If you know me as a person you know that Mexican food and a delicious salty margarita is my love language. Luckily Mark feels the same way – a match made in heaven. Since we moved to St Pete, FL it’s been our mission to make a Mexican restaurant list and try them all to find the perfect salsa, the perfect margarita, and the perfect fish tacos!! While we still haven’t tried “it all” we have found a few go-to favorites!
This is our go-to beach spot for sure! Parking can be very tricky and all free parking in the area has gone to metered parking (boo!) but it’s worth the struggle. VIP tends to have a waitlist especially if you want to be inside, but again it’s so worth it! They have expanded the outdoor dining seating (thanks COVID), and thankfully they have a great outdoor bar to serve you something cool while you wait. The TI location is pretty tiny with a large bar and limited other seating indoors with tiny bathrooms … plus you walk through the kitchen…. but haven’t I mentioned that it’s so worth it??!? It really is!
Thursday is our favorite day to go because they have their signature (very strong) house margaritas for less than $5 🙌 And our absolute favorite dishes are the seared tuna roll, the 3 amigos chips & dip, the fish tacos, Mexican pizza, and Chile Relleno 🌶 we’ve honestly never had anything at VIP that we didn’t love.
So if your ever in the area- Get a drink, a delicious meal then walk across the street and watch a Treasure Island sunset!
P.s. VIP just opened a second location in Indian Rocks Beach that has had limited hours – we haven’t made it there yet… but it’s on the list!!
Nueva Cantina in South St Pete is full of character! We were pleasantly surprised by the awesome atmosphere, spacious free parking, and tons of room inside with 3 separate rooms of seating.
We’ve only been there once so far but had an excellent experience and will be going back soon! They have an amazing Sunday brunch with a special menu and bottomless drink specials- perfect for a Sunday get-together with friends or family.
We loved the salsa and queso and the chips were seasoned to perfection 🙌 Not to mention the smooth and salty margaritas 🤩 We tried the Mexican pizza and the Chile Relleno but I’m already counting the seconds until I can go back and try the tacos and everything else!! 🌮
Technically there is a Red Mesa Restaurant on 4th Street and Red Mesa Cantina in Downtown St. Pete. While we have been to both, we prefer the Cantina downtown. It’s in an amazing brick building downtown with a beautiful outdoor area complete with a fountain and large bar area. It has a colorful Lucha theme and top-notch drinks and drinks specials.
We’ve tried so many things here over the last couple of years and recommend trying it all! It’s the perfect downtown date night spot with one of our favorite restaurant ambiance’s.
Casita is more of a casual carry-out or simple dine-in experience. It has multiple locations in St. Pete- 4th Street, 66th Street, and Central Avenue which is our favorite spot.
How it works- you wait in line, order from a menu at the counter, they hand you your drinks and apps then you find a place to sit and wait for them to call your name. This location has indoor and outdoor seating and it’s on Central Avenue so you’re close to all the action!
You guys… not only can you carry out the amazing food but now also the drinks! We always order a margarita with salt and red sangria with cinnamon 🤤🍹 Just look at that cinnamon! Our usual order includes chips, salsa, and queso plus The Casita Bowl with tortillas and a huge variety of tacos on fresh tortillas 🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🙌
Que Pasa is the first place we tried when we moved here in 2015. It was in the strip mall right next to the grocery store we used to frequent and it reminded us of the places we loved back home in Ohio. Brightly colored decor, large bar area, authentic house-made salsa, Mariachi music, and friendly staff that loves when you order tequila. The kicker for us was the amazing drink specials- 2 for 1, white cheese on everything, and oh my goodness the seafood options!
We had moved way across town and found ourselves searching for closer experiences, however, our recent move put us right back to this being our closest choice again! Yay!!!
Do you have a local favorite? Give us your recommendations!!
Bonus Recipe– Chipotle is always my carry-out go-to, in fact, I’d eat there daily if I could lol! My favorite part is the tomato salsa and guess what?? I found the perfect recipe that tastes exactly like it!!! Score!!!
Here’s the recipe
• 1 1⁄2lbs tomatoes, coarsely chopped, about 6 medium tomatoes
• 1⁄2 cup red onion, finely chopped
• 1⁄2 jalapeño pepper, seeded, stemmed, and finely chopped
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, from one lemon
• 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from 2 limes
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt
• 1⁄4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
• 1 bag tortilla chips, for serving
• In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno, lemon juice, lime juice and salt.
• Let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature to blend flavors. Stir in cilantro. Taste salsa and adjust amount of jalapeno pepper and salt as desired.
• Serve with chips & a salty margarita!