My Favorite Restaurants in Tampa Bay & Beyond

As you can imagine, I love dining out; and have hundreds of favorites which will be passed on to you in the months and years ahead. Please know that I am not trying to be a restaurant critic here, for I will only be posting “positive” comments from places that I actually visit. If I don’t like the food or experience, I won’t even mention the restaurant. You see, everyone gets enough crap thrown at them on a daily basis – life is tough enough, so if a restaurant is not serving good food or providing quality service, the marketplace will decide if they will close or not.

That said, I have one very important standard – a restaurant must be busy. I’m not talking about busy at the moment. I’m talking about consistently busy, for if busy, it can then be somewhat assumed that food is not sitting around the kitchen getting old.

We have all seen the restaurant with no customers at noon or 7pm on a Friday. While my heart goes out to them, it is probably not a place which will be visited by me. For food must be fresh. I like fresh. I can taste fresh immediately. It is ok if a cook or chef does not prepare something to my liking, but old? – no way I’m eating there…but you won’t hear about those restaurants from me. Please let me know which places you like in Tampa Bay and beyond – and why.

RECENTLY VISITED

March 26, 2020

PSOMI

PSOMI in Greek translates to Bread
PSOMI in Restaurant speak translates to AWESOME GOODNESS

Christina Theofilos took an old radiator shop on Howard Avenue (across from the Armory, now the JCC) and transformed it to a beautiful Greek food paradise. Everything is homemade from the bread to the tzatziki. Her mom Liz did all the decorating – and dad John, while a very successful businessman, was bussing tables today. It is a true family affair.

Christina cares about the food she presents and I can guarantee a great food experience. The baklava and spanakopita (which is open faced and different than most) is the best I’ve ever had including in Greece.

Psomi opened this past Monday and is already a hit with guests. The official grand opening is this Friday November 8th. They are open for breakfast and lunch from 7am to 3pm – dinner will be coming in a few months. Please let me know your thoughts.

PSOMI
701 North Howard Avenue
Corner of Howard and Cass
Tampa, Florida 33606
(813) 733-0890


Mexican


  • Red Mesa

    4912 4th Street North
    St. Petersburg, FL 33703
    (727) 527-8782

  • Miguel’s

    3035 West Kennedy Blvd
    Tampa, FL 33629
    (813) 876-2587

  • Miguelitos Taqueria y Tequilas

    2702 West Kennedy Blvd
    Tampa, FL 33609
    (813) 872-5600

  • Lolis Mexican Cravings

    “Try Their Chicken Tamales”
    3324 West Gandy Boulevard
    Tampa, Fl 33611
    (813) 374-3164

  • Bartaco

    “Pork Belly Tacos Are My Favorite”
    1601 West Snow Avenue
    Tampa, Fl 33606
    (813) 258-8226

  • Acapulco Taqueria

    “Authentic As It Gets”
    1001 North MacDill Avenue
    Tampa, Fl 33607
    (813) 873-3665


Spanish / Latin



Cuban Sandwich


  • Wright’s Gourmet
    (4 time winner of Tampa Tribune’s Cuban Sandwich Award)

    1200 South Dale Mabry
    Tampa, FL 33629
    (813) 253-3838

  • Faedo

    5150 North Florida 33606
    Tampa, FL 33603
    (813) 237-2377

  • West Tampa Sandwich Shop

    3904 North Armenia
    Tampa, FL 33607
    (813) 873-7106

  • The Floridian

    “Great Cubans & Traditional Ybor City Mini Devil Crabs”
    4534 West Kennedy Boulevard
    Tampa, Fl 33609
    (813) 287-6662


Steak


  • Bern’s Steak House

    1208 South Howard Avenue
    Tampa, FL 33606
    (813) 251-2421

  • Ruth’s Chris

    1700 North Westshore Boulevard
    Tampa, FL 33607
    (813) 282-1118

  • The Capital Grille

    2223 North Westshore – International Plaza
    Tampa, FL 33607
    (813) 830-9433

  • Council Oak

    5223 Orient Road – Hard Rock Hotel
    Tampa, FL 33610
    (813) 627-7600

  • Brazilian Steak House

    Texas de Brazil
    4119 West Boy Scout Boulevard
    Tampa, FL 33607
    (813) 871-1400


Italian


  • Trattoria Pasquale

    4334 South Manhattan Avenue
    Tampa, FL 33611
    (813) 831-9572

  • Iavarones

    3617 West Humprey Street
    Tampa, FL 33614
    (813) 932-521

  • Bella’s

    1413 South Howard
    Tampa, FL 33606
    (813) 254-3355

  • Ravioli Company

    3413 South Manhattan
    Tampa, FL 33629
    (813) 254-2051

  • Mazzaro’s Italian Cafe

    2909 22nd Avenue North
    St. Petersburg, FL 33713
    (727) 321-2400

  • Ava

    718 South Howard Ave
    Tampa, FL 33606
    (813) 512-3030

  • Rocca

    “Get Their Tableside Mozzarella & Bread Plate”
    323 West Palm Avenue
    Tampa, Fl 33602
    (813) 906-5445

  • Olivia

    3601 West Swann Avenue
    Tampa, Fl 33609
    (813) 328-8866

  • Forbici

    1633 West Snow Avenue
    Tampa, Fl 33606
    (813) 251-8001


"I was eating in a Chinese restaurant downtown. There was a dish called 'Mother and Child Reunion'. It's chicken and eggs. And I said, I gotta use that one."
- Paul Simon (True Story)


American


  • Pane Rustica

    3225 West MacDill Avenue
    Tampa, FL 33629
    (813) 902-8828

  • Mise En Place

    442 West Kennedy Boulevard
    Tampa, FL 33606
    (813) 254-5373

  • Wright’s Gourmet

    1200 South Dale Mabry Hwy
    Tampa, FL 33629
    (813) 253-3838

  • Datz

    2616 South MacDill Avenue
    Tampa, FL 33629
    (813) 831-7000

  • Café Ponte

    13505 Icot Boulevard
    Clearwater, FL 33760
    (727) 538-5768

  • Oxford Exchange

    420 West Kennedy
    Tampa, FL 33606
    (813) 253-0222

  • Edison Food + Drink Lab

    902 West Kennedy
    Tampa, FL 33606
    (813) 254-7111

  • Indigenous

    239 South Links
    Sarasota, FL
    (941) 706-4740

  • Mel’s Hot Dogs

    4136 East Busch Boulevard
    Tampa, FL 33617
    (813) 985-8000

  • Buddy Brew

    2020 West Kennedy
    Tampa, FL 33606
    (813) 258-2739

  • Chocolate Pi

    5207 North Florida Avenue
    Tampa, FL 33603
    (813) 774-1971

  • Xtreme Juice Smoothies

    619 South Dale Mabry
    Tampa, FL 33606
    (813) 879-6033

  • Ulele

    1819 North Highland Avenue
    Tampa, FL 33602
    (813) 999-4952

  • Counter Culture

    2909 West Bay to Bay Boulevard
    Tampa, Fl 33629
    (813) 570-8660

  • On-Swann

    1501 West Swann Avene
    Tampa, Fl 33606
    (813) 251-0110

  • Nebraska Mini Mart

    “Love This Place – Fun & Casual”
    4815 North Nebraska Avenue
    Tampa, Fl 33603
    (813) 231-9522

  • Goody-Goody

    1601 West Swann Avenue
    Tampa, Fl 33606
    (813) 308-1925

  • The Mill (2 Locations)

    200 Central Avenue
    St Petersburg, Fl 33701
    (727) 317-3930

    2500 West Azeele Street
    Tampa, Fl 33609
    (813) 603-8786

  • Armature Works

    “Fun Foodie Place To Visit – View Their Website To See Their Array of Food Vendors”
    1901 North Ola Avenue
    Tampa, Fl 33602
    (813) 250-3725
    Website: armatureworks.com

  • Sparkman Wharf

    “A Casual Fun Place To Visit with Loads of Good Local Food Fendors”
    615 Channelside Drive
    Tampa, Fl 33602
    (813) 345-5881
    Website: Sparkmanwharf.com


Greek / Mediteranean


  • Psomi

    “#1 Favorite - Everything Is Awesome”
    701 North Howard Avenue
    Tampa, Fl 33606
    (813) 841-5555

  • Little Greek

    1155 South Dale Mabry Hwy
    Tampa, FL 33629
    (813) 443-4594

  • Byblos

    2832 South MacDill
    Tampa, FL 33629
    (813) 805-7977


"I went to a restaurant that 'serves breakfast at any time'. So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance."
- Steven Wright


Sunday Food Market


  • Wat Mongkolratanaram – Thai Temple
    Warning – Arrive by 9am to get a parking space

    5306 Palm River Road
    Tampa, FL 33619
    (813) 621-1668


Barbeque


  • Hungry Harry’s

    2006 South Parsons
    Seffner, FL
    (813) 643-0063

  • Holy Hog on Armenia

    3501 North Armenia
    Tampa, FL 33607
    (813) 879-4647

  • Kojaks

    2808 West Gandy
    Tampa, FL 33611
    (813) 837-3774

  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse

    Carrollwood
    14330 North Dale Mabry Highway
    Tampa, FL 33618
    1-844-4RIVERS (1-844-474-8377)

    South Tampa
    623 South MacDill Avenue
    Tampa, FL 33609
    1-844-4RIVERS (1-844-474-8377)

  • Dr. BBQ

    1101 1st Avenue South
    St Petersburg, Fl 33705
    (727) 443-7227


Indian


  • Bombay Masala

    4023 West Waters
    Tampa, FL 33614
    (813) 880-7511

  • India's Grill

    3437 West Kennedy Boulevard
    Tampa, Florida 33609
    (813) 872-8222

  • Flames Indian Cuisine

    2601 South MacDill Avenue
    Tampa, Fl 33629
    (813) 252-8069


Asian


  • Sa Ri One
    (between Dale Mabry and Lois near I-275)

    3940 West Cypress Street
    Tampa, FL 33607
    Phone: (813) 874-2911

  • Restaurant BT

    2507 South MacDill
    Tampa, FL 33629
    (813) 258-1916

  • Bistro BT

    4267 Henderson Boulevard
    Tampa, Fl 33629
    (813) 513-8402

  • THAI ISLAND

    210 East Davis Boulevard
    Tampa, FL 33606
    (813) 251-9111

  • Yummy House

    2620 East Hillsborough Avenue
    Tampa, FL 33610
    (813) 237-3838


One Bite Favorites


The following are restaurants I will go to just to have these single items

  • Favorite Lobster Taco – Eddie V’s

    4400 Boy Scout Boulevard
    Tampa, FL
    (813) 877-7290

  • Favorite Hushpuppies – Jimbo’s

    4103 West Kennedy
    Tampa, FL
    (813) 289-9724