We were heading to St. Petersburg for Aaron’s yearly company party and we spent two weeks in the St. Petersburg, Florida area. When we pulled up Happy Cow, it looked like there were a couple all vegan options and quite a few “vegan-friendly” options. Without further adieu, here are 4 restaurants you should try and 1 you can skip!
We found ourselves on the Tampa side of the water one Saturday morning and were looking for something to eat when Hayden mentioned there was a vegan grab and go shop. We stopped by and found out that they were serving brunch with two options on the menu, a Benedict, and a poke bowl. Naturally, we ordered one of each. Holy smokes this is one of the best meals we’ve had since New York City! They only have hot food available on Saturday and it is in limited supply, but if you can get there during their brunch hours, we highly recommend it! They do have a lot of items in the cooler that you can purchase to go and we brought home mac and cheese, pesto pasta, an Asian noodle salad, and several other items. If you’ve ever microwaved mac and cheese, you know that it’s generally not a great experience, but that is not the case here. It is some of the best mac and cheese we’ve had and they give you coconut shavings to put on top which elevates it to a whole new level. If you go anywhere in the St. Pete / Tampa area, go here!
Cider Press Cafe
We actually went here twice, once for dinner, and once for brunch. Our first trip there for dinner, we were stoked because they had the Beyond Meat Beyond Burger, which if you haven’t had that yet, you are missing out on one of the best meat replacements on the market. Aaron ordered the double burger with eggplant bacon and a side of mac and cheese, while Hayden went for a more modest single burger, with a side of coleslaw. We also tried their Kale Ranch salad, which was absolutely fabulous. This salad made us want to eat kale for every meal! For brunch, we got a few items, but the biscuits and gravy was the star of the show there. The raw pancakes weren’t very satisfying, only because we had really been craving pancakes and they didn’t hit the spot. We felt their dinner menu was better than their brunch menu, but would go back for either one of them!
Love Food Central
Our server from Cider Press Cafe also worked at Love Food Central and suggested we check out this restaurant. We ordered a kale caesar salad that had some of the best caesar dressing we’ve ever had. We also ordered the Reuben sandwich, which was delicious with awesome thousand island dressing, and the Shiitake Bowl was plated beautifully and had great flavor. The food itself was good, but you HAVE to get their sunflower butter soft serve ice cream. You can create your own sundae with any of the toppings that you want and if you go there on Tuesday, you get a free topping.
Thai Am #2
After our trip to go dolphin watching, we were looking for some food that was close by. Luckily there was a Thai restaurant nearby called Thai Am #2, which you really can’t go wrong being vegan with a Thai restaurant. While this wasn’t the best Thai food we’ve ever had, it was pretty good and hit the spot after a day on the water with some drinks. If you’re near the area and looking for some good Thai food, you won’t be disappointed here.
While we normally try not to put out negative reviews, we feel like it’s worth mentioning this place so that people are aware. One of the dinners for Aaron’s company party was held here and the only vegan entree they offered was a tofu steak covered in a mushroom sauce. While this sounded great in theory, when it arrived, it was quite a letdown. For $25, one would expect that they would do a bit to elevate this dish, but it’s ultimately a previously frozen tofu block with a spice rub doused in a half pound of mushrooms and sauce. If they marinated the tofu, it would go a long way to increase the flavor of the dish, but otherwise, it’s like eating a brick of spongy tofu covered in mushrooms. Definitely don’t waste your money at this restaurant.