The most gorgeous St. Pete beach day to date in 2012 quickly came and went. 78 degrees, not a cloud in the sky and a nice breeze keeping the sweat from dripping off our brows…I could not have asked for more. A legitimate Florida native, I have always counted my blessings twice for the incredible weather we are so blessed with ten months out of the year. On this particular heavenly beach day a certain self-proclaimed “foodie” had forgone her standard nutritious gourmet picnic lunch due to an intense feeling of urgency to get to the sand and sun. Absolutely content until the very end of the day, my mind began wandering on where we could venture off to for some post-beach bites. With a long list of St. Pete eateries left untouched, there were endless possibilities until suddenly, I thought no further. Remembering an episode of Diners Drive-ins and Dives, I knew exactly where we would go.
Driving up to Ted Peter’s Famous Smoked Fish, I immediately knew this was my kind of place. An open-air restaurant, accepting cash only with an ATM on its premises, this was a no frills no thrills joint for dedicated smoked mackerel fans and “newbies” alike. Located on Pasadena Avenue and directly across from the beach, their location begs for beach bums crusted in sand and smelly from the sea. Decent service where dropping off menus and waters without a hello is deemed appropriate, these servers are attentive, but without much personality, not much at all. Hardly a significant issue for me, I was there to indulge in some seriously tasty smoked fish.
My boyfriend and I had strutted into this old-fashioned St. Pete hot spot just before their lunch hour ended. We were going to order two lunch plates, one smoked Mahi and the other, smoked Mackerel. Although she barely smiled and never wished us a good day, the server recommended we order and split the dinner plate, as it is bigger bang for your buck. My boyfriend won this food fight between fishes so we ordered the Mahi.
The smoked Mahi arrived promptly, dressed with all of the standard fixins’ including two ridiculously delicious horseradish sauces- one mild, the other kicked up a few notches. Quite possibly the largest Mahi filet I have ever seen (for $20), it was beautifully smoked and paired with scrumptious sides of hot German potato salad and coleslaw. The fish was perfectly moist, jam-packed with that killer smoked flavor a professional “smoker” must feel triumphant to achieve. Impressed? Definitely. The fish was incredible and though unnecessary, the horsey sauces were demolished. The potato salad and coleslaw were not too shabby either, with every last morsel consumed. We were satisfied and stuffed after a single serving of the smoked goodness. While the Mahi was outstanding, next time we will be ordering the mackerel, an oily fish wonderful for smoking. I’ve also heard the fish spread is mouth watering at first taste.
Ted Peter’s has convinced my particular palate. I suggest any smoked fish lovin’ foodie to check this dive out. A little pricey it initially appears, I’d find it hard to believe that anyone ever leaves hungry or disappointed.