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“Truly a destination restaurant” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Cafe Ponte

Cafe Ponte
Ranked #1 of 684 Restaurants in Clearwater
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$31 - US$50
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Local cuisine, Business meetings, Special Occasion Dining, Groups
Dining options: Dinner, After-hours, Lunch, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Private Dining, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: 58th St.
Venice, FL
Level Contributor
25 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Truly a destination restaurant”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 June 2012

We have lived in Florida for 12 years, eat out regularly, and know and love good food. This is the best restaurant we know of in Florida. We've been to Cafe Ponte twice. The food, presentation and service are all exceptional. Don't let the mall setting fool you. That's Florida. Inside it is a different world. On both visits our waiters were amiable, knowledgeable, and forthcoming, but not obsequious or intrusive. There were four in the party each time my wife and I were there, and each time we all had the $36 three-course, fixed-price option, which is clearly the way to go if you can get there between 5:30 and 6:30, the time it is offered. Unlike many places, you can order anything from the appetizer and entree menu as well as specials (upcharge on five or six items) and you have a choice of three desserts. The meal starts with a tiny cup of a delicious mushroom bisque for everyone. My shrimp cocktail appetizer had four gigantic shrimp with two distinctive dipping sauces. No bottled cocktail sauce here. Others' crab and asparagus salads were very generous and pronounced exceptional. The stand out entree was a tempura fried butterfish, but everything was excellent, perhaps with the exception of one person's boulllabaisse, in which the fish was described as a bit "fishy". All three desserts were chosen and all got raves, though the winner was the beautifully presented quartet of sorbets. The pacing of presentation was perfect. I won't comment on the wine list because I am no expert, but our modestly priced chardonnay was very nice. A complimentary chocolate completed a perfect evening. The place was mostly full on a summer weeknight, but not at all noisy. Bravo! I've already got my selections for the next trip picked out.

  • Visited June 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank frequenttraveler038
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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568 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    472
    56
    19
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    12
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Davenport, Iowa
Level Contributor
141 reviews
99 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“Great Find Near Airport”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 May 2012 via mobile

Were arrived hungry at PIE airport after being treated like low class cattle on Allegiant Air. On the way to the rental car I looked up nearby restaurants on TripAdvisor on my phone. Cafe Ponte sounded like great food and just a few minutes away. We were overwhelmed! The food (lunch) was fabulous and the service was even better. They were pretty busy when we arrived, but found us a table without a reservation. Then they apologized for not getting our drink order right away and brought us a complimentary basket of bread and 2 demitasse cups of a fabulous mushroom soup! The club sandwich was excellent with fresh ingredients and a very tasty bread. The Mediterranean meat loaf was very good. The waiter and hostess were extremely attentive. We want to try several more things on their great menu. Thanks TripAdvisor and Cafe Ponte!

Helpful?
1 Thank Wrightway4010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
north carolina
Level Contributor
26 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Awesome Food and Service”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 May 2012

My husband and I dined at Cafe Ponte on May15th, 2012. We are from North Carolina and were vacationing. We also were using a Groupon. The location of Cafe Ponte is not where one would expect. It is located on a very busy six lane road in Clearwater. Once inside you are immediately taken to a relaxing atmosphere. I am not accustomed to any fine dining locations in Florida. So to say my husband and I were underdressed is an understatement. We actually thought about leaving and returning on another evening. That was not neccessary. Our waiter Ed made us feel completely comfortable. Ed's gift is he is passionate about his food and passionate about Cafe Ponte. I actually thought he may be part owner. It was the finest meal I had on the entire vacation. Ed took pride in pairing the wine with my entree selection. I make my selections based on my waiters recommendations and Ed did not disappoint. Our appetizer was tuna tartar which was delicious. I ordered the sea bass which was incredible, I will order again. My husband ordered the special which was steak with crab and shrimp on top. It was good but my husband did like mine better. Ed talked us into desert. My husband enjoyed the chocolate souffle and I chose the cheese plate which was a perfect ending to my meal. Actually you could enjoy the cheese desert anytime with a nice galss of wine. The manager is constantly walking around checking on tables. As he approached our table I apologized for our appearance and promised the next time we visit we would step it up a notch. He made us feel very welcome and treated us no different then the other guests.

The only little negative thing I could say is they guard that bread like it is gold. The bread is delicious and a young man actually walks around serving it. He asks you "Which ONE piece would you like". And if you want another piece you are going to have tp get someone to flag him down because he avoids, like a plague, the already bread served tables.

  • Visited May 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank bookiepoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clearwater, Florida
Level Contributor
42 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Wow”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 May 2012

Very unique, super tasty, everything is well done and in very good taste!

Visited August 2011
Helpful?
Thank saptraveler_21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Safety Harbor, Florida
Level Contributor
16 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Hidden treasure”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 May 2012

Tucked into a fairly obscure center of offices and shops, I'm afraid Cafe Ponte gets overlooked by visitors. I have taken many out-of-towners, friends and business associates here and all have been impressed. This is my call for the consistently best restaurant in upper Pinellas County. They use freshest ingredients in an evolving menu. The wine list is well above average. The dessert list, although not as lengthy as in past years, is not to be missed.

  • Visited December 2011
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank rabbithall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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