Wine Dine and Play: Iberian Rooster

Iberian Rooster

March 2018 review  /  October 2017 review  /  May 2017 review

Colonial Tapas Meets Fusion Speakeasy
St Petersburg, Florida USA
Cuisine Style: Portuguese, Tapas 
Dined in May 2017
By Sean Overpeck (CFE)
**A full article and index glossary of restaurants, wines, recipes and travel for 
Wine Dine and Play are in the pages section above, or by following these links:

Iberian Rooster Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Now that is a title with a mouth full that probably makes you question what type of restaurant Iberian Rooster is. Named in a USA Today article as a restaurant that makes St. Petersburg one of the "Five Underrated Food Cities on the East Coast," this Portuguese gem with the Sub-Central Speakeasy, and hand-crafted cocktails a worthy addition to your list of restaurants to visit.  

From the article title, the colonial cuisine, in this case, represents colonial Portuguese. Portuguese cuisine has many Mediterranean influences and spices with there meats, seafood, and vegetarian choices. The colonial adaption is a mixture of traditional Portuguese with its former possessions and those cuisine types blended together. So you have Goa in India, Brazil, Mozambique, Macau, and others, to offer a melting pot of Iberian selections. Tapas or tapa is a traditional Spanish appetizer or small bite, and here at the Iberian, the plates are smaller and cater to this tradition. Fusion cuisine combines several types of foods that can be regional or sub-regional, like Asian-fusion for example. This is not to be mistaken as the colonial melting pot, but to add outside influence to the dishes, and fuse them as one. Here at the Iberian Rooster, it is sub-regional, combining many parts of the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal, Spain, France) with the rest of the Mediterranean. The fusion is also not to be mistaken with eclectic, though the two terms are similar.

Finally and something completely different is to incorporate American craft cocktails and food snacks in a 1920s vibe Speakeasy, one of only 8 restaurants in the Tampa Bay area to do so. They are located in the historic Kress Building which was once a Five & Dime store remodeled and enhanced to resemble the warmth of the Lisbon Mouraria’s, named after the Christian Moors, and not forgetting the 1920s American alcohol prohibition undergrounds. The Sub-Central Speakeasy is the only underground venue in St. Pete.

 According to legend, The building began in the Prohibition era as an underground Fado house. A Fado (faðu) is a type of music genre that dates back to Lisbon from the 1820s and played host to Portuguese gangsters, glittering dancing girls, and the finest cocktails around.

The walls were painted in an off-white color, leaving some of the old brick behind it visible to give you the feel of an older rundown, or weathered area of town like you would see by the docks or in a Mouraria style Portuguese neighborhood. Booths along the back walls and a few tables in the center, plus along the windows facing out onto Central Avenue, gave the location a nice cozy feel. My wife and I sat at the bar, just before the normal dinner crowd rush, where we noticed a few tables and early diners like ourselves. Towards the back of the dining room near to the restrooms, an old wood-carved railing for steps led down to the Speakeasy.

Dining room

The handcrafted cocktails were second to none. One good thing about the St. Petersburg food and restaurant scene is that more places are featuring new cocktails, and they are becoming more imaginary every day. This trend started in the early 2000s and has taken off all over the country, especially in the Speakeasy-style bars and eateries. There were two bartenders, one of whom was being trained on the precision ingredients and intricacy of the cocktails by the other. Along the bar it looked like a chemistry set as the many items for the cocktails were placed in these beaker glasses and ready for the next experiment. This is a set that might even make Bryan Cranston’s character on Breaking Bad a little jealous. Some of the cocktails my wife and I had were the Gandy, Aunt Gingers, Lemongrass is for Lovers, and the Hemingway.

In the course of our tasting, my wife and I would share four of their small plate tapas selections and a salad. From their menu, they highlight every dish with the type of allergen and if it is gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan.

The chemistry experiment 

    • Small Plates
    • Bowls and Salads
    • Large Plates
    • Desserts
    • Kids
More menus:
    • Brunch
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    • Speakeasy Sub-Central Menu
    • On-site Catering
The Goan patties were presented with elegance and charm. It was your choice from the menu to get a beef patty or a potato and green pea. The beef is defiantly more of a European addition to this dish as Hindu Indian’s do not eat beef, only the Muslim Indians in the North and eastern parts of the country. We chose the vegetarian, stuffed inside a crispy cooked golden puff pastry and lightly garnished with a balsamic glaze. My first bite was intense from the butter flavors of the house-made choux, then mixed with the sweet mango chutney, there is no need to describe its complexity any more than that. It was lightly spiced with curry, which was another surprise as when you go further south in India, the dishes get spicier, so it was a reminder of a Punjabi style dish. 

Goan Patties
Possibly the best dish we consumed or should I say slowly devoured to savor every last stunning sensation on our tongues was the duck fat pork belly tapas dish. The pork belly is slowly baked in a braising pan of duck fat, that falls apart when the edge of your fork touches it. The dish is topped with fried shoestring potatoes, garnished with red cabbage slivers, and sits on a bed of diced onions that has been reduced with Madeira wine and emulsified with saffron oil. Each bite melted in my mouth, and the sweet texture from the Madeira blended perfectly with the stronger meat flavors. I felt like King Dom Pedro I of Brazil and Portugal. He was called the Liberator, and this dish liberated my palette and sent me on an Amazon adventure.

Pork Belly
What is a colonial Portuguese tapas restaurant with that element of the speakeasy as I mentioned earlier? Yes, you have the crafted cocktails, but it's also the down-home American cuisine of the 1920s - then add in the fusion flare of Iberia and you get the hotchee dog under the street fare large plate portion of the menu. Made from beef, this frank was topped with shredded cheddar cheese, mashed potatoes, sweet corn, beef chili sauce, chopped onions, shoestring potatoes,  and a sunny side up a fried egg all nestled comfortably in a house-made hoagie roll. This dish is what the song ‘take me out to the ballgame’ was invented for. Yes, a ballpark hot dog is fun to indulge in, but this dog was a combination of the best that a ballpark could do except you would also have to add in what Coney Island forgot to, then an Iberian Rooster kicks to finish.  

Hotchee Dog
Pintxos (pronounced peen-tcho) is common in the northern Basque region of Spain, where any small plate is considered a pintxo. The word pintxo is reserved for any tapas that is skewered or can be eaten in only a few bites, so technically, smaller than a tapa. The art of pintxos was first developed in the town of San Sebastian, taking traditional Spanish cuisine, and incorporating French nouvelle cuisine, with a major emphasis on presentation. The sweet beet tapas sums up all of this. In Italian, a pintxo is also known as a bruschetta which is how this dish was served, and with no toothpicks. The crostini were light and crunchy topped with the red beet and emulsion which had a nice taste, and a perfect opener to the salad dish my wife and I would have our final course.

Pintxos Beets
The arugula and manchego cheddar salad was tossed with pickled onions, heirloom tomatoes, and dressed with a blood orange vinaigrette. The rocket leaves burst with fresh tart flavors, pairing perfectly with the light and sweet flavors of the dressing, and the vinegar aspects of the onion.  

Manchego Salad
When I write a review, I try to list pros and cons so that folks don’t think I was paid off by the restaurant to write something good, and in most, if not all cases that is easy to do. Even if all the food is fantastic I can write a con about service staff, wait times, or the drink menu, but honestly here at the Iberian Rooster, it was fantastic. No waits, good service, drink menu very nice, and the food was all wonderful. I will say that the least favorite was the pintxos sweet beets dish, but still good.

Though it was impossible for the two of us to fit anything else, the dessert display looked incredible with selections like the Goan Bebinca bread pudding with vanilla and caramel, or the chocolate shortbread Serradura, the Portuguese custard dish called Pudim de Priscos, and finishing up with the Iberian chocolate torte with spiked raspberry coulis, and cardamom sweet cream. You choose, but I’m sure you can’t go wrong with any of that.

Please see these guidelines for Tipping in Restaurants and on following proper etiquette, customs, cultures, and avoiding assumptions when you dine out.

Wine regulatory’s for the tastings in this article:

European Union: 

Other Noteworthy Iberian / Spanish / Tapas Influenced Favorites:
Castile Restaurant Med-Latin & tapas café with 360 views at the Hotel Zamora, in St. Pete Beach, Florida
Chill Restaurant & Bar New American Cuisine, tapas, and exotic cocktails in St. Pete Beach
Columbia Restaurant Traditional Spanish & Cuban chain since 1905; reviewed in Sarasota Florida
Nine One Five Globally accented tapas with innovative American fare in Key West, Florida 
Table 9 Stylish modern Spanish and global cuisine at the Hilton Dubai Creek in Deira Dubai, UAE
Tapas 218 Cozy tavern severing traditional Spanish small plate cuisine in Canton, Ohio
The Lemon Grass Casual fusion of Thai and Japanese with tapas portions in St Petersburg, Florida
Vizacaya Restaurante and Tapas Bar Vibrant spot for classic Spanish dishes & tapas in Tampa, Florida

See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary

Other St Petersburg restaurants and articles on Wine Dine and Play:

Cal-Italian Cuisine, At the Sundial 
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
Traditional and classic Italian plates
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
New American, Southern Twist
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

A Few Florida Favorites:

Locally Sourced Café for Southern Grub
St. Augustine

Old-world classic Italian & Mediterranean
New Smyrna Beach
Old School Rustic Tuscan
Native American Cuisine w/Barbacoa Grilling
Upscale Pan Asian Fare w/sushi
Sanibel Island
Waterfront upscale new American cuisine

See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary by country

Final notes, review basics, observations and more pictures:
Most reviews are subjective, depending on the writer; but they should also be responsible, and respectfully written, upholding the truth, and accurately conveying the experience to the best of the writer's knowledge, even if it includes metaphors the restaurant may not like to read about. My ratings are by the stars I award (from 0 to 5). The rating is calculated on a point accumulation of six separate factors based on individual experience. They include wine and other beverage selections, plate presentation, customer service, restaurant or café ambiance, food quality, and wow factor. To see more details of this rating list, read this article:

Overall from this experience, and the score factors outlined in the ‘about page’ section, based on my individual experience and rating, I give Iberian Rooster a 5 out of 5 stars, meaning that they not only exceeded my expectations and were far above the average dining experience of most restaurants, but they surpassed outstanding and were extraordinary.

Scores are detailed in the factor chart below:

Formula Factor Conclusions and Overall Ratings Max Points Possible: Total Points Awarded: Total Points deducted:
Food quality
Plate presentation
Customer service
Alcohol and other beverages
Total regular points awarded
Total percentage — less the Bonus


“Wow” factor BONUS
Total bonus percentage


Total percentage and bonus for a final star rating


Stars Awarded (see chart below) 0 - 5

**A full break down and explanation of the observations and point disbursement is available in the linked article above. To receive a detailed copy of your score, feel free to contact me at any time and I will provide it to you.**


Overall Star Rating:
5 of 5 Stars: 
95% Rating with a 3 point “wow” bonus
An Extraordinary Dining Experience

Corkage fee’s:
This Restaurant does not list any corkage fee’s however, most American restaurants charge 
$25.00 per bottle
Restaurant style:
Casual dining
Cuisine Style:
The Mediterranean, Portuguese, Spanish, Tapas
Allergen or dietary accommodations: 
Farm to Fork, Gluten Free, Grass Fed, Local, Organic, Pescatarian, Sustainable, Vegetarian Options
Not Required, But Recommended
Accepted, but not guaranteed
Dress code:
Casual attire
It’s Florida, everybody wears flip-flops!
Child policy:

The Restaurants reviewed on this site may have a kids menu or cater to them; however, for full enjoyment of food and wine, it is recommended that kids not to be in attendance, unless they have been trained in proper etiquette. 
If not then:
Hire a Babysitter! 
Place for foodies, Contemporary, Modern, Hotspot, Great bar, Good for special occasions, Classy, and a Neighborhood Gem.
Cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express
Street meter parking
The restaurants reviewed on this site may have Wi-Fi, but do not require you to go online, because the excitement of the food and wine alone will keep you too entertained instead of checking your social media and emails.
Noise level:
Nonsmoking restaurant
Patio or terrace:

Food Prices 
(excluding, alcohol, taxes & gratuity)

$£€¥ -                Under 50.00 
$£€¥ x 2 -          51.00- 99.00 
$£€¥ x 3 -          Over 100.00 
$£€¥ x 4 -          Over 200.00 
$£€¥ x 5 -          Over 400.00 

**Currencies chosen reflect the world’s major travelers and restaurant or wine connoisseur’s**

My food bill:
Price chart:
United States Dollar (USD)
Australian Dollar (AUS)
Great Britain Pound Sterling (GBP)
Canadian Dollar (CAN)
Chinese Yuan (CNY)  
European Union (EUR)
Currency rates as of June 2017

 Alcohol Prices:


Iberian Rooster:
475 Central Avenue North 
Suite 100 
St. Petersburg, Florida 

Contact Information: 
Restaurant website: Iberian Rooster
Maître d or host:
+1 727-258-8753
Online reservations
Email Contact:
Serving hours:
Eastern Standard Time
(GMT, Zulu, or UTC - 5:00)

11:00 am - 11:00 pm
11:00 am - 3:00 am
10:00 am - 9:00 pm
Social Media 
Facebook link       
Sub-Central FB Page       
Twitter @iberianrooster

The worlds best restaurants is a subjective list of who is writing it and changes on a regular basis. The Wine Dine and Play best experiences are based on my highest rated stared restaurants, meaning that the visit was an outstanding or extraordinary experience. From cafés, chains, mom + pops, hole in the walls, to fine dining including a few Michelin spots. Visit the Top 100 page to see the entire list.

A few to tease you with:
Chain serving Chicago-style deep dish pizza & other Italian eats 
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Acclaimed upmarket classic & innovative Italian
Dubai Marina, Dubai, UAE
Classic Mediterranean Cuisine
Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Other Pictures:

“Culinary perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, 
But in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”
-Angelique Arnauld (1591-1661)

Who is John Galt?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

You may also like:

Popular Posts: