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10 Great Tampa Restaurants on the Water

SmarterTravel

Few things are more pleasant than dining with a view of the water—something that’s always within reach in Tampa, where eclectic flavors and gorgeous waterfronts go hand in hand.

Tampa Restaurants on the Water

Get a meal with a view at these top waterfront restaurants in Tampa.

Ulele 

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Locally sourced seafood is the the specialty at Ulele. All of the ingredients are organic, and those which can’t be sourced in Florida come from farms in the U.S. Throw in some great vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, along with an astonishing view of the Tampa Bayfront, and it’s no wonder that this young member of the Columbia Restaurant Group is making such a splash. Don’t miss the Seafood Risotto and the Native Sauté.

Rusty Pelican

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One of the best Tampa restaurants on the water, the Rusty Pelican has nearly reached landmark status in the city. It’s the place to go for fresh food and views that may leave you speechless. Come for the sunset menu, which complements the experience of the sun setting on the Gulf of Mexico with carefully paired flavors.

Cafe Dufrain

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A modern American menu that changes seasonally guarantees the oh-so-fresh local flavors of this classic waterfront restaurant. Complement your dishes with a craft beer and take in the downtown views for a perfect dining experience. Bring your dog or come straight from your boat onto the restaurant— yes, Cafe Dufrain really is that accommodating.

Waterside Grill

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Located inside Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, the Waterside Grill is a great place for casual dining on the Tampa Riverwalk. The menu is inspired by the diversity of the Tampa Bay Area, and as such includes Southern flavors like shrimp and grits, as well as fish tacos, Cuban sandwiches, and griller mahi salad.

Yacht Starship

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The only Tampa restaurant that’s literally on the water, Yacht Starship takes you on a dining cruise along Tampa Bay, where you can enjoy views ranging from the downtown’s sky rises to wild dolphins greeting the sunset. After dinner, get even more romantic by dancing on the promenade or lounge deck and enjoying a unique experience brought to you by America’s first dining yacht to receive AAA three diamond rating.

Malio’s

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You normally don’t equate family-owned with fine dining, but that’s exactly what Malio’s is. Offering prime beef, fresh seafood, and a selection of more than 200 wines, Malio’s is one of the most popular waterfront restaurants in Tampa. If you like safe and familiar, order the superb chicken alfredo. For something more adventurous, go for the lobster escargot and steak tartare.

Sono Cafe 

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Located inside the Tampa Museum of Art, Sono might be the most creative of all the Tampa restaurants on the water. Ingredients are locally sourced and blended by local chefs to accompany the museum’s exhibitions, making them a whole new way to experience art. The artisanal gelato is the perfect companion to the restaurant’s scenic views of Hillsborough River.

Jackson’s Bistro Bar & Sushi

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Perfect views with fresh seafood keep people coming back to Jackson’s. With more than 500 wines and an extensive seafood menu, this bistro bar is a local favorite for catching sunsets at the outdoor patio or enjoying a sunny brunch.

Oystercatchers 

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At Oystercatchers inside the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, you’re guaranteed fresh seafood because all of the fish served here is wild and line caught. The Sunday brunch is popular, with numerous buffet bars bringing a variety of flavors. If you’re an adventurous eater, try the delightful lobster mac and cheese.

Armani’s

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Another fine restaurant located in the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, Armani’s is acclaimed for its varied Italian menu. The restaurant is on the 14th floor of the hotel, and its floor-to-ceiling windows grant unparalleled views of the water while you dine.

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– Original reporting by Mariana Zapata

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