Fine French Fare in St. Petersburg

By: Kara Chalmers

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Last weekend, I needed a place in downtown St. Petersburg that served dinner late. I’d heard great things about St. Pete Brasserie since it opened in the fall of ‘09, so my husband and I drove there after seeing a show at the Mahaffey Theater.

It was past 10 p.m. when we arrived (dinner is served till 11 on weekends, though) and lots of people were still eating.  My first impression was that it looked like a really fun, lively place – the kind of place you could also just have drinks on a weekend night.

It was the menu, however, that really got my attention. The place is a real brasserie – a casual French restaurant serving really high quality food without doing serious damage to your wallet. I noticed lots of French classics like Escargot en Cocotte ($8) and Croque-Monsieur ($7) for appetizers, as well as Steak Frites du Jour – Filet ($18 for a small plate and $34 for the large), Cassoulet with Duck Confit ($14) and Beef Bourguignon ($14).  

Upon the suggestion of owner Andrew Wilkins, I selected the Black Fin Snapper, the small size ($17), prepared in caper brown butter, with Brussels sprouts and new potatoes. It was wonderful.

But I have to say the star of the show was my husband’s burger. Even though my snapper was delicious (truly), I had major food envy (as did the friends we were with) after I took a bite of this burger. Called the Brasserie Burger ($10), the juicy burger was topped with brie , sautéed mushrooms, onions and a truffle oil aioli. Even the bun on which it was served tasted spectacular. We’re still talking about this burger.

We were too full for dessert, which was a shame because the list looked good (Chocolate Lava Cake, Trio of Crème Brulee, Carrot Cake, Fourless Chocolate Torte and a Berry Tart). We’ll just have to indulge next time.

Note: St. Petersburg actually has two French brasseries… Read my post about my summer visit to Cassis American Brasserie here.


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