Picture this: Crystal-clear water, white sandy beach, and a panoramic view of a breathtaking sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. Welcome to the JW Marriott Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa. Nestled on the southern tip of Clearwater Beach, this picturesque locale is more than just a luxe four-star hotel, it’s a recherché dining destination.
The JW Marriott Clearwater Beach boasts multiple eateries under its roof but The Deep End and Latitude 28° are not to be missed. Between these two chef-led restaurants on property, not only are you guaranteed an exquisite backdrop as you wine and dine, you’re most certainly in for a meal to remember. And if you can believe it, the food is as exceptional as the idyllic seascape.
Marriott Executive Chef, Indrajit Suryawanshi, has created a foodie heaven in our backyard. With nearly two decades of experience in the hotel industry spanning across the world, Chef Suryawanshi’s expertise, creative panache, and attention to detail are in every bite of every dish. He has meticulously curated innovative menus at both The Deep End and Latitude 28° that are fresh, elevated, and chic.
The Deep End
Soaring 11 stories above the beach is The Deep End, a rooftop restaurant and lounge that promises food and drink as fantastic as the views. Chef Suryawanshi showcases his international, gastronomical talents with a fine balance of Latin heat and umami essence, putting The Deep End on the map for any foodie’s pilgrimage.
Chef Suryawanshi is known for his Nikkei delectables that are a fusion of Peruvian and Japanese cuisine. Nikkei is as much a culture as it is Peruvian ingredients, accentuated with Japanese culinary techniques. Not only are his Nikkei dishes unique to this area but they are worth the splurge (and the drive), and are an adventure for your tastebuds. The menu at The Deep End consists of Latin-inspired dishes that also pay homage to Japanese cuisine and are dusted with Floridian inspiration, all while encompassing worldly flavor profiles for all palates.
The Deep End’s Ceviche Nikkei is a signature dish. It is made with bigeye tuna and coconut leche de tigre, bursting with fresh avocado, fresno chilies, pickled cucumber, seaweed and shiso-mint oil. You won’t find traditional tiradito on the menu here (the popular Peruvian version of Japanese sashimi) but that doesn’t mean the fusion stops there.
Snack on a myriad of appetizers, including thick, hand-cut yuca fries served with togarashi huancaina sauce (a creamy, yellow queso made of aji amarillo chilis), as well as charred edamame and Japanese chicken wings. I recommend the handmade kurobuta pork dumplings. Kurobuta is the wagyu of pork. The dumplings are pan-seared for a delicate crust. They serve the dumplings in a traditional bamboo steamer with crispy, fried seaweed, and ponzu dipping sauce.
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For sharing, try the Nikkei bao buns, offered with a choice of ahi tuna, crispy chicken thigh, braised pork belly, or tempura cauliflower. The thick, airy bao is like eating a cloud. The micro-herb garnish adds a subtle, herbaceous touch that brings the entire dish together. I sampled the cauliflower bao with crispy tempura cauliflower patties, tomago (Japanese-style egg), fried onions, leeks, togarashi, and cilantro-miso aioli. They were absolutely superb.
Regardless of where you dine, the beverage program at the JW Marriott Clearwater Beach composes of expertly-crafted cocktails and mocktails that are on point. Imbibe one of The Deep End’s signature Toki Sour cocktails composed with Suntory toki whisky, yuzu, simple syrup, plum bitters, with a Meiomi pinot noir float. I also recommend the Chakai cocktail, with Bombay Sapphire gin, genmaicha syrup, ginger, and fresh lime juice. Each cocktail comes with a stunning garnish of citrus rind, dried fruit wheels, or fresh herbs. This adds to the worldly charms of The Deep End.
Expect nothing less than warm, friendly, and quick service at The Deep End. Our server, Rachel, gave us a rundown of menu favorites for both food and drink, and her recommendations were spot-on. Tables overlooking the water are a high commodity at The Deep End. But, not once did we feel rushed to finish our meal or give up our seats. It’s clear these restaurants thoroughly train and educate the serving staff on both the menu offerings and the ingredients. As a restaurant owner myself, I appreciate the investment Marriott has in their employees and their dedication to great service.
Located on the lobby floor, this cozy-chic eatery serves an elevated Mediterranean menu that is unpretentious, yet classy and refined. Latitude 28° highlights Florida’s Gulf Coast seafood along with an abundance of fresh ingredients. It offers an unparalleled dining experience for guests.
As with The Deep End, service at Latitude 28° is impeccable. Our server, Fabio, explained the Mediterranean menu concept to us. But, also offered us suggestions based on our personal tastes. Many high-end restaurants where the severs often push the most expensive meals on the menu. However, Fabio took pride in matching menu recommendations to our palate preferences. He also took care to time our multi-course meal with the kitchen, according to our pace. This is a rare experience I often get enjoy while dining out.
Kick off your dinner with the restaurant’s signature cocktail – the Lady Levant. With a mix of Arak (an anise-flavored, Levantine spirit), grapefruit, chamomile syrup, mint, and Fever Tree club soda, this bevy will set the mood for the delicious Mediterranean dishes to follow. For a flavorful, non-alcoholic selection, try the fuschia-colored Beets of Burden – a combo of Lyre’s Agave Blanco spirit, beet juice, fresh lime, honey, and Za’atar. It’s a refreshingly tart mocktail that’s as addicting as it is bright.
Chef Suryawanshi’s menu at Latitude 28° is outstanding and his presentation is sublime. The smoked burrata salad is a stunning appetizer that is truly a work of culinary art. It features creamy burrata, dehydrated heirloom tomatoes, blood orange segments, and cucumber pearls with edible gold flakes, all served under a smoked, glass cloche. Smoky flavor infuses the burrata and blood oranges for an unequivocally refined bite.
For small plates, I recommend the seared Halloumi cheese. This Mediterranean staple is served with coriander-marinated Greek olives, tamarind date gel, pomegranate seeds, fresh mint, and pistachio dust. The pomegranate is a fabulous, bright ode to Florida produce and it cuts through the saltiness of both the olives and Halloumi with a refreshing pop. Artfully composed and beautifully presented, this dish is a must-order.
Soak up more of the culinary experience with one of the scratch-made flatbreads or shareable boards. But don’t skip the Mediterranean spreads. Options include muhammara (with walnuts and pickled shallots), hummus (with pomegranate seeds and za’atar oil), tzatziki (with salted cucumber), and olive tapenade (with micro basil and olive oil) — all with your choice of pita bread or vegetable crudité. These shareable accouterments burst with robust flavor and abundant freshness.
Looking for More?
If you still have room for dinner, consider one of Chef Suryawanshi’s large plates. From the Moroccan-spiced half chicken to the mint-crusted lamb to the crispy brussels Afelia, there is something pleasing for everyone. I opted for and recommend the branzino, served with saffron risotto, sauce vierge, baby vine tomatoes, and black garlic. Light, creamy, and fresh, this dish is sure to please. (Fabio even split and plated the dish table side for us to share.) If you really want to splurge, try the “Master of Our Craft Signature Dish.” It comes with grade-A7 wagyu, Mediterranean-spiced roasted fingerlings, tomato gel, pear and sage sauce, and red chimichurri. You will be blown away.
In lieu of dessert, I opted for the High Roller cocktail — a tasty libation made with Makers Mark cask strength bourbon, Osborne Pedro Ximenez sherry, and demerara sugar. This smoke-infused aperitif came swirled around a giant block ice cube. It was the perfect conclusion to my night of food sampling.
This hotel is the ideal destination for rooftop water views, luxury accommodations, superior service, and heavenly dining. Make it a point to visit, treat yourself, and indulge in all that there is to offer at the JW Marriott Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa.
JW Marriott Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa, 691 S Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater Beach. 727-677-6000.