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. Casa Tina

    $$ | Mexican

    At this colorful Dunedin institution, vegetarians can veg out on roasted chiles rellenos (cheese-stuffed peppers), enchiladas with vegetables...Read More

  • 2. Hurricane Seafood Restaurant

    $$ | Seafood

    Sunsets and Gulf views are the bait that hooks regulars as well as travelers who find their way to this somewhat hidden pit stop in historic...Read More

  • 3. Bella Brava New World Trattoria

    $$ | Downtown | Italian

    This trendy eatery is one of the more sought-after places on equally trendy Beach Drive. It offers a fresh, imaginative approach to Italian...Read More

  • 4. Bella's Italian Café

    $$ | Hyde Park | Italian

    Although this popular SoHo (South Howard Avenue) eatery earned its wings by offering crowd-pleasing Italian classics, much of this mainstay...Read More

  • 5. Byblos Café

    $$ | South Tampa | Mediterranean

    Good grub, a friendly crowd, and belly dancers on weekend evenings make Byblos—named for an ancient city in Phoenicia—a fun addition to almost...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 7. Datz Tampa

    $$ | SoHo | Eclectic

    Fans of a hearty meal will not be slighted here; the eclectic menu is mostly massive sandwiches and hefty plates (and printed on tabloid paper...Read More

  • 8. Frenchy's Rockaway Grill

    $$ | Seafood

    Quebec native Mike "Frenchy" Preston runs four eateries in the area, including the fabulous Rockaway Grill. Visitors and locals alike keep coming...Read More

  • 9. Jotoro

    $$ | Mexican

    This fun, friendly and flavorful Mexican eatery from Michelin-star chef Joe Isidori is the latest full-service restaurant to join a stellar...Read More

  • 10. Locale Market

    $$ | Downtown | Contemporary

    The brainchild of celebrity chefs Michael Mina and Don Pintabona, this unconventional farm-to-table food court in the new upscale Sundial St...Read More

  • 11. Nitally's ThaiMex Fusion

    $$ | Eclectic

    For those who take pride in their ability to handle the heat, this casual yet acclaimed fusion eatery is a must. It's run by a married couple...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 13. Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill & Bar

    $$ | Seafood

    Long heralded as one of the best spots for watching sunsets, this place also gets high marks for its fresh seafood offerings. The grouper cheeks...Read More

  • 14. PJ's Oyster Bar

    $$ | Seafood

    Follow the crowds to this off-the-beaten-path eatery, where numerous varieties of beer flow as freely as the rolls of paper towels mounted on...Read More

  • 15. Sloppy Joe's on the Beach

    $$ | Seafood

    A sister to the famous Hemingway haunt in Key West, this breezy spot is less gritty than the original and a little more focused on food than...Read More

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