in the restaurant itself has been simple all of the times I’ve been there, and different each time, too. This particular menu included sides like Duck Fat Fingerlings and main plates like Olive Oil Poached Grouper. While a look at the menu can leave you wondering if it is too simple, I assure you that Chefs Michael Mina and Don Pintabona live up to their accolades by making simplicity decadent through perfect execution, ingredient sophistication, and culinary refinement. In their hands, this simple food is a complete balance of gourmet and rustic. The wait staff is equally excited about your experience. My husband and I once spent the better part of our meal engaging with an extremely knowledgeable and passionate waiter regarding the chefs, the food, and the local farm-to-table movement.
The dining room inside is beautiful. Farmhouse style tables, bright and airy, but comfortable. For me, the view outside with the business of the shopping center going on below wins. I’m always taken by the beauty of these particular few blocks of St. Petersburg where the surrounding buildings are majestically tall and reflective, some topped with beautiful palms. It looks almost fake.
We ordered the Warm Olives to start. The mixture of kalamata with greens was enhanced with some citrus and olive oil. They were served beside crispy toasted bread. Perfect way to start a serious meal.
For the main course I ordered the Petit Filet with the Mixed Greens topped with Champagne Vinaigrette. The greens came mixed with ribbons of carrot and tomato, and the dressing is fruity and fresh. And that filet, OH THAT FILET! I cut into it and took a bite. It was perfectly cooked medium (as ordered) with very little seasoning. There was nothing overpowering the meat. The flavor was amazing, and it was hands down the most tender piece of meat I’ve ever had. After three or four bites the waitress came running over to apologize that she had given me a butter knife. A butter knife? I hadn’t noticed.
My husband ordered the Faroe Island Salmon with Mixed Greens (NOT the Duck Fat Fingerlings like I had begged him to order). He reported that his was very good. I had a bite of the salmon and it was very fresh, moist (sorry!), and flavorful. It was not over seasoned or covered in sauce, allowing the fish itself to really shine.
I have attempted to get to one of the restaurant’s Chef’s Table, but I always seem to run into childcare snags. I will, though. And it will so be ON!
For more information about the chefs, the market, and the restaurant please visit their incredibly robust website. You can even order online! I have not covered any of their interesting information regarding how they source ingredients, etc., which you will find on their home page.