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“Always innovative” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Cafe Ponte

Cafe Ponte
Ranked #1 of 685 Restaurants in Clearwater
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $31 - $50
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Romantic, Business meetings, Special occasions, Local cuisine
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, 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.
Dunedin, Florida
Level Contributor
33 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Always innovative”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 14, 2011

Top quality dishes served by a great staff in luxurious surroundings. All in all probably the best restaurant in Tampa Bay. Expensive but considering the food and service Cafe Ponte is a really a great value.

  • Visited June 2011
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank sawdusted
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
    9
    12
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Trust the locals! Highly recommended!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 3, 2011

This place is consistently excellent. If you consider yourself a foodie and/or a sophisticated diner, you will enjoy Cafe Ponte. If you enjoy chain restaurants, you will probably not appreciate the quality of the food nor will you enjoy the price. It IS in a horrible strip mall, the interior of the restaurant isn't anything special but every time I leave this place, I always feel that I just had a delicious and elegant meal. This is one of the better restaurants in the St. Pete/Largo/Clearwater area.

    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Sherri L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Timbuktu, Mali
Level Contributor
178 reviews
117 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 225 helpful votes
“Favorite Local Restaurant”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 22, 2011

I work in the Clearwater/Largo area and in my opinion, this restaurant is the only establishment at which to host a power lunch or a romantic dinner. All other restaurants pale in comparison.

Service at lunch today was top notch. She was attentive without smothering us and was there when we needed her. The iced tea was refilled twice, without us having to ask.

Do yourself a solid and get the calamari as an appetizer. It is served with a delicious peanut sauce that you will dream of for days afterwards. I had the tuna entree and my husband had the salmon. Both were excellent.

The prices, to me, are not that high. It is comparable to what you would pay in downtown Tampa.

We have held several company functions in their private room and the service and food is always of the utmost quality.

Trust a local, you will not be disappointed with your meal at Café Ponte!

  • Visited April 2011
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Hosalito
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“A response to comment below.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 22, 2011

I would ignore too! First clue is you ordered a zinfandel.(cheap!). If you are unsatisfied with your table move. If you are unsatisfied with the tea return it. If you question your bill ask your server to explain it. Your one of those people that eat everything on your plate and say you didn't enjoy it. If you go out to eat most restaurants want to know about the problem at the time it happens so they can fix it. What do you expect them to do refund the food you gobbled up. Your wifes silence is her own problem! Maybe next time you should request a finer wine out of the box!!!

    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
6 Thank Finewine411
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palm Harbor, Florida
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Very disappointing and no response to written complaints”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 6, 2011

The following are excerpts from a letter I mailed to Chris Ponte, chef/owner. To date, no response. The email contacts on their website did not work Their website pricing and contacts were out of date, reflective of their apparent customer attitude. I hope that other diners who may care whether a meal costs hundreds of dollars and if they are treated respectfully will learn from our experience, hede my cautions and act accordingly.


I have eaten at many restaurants but this is the first time I have been sufficiently motivated to write to the restaurant or any review sites, which I shall afterwards.

Last Thursday, December 16, my wife and I ate dinner for the first time at Café Ponte. We had been looking with keen anticipation for quite a while until our schedule allowed us to take advantage of your prix prefix menu. Let me review chronologically.

We arrived about 6:15. There were perhaps three or four tables occupied. We were seated in the booth directly adjacent to the exterior door although there were many empty booths and tables. You may remember that there was a hard-freeze that night. Every time the door opened a harsh cold breeze blew across us. This continued throughout the meal.

My wife ordered a house white zinfandel. The waiter, P [my letter included his full first name]., brought her a blush. She questioned why. He said you don’t have any whites and the blush was a good choice. It was drier then she drinks and did not enjoy it. I had some and didn’t like it either. P. should have first informed us of the lack of a white and suggested we try the blush with the caveat that if we didn’t he would take it back. Instead it was pushed on us. My wife is too reticent to send something back.

I mentioned we were ordering from the prefix menu. P. was appropriate in reminding us that the foie gras and filet mignon would cost more. I had intended to get the pork chop. He then informed us of the specials for the evening. The veal shank sounded interesting. He did not advise us that any of them would cost extra. I assumed therefore that these were special in that they were just offered temporarily. I would not have otherwise ordered the veal instead of the pork chop.

The veal shank was a disappointment. The veal tasted like an ordinary pot roast. My wife made fun at the single baby carrot that was served. I understand taste is personal but to pay more unwittingly and enjoy it less is surely disappointing.

Although my water must have been refilled eight or nine times we had to request additional bread to the one slice served to each of us.

My wife ordered tea. A selection of teas was not offered. She found it bitter as I did when I tasted it. However, she doesn’t drink coffee and needed the hot tea because of the constantly opening of the front door next to us. After just rechecking your online menu I find that there are nine teas offered, including Earl Grey, which is her favorite. Apparently P. arbitrarily selected Paris.

For desert, I was told by phone that we could order anything off the standard menu. After the entrees, P. said we could choose among three deserts, a flourless chocolate cake, a crème brulee, and a crisp. I guess we were intimidated that those were the only options.

Adding great insult to injury was the bill.
This is where I found out about the extra $8 for the veal.
The individual prefix price was $36. Your online price is $33.
The tea was $5.50 vs. your online price is $5.
Because of the cold, my wife had a second pot of tea. She was charged another $5.50. $11.00 for essentially hot water! Which she was not offered a choice of. Which she didn’t like.

Yes, I should have insisted to speak to a manager. But the combination of P.’s smooth demeanor and our avoiding embarrassing confrontation was too much at the time.

  • Visited December 2010
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
7 Thank Lev6345
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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