You’ve been out all day among the thousands of shoppers at local malls and shopping districts. Now it’s late in the day, your feet are tired, your back aches a little, and most importantly, you are hungry. The odds of you going home to cook dinner as slimmer than a pine needle from a holiday wreath. What you need right now is a casual place close by that serves great food, craft beers, and cocktails in a relaxing atmosphere. Here's a list of some superb holiday casual dining restaurants in St. Pete, Clearwater, and throughout Pinellas County to recharge and refill after fighting the crowds.

If you are shopping anywhere in St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District, the Urban Comfort Restaurant and Brewery is your spot. It’s the perfect place to relax with a craft cocktail and some Southern comfort specialties like chicken and waffles or braised pulled pork. It’s in an old gasoline station, and they still have the glass service bay doors that open and roll up overhead. This brings the outside indoors, and so on fall and winter evenings, it’s literally the coolest place in town. If you find yourself up on 4th Street, take a load off at the Noble Crust. This place serves up Italian food with style! Try the sweet potato ravioli or any of the thin crust pies like the Nobel Pig. 

After a day of shopping on the Gold Coast, Cristino’s Coal Oven Pizza on Ft. Harrison Avenue is a perfect choice to get your groove back. Lenny Cristino packs a lot taste into this tiny restaurant, and if you order one of his coal-fired pies, make sure you get a large one. The small size will just make you want more! Cafe Alfresco offers everything a hungry holiday shopper needs. There's a huge menu with a wide selection of salads, sandwiches, entrees and Italian specialties, and it's conveniently located on Main Street in Dunedin. You are just steps away from that perfect gift!

Skip all the chain restaurants around Countryside Mall and head over to The Little Lamb on McMullen Booth Road. The poutine appetizer is Canadian comfort food at its finest, while the flavor of their hanger steak will melt all your holiday cares away. It's all served up in a warm, rustic setting along with a nice selection of craft beers from breweries located around the corner and across the world.

After shopping for unique and inspired gifts on the sponge docks of Tarpon Springs, head down Dodecanese Boulevard to Rusty Bellies. This casual waterfront place is a seafood lovers dream. From real local grouper to baby scallops to shrimp, amberjack and local mullet, you can get the freshest seafood fried, grilled or blackened and served alongside old school fish house sides like coleslaw, fries and hush puppies.    

As good as these casual dining restaurants in Pinellas County are, you made decide to spend less time shopping and more time eating! And for more Things to Do, restaurants and all the great Christmas events in the 727, check out 727area. Don't forget to register to get up to the minute notifications on everything going on in Pinellas County.  

Photos from Cristino's Coal Oven Pizza and Rusty Bellie's Facebook pages