Tampa has welcomed immigrants from all over the world, and this influx of cultures and cuisines has added flavor and diversity to the local food scene. Tourists often miss it, but locals definitely know where to look for unique flavors.
The Best Restaurants in Tampa
Why dine at a typical chain restaurant next to the amusement parks when you can enjoy a variety of flavors and culinary concepts at the best restaurants in Tampa instead?
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With prime cuts, the largest restaurant wine selection in the world, and famous deserts, Bern’s Steakhouse easily earns a place as one of the very best restaurants in Tampa. The kitchen uses nothing but the best for every single meal, including fresh organic vegetables. Famous patrons include former President George W. Bush. After dinner, join a tour through the kitchen and cellar.
The Columbia Restaurant
This Ybor City landmark holds many records: It’s Florida’s oldest continuously operated restaurant, the oldest Spanish restaurant in the United States, and the largest Spanish restaurant in the entire world. It’s no wonder, then, that it’s considered one of the best restaurants in Tampa.
Opened in 1905, The Columbia has been operated by the same founding family for more than 100 years. Though it started as a humble corner cafe, it is now synonymous with fine dining and has served the likes of Babe Ruth, Bruce Springsteen, Marilyn Monroe, Stephen King, Brooke Shields, and George Clooney. Enjoy the empanada de picadillo for starters, then go for one of the delectable paellas, and finish with a perfect crema catalana for dessert.
Every Tampa local has been to Mr. Dunderbak’s at some point in their life. This beloved Tampa mainstay serves Bavarian classics with an American twist. Don’t come here in a rush—it’ll take you a while to browse through the list of more than 500 craft brands, as well as their own house-made beers. Like a true beer garden would, they host their very own Oktoberfest.
Boca Kitchen Bar & Market
Working with nearby farmers as much as possible, this farm-to-table restaurant invigorates the local economy while providing customers with fresh ingredients and high-quality food. The menu changes seasonally.
What Happy Fish lacks in decor it makes up for in bursts of flavor. Located on a strip mall fairly close to Tampa International Airport, it’s easy for foodies to miss this place. However, if you’re looking for Peruvian fusion that will have you booking tickets to Peru right after your meal, this is where you want to go. Get a ceviche platter or a lomo saltado, and finish with a suspiro a la limena, one of Peru’s most beloved desserts.
Rooster & the Till
Rooster & the Till proves that Tampa is an up-and-coming foodie destination. With locally sourced ingredients, this creative American restaurant delivers freshness and quality alongside innovative flavors. The presentation of dishes is an art form in itself, and the carefully curated wine list accompanies each dish perfectly. Touted as one of the best restaurants in Tampa, this is the one Tampa restaurant that no foodie should miss.
If you’re ever craving ramen while in Tampa, head straight to Ichicoro Imoto. Acclaimed as one of the top Japanese restaurants in the city, it is the absolute best place to satisfy your hunger for ramen, rice bowls, and buns. Ichicoro also offers a variety of delicious cocktails that add to its contemporary feel.
Wright’s Gourmet House
Wright’s has been a Tampa casual dining favorite for decades. The deli sandwiches are the talk of town, and they’re accompanied with a side and dessert. Try the famous beef martini sandwich, which combines contrasting flavors in perfect harmony.
Restaurant, bookstore, shop, studio, coffee house—Oxford Exchange is hard to define. One thing is certain, though: It does not lack soul or uniqueness. Developed as a space “where community happens,” it does not seek to fit into a single category. Dine in the luminous restaurant where light filters in through the glass roof, and enjoy delectable seasonal American dishes. Only open during daytime, it is the perfect place for brunch.
Ocean Prime is Tampa fine dining at its best. Elegant decor welcomes diners who come for the excellent wine selection, prime cuts, and fresh seafood. The menu offers modern takes on classic meals, and the fish is wild or naturally harvested. If you want to deviate from the typical steak or seafood dishes, try the Gerber farms chicken.
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– Original reporting by Mariana Zapata
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