With restaurants popping up all over town, Clearwater is becoming a foodie destination. On a recent trip I was able to experience some of the best restaurants the city has to offer. Here are my top 5 best bites in the city.

Shrimp and Grits

1. Hilton Clearwater Beach‘s shrimp and grits. As a northern girl, I’d had grits only once before — and didn’t care for the mushy texture. This shrimp and grits had none of the mush, but all of the savory flavor. I can’t wait for the next time I visit the South to have grits again.

Gator Nibbles

2. Palm Pavilion‘s gator nibbles. These tasty little deep-fried morsels were slightly chewy — and a whole lot delicious. And yes, they did taste similar to chicken.

Crab Cake

3. Crab cake at Rusty’s Bistro (inside the Sheraton Sand Key resort). This is no ordinary crab cake; it’s a crab feast. I ordered a dinner salad and one crab cake, and almost didn’t have enough room for dessert — which leads me to Bite #4…

Bananas Foster

4. Bananas Foster at Rusty’s Bistro. Dessert lovers can thank Mayor George Cretekos for this one — he personally made sure this sweet treat was put back on the menu at Rusty’s. Thank you, Mr. Mayor!

Grouper Sandwich

5. Grouper sandwich at Frenchy’s. No visit to Clearwater Beach is complete without a grouper sandwich — and this one lives up to the hype. Available fried, baked or in a reuben, the grouper is fresh and the portions are big.

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