By Carla M. Dubis Tedeschi
When you think of fine dining, fresh seafood, and a stellar selection of wines and cocktails, perhaps a restaurant in a shopping strip on Tampa Road isn’t your top choice, but trust me when I say, Mystic Fish is the hidden gem you’ve been searching for!
Celebrating 21 years of serving the Tampa Bay community, Mystic Fish is locally known as one of the best restaurants in North Pinellas. Owner and Executive Chef Doug Bebell is grateful for the loyal customers and employees who have stood by him since opening in 2001.
“We thought North Pinellas needed something special, and this was it,” explained Doug. “There’s nothing else like this around. You’d have to go to Tampa, and then you’d be paying twice as much. We’re very fair-priced. It’s not just about the bottom line – we want our customers to have a wonderful dining experience.”
“Just can’t improve on perfection,” says Dori B. in her recent 5-star review. “Lovely setting. I feel as if I’m back in Manhattan at any one of my favorite eateries. Some restaurants in NYC can take some lessons from this place. SUPERB!”
The décor features a dropped ceiling, 1,200 hand-laid, iridescent Mexican abalone shells border, three saltwater aquariums, horned lit sculptures made from reel-to-reel motion picture film, and hand-blown wall sconces from Chicago, and three-dimensional swimming cuttlefish carving. Stained glass windows and unique light fixtures allow softer light around the whole dining area, bar, Italian fossil-lined booths, and teak wood tables draped in white linen tablecloths.
“This place is a must-try!” says Teri M, Yelp Elite Member, on her recent 5-star review. “Service was on point. Tonia was a rockstar, and I’d go back to being charmed by her calm and pleasant demeanor. We started with the escargot, with bread and garlic butter. I had the shrimp and crab-stuffed snapper with veggies and mashed potatoes. My partner got the scallop and shrimp, goat cheese linguine with tomatoes. I got the salted caramel gelato and the gourmet peanut butter ice cream. The vibe is great for date night, and make sure to get reservations. This place is busy and with great reason.”
Doug stressed that Mystic Fish was never intended to be a “posh restaurant,” simply a casual place where high-quality food was served in beautiful surroundings at a reasonable price. “Take our bison, for example. It’s not about margins with us. We’ll serve a prime steak at a price everyone’s afraid to charge in Pinellas County. It’s about flavor, giving the customer what no one will give him whether they don’t have that luxury or don’t want to take the chance, and giving the customer a great meal at a great price.”
“When the restaurant is always packed, you know they must be offering something great,” says Elaine C. in her recent five-star online review on Mystic Fish. “Fabulous food, fabulous service. Prices are fair if you consider the quality of food you are getting. They always have great specials, and they even have an early menu that is a tad cheaper, but you have to be there by 5 pm. Recommend this restaurant to anybody looking for a rewarding dining experience.”
Seniors in the community love the value of the delicious and wallet-friendly early dining. Millennials and Generation X know at night that Mystic Fish is a great place to hang out with coworkers or friends and enjoy some of the best-rated bar services in the neighborhood without traveling downtown.
Though everything on the menu offers a new and exciting take by Chef Doug, he favors the Bronzed Chilean Sea Bass, a lightly blackened fish served with hijiki soy-ginger sauce.
“You can’t be wrong with that. The Fish is always moist, and the hijiki sauce and the texture of the fish are always awesome.” Chef Doug recommends pairing the meal with their decadent Crème Brulee or Key Lime Panna Cotta.
Be prepared for not just a delicious meal and a diverse menu that caters to every taste preference and age – from millennial to senior citizen – but an experience you won’t soon forget.
Chef Doug wants to take this opportunity to thank his loyal customers and employee base for supporting Mystic Fish today and into the future.
For online reservations, a full menu, and Happy Hour Times, please go to www.mystic-fish.com. Take-out and Curbside Take Away are available from 4–8 pm. Make your reservations and place your take-out orders by phone as early as 2:00 pm by calling 727-771-1800. Reservations are recommended.
Mystic Fish is located at 3253 Tampa Road, Palm Harbor. Hours of operation are Sunday through Thursday -4-8 pm and Friday and Saturday 4–9 pm.