When someone asks me for recommendations on where to eat in St. Pete the list is a mile long with restaurants located Downtown, but there is always one restaurant beyond the Downtown St Pete barriers that makes the list, and that is Noble Crust. Located at the corner of 4th St. North and 83rd Ave N. Noble Crust fills the gap between North St. Pete and Downtown St. Pete for good eats.
Noble Crust features an Italian and Southern Comfort fusion menu. While this may seem to be an odd fusion of cuisines, Noble Crust does it seamlessly.
As you walk in, you’ll notice that the restaurant has a very open layout. The kitchen is open to the main dining area and bar. No matter where you’re sitting you feel like you’re a part of the action. The décor could be best described as “modern farm house,” with a variety of eclectic chandeliers across the open rafter ceilings, intimate seating and several community tables, floor to ceiling windows, and chalk board menu signs you’ll feel right at home no matter where you sit.
I’ve visited Noble Crust several times, but this was the first time I’ve sat in the main dining area for dinner. We were sat at a table against the floor to ceiling windows that run along the 4th Street side of the building. Although, I love the natural light, it is a little creepy sitting and watching the traffic closely zip by. I quickly moved past that after ordering some wine.
On Wednesday’s Noble Crust has half off Barrel Fresh Wines, so we decided to go with the Saintsbury Pinot Noir Carneros and started off our meal with the Skillet Garlic Knots. These are not your average garlic knots, they are prepared in a skillet with cheesy holes poked throughout and brought to the table sizzling with a side of marinara dipping sauce.
To make sure we got to enjoy a little Southern and a little Italian, for our entrees we decided to order a pizza and the Southern Fried Chicken. The pizza we went with is the Margherita 2.0. with tomato sauce, calabrian chili, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, whipped ricotta, and finished off with fresh avocado, and basil. The hot out of the oven pizza finished with the cool avocado and basil make it great for a hot Florida summer night.
The Southern Fried Chicken was the shining star for me, and I don’t mean for the night, I mean for all meals I’ve had at Noble Crust. This was the first time I had ordered the fried chicken, and it will not be my last. The chicken was perfectly cooked, the breading was perfectly crispy, and finishing it off the with the Tobasco honey truly put it over the top. It’s to be noted that while the fried chicken was out of this world, it was not outshined by the sides served with it. The mac and cheese was smooth and creamy with a little spice that hit you at the end and the watermelon salad was dressed just right and the perfect way to finish off such a heavy meal (I basically ate it as my dessert).
Noble Crust is not to be missed, even if you live in Downtown St Pete and have the luxury of walking to any restaurant it’s worth getting out of the bubble, hopping in your car or in a ride share, and checking it out.
Noble Crust Pro Tips: Make a reservation, as this restaurant is always busy. Arrive before 6:30 and sit in the bar area to enjoy the Happy Hour bites. For brunch, order a side pancake (literally the best pancake I’ve ever had).
Update by Lori Brown from our January 10, 2020 visit:
Friday night we had a spectacular meal with the fabulous Bobbi and Ronnie Lane Payne at Noble Crust!
We shared quite a few delicious appetizers. Their famous Brussels Sprouts, which I had never had before. Absolutely delicious! The Ricotta Gnocchi was like little pillows from heaven. Kevin had had the meatballs but I had not. They definitely deserve their top 5 ranking. And finally the F.G.B.L.T which is fried green tomatoes with Tabasco-honey glazed pork belly and pimento cheese. O.M.G.
Brussels Sprouts – Goat cheese fonduta, agrodolce, citrus, mint, pickled frescos, spiced crispies
Ricotta Gnocchi – Pancetta, black pepper cream, parm, pecorino, scallions
Meatballs – beef + pork, tomato sauce, ricotta, parm, basil.
From Kevin: Noble Crust’s meatballs are fantastic—bursting with flavor, rustic in texture, with a nice char on top from a last minute in the broiler, and they come with a delicious parmesan, and let’s not forget the basil. What could be an afterthought, wonderfully perfumes your senses just before your teeth sink into the land of umami, tang and spice. The basil of course also adds a nice green brightness to the mix.
F.G.B.L.T. – Fried green tomatoes, Tabasco-honey glazed pork belly, pimento cheese
For dinner I ordered the Eggplant Parmesan which was perfect in every way, texture and taste. Kevin ordered one of our favorites the short rib ragu and Ronnie had the short rib special which was a carryover from the holiday special menu. Bobbi had some more Ricotta Gnocchi.
Short Rib Ragu with Burrata – Calabrian chili
We also ordered a small Caesar salad to share between me and Kevin. It came with a fried soft boiled egg on top. Interesting but more Kevin’s thing than mine. Finally they wouldn’t let us leave without some bread pudding.
Small Caesar Salad – Hearts of romaine, crispy-soft cooked egg, croutons, parm, lemony Caesar dressing.
Martini, Lemongrass Gimlet, Bad Blood, and Noble Manhattan
Italian and Southern Comfort Fusion in North St. Petersburg.