Highly-anticipated Pan-Asian restaurant ‘Fortu’ makes debut


Via I Love the Burg

One of St. Pete’s most highly anticipated new restaurants is finally set to make its debut in one of downtown’s most historic buildings. Fortu, an elevated Pan-Asian restaurant and steakhouse, officially opens on December 5 in the Ponce de Leon Hotel at 97 Central Avenue. While a grand opening is set for Dec. 5, reservations are now open for both the patio and main dining room as early as November 22.

Fortu has been in the works for two years now, led by local restaurateur Shan Bakrac, and his labor of love has completely transformed the space formerly home to Ceviche. In sneak peeks posted by Fortu, the menu and interior space look more than worth the wait, and in fact, the full menu can be seen online now.

The full food menu places an emphasis on shareable plates, as well as a deep list of high-end land and sea options. An entire section of the menu is dedicated to “curated wagyu” selections, paired with an impressive list of house cuts. Raw bar selections range from oysters and chilled towers to spicy salmon and wagyu beef tartare. Land-based entrees include pan-seared ox tail gyoza, double-smoked short rib, duck breast, and Korean fried chicken. We also wouldn’t say no to any of the appetizers – especially the wagyu wonton tacos.

In addition to the elevated food offerings, Fortu will have an extensive drinks program showcasing high-end spirits and wines, as well an extensive sake lineup. Based on the renderings (and a few sneak peeks on instagram), just getting a seat at the bar in Fortu will be a hot ticket.

“At Fortu, we seek to capture the finer things in life,” the website states. “Our menu offers diverse, traditionally-prepared options, giving you a taste of Asia right here in sunny St. Petersburg. We proudly source our seafood and other delicious ingredients from local vendors, ensuring the best possible quality. As soon as you walk through our doors, you are instantly transported to a fresh, modern escape, making the night an adventure from start to finish. No matter the occasion, Fortu welcomes all to a lively, flavorful Pan-Asian experience.

The new concept is the latest from Bakrac, who also owns Top Slice Pizzeria and Black Cattle Burgers, the next-door neighbors in downtown that have become popular fast-casual (and often late-night) destinations. The space itself was, of course, formerly home to Ceviche, which has since relocated to Beach Drive, leaving the place vacant for more than a year now. With its opening later this year, Fortu will join Novu Bistro and El Cante as food, drink and nightlife options surrounding the historic hotel.

As you make plans to visit Fortu upon opening, we highly recommend reservations, which are already open for the taking.

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Ashley Morales

Ashley Morales