Clearwater is a major Florida city near Tampa and St. Petersburg. With its location on a peninsula reaching out into the Gulf of Mexico, it's a great place to stop for seafood. One of the true delicacies in the Clearwater area is the blue crab, known for its distinctive blue hue, tender meat and mild flavor. Not all seafood restaurants near Clearwater serve blue crab, but for those diners who are unwilling to accept any substitute, there are a few local spots that consider it a house specialty.
Crabby Bill's Seafood
Crabby Bill's Seafood is a long-standing Clearwater institution that has expanded into the nearby Tampa and St. Petersburg markets. Crabby Bill's specializes in crab dishes and serves fresh, local seafood, including a famous soft-shell blue crab. Lightly dusted in flour and fried to a golden brown, the entire crab can be eaten, shell and all, with just a fork. The diverse lunch and dinner menu also includes steak, pasta, sandwiches, salads and a full raw bar. A full beer, wine and liquor bar is served at this flagship Clearwater location.
Crabby Bill's Seafood 37 Causeway Blvd. Clearwater, FL 33767 (727) 210-1313 crabbybills.com
Crab Shack is a popular and very casual St. Petersburg seafood restaurant whose house specialties include steamed blue crabs, smoked mullet and whole corvina fish. Blue crabs are available by the dozen, half-dozen or individually, and are served with either garlic butter or spicy seasoning. The enormous menu includes a full range of other seafood, smokehouse specialties, sandwiches, salads and more. A large variety of beer and wine is served, including beer by the pitcher and wine by the glass. Stop in on Mondays for the all-you-can-eat fish fry special, then come back on Tuesday for all-you-can-eat clam strips.
Crab Shack 11400 Gandy Blvd. St. Petersburg, FL (727) 576-7813 crabshack.com
Billy's Stonecrab, Seafood & Steaks
Though another variety of crab has top billing at Billy's Stonecrab, Seafood & Steaks, the blue crab plays a starring role on its inventive menu. You can enjoy steamed and pre-cracked blue crab claws by the plate, or have your blue crab as a topping on, or stuffing inside, one of Billy's delectable grilled fish dishes. Other featured crab varieties include local stone crab, Dungeness crab, king crab and snow crab. The large menu also features appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, wraps, steak and chicken. While you're there, have a drink at the restaurant's rooftop bar, where live music is performed nightly.
Billy's Stonecrab, Seafood & Steaks 1 Collany Road Tierra Verde, FL 33715 (727) 866-2115 billysstonecrab.com