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Staff picks: the best lunch spots in St. Pete

Staff picks: the best lunch spots in St. Pete

Inside the colorful and bright Mangosteen | Photo via Mangosteen (FB)

In a world where dinner takes the spotlight and brunch captures our weekend imaginations, there’s a midday opportunity that’s often overlooked: lunch. With busy weekday schedules, it’s easy to grab a quick bite on the go. But here in the Sunshine City, there’s a chance to slow down and relish the flavors that make St. Pete so unique. Here are our top lunch destinations (in no particular order), from build-your-own platters to sit-down meals, that are perfect for an afternoon meet-up or a solo outing.

The Studio Public House

📍2950 Central Ave
This local favorite opens at noon most days with lunch specials available until early evening. With outdoor seating, spring is the time to stop by and enjoy their Thai cucumber salad or Bollywood chicken curry with a view of bustling Central Ave. Their menu includes a range of vegetarian-friendly sandwiches, salads, and mains inspired by English pub fare with Indian influences. 

A fresh slice of pizza with pepperoni and basil from Jay Luigi.
A slice of pizza at Jay Luigi | Photo via Jay Luigi (FB)

The Avenue

📍330 1st Ave South
A staple by local restaurateurs, Hunger Thirst Group, The Avenue is a go-to for burger and classic American food in the heart of St. Pete. For those looking to make their lunch visit a little more fun, The Avenue has an extensive drink menu including favorites like Texts From My Ex and the Smoked Old Fashioned. If you’re more in the mood for Asian cuisine, check out another HTG concept just around the corner – Good Fortune.

Jay Luigi

📍 3201 4th St N
Italia all day is the motto of this Italian hotspot, and they sure do deliver when it comes to lunch. Until 4pm, diners can order from their combo lunch specials, or if you’re hungrier, choose from their pizza, plant-based pastas, sandwiches, and rice bowls. Pizza aficionados will appreciate their three house-made crusts, including New York-style, Romana, and thin. Gluten-free options are also available.


The Twisted Indian

📍2639 Central Ave S
For colorful bites that pack a punch, The Twisted Indian is your fast-casual go-to in the Grand Central District. Take your pick from rice bowls, tacos, curritos (their take on a burrito but with spice), fries, or naanwiches and choose your protein. Vegetarian, plant-based, and gluten-free options abound, and no meal is complete here without a chilled mango lassi. 

The inviting inside bar at Sauvignon Wine Locker & American Trattoria.
Enjoy lunch at one of Sauvignon Wine Locker’s inside tables or at the bar | Photo via Sauvignon Wine Locker & American Trattoria (FB)

Sauvignon Wine Locker & American Trattoria

📍241 Central Ave
This Central Ave newcomer recently began serving lunch from Tuesday through Friday. The Menu highlights their house made pâté, burrata, and fettuccine primavera. Their mains include grinders, ribs, and more for hungrier appetites. If you’re looking for a more elegant midday meal, Sauvignon Wine is the place with its curated wine menu and trendy ambiance.

The Floribbean

📍2410 Central Ave
In the Grand Central District, there’s no other place to satisfy your craving for the islands than at The Floribbean. With Caribbean, Mexican and Cuban flavors, their menu offerings are made from scratch with fresh ingredients. Most dishes are customizable, though their signature combinations include the Island Umami bowl with coconut rice and Sweet Heat Havana bowl. 

Florida tacos at the Galley are complete with grilled grouper or filet.
Florida tacos at The Galley | Photo via The Galley (FB)

The Galley

📍27 4th St N
A neighborhood bar owned by locals, this downtown mainstay becomes a popular gathering spot for lunch by day. Although you may need to hang around until the evening to enjoy the live music, their lunchtime atmosphere doesn’t miss. Their colorful Gulf grouper and shrimp ceviche is a lighter option, but you can’t go wrong with their Buffalo Shrimp Cobb salad or the Cuban Sandwich, which comes on Cuban bread from another Tampa Bay hit, La Segunda Bakery.


11 Chicks Yummy Creations

📍199 Dr M.L.K. Jr St N
Arepas, cachapas, tequenos, and fresh juice–there’s no other place for delicious and traditional Venezuelan food. Located on MLK Jr. Street, this family-owned gem recently expanded from its previous location. For those new to arepas, this round flatbread made from cornmeal is packed with delicious ingredients, from cheese and beans to plantains. Order one with fresh guanabana juice for an authentic meal.

Taverna Costale's chicken sandwich with seasoned fries is the perfect midday meal.
Taverna Costale’s chicken sandwich | Photo via Taverna Costale (FB)

Taverna Costale

📍200 Central Ave
Fit for a lunch meeting or a more upscale midday occasion, Taverna Costale is there to set the scene with its inviting patio and bar. Their lunch menu serves up familiar dinner dishes, such as the bucatini e polpetti, but with expanded sandwich and pizza offerings. For those looking for a lighter nosh, their cast iron focaccia, tavern hummus, and other starters are available.


📍656 Central Ave
Dip inside this Asian-inspired restaurant for a sushi roll or two next time you’re looking for a new lunch spot. Mangosteen’s all-day menu is influenced by Southeast Asian and Japanese cuisine, with dumplings, yakitori, and wok-style noodles all in the same place. Right on Central Ave, you can always dine al fresco and people watch as you enjoy your meal. 

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