Cleanest beach restaurants in Tampa Bay

ST. PETE BEACH, Florida -- Over the years we've told you about plenty of problems inside waterfront restaurants with major issues on their health inspections.

This week, however, we're highlighting some of the BEST restaurants with no more than five basic violations on any of their inspections over the past two years. Some of the restaurants we found did even better than that.

On Indian Rocks Beach, we found Jake's Cantina at 435 Gulf Blvd. Averaging a mere three violations per inspection, Jake's is known for its freshly made Mexican at a great price.

"The mahi tacos are the favorite for our guests," said owner Matthew Loder who confirms his employees take health inspections seriously.

"It is a thing where we do mock inspections on ourselves," said Loder. "We go ahead and test ourselves to make sure when the inspector comes in we don't have violations."

Customers were thrilled to hear about the restaurant's clean kitchen.

"When you have a family, that's the first thing you think about," said one customer visiting from Atlanta. "You don't want to go into any kind of place that has a low score."

Our next stop was also along Indian Rocks at Stefano's Italian Cuisine. The family-run restaurant at 2699 Gulf Blvd is averaging just two violations per visit.

"We just do what we're supposed to be doing," said owner Stefano Struzinski who also serves as the head chef and leads his staff by example.

"If they see you cleaning, they're going to clean," said Struzinski.

Heading south to St. Pete Beach, our nest stop was at Bongo's Beach Bar and Grill at 5250 Gulf Blvd inside the Grand Plaza Hotel. Even more amazing than the view out towards the water, what this restaurant's health inspections, averaging 1.2 violations per visit.

Bongo's is one of the few restaurants we found with multiple perfect inspections, with not a single violation on their inspections from May and November of last year.

"It's absolutely very important," said one customer visiting from England with his wife and children. Especially since we're giving it to our youngsters, so year very important indeed."

And perhaps the cleanest restaurant we could find along the Pinellas Beaches was Sandra's German Restaurant on St. Pete Beach at 7115 Gulf Blvd averaging 0.3 violations.

"No convenience food, it is absolutely fresh and homemade," bragged owner Jochen Mayer.

From the sauerbraten to the schnitzel, Sandra's racked up THREE PERFECT inspections since 2012.

"I'm German. And in Germany, we are a little bit… perfect," said Mayer with a smile. "I'm not perfect, but I try to do my best."

Finally, just in time for desert, our final stop was Tropical Ice Cream and Coffee at 435 Gulf Blvd. The ice cream parlor whips up shakes and sundaes, and even offers an assortment of coffee averaging just 2.6 violations with one perfect inspection.

"I don't have any fears of them getting food poisoning or sick," Yvonne Gonzeles as she enjoyed ice cream with her two children. "It's awesome, great. It's really good!"

CLICK for a map of all the restaurants' locations

To give you some perspective, 10 violations is about average for restaurants in Pinellas County. We've seen as high as 67 violations on a single inspection.

Fewer than 5 percent of all restaurants score a perfect inspection.

If you'd like to search health inspections for your favorite restaurant, use our search tool below.


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