St. Pete Beach officially has a new Baja-inspired restaurant and cocktail bar in town. Prima Cantina Tacos & Tequila is now open at 4945 Gulf Boulevard, bringing a full-service Mexican fusion dining experience to the neighborhood.
While Mexican-inspired cuisine is aplenty in the area, Prima Cantina brings a special touch and bit of extra flair with the concept, going beyond the usual quick standards and offering a more elevated menu of fresh-made eats with coastal twists. In addition to taco plates such as the mushroom barbacoa or chicken a la parilla, Prima Cantina showcases tableside guac and house-made ceviche, as well as filling entrees such as baja carnitas, grilled branzino, steak fajitas, and shrimp mojo de ajo. They even have a “surf and turf roll” on the menu.
In addition to the food, of course, the restaurant’s cocktail program offers an extensive list of tequilas, handcrafted margaritas, and tableside sangria. Prima Cantina is located in the former home of Dockside Bar & Grill and Sea Hags, providing a large space with plenty of room for indoor and outdoor seating, as well as ample parking.
The concept has been put together by a team with several restaurants already in the area, a group comprising local entrepreneurs Jon La Budde and Kevin Wojtowicz along with their regular hospitality partner Nando Silvestri. Silvestri is the man originally behind Matteo’s Trattoria, which La Budde and Wojtowicz helped bring to St. Pete, and St. Pete Beach’s Prima Cantina will be a Gulf of Mexico version of Silvestri’s original Prima Cantina restaurant in Santa Monica.
As their website describes it, “Prima Cantina is a reflection of the spirit and essence of Baja, California. Our menu blends elements of the deep culinary heritage of mainland Mexico with the lighter, ocean-inspired, unique coastal cooking of the Baja peninsula, fused with the natural, produce-driven approach of California cuisine. Vibrant fresh herbs, smoky dried chilies, fresh Pacific seafood, bright salads, savory tacos, and a focus on grilled food express these regional inspirations and our distinctive take on tradition.”
Sub grouper and mullet for salmon and mahi, and it’s a Gulf-ready menu. In addition to food and drink, ownership plans to maximize the large space with big events, and a Cinco de Mayo celebration is already in the works for this May.
La Budde and Wojtowicz, also responsible for St. Pete favorites Buya Ramen and The Big Catch at Salt Creek, had been looking for some time for the right space for a larger, full-service Mexican concept. When this property on Gulf Boulevard became available – and with the idea of Prima Cantina already in mind – they knew it was the perfect spot, and one in which they could join in the ranks of the area’s celebrated Mexican cuisine with local staples Agave and VIP along the beach further to the north.
Prima Cantina is open daily from 11:30 am – 9 pm, with happy hour from 4-6 pm Monday-Friday, and brunch service on Sundays.
What to read next:
- Photos: Inside Gulfport’s chic new wine bar and smoke house
- Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival returns for 17-day sand sculpting festival
- Sesh St. Pete, highly-anticipated restaurant and brewery, opens this week
- New restaurant from the minds behind Lolita’s and Sea Grapes debuts on St. Pete Beach