The Hungry Traveler’s Guide to Tampa Bay’s Top Eats

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Tampa Bay – where the food scene is as hot and spicy as a Florida summer! Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or just someone looking to explore new culinary delights, this city offers something for every palate. From the bold flavors of Cuban cuisine to fresh seafood and farm-to-table options, Tampa Bay’s restaurants are a feast for the senses. But where do you begin with so many amazing dining options to choose from?

Here’s a list of Tampa’s must-dine locations. Better loosen your belt; you won’t be asking for a to-go box.

The Sail and Big Ray’s Fish Camp

Located nearby the Tampa Convention Center, you’ll find the colorful Sail Plaza, home to The Sail and Big Ray’s Fish Camp. Enjoy an open-air waterfront dining experience with stunning views of the bay and passing boats. Besides an array of craft cocktails, like The Best Paloma Ever, The Sail prides itself on offering Tampa Bay’s Best Mojitos. Pair these delicious drinks with the creative menu items from Big Ray’s Fish Camp, like the lobster corndog or the grouper reuben. Live music and a dog-friendly “yappy hour” help keep this restaurant at the top of the list.

The Rusty Pelican

The Rusty Pelican is a top choice for an elegant experience overlooking Old Tampa Bay. While enjoying the views, you can indulge in American fare like steak surf ‘n turf paired with one of their fruity cocktails, such as the One in a Melon featuring a tequila and watermelon blend. Feeling adventurous? Try the decadent lobster and shrimp risotto.

Café Dufrain

Café Dufrain provides delicious contemporary twists on international fare with views of downtown Tampa. The simple décor and casual atmosphere perfectly complement the menu, which features blackened shrimp alfredo and brisket mac and cheese.

M.Bird Tampa

Sip a crafted cocktail while taking in the stunning river and city views from the rooftop at M.Bird Tampa above Armature Works. This elegant eatery includes small bites for sharing, such as Jerk Chicken Tacos and Watermelon Burrata Salad. Don’t skip the tropical cocktails – the perfect addition to watching a spectacular Florida sunset.  

Columbia Restaurant

Step inside Florida’s oldest restaurant near the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel. Since 1905, the Columbia has welcomed guests with its Spanish-style décor, elegant atmosphere and delicious menu of Cuban cuisine, from the infamous Cuban sandwich to the iconic 1905 salad.

Havana 86

Are you craving authentic Cuban cuisine? Then, Havana 86 is the place to go. You can dine in or grab takeout for a convenient meal on the go. Favorites like Pollo Salteado (seasoned chicken) and Churrasco Especial Havana (skirt steak covered in melty cheese) are a hit with diners.

JoToro

JoToro is an unassuming neighborhood Mexican joint with a colorful flair curated and run by Michelin Chef Joe Isidori. Large Mexican-inspired art sprawls across the walls at JoToro, creating a fun environment for dining while showcasing Isidor’s Latine root. Tequila-based drinks are a specialty at this restaurant, which pair perfectly with crispy tempura fish wood-fired tacos and Korean BBQ beef burritos. Crispy Tempura Fish Wood-Fired Tacos and KBBQ Beef Burritos.  

Élevage SoHo Kitchen & Bar

Set in the chic Epicurean Hotel, Élevage SoHo Kitchen & Bar offers creative dishes in an upscale environment. Featuring a luxurious interior with trendy dangling lamps and wood accents, this restaurant serves delicious takes on popular favorites, from duck and dumplings to sourdough pancakes.

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