The Tampa Bay Area Restaurants

Fresh Gulf seafood is plentiful—raw bars serving oysters, clams, and mussels are everywhere. Tampa's many Cuban and Spanish restaurants serve paella with seafood and chicken, boliche criollo (sausage-stuffed eye-round roast) with black beans and rice, ropa vieja (shredded flank steak in tomato sauce), and other treats. Tarpon Springs adds classic Greek specialties. In Sarasota the emphasis is on ritzier dining, though many restaurants offer extra-cheap early-bird menus.

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  • 1. Bijou Café

    $$$ | French

    This 1920s-era gas station–turned–restaurant has been expanded over the years so that it is now a 140-seat restaurant. The enchanting decor...Read More

  • 2. Boca

    $$$ | American

    One of four locations, this regional chain fits right into downtown Sarasota's hopping dining and shopping scene. The menu is as locally inspired...Read More

  • 3. Café L'Europe

    $$$$ | European

    Located in St. Armand's Circle, this sidewalk and indoor café has a spectacular menu featuring table-side specialties such as chateaubriand...Read More

  • 4. Columbia Restaurant

    $$ | Spanish

    On trendy St. Armand's Circle, patrons perch for a good meal and amazing people-watching. The local chain's 1905 salad—with ham, olives, cheese...Read More

  • 5. Michael's on East

    $$$ | American

    Not only do the lounge and piano bar, with their extensive wines and vintage cocktails, lure the after-theater set, but inspired cuisine and...Read More

  • 6. Ophelia's on the Bay

    $$$$ | American

    Enjoy the flowering gardens while dining alfresco on the outdoor patio on the dock at Market #48 or in one of two casually elegant dining rooms...Read More

  • 7. Owen's Fish Camp

    $$ | American

    Nestled in a banyan-shaded corner of the hip Burns Court district of downtown Sarasota, this spot dishes out quintessentially Southern fare...Read More

  • 8. Shore

    $$ | American

    If you're a sucker for mid-century modern flair, the aesthetic alone at this partially open-air St. Armand's Circle spot is a draw. But the...Read More

  • 9. The Old Salty Dog

    $$ | American

    A menu of steamer and raw-bar options has been added to the much-enjoyed old favorites, including quarter-pound hot dogs, fish-and-chips, wings...Read More

  • 10. Yoder's

    $ | American

    Lines for meals stretch well beyond the hostess podium here. Pies—key lime, egg custard, banana cream, peanut butter, strawberry rhubarb, and...Read More

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