Dining at Opal Sands Resort is certainly about the food – after all, all the dining outlets are serviced by its award-winning restaurant. But they also come in some delicious settings. Here’s how to best sample – and savor – them all in one day.
You may have initially come to Opal Sands Resort for a luxury stay with prime access to America’s best beach. But this resort offers more than just a swanky place to lay your head in between days sprawled out on the sand. It’s actually home to a TripAdvisor 2020 Travelers’ Choice award-winning restaurant, Sea-Guini, with a kitchen that also services the various other dining outlets on property. That means, wherever you choose to drink and dine – whether that’s at the chic poolside bar at lunchtime, the beach-based tiki-inspired Sandbar in the afternoon, or Sea-Guini’s dining room at dinner – you’re always getting award-winning service, food, and atmosphere. Not sure where to start? Here’s how to maximize your eating experience across one full day.
Breakfast with a Bang in the Dining Room of Sea-Guini
What better place to start your Opal Sands eating experience at non-other than the resort’s marquee restaurant of Sea-Guini, an Italian restaurant known for its hallmark exhibition kitchen centering around an impressive mosaic-tiled pizza oven. But you’re not here to watch the chefs hand prepare pasta and work pizza dough – that is, not yet. Rather, you’re heading to the dining room section, located just beyond the restaurant’s bubbling “water wall” (think an aquarium with attitude, sans fish), where breakfast comes served on white linen tables to patrons who sink into sumptuous lime-green armchairs. As for your dish of choice? Among the ample offerings of breakfast paninis, eggs benedict, Belgian waffles, and buttermilk pancakes, the Amaretto French Toast comes served hot off the griddle, stuffed with sweet mascarpone and bananas, and topped with warm maple syrup and toasted almonds. Wash it all down with a fresh-squeezed juice or smoothie.
Sharings & Such from Reflections Pool Bar
You won’t have to look far to find a bite while lounging out at the resort’s zero-entry Gulf-front pool. Reflections Pool Bar, a mosaic-tiled and covered bar, is perfectly positioned within the aquatic paradise – between the main pool area and additional lounge-chair-lined turf area, all of which cantilevers over the ocean. If you’re still full from breakfast (or smart of enough to be saving room for dinner), sharable dishes and light bites make up the menu here – including fresh greens, hearth-oven pizzas, and apps like calamari, bruschetta, and crispy Brussel sprouts – in addition to a long list of handcrafted drinks, draft beer, and wines by the glass. To truly luxuriate, reserve one of the pool’s three private cabanas (outfitted with lounge chairs, a sitting area, and flat-screen TV), and tell the wait service at Reflections to keep the Opal ’Ritas coming.
Mid-Day Munch at Sandbar’s Fire Pits
Located below the elevated pool area, on a sandy stretch of Clearwater Beach, Sandbar is home to a thatched-roof tiki-bar serving quintessential beach snacks and drinks – think tiki cocktails and buckets and handhelds like fish tacos, buffalo chicken wraps, and grouper sandwiches. While the setting also features corn hole and regularly occurring live music, the latest and greatest features are the new fire pits. Bordered by plush outdoor seating and overlooking the water, the fiery spectacles are the perfect place to post up and while away a few hours over a shared bottle of bubbles and the popular smoked fish dip.
Evening Italian on Sea-Guini’s Patio
While you’ve certainly been drinking in those Gulf-front views during this entire eating excursion, they reach a whole new level when the setting sun starts to stain the sky dreamy pinks. Sunsets and views aside, however, the most memorable part of taking dinner on Sea-Guini’s poolside patio is the menu of Italian dishes starring Gulf Coast ingredients – we’re talking seafood-focused appetizers, Neapolitan hearth-oven cooked pizzas, and handmade pastas. But perhaps the house specialty that best delivers on both worlds is the Gulf Coast Cioppino, where Florida littleneck clams, Gulf shrimp, diver scallops, braised mussels, and tender lobster tail come simmered in a spicy tomato broth with Italian seasonings. Buon appetito.
Drink Your Dessert at Sea-Guini’s Chef’s Bar
It wouldn’t be a visit to Opal Sands Resort without parking yourself – at least once – at Sea-Guini’s lounge bar. Not just because of its beautifully underlit horseshoe-shaped bar and gorgeous mosaic-tile back bar, but because, one side, doubles as an exhibition kitchen, where patrons can watch chefs assemble and push pizzas into the hearth-oven and crank out all kinds of freshly prepared pasta. So, as the dinner rush slows, this is the ultimate place to perch up and enjoy a dessert martini (we suggest the Strawberry Shortcake) because the chef will be more available to talk about his process – whether that’s how to hand-roll gnocchi, perfectly plate a dish, or throw dough. Think of it as dessert and a show.
Where to Stay Opal Sands Resort