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. Bern's Steak House

    $$$$ | Hyde Park | Steakhouse

    With the air of an exclusive club, this is one of—if not the —finest Florida's steak houses. Rich mahogany paneling and ornate chandeliers...Read More

  • 2. 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

  • 3. Beach Bistro

    $$$$ | Contemporary

    The menu at this cozy beachfront spot offers such standards as a melt-in-your-mouth, herb-rubbed rack of lamb; seafood bouillabaisse; and duckling...Read More

  • 4. Bob Heilman's Beachcomber

    $$$ | American

    The Heilman family has fed hungry diners since 1920. Although it's very popular with tourists, you'll also rub shoulders with devoted locals...Read More

  • 5. Bon Appétit

    $$$ | European

    Known for its creative fare, this waterfront restaurant has a menu that changes frequently, offering such entrées as broiled rack of lamb in...Read More

  • 6. BT

    $$$ | SoHo | Asian

    Local restaurateur B. T. Nguyen has earned quite a following with her modern take on high-style Vietnamese cuisine featuring fresh herbs grown...Read More

  • 7. 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

  • 8. Ceviche

    $$$ | Downtown | Spanish

    A choice romantic destination as well as an excellent launchpad for a night out, this tapas bar offers an astonishing spate of pleasant sensations...Read More

  • 9. 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

  • 10. Marchand's Bar & Grill

    $$$$ | Eclectic

    Opened in 1925, this wonderful restaurant in the posh Renaissance Vinoy Resort has frescoed ceilings and a spectacular view of Tampa Bay. Upscale...Read More

  • 11. 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

  • 12. Mise en Place

    $$$ | Downtown | American

    Known to locals as "Mise" (pronounced meez ), this upscale, modern downtown space is a popular lunch spot for Tampa's political and social...Read More

  • 13. 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

  • 14. Rococo

    $$$ | Steakhouse

    Yet another spot inspired by the St. Pete of yesteryear, this happening steak house sits in what was once a historic YWCA building. Possibly...Read More

  • 15. Salt Rock Grill

    $$$ | Seafood

    Tourists and locals converge to enjoy a fun and lively waterfront atmosphere, but the rock-solid (if slightly less than imaginative) menu is...Read More

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