Photograph courtesy of City of St. Pete

Photograph courtesy of City of St. Pete

The biggest misconception about St. Pete is that it’s heaven’s waiting room. In reality, St. Pete is a growing city full of young, thriving artists and entrepreneurs. It seems like a new business opens every day. This city is amazing!
— Chef David Benstock of Il Ritorno

By Chef David Benstock


Photograph courtesy of Il Ritorno

Photograph courtesy of Il Ritorno

My Restaurant | Il Ritorno

I’m trying to bring in a new take on Italian food by using classic Italian techniques such as fresh fish, fresh pasta and fresh bread. I love to introduce my guests to unique flavors so that each time they dine at IL Ritorno they're experiencing something new and exciting.

When you eat at my restaurant, I'd recommend you try the Octopus because we’re taking a classic Italian dish such as the putanesca and presenting it with an entirely new approach. It's unlike anything else on the menu.

449 Central Avenue #101, St Petersburg, FL 33701
T: 727.897.5900 | 
www.ilritornodowntown.com


Chef David Benstock's St. Pete Guide

MORNING

Photograph courtesy of Kahwa Espresso Bar

Photograph courtesy of Kahwa Espresso Bar

COFFEE | Kahwa Coffee

I enjoy Kahwa coffee because it is local and it is roasted right down the street from us every 2 to 3 days, so it’s always fresh. We actually serve it here at the restaurant.

Espresso Bar: 475 2nd Street North, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 | T: 727.823.4700
Espresso Bar at Bayfront Medical: 701 6th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL, 33701 | T: 727.592.4901
Café: 204 2nd Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 | T: 727.821.1942
www.kahwacoffee.com

BREAKFAST | Banyan Café

They have an amazing breakfast sandwich. With their handmade furniture and trinkets, the atmosphere is great as well. You feel very at home and welcomed at Banyan.

701 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 | T: 727.896.6600
689 Dr M.L.K. Jr St N, St Petersburg, FL 33701 | T: 727.896.6100
 banyancoffee.com


SHOPS | Farmer Markets

The Saturday Morning Market

This is a great stop for fresh produce and grass-fed beef.

Progress Energy Park, 100 1st St SE, St Petersburg, FL 33701
T: 727.455.4921 | www.saturdaymorningmarket.com

Mazzaro's fresh-made pasta | Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Mazzaro's fresh-made pasta | Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Mazzaro’s Italian Market

I enjoy Mazzaro’s because it has very good quality deli meat, and delicious cheese options.

2909 22nd Avenue N, St Petersburg, FL 33713
T: 727.321.2400 | www.mazzarosmarket.com

Sammy’s Seafood

This is my favorite place to get retail seafood. We purchase our seafood for the restaurant from here, and they are always fresh and have incredible prices. A must-go!

2875 46th Avenue N, St Petersburg, FL 33714
T: 727.322.2460 | www.sammysseafood.com


LUNCH

Engine No. 9

Photograph courtesy of Pom Pom's Tea House

Photograph courtesy of Pom Pom's Tea House

I love their Border Line Burger. 

2901 Central Avenue, St Petersburg, FL 33713 | T: 727.498.8951
56 Dr M.L.K. Jr St N, St Petersburg, FL 33705 | T: 727.623.0938
 www.no9burgers.com

Pom Pom’s Tea House

I also love Pom Pom’s Tea House’s all-you-can-drink tea, and the fact that they give you a sample of their soup of the day as soon as you sit down.

2950 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, FL 33712
T: 727.873.6992 |  www.pompomsstpete.com

Brooklyn South

They have amazing grilled cheese sandwiches.

1441 Central Avenue, St Petersburg, FL 33705
T: 727.914.4967 | brooklynsouthcheese.com

 


AFTERNOON SNACKS

Photograph courtesy of Hooker Tea Co.

Photograph courtesy of Hooker Tea Co.

Infused Tea Company

They have  a drink called 'Cheeky Peach' that has their Peach Rooibos tea and graham crackers mixed in like a milkshake, and it’s really good. We actually use Hooker Tea Co.’s tea for our Lavender, Vanilla and Peppermint Gelato and our Blueberry Rooibos Tea Gelato.

300 Beach Drive NE #124, St Petersburg, FL 33701
T: 727.894.4832 | 
www.hookertea.com

 


PRE-DINNER COCKTAILS

Photograph courtesy of The Mill

Photograph courtesy of The Mill

The Mill

This is a St. Pete newcomer, has awesome cocktails and a very good bourbon list.

200 Central Avenue Suite 100, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
T: 727.317.3930 | www.themilldtsp.com


RESTAURANTS | Dinner

Photograph courtesy of Brick & Mortar

Photograph courtesy of Brick & Mortar

Brick & Mortar

I come here for their fat noodles. The place has a cozy atmosphere, and the owners are really great people.

539 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
T: 727.822.6540

Signature Deviled Eggs | Photograph courtesy of Z-Grille

Signature Deviled Eggs | Photograph courtesy of Z-Grille

Z-Grille

I truly love the Cali-Mex style they offer and I have never had a bad experience here.

104 2nd Street South, St Petersburg, FL 33701
T: 727.822.9600 | www.zgrille.net


SOUVENIRS | Locally-made to Take Home

Old St. Pete Distillery Whiskey

My favorite locally-made spirit that I think would make a great gift to take home is Old St. Pete Distillery Whiskey because it goes to show St. Pete thrives in staying local – including in its spirits.

Website | Where to Buy


Chef David Benstock

David Benstock is the executive chef of Il Ritorno in St. Petersburg, Florida. Raised locally, he left the area to work at Wolfgang Puck's Spago in Colorado, The Modern in New York City, Scarpetta at the Fontainebleau in Miami, and Boca Bar Kitchen and Market in Tampa. Il Ritorno translates to “the return” which signifies David’s coming back home.


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