Fear not foodies, The Spotted Donkey Mexican Cantina & Tequila Bar is sure to please. It gives a welcoming fresh spin on modern Mexican cuisine that left my friends and I planning our next visit before we even finished dinner.

The Spotted Donkey is located in the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa at 400 Mandalay Avenue on Clearwater Beach. The entrance of the trendy restaurant is on Mandalay Avenue, giving you easy access and fun street-side scenery. Better yet, it has a large outdoor seating area so you can enjoy the ambiance of the dancing flame patio lamps beside the active beach street. This sweet beach location gives way nicely to the innovative spicy dishes they serve up daily.

Once inside, you instantly feel the casual, fun vibe of the restaurant and the friendliness of the staff. The décor is an ideal mix of trendy chic and a rustic, Mexican-inspired authenticity. It could easily provide a great setting for a quiet dinner for two or could accommodate a large group of friends.

The Spotted Donkey’s creative menu is varied and features favorites such as Kicking Nachos, Plantain Crusted Grouper, Seared Manchego Cheese Crusted Chicken Breast and Fresh Ahi Tuna Summer Salad. We started dinner with the Cantina Shooters as an appetizer. It was fresh jalapeno peppers stuffed with bacon and cheese and served with a tasty cilantro buttermilk sauce. I could tell we were off to a fantastic start. For dinner I ordered a house special, the Mexico City Carne Asada; a Arbol chile-marinated steak served with chile-potato cakes, soft flour tortillas and a creamy avocado-tomatillo sauce. From my first bite, it instantly became one of my favorite dishes and certainly left me satisfied. But, no dinner is complete without dessert, so we ordered the Jalisco Torre de Chocolate. After one bite, it was easy to see why this dessert won “Best Dessert on the Beach” at this year’s Clearwater Beach Taste Fest. It’s an unbelievable 11 layer chocolate cake with Patron xo coffee liqueur, chocolate mousse, chocolate covered coffee beans, whipped cream and red chili spiced caramel. Decadent, delicious and definitely Instagram worthy.

I could not talk about The Spotted Donkey without mentioning their extensive array of libations. The creations from the bar are as innovative and delicious as their food, with drinks like prickly pear margaritas, house-made sangria and seasonal infusions that change out weekly. And for those who love tequila, you’ve come to the right place. The Spotted Donkey has a spectacular tequila bar with unique favorites hand-selected for their smoothness. It also features a Spotted Donkey signature double barrel reposado tequila made exclusively for them by Herradura.

Just when it sounds like nothing could make this dining experience any better, something did. The Spotted Donkey is participating in Hilton’s amazing Eat, Stay and Play promotion, which gives Hilton hotel guests exclusive savings to the best in Tampa Bay. As part of that program, we received a 10% discount on food selections at the Spotted Donkey. So, we were able to enjoy dinner at one of the tastiest restaurants on Clearwater Beach at a delicious price. And you can too.

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