Short Excursion: Visiting Clearwater, Florida in a Day
Destination: Clearwater Beach, Florida.
Before our Clearwater Beach Day trip started, my wife and I conducted some preliminary research into the best dining places in the area. Our fact-finding process led us to identify Frenchy’s Saltwater Cafe as one of the best-ranked places to dine in the area, with a 4.6-star rating from 3500+ Google reviewers. As for a runner-up location, we determined that Badfins Food + Bar was a close second. From this research, we decided both locations would be on our list for visiting. As for a breakfast café, the best one we were able to find was Ryan’s Island Café, which achieved a 4.9-star rating from over 2,100 Google reviewers.
Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort
On our day/night trip to Clearwater, Florida, we stayed at the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort. In driving up, the hotel looked a bit dated, and we were quite concerned that the interior would be as outdated as the exterior looked.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by a surprisingly pleasant security guard who directed us to the valet parking. The valet attendant was also pleasant enough and explained the process of leaving our car and checking in at the hotel. Most informative!
At check-in, the front desk attendant was also pleasant but was operating under the stern view of her manager. During check-in, we inquired about Frenchy’s; specifically, was it any good? To our delight, she confirmed it was actually excellent.
Bill for the room…
Room for the Night
After checking in, we immediately headed for room 614, our allocated home away from home. Traveling the corridors of the lodge, the hotel seems to have been updated recently, sporting modern décors, a Sandcastle, and comfortable seating throughout. Upon entry to our room, the king-size bed was incredibly comfortable. Again, the décor throughout the room seemed updated with modern light and such, as well as delectably abundant electrical outlets. As for the balcony view, it was amazing. A spectacular view of the ocean as well as the pool and pier.
Trip to the Lobby Bar
One of our first stops at almost any hotel that has a bar is, well… the bar. At first, the lounge attendant seemed quite nice but a little flustered… guess he had been having a moment. My wife ordered the drink of the day, which was clearly posted on the counter’s chalkboard. This request only seemed to fluster the hapless helper further. The bartender quite frankly had no idea how to make the requested concoction and proceeded to remove the drink of the day from the chalkboard. A bit confused, she did order another drink which was the hibiscus mule. For myself, I ordered a strawberry daiquiri. The drinks were well-made, with plenty of alcohol, and, for a cherry on top, we were provided to-go cups.
Frenchy's Saltwater Cafe in Clearwater Beach, Florida.
Our next stop was to be Frenchy’s Saltwater Café, which was about a five-minute walk from the hotel. At this location, Frenchy’s design seemed to resemble a beach shack, with inside and outside seating. The hostess was pleasant, peppy, and seated us lickety-split. However, the waitress seemed to be a bit in a rush.
For our order here, we selected:
|Garlic Crab Fries||6.95|
|Rum Runner (2)||26|
For the evening, my wife and I decided to eat light at all of the restaurants we were to visit. From this, we decided to limit our food orderings at Frenchy’s to appetizers and drinks.
The first item up was their garlic fries. The fries were hot, fresh, and loaded with cheese, crabmeat, and garlic butter. After consuming these delights, there was still butter left pooled at the bottom level of the bowl. These drippings were promptly removed by using our ordered pretzel, which was the shape of a fish, as a sponge. Complimenting the fish pretzel was their homemade beer cheese. Don’t let the plastic container fool you; the cheese was excellent.
Our third appetizer was fried gator tail. Hot and fresh, the only words that came to mind as well made short work of the serving. Unfortunately, the spicy barbecue sauce that came as a side was a bit of a disappointment. A better choice for a dipping sauce would have been a mayonnaise-based product like a tiger sauce or something like it, in my most humble of opinions, of course.
Finally, the baked oysters were my wife’s favorite. Not only were there several oysters provided, but they were also hot and fresh and again oozing with flavor.
Badfins in Clearwater Beach, Florida.
Later in the evening, we decided to walk on the beach for a little bit and then head over to Badfins. At Badfins, we were greeted by a pleasant hostess and seated again quickly. This seems to be a trend here. The server was cheerful and helpful in directing us to popular menu items. For drinks, I ordered a blueberry mojito, and my wife chose the Mai Tai. As an appetizer, we selected our server’s recommendation, which was the tuna tostadas.
The blueberry mojito was absolutely delightful. As for the Mai Tai, it had plenty of alcohol, but the taste was a bit tart. Finally, the tuna tostadas were a little bit disappointed. They seemed watered down and lacking in flavor. The lettuce and tomatoes seemed to overpower the tuna and its seasoning. Plus, the vegetables were a bit watery, which kinda took away from the tuna taste. Little bit disappointing.
In summary, our trip to Clearwater Beach, Florida, was not only relaxing but full of culinary explorations and opportunities to appreciate Florida's west coast. My favorite part of the trip was sitting on our balcony and enjoying a beautiful 4th of July sunset and subsequent fireworks, which were visible for as far as my little eyes could see. As for my wife, the highlight of the trip was seeing a pirate ship sailing off into the sunset.
Author: Paul Borosky, Doctoral Candidate, MBA., Author. and Tishauna Borosky