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  • Peter Pham

Top 20 restaurants in Tampa area

1. Vino E Pasta

3603 W Gandy Blvd

Tampa, FL 33611

(813) 454-8943


Founded in 2004, Vino E Pasta is a family-owned restaurant known for its impressive and affordable Italian dishes. It has recently been hailed as one of the best places to eat in Tampa.

Why This Restaurant Is a Must Eat

If you love Italian food, then this place is one of the casual restaurants you wouldn’t want to miss in the city.  Vino E Pasta also uses fresh ingredients to let its unique flavor stand out.  It also boasts signature family recipes that every foodie would most likely appreciate.  Plus, you can take the chance to build your own pasta in this place to show your creative spirit.

What to Eat

Why not begin your meal with the well-praised house salad and lobster bisque soup?  Try Penne a la Vodka to taste pasta with fresh marinara sauce, Italian bacon, and the most important of them all—vodka liquor.  Pollo Marsala, one of the chicken entrées, features chicken breast sautéed in wine Marsala sauce. It won’t disappoint.


2. Terra Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse Tampa

1108 S Dale Mabry Hwy

Tampa, FL 33629

(813) 999-4332


Terra Gaucha, established in 2018, follows the traditional style of cooking meat set by Southern Brazilian cowboys.

Why This Restaurant Is a Must Eat

Who wouldn’t want to eat in one of the best-rated restaurants in Tampa?  Its use of natural wood charcoal and rock salt helped not only maintain a tradition but also establish a unique identity in Tampa’s dining scene.  It’s among the swanky steakhouses that can be perfect for family night-outs and romantic dinners, too!

What to Eat

Have a Picancha—premium sirloin cap—to know why it’s the restaurant’s main specialty dish.  With its mouthwatering taste, many consider this among the best food in Tampa you would surely love.  You can add white rice and French fries, too.  If you love seafood, then the camarao or grilled shrimp would be a great addition to satisfy you well.

Whichever you pick, it’s best to end your meal with a delectable caramel fudge cheesecake to balance out the taste.


3. Wright’s Gourmet House

1200 S Dale Mabry Hwy

Tampa, FL 33629

(813) 253-3838


Wright’s Gourmet House has been part of the Tampa dining scene since April 1963.  It specializes in creating sandwiches, salads, desserts, and other traditional American food.

Why This Restaurant Is a Must Eat

With its long history, this place has become one of the local restaurants where people go to when they crave sandwiches. But they are not as ordinary as you think.  Wright’s has made a great reputation for its creative sandwiches that pleased the palate of every guest.  Its cakes and other delicacies are just as tempting especially if you have a sweet tooth.

What to Eat

Order the Golden Gate to enjoy a sandwich stuffed with roast pork, bacon, cheese, lettuce, and other fresh ingredients. Another fan favorite is the Beef Martini which was created in 1976.  If you still can’t choose between the two, consider trying both for a great experience.  Indulge in the unique Chocolate Rum Cake, too, when you visit the place in November or December.  You’d also like the Hawaiian Princess cupcakes if you prefer a smaller treat.


4. La Terrazza Restaurant

1727 E 7th Ave

Tampa, FL 33605

(813) 248-1326


A quaint diner, La Terraza Restaurant has been serving Italian classics and seafood favorites in Tampa for over two decades.  It is located in the historic neighborhood known as Ybor City.

Why This Restaurant Is a Must Eat

Looking for an eatery after walking around Ybor City?  If you’re coming from Centennial Park, then La Terraza is one of the restaurants near you since it is a mere five-minute walk away.  It’s a perfect place to eat lunch with the family given the warm atmosphere of this iconic place.  No need to be too formal either since this casual diner promotes a more relaxed vibe than the rest.

What to Eat

Start your meal with Caprese to munch on mozzarella and other vegetables when you come here.  It would be great to pick the spiced Linguine Marinara topped with shrimp and sea scallops. Take your meal up a notch by adding fried chicken breast.


5. Happy Fish

4046 Fiesta Plaza

Tampa, FL 33607

(813) 871-6953


Happy Fish opened its doors in August 2013 as a family-owned diner set near Fiesta Plaza Shopping Mall.  It serves authentic Peruvian fusion dishes with unique styles and flavors.

Why This Restaurant Is a Must Eat

Are you one of those epicures seeking the global dining fare in Tampa?  Happy Fish would be more than happy to help you tick off one of your goals by introducing you to Peru’s classic food. Vegetarian specialties are also available to cater to the needs of more guests.  It’s also one of the casual spots to eat if you love live performances very much.

What to Eat

Excite your taste buds with Tostones Rellenos that features green plantain cups with cheese-covered ground beef.  It would also be nice to heat your tummy with the soup of the day.  And since rice is a staple in Peru, you must also try Chaufa de Chenne—a beef fried rice—to make the most of your food adventure.  Its seafood counterpart is called Chaufa de Mariscos. Pasta lovers, meanwhile, would love Tallarin Verde con Lomo or a pesto that comes with beef strips and potato wedges.  Taste picanores or Peruvian donuts for dessert!


6. Al’s Finger Licking Good Bar-B-Que

1609 Angel Oliva Sr St

Tampa, FL 33605

(813) 958-0675


Built in 2003, Al’s Finger Licking Good Bar-B-Que started as a concession stand before opening a diner in Ybor City six years later.  It has bagged several awards in its 18 years of business.

Why This Restaurant Is a Must Eat

Have you tried asking locals where to eat in Tampa?  Al’s would be among the top eateries they’ll mention since it offers some of the best Tennessee-style barbecues in the city.  Couple that with the friendly vibe of the fast-casual diner’s staff and you’ll surely have a comfy dining experience in Tampa.

What to Eat

Consider ordering Aunt Mary’s Triple Play Combo if you want to have three types of meat and two bread with a sauce.  With this, you can taste the classic pulled pork, ribs, and chopped beef in one order.  Add Ericka’s spicy collard greens and Lay’s potato chips, too.  Never miss the homemade banana pudding to end your meal on a sweet note.


7. Fresh Kitchen

1350 S Howard Ave

Tampa, FL 33606

(813) 280-0515


Fresh Kitchen—a concept of Ciccio Restaurant—embarked on the business in September 2014 with its first location set in Tampa’s SoHo district.  It has expanded to six more areas since then.

Why This Restaurant Is a Must Eat

Without a doubt, Fresh Kitchen is one of the most popular restaurants to try if you want to eat healthily.  It offers gluten-free food and antibiotic-free meats for everyone.  Even if you’re new to this kind of diet, you’ll certainly enjoy the food here due to its sumptuous taste.  Nature lovers would also appreciate its thrust for ensuring sustainability.

What to Eat

Create a bowl filled with a base of brown rice and sweet potato noodles.  Top it with roasted parmesan broccoli and grilled citrus chicken drizzled with holy kale for a scrumptious taste you won’t forget about.  Pair it with the chiwee strawberry pressed juice that features a mix of strawberry, orange, apple, pineapple, and chia seeds.  


8. Wat Mongkolratanaram Thai Temple

5306 Palm River Rd

Tampa, FL 33619

(813) 621-1669


Nestled by the Palm River, this Buddhist Thai temple that hosts a Sunday market every week. It also holds religious services which people can attend to have a better understanding of Buddhism.

Why This Restaurant Is a Must Eat

Enjoying meals on a weekend feels extra special when taken in a lovely setting as serene as that of Wat Tampa.  It has an open-air setting with tables and chairs stationed near the trees. Overlooking views of the water makes it better.

What to Eat

Order Pad Thai to taste one of the classic food options originating from Thailand’s authentic fare.  It’s best eaten with the fresh roll shrimp and beef noodle soup for a satisfying meal. Try their iced coffee or iced tea to start your day right with a highly refreshing beverage.


9. On Swann

1501 Swann Ave

Tampa, FL 33606

(813) 251-0110


Built in 2016, On Swann is a chic restaurant situated in the Old Hyde Park Village highlighting New American cuisine.  It is set only less than a mile from the Coast Bike Share on Bayshore.

Why This Restaurant Is a Must Eat

On Swann offers a contemporary casual vibe that sets it apart from many other Tampa eats.  Just by stepping foot inside, you’d already feel its vibrant vibe that easily appeals to people of all ages.  You can also experience al fresco dining on the cozy patio.  What’s more—this diner likewise boasts a seasonal menu that uses fresh ingredients.  You’ll also appreciate the open-kitchen setup adopted in this great place.

What to Eat

Share amongst your group the Mediterranean Board that has a roasted corn dip, green olive feta dip, wild mushroom mousse, and hummus.  Shortly after, savor the tomato bisque for your appetizer.  You won’t go wrong with steak frites and Pasta Genovese for the main course.  Of course, it would not be a complete experience without the passion fruit spritzer that uses a mix of sparkling wine, passionfruit, and citrus.


10. Eddie V’s Prime Seafood

4400 W Boy Scout Blvd

Tampa, FL 33607

(813) 877-7290


An upscale diner, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood has been in the restaurant industry for two decades.  Its first sophisticated eatery was opened in Austin, TX before expanding to 28 locations across the United States.

Why This Restaurant Is a Must Eat

When it comes to fine dining in Tampa, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood stands as one of the best options out there.  It has established an unparalleled reputation through its pleasant food, light atmosphere, and attentive staff.  Every quality you’re looking for would certainly check out.  Eddie V’s also uses prime-quality beef that passed the USDA to ensure top-notch quality.  All the seafood served is just as sumptuous since they are caught fresh.

What to Eat

Make the most of your time in one of the best dinner places in Tampa by having the Shellfish Tower with lobster, shrimps, oysters, and lump crab.  Every seafood enthusiast would love this.  Among the chef’s creations, filet mignon with South African lobster tails is among the top favorites.  You can also get the bone-in New York strip if you want a heavier meal.


11. Mr. Dunderbak’s

14929 Bruce B Downs Blvd

Tampa, FL 33613

(813) 977-4104


Mr. Dunderbak’s has been serving the Tampa community for over five decades with food and drinks from the German fare.  It started as a franchise restaurant owned by a German couple.  

Why This Restaurant Is a Must Eat

Expose yourself to the unique offerings from Germany you may have yet to try in your lifetime.  At Mr. Dunderbak’s, you would be able to discover made-to-order food from morning until evening.  Classic American offerings are likewise available.  It also boasts a wide range of alcoholic beverages—numbering at around 400—for you to choose from.

What to Eat

Cheese lovers must try both the tuna melt sandwich and the grilled cheese sandwich for a lovely meal.  Both of these come with potato chips and a pickle spear on the side as a bonus. Have a Schnitzel Wiener Art to savor their fried pork cutlet that’s breaded using their famous herbs.  Sauerbraten, which features marinated sliced beef, also tastes just as great


12. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

4322 W Boy Scout Blvd

Tampa, FL 33607

(813) 874-9463


Set near downtown, this high-end restaurant forms part of a popular steakhouse and restaurant founded in 1998.  It has more than five dozen properties across the entire United States.

Why This Restaurant Is a Must Eat

No list of the top Tampa restaurants would be complete without this sophisticated steakhouse in the city.  It’s known for serving exceptional steaks, scrumptious seafood, and refreshing wines. Coupled with its swanky atmosphere, there’s probably nothing else to ask for in this place.

What to Eat

Start your meal with light crab cakes to allot more room in your stomach for the signature steaks.  Main Filet Mignon is a fan-favorite but you can opt for the Prime New York Strip if you want heavier food.  Also, try Fleming’s Salad for a healthy balance to your dinner.  It would also be ideal to finish your meal with a delectable dessert of New York cheesecake.  Many guests love it so make sure to check this one out when you visit.


13. Ciro’s

2109 Bayshore Blvd

Tampa, FL 33606

(813) 251-0022


Ciro’s, named after a Hollywood bar, has a spot-on location at the iconic Bayshore Royal.  It adopts the style of speakeasies originally established in the Prohibition era for a unique approach.

Why This Restaurant Is a Must Eat

Still looking for the coolest bars in Tampa? Well, you don’t need to look way too far since Ciro’s is right here.  With its retro style, you’d most likely feel like you’ve entered a portal to the bygone era.  And the low-light setup perfects the overall vibe of this place.  You can also watch the mixologist prepare your drinks up-close—either at the bar or at the private booth.

What to Eat

Stuff your tummy with chicken and frites before having a drink with your closest buddies.  You might also want to try Ciro’s very own crème brulee that’s lightly caramelized to suit your taste.  While you’re here, try the iconic elixir known as “Just a Thot” to discover a mix of orange, Milagro Blanco, lemon, and rhubarb bitters, among others.  Living the Vida Loca—which features Vida Mezcal, sorgin, abricot, Coco Lopez, and lime—is also worth a try.



14. 4 Rivers Smokehouse

623 S Macdill Ave

Tampa, FL 33609

(844) 474-8377


4 Rivers Smokehouse, founded in 2009, is a barbecue restaurant two miles from the University of Tampa.  From its first location in Winter Park, the food joint now has a presence in 13 areas.

Why This Restaurant Is a Must Eat

Have the best lunch in Tampa when you visit this fast-casual diner that attracts locals and tourists alike.  Since it’s a family-owned diner, this place also ensures that the food would fit the needs of the young and the young-at-heart.  Its slow-smoked barbecue is sought after.  In addition, 4 Rivers also implements a loyalty program to obtain special rewards and points.

What to Eat

Savor some of the originals like the Texas Destroyer filled with the restaurant’s famous Angus brisket on a brioche bun.  It also has vegetables like onion rings, jalapenos, along with cheese. Of course, the 4R signature sauce completes the meal.  You can also order a pulled pork barbecue platter if you want to savor a much larger serving.


15. First Watch

520 Tampa St

Tampa, FL 33602

(813) 307-9006


Set at Tampa’s heart, First Watch is an award-winning daytime café first established in Bradenton.  It has since grown to more than 400 locations across various states.

Why This Restaurant Is a Must Eat

First Watch counts as one of the best restaurants downtown if you’re particular about morning meals.  It’s well known for creating fresh dishes using the finest ingredients available.  Plus, this casual eatery also maintains a comfortable vibe to let guests start their day on a positive note.  Complimentary newspapers are available so make sure to come early.

What to Eat

Indulge in a traditional breakfast meal with eggs, bacon, whole grain toast, and seasoned potatoes.  You can also replace it with smoked ham, chicken sausage patties, turkey, or pork sausage. Trifecta has a Belgian waffle or a pancake, with bacon and eggs on the side.  It’s also great to have a superfood bowl with coconut milk filled with bananas, berries, and many others. Never skip the morning meditation fresh juice for a refreshing beverage.


16. Cigar City Brewing

3924 W Spruce St

Tampa, FL 33607

(813) 348-33607


Cigar City Brewing’s property in Tampa features a full-service kitchen that introduces guests to classic American favorites.  It also produces unique beer flavors that leave a lasting taste.

Why This Restaurant Is a Must Eat

Beyond the typical services, Cigar City Brewing in Tampa also provides a 40-minute tour to walk you through the craft.  It is also one of the good restaurants in Tampa that boasts a family-friendly atmosphere.  You’ll easily feel at home once you’ve settled inside even if it’s just your first time arriving.

What to Eat

Start your meal with buffalo wings—otherwise called Crispy Boys—with blue cheese on the side.  Try the Black and Blue Burger to taste a scrumptious ground brisket sandwich.  You can opt for Cuban Meatloaf if you want to have your ground brisket on a plate.  Never skip the Jai Alai Indian Pale Ale that has a bold and citrusy flavor with a 7.5% alcohol by volume. Florida Man, which has a bitter taste, is another draft beer available all year.


17. Bern’s Steakhouse

1208 S Howard Ave

Tampa, FL 33606

(813) 251-2421


Since 1956, Bern’s Steakhouse has been serving prime-grade steaks to locals and tourists in Tampa.  It also boasts an expansive wine list regularly updated throughout the year.

Why This Restaurant Is a Must Eat

With its swanky vibe, this restaurant stands as one of your best options for a romantic dinner in Tampa.  It boasts cut-to-order steaks and locally grown vegetables to maintain food quality. Bern’s sources these healthy ingredients from its very own farm.  On top of steaks, this eatery also created the Harry Waugh Dessert Room to let you savor sweet treats.  What you’ll appreciate more are its charitable initiatives to support various causes.

What to Eat

Please your palate with lump crab cakes and braised dry-aged beef belly to open your dinner.  Of course, the porterhouse steak would be among the best food you’ll get.  Although it’s the priciest, the savory taste would certainly amaze you.  Pair your meal with a bottle of 2018 Benziger Cabernet Sauvignon for the whole group. It was sourced from the Sonoma town located at the heart of California’s wine country.


18. CW Gin Joint

633 N Franklin St

Tampa, FL 33602

(813) 816-1446


CW Gin Joint, named after its proprietor and designer, is a promising restaurant praised for its food and drink pairings.  It has a strategic location set near the classic Tampa Theater.

Why This Restaurant Is a Must Eat

Just finished the city tour?  No need to go far to find a place with a fulfilling meal and a refreshing drink at the same time. You can also come here for the gin alone if you just want to unwind.  What will make you fall in love with this fine-dining eatery is its jazz musical performances that make for a romantic atmosphere.  Its retro vibe will blow you away.

What to Eat

Try the gluten-free mushroom risotto that features arborio rice with duxelles and parmesan.  Its filet mignon, which comes with green asparagus, is also gluten-free to let more people enjoy this steak.  Those who opt for a lighter fare can have a ribeye sandwich instead.  Sip CW’s Old Fashion drink that has been part of the restaurant’s tradition for years.  Mojito would be perfect for guests who like rhum, cane syrup, mint, and soda.


19. Columbia Restaurant

2117 E 7th Ave

Tampa, FL 33605

(813) 248-4961


Columbia Restaurant has been distinguished as the oldest diner in Florida established by a Cuban immigrant.  Its iconic property in Tampa City is their first-ever location founded in 1905.

Why This Restaurant Is a Must Eat

Industry experts would tell you that this place is more than just a restaurant.  With over a century in service, Columbia Restaurant has become a historical attraction in itself.  In fact, you can see iconic artworks in every room that will take you on a trip back in time.  It’s also one of the best birthday restaurants in Tampa due to its expansive private dining spaces.

What to Eat

Taste Cuban classics by having the El Combo de Cuba which contains roast pork, boliche, empanada de picadillo, platanos, black beans, yuca, and yellow rice.  Spain’s Paella Espanola would be a great dish for those who love seafood and meat on Valencia rice.  Take your dining experience further by having Columbia’s Original 1905 Salad that has bagged numerous awards.  A glass of sangria would complement your food for a more gratifying lunch.


20. Oystercatchers

2900 Bayport Dr

Tampa, FL 33607

(813) 207-6815


Oystercatchers is a seafood restaurant that’s part of the four-star Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.  With its well-rounded services, this posh eatery has earned numerous awards since its opening in 1986.

Why This Restaurant Is a Must Eat

Defining a gastronomic experience cannot be merely determined by the quality of food served.  Its ambiance is just as important. Given these factors, there’s no wonder why this casual diner is among people’s favorites.  Here, you can let your taste buds enjoy great food while your eyes feast on the views of Tampa Bay’s sunset. Its secluded location just makes things all the better.

What to Eat

Some of the signature entrées you can try including lobster mac and cheese for a flavorsome dish.  Having the grilled seafood trio is also recommended for those who like lobsters, scallops, and shrimps.  After all, why choose one when you can have them all?  Want to have a mix of steak and seafood?  Consider ordering Surf & Turf which features a filet mignon and a whole lobster tail.

Enjoy the foods

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