Restaurant Guide

Tampa has a dynamic dining scene, with interesting restaurants across the spectrum of price and style. This guide is not meant to be comprehensive, but instead to give you a well-chosen selection of restaurants that reflect the diversity of Tampa’s dining community.

The guide is divided geographically, starting with Downtown Tampa, where the Convention Center and Marriott Waterside are located, and then spreading out to the adjoining neighborhoods of Ybor City and South Tampa. Most restaurants in Downtown are within walking distance of the Marriott and Convention Center. For transportation options to Ybor and South Tampa, visit our Transportation page.

Within each geographic section, restaurants are listed in ascending order based on price. Each listing is linked to the restaurant’s website so attendees can explore menu options; Tampa’s restaurants are generally accommodating for a variety of dietary needs.

Price Codes
Price codes are estimates based on the average cost of a meal with an alcoholic beverage for one person.

$ less than $15
$$ $15-30
$$$ $30-$60
$$$$ more than $60 per person

Downtown

Moxie’s Cafe
514 N. Tampa St. Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 221-4510
$

Moxie’s is a great stop for a quick breakfast or lunch, featuring excellent coffee and a surprisingly large selection of breakfast and lunch food options. Sandwiches feature fresh-baked bread and fresh ingredients, making this a good place to eat both healthy and inexpensively.

Fresh
507 N. Franklin St Tampa FL 33602
(813) 229-5500
$

Fresh’s cereal bar is popular with University of Tampa undergrads and also makes a good quick breakfast option before a day of conference-going: their signature concoctions like the “Lucky” (Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Fruity Pebbles) will give you a good sugar-induced energy burst. However, this is also a great lunch spot featuring excellent sandwiches, soups, and salads with fresh, healthy ingredients and a wide variety of options.

Taco Bus
505 Franklin St. Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 397-2800
$

The downtown outpost of this Tampa cult phenomenon lacks the ambience of its flagship location, located in the neighborhood of Seminole Heights and occupying an actual converted school bus, but it features the same excellent, authentic Mexican food by chef Rene Valenzuela. The food mixes the northern Mexico street food most familiar to Americans with central and southern Mexican influences. Options range from the familiar (carne asada) to the exotic (conchita pibil, a smoked pulled pork based on a 5000-year-old Mayan recipe).

Bamboozle Cafe
516 N. Tampa St. Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 223-7320
$$

Accessible and affordable Vietnamese cuisine made with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Bambooze offers great options for lunch or dinner, including the pho soup boat and fresh rolls, and a selection of Vietnamese beer, wine, and teas.

Eddie and Sam’s NY Pizza
203 E. Twiggs Ave. Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 229-8500
$$

This classic New York-style pizza joint, owned by a pair of Brooklyn transplants, is a great option for lunch. They also offer heros, calzones, pasta, and salad, but fresh, made-to-order pizzas are their specialty and you should probably stick with that.

L’Eden Restaurant and Bar
500 N. Tampa St. Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 221-4795
$$

Chef Gerard Jamgotchian’s small bistro features classic French dishes at reasonable prices, such as ratatouille and duck and brie crepes, as well as a variety of tapas that draw influence from a variety of cuisines, from Russia to Jamaica.

Fly Bar and Restaurant
1202 N. Franklin St. Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 275-5000
$$$

Fly is part of the recent trend of upscale bar/restaurants featuring signature cocktails and upscale versions of classic downscale dishes, like truffled mac n’ cheese. Prices can be high, but they have a good happy hour Sunday through Friday, so this is a place to check out early in the conference, and their rooftop patio is a great place to experience Tampa’s fantastic weather.

Jackson’s Bistro
601 S. Harbour Island Blvd. Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 277-0112
$$$

Across the bridge from the Convention Center lies the quiet and beautiful Harbour Island. This mostly-residential neighborhood does not have many restaurants, but Jackson’s Bistro, a combination of New American cuisine restaurant and sushi bar, is a good excuse to make the short trip and see this historic neighborhood.

Anise Global Gastrobar
777 N. Ashley Dr. Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 225-4272
$$$

Part of the ever-expanding “small plate” revolution, Anise features a lot of excellent signature dishes that are worth a try for adventurous eaters, including duck confit tacos, baked goat cheese, and spicy beef tartare. It is a great place for a light happy hour meal.

Malio’s Prime Steakhouse
400 N. Ashley Dr. Tampa FL 33602
(813) 223-7746
$$$$

Located in the iconic, cylindrical Rivergate Tower, Malio’s is downtown Tampa’s classic high-end steakhouse, featuring beautiful modern decor and large, expensive cuts of high-quality meat.

Ybor City

The Bricks of Ybor
1327 E. 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
(813) 247-1785
$

Operated by the owners of the Tampa Skate Park, The Bricks features vegetarian-friendly New American cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere. Much of their produce comes from their own rooftop garden and while they feature such signature dishes as the Bird and Pig sandwich (pulled pork and bacon), their specialty is vegetarian dishes such as The Goodness and the Proper Grilled Cheese. They also have an Elvis sandwich featuring, yes, bananas and peanut butter on Cuban bread.

Acropolis
1833 E. 7th Ave Tampa, FL 33605
(813) 242-4545
$$

Acropolis’ classic Greek fare, including gyros, falafel, mousaka, and kabobs, are all delicious and reasonably priced. However, the real attraction is the entertainment, which included bouzouki and belly-dancing. If you want to try something new, take a group and get served family style.

Shrimp and Co.
2202 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
(813) 374-0192
$$

This unassuming restaurant is one of Ybor City’s hidden gems. Featuring market-fresh seafood from the Gulf Coast, Shrimp and Co.’s cuisine has been described as “New Florleans,” mixing Floridian and Cajun/Creole influences for delicious fried seafood of all varieties, including crab legs, crawfish, grouper, and catfish. Their signature items are their po’boy sandwiches, including shrimp and rock lobster. If fried food isn’t your thing, split a steam pot, prepared in either Florida and Lousiana style.

Bernini of Ybor
1702 E. 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
(813) 248-0099
$$$

Bernini brings fresh and ideas and creativity to the classic Italian restaurant menu. The pizza from their giant wood-fired stove might be the best in town and they also offer entrees not typically found in an Italian restaurant, such as crispy duck with goat cheese mashed potatoes and pistachio-crusted fresh Gulf grouper.

The Columbia
2117 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
(813) 248-4961
$$$

Opened in 1905 as a lunchtime cafe for the Cuban immigrants working in Ybor City’s cigar factories, the Columbia is now the oldest restaurant in Florida and a Tampa landmark. Seating 1700 people and taking up a full city block, it is also the largest Spanish restaurant in the world. While many people come for the history and visual splendor (including the beautiful hand-painted Spanish tiles that decorate the exterior of the building), the food is good as well, featuring a variety of Spanish cuisine and their take on Tampa’s signature dish: the Cuban sandwich.

Samurai Blue
1600 E. 8th Ave, #C208
Tampa, FL 33605
(813) 242-6688
$$$

For a city with such a rich seafood tradition, great sushi is actually hard to find in Tampa. Samurai Blue is one of the best, offering all of the classics plus innovations such as the Japanese Bagel roll (salmon, avocado, cream cheese and sesame seeds) and the Tampa Roll (made with grouper, naturally). Located in Centro Ybor, it makes a great dinner spot to start a night of exploring the historic neighborhood.

Istanblu
191 E. 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
(813) 304-2348
$$$
Focusing on Turkish cuisine, Istanblu offers all of the Mediterranean plus Turkish specialties you are not likely to find in other, more Greek-centric Mediterranean restaurants. This includes Kofte (beef and lamb meatballs) and the Istanblu Kebap: “thinly grilled lamb basted with hot tomato sauce over pieces of pita and slathered with melted sheep butter and yogurt.” Istanblu also features live music and belly dancing on the weekends.

South Tampa

Datz
2616 S. MacDill Ave. Tampa, FL 33629
(813) 831-7000
$$

Datz is a favorite of the Tampa foodie scene, featuring a giant selection of beer and wines, craft cocktails, and an ever-evolving menu of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. They are most well-known for their sandwiches, including their take on the Tampa’s official sandwich, the Cuban, called the “Havana Hottie”: smoked pulled pork, house-baked ham, spicy mustard, and jarlsberg cheese.

Square 1 Burgers
3701 N. Henderson Blvd. Tampa, FL 33609
(813) 414-0101
$$

Tampa’s entry into the world of high-end burgers, Square 1 uses only grass-fed, hormone-free beef, even on its most basic burgers. They also offer a variety of alternative burger options including buffalo, lamb, chicken, tuna, and portabello. They also have one of the nicest patios in town, making it a great place to enjoy the Florida sunshine for lunch or an early dinner.

Oxford Exchange
420 W. Kennedy Blvd. Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 253-0222
$$

Located across the street from the University of Tampa, OE often beguiles newcomers and passers-by: is it a restaurant? a bookstore? high-end interior decor store? The answer is all of the above, plus a coffee and tea bar that can’t be seen from the street. This hodgepodge, all contained in a beautiful old building, has become Tampa’s community meeting spot. The restaurant offers great, hand-crafted lunch specials and the best brunch in town on the weekends. The coffee and tea are from two local sellers, Buddy Brew Coffee and TeaBella, and are universally excellent. Wait times can get long, so if you’re in a hurry, grab a sandwich from the O.E. Express market around the corner.

Boca
901 W. Platt St. Tampa, FL 33604
(813) 254-7070
$$$

Boca is Tampa’s leading farm-to-table restaurant, using fresh local ingredients for their delicious food, which includes amazing flatbreads and class unpretentious entrees like slow braised short rib and smoked meatloaf. This being Tampa, there is plenty of seafood such as yellow fin tuna and the Gulf classic Shrimp and Grits.

Cafe European
113 S. Hyde Park Ave. Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 254-9458
$$$

Often overshadowed by its neighbors Oxford Exchange and Mise en Place, Cafe European is a hidden gem. This small family-owned restaurant offers an eclectic European menu that mixes English, French, Italian, and Spanish dishes. Most of the dishes are classics, such as Beef Wellington, Rack of Lamb, and Shrimp Florentine Pasta. And save room for the Petite Pot Au Chocolate for dessert, which is exactly what is sounds like.

Mise en Place
442 W. Kennedy Blvd. Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 254-5373
$$$$

Tampa’s premiere restaurant for Modern American cuisine, Mise en Place is frequently rated as one of the best restaurants in the Bay area. The interior architecture is sleek and modern and the menu features indulgent items such as aleppo spice-rubbed duck and wild mushroom foi gras cannelloni.

SideBern’s
2208 W. Morrison Ave. Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 258-2233
$$$$

Younger sibling to the venerable Bern’s Steakhouse, SideBern’s is often called the best restaurant in Tampa, featuring innovative and creative cuisine, original cocktails, and the best selection of cheeses in town. If you’re looking to try some of the award-winning food without breaking the bank, hit up happy hour from 5 to 7, which feature a selection of small plates, craft cocktails, and wine a beer for only $5 each.

Bern’s Steakhouse
1208 S. Howard, Ave. Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 251-2421
$$$$

Tampa’s most renowned restaurant, Bern’s is an institution that is frequently rated among the best steakhouses in the US and has been frequented by US presidents and celebrities for over 50 years. The food is classic, with the steaks complemented by a dozen caviars, soups, salads, and daily seasonal creations. Bern’s also has the largest wine selection of any restaurant in the world, with an offsite cellar that contains over half a million bottles, ranging from a year old to over two hundred years old.

 

 

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