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. Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish

    $ | Seafood

    Picture this: flip-flop-wearing anglers and beach-towel-clad bathers lolling on picnic benches, sipping a beer, and devouring oak-smoked salmon...Read More

  • 2. Cappy's Pizza

    $ | Seminole Heights | Pizza

    Chicago may be the first place you think of when you hear the words "deep-dish pizza," which is why the high-quality pies this local chain offers...Read More

  • 3. Dan's Clam Stand

    $ | Seafood

    Four reasons to go: the fried grouper sandwich, the clam "chowda," anything else seafood, and the beef burgers. The original location is about...Read More

  • 4. Gulf Drive Café & Tiki

    $ | American

    Especially popular for breakfast (served all day), this unassuming landmark squats on the beach and serves cheap sit-down eats: mostly sandwiches...Read More

  • 5. Kojak's House of Ribs

    $ | South Tampa | American

    Few barbecue joints can boast the staying power of this family-owned and -operated pit stop. Located along a shaded stretch in South Tampa,...Read More

  • 6. Lucky Dill Deli

    $ | American

    This New York–style deli serving breakfast, lunch, and early dinner is often packed. Favorites include Cuban sandwiches, pastrami sandwiches...Read More

  • 7. Mel's Hot Dogs

    $ | Central Tampa | Hot Dog

    Look for the red wiener-mobile parked on the north side of the highway near the theme park, and you'll find this 1950s-style diner that specializes...Read More

  • 8. Museum Cafe

    $ | Cuban

    A short trip west of Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Refuge, this tiny eatery is housed in the Olde Mill House Printing Museum. It's only open...Read More

  • 9. Steam & Chill

    $ | Café

    In addition to its long, creative lunch and dinner menus, this gem on St. Pete Beach offers creative breakfast options that tend to be a bit...Read More

  • 10. Taco Bus

    $ | Central Tampa | Mexican

    It's a Mexican joint with a simple name in a less-than-magnificent location, but that matters not to anyone who's ever eaten to this legendary...Read More

  • 11. The Living Room on Main

    $ | Mediterranean

    Hand-picked antique furnishings add charm to this downtown Dunedin spot, which specializes in Mediterranean-inspired small plates and spectacular...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 13. Estela's

    $ | Downtown | Mexican

    On the quaint Davis Islands near Downtown Tampa, Estela's is a favorite among those who enjoy authentic Central American cuisine and Mexico...Read More

  • 14. Peg's Cantina

    $ | Mexican

    A favorite watering hole for Tampa Bay's craft beer enthusiasts, Peg's also offers a variety of specialty pizzas and healthy Mexican options...Read More

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