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Favorite restaurants in the Tampa Bay area...

  • c
  • Chris Jenkins Aug 22, 2002 10:44 AM
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I'm putting together an opinion/forum/poll website for the Tampa Bay area, and I'm looking for suggestions for favorites in the restaurants poll. I have four categories: Family Friendly, Ethnic, Bar & Grill, and Steak & Seafood. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Link: http://stpeteopinion.com

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  1. Ted Peter's- best smoked fish, cheeseburgers, German potato salad and rootbeer in the world!

    William's subs- these things are so good that when we are visiting our families in St. Pete, we bring their sandwiches back to Gainesville.

    1. l
      Lisa In Tampa

      Steak & Seafood: Eric's New World Bistro in Palm Harbor
      Bar & Grill: Varsity Club in Clearwater, Jack Willie's in Oldsmar

      1 Reply
      1. re: Lisa In Tampa

        Is Eric's New World Bistro still open? I thought he changed it to an Irish sports bar theme a couple years ago.

      2. Here are a few favorites:

        Laughing Cat - Ybor- Italian
        Cafe Paradiso - So. Macdill - Italian
        Byblos Macdill & Bay to bay - mediterranean
        China Yuan - Seafood - this place is awesome! waters & sligh
        Buddist temple Sunday mornings from 10-2 on Palm River Road - not a restaurant but a great food fair every week - best Thai in the area - can be crazy busy!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: kvg74

          On China Yuan, I think you mean on Armenia just north of Waters.

          John

        2. China Yuan (on Armenia just north of Waters) is one of the best in the area. Also, there is a Dim Sum place called Ho Ho Choy on Fletcher Ave that is also good. My family and I also like the Golden Phoenix on Dale Mabry (Chinese/Vietnamese).

          1. For sushi, Ichiban on rte 54 in (I think) Trinity; for Italian, Umberto's of Long Island in Dunedin (I used to go there when they were on Long Island and so was I!); for Indian, Laziz in Clearwater. For chopped liver sandwiches and Dr. Brown's diet black cherry soda, The Lucky Dill in Palm Harbor! And for the best Margaritas on the face of the earth, Dan Marino's in St Pete!!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Manderley

              If I remember correctly, Marino's in not in St. Pete anymore. It is not a place called Grille 121 and did not get a glowing review from the SP Times.

              John

            2. Zante Cafe in Tarpon for the best eclectic meal and ambiance.
              Costa's in Tarpon for home style Greek.
              Ruben's Cubans on Busch Blvd. Tampa.
              The Majestic in Brandon (another cuban place).
              The German Restaurant in Holiday.

              2 Replies
              1. re: robiyaki

                zante cafe? where is that, never heard of it! i used to love ballyhoo's in tarpon, sorry it closed. Yum, the german restaurant, love that place!

                also for great Italian, Dominick's in Oldsmar (how could I forget?)

                1. re: Manderley

                  It's at 13 N Safford Ave, if you are coming west from Hwy 19 you would turn right at the Pinellas Trail then make your first left and left again into a parking lot. Once parked walk back toward Tarpon Ave and it's in about the middle of the building. Don't get scared of the decor, it looks like a junk shop, but the food is excellent. Chef Brad is from Louisiana and specializes in cajun but is an artist with all types of cuisine that is featured on their menu. I belive they are closed Sunday and Monday open for lunch 11-4(?) the rest of the week and dinner on Friday and Saturday (not sure the times) reservations are reccomended. Please keep in mind that when you go not to be on a tight schedule, it does take time for everything to be ready. They have a small kitchen with a 4 burner you would find in an average home and only 1 or 2 people cooking at a given time. Ask for a peak in the kitchen to check it out, you will appriciate what they can do much better after taking a peak.
                  I didn't know Ballyhoos in Tarpon closed, I think the one in Citrus Park is still open.
                  I might have to try Dominick's next time I'm in Oldsmar.

              2. Ted Peters and Williams are legendary. I like the Steak Joint in St. Pete for steaks and Osaka's in Madeira Beach for sushi & Thai. We also just went to Queen of Sheba's an ethopian restaurant in Tampa and it was really fun and the food was delicious.

                1. My current faves are Stonechase in Westchase, Kelly's...For Just About Anything in Dunedin, Belleair Grill and Wine Bar in Clearwater.

                  1. Gotta Have 717 South (South Howard/ South Tampa) on the list and The Noho Bistro (N. Armenia just north of 275 in Tampa) and The Bungalow Bistro (N. Florida Ave just south of Hillsborough Ave in Tampa). Oh, and Acropolis for Greek (7th Ave Ybor) and The Fly Bar (Franklin Street/ Downtown Tampa). Fly is very good, but a little pricey. Great ambience for all.

                    1. We had our anniversary dinner at Armani's and I have to say I was very disappointed. My appetizer of calamari with a ginger sauce was tender but pedestrian. Honey's spinach salad was great, he thought, but just looked like the usual to me. My chilean sea bass was "eh", he loved his veal. Our garlic risotto was gummy and hard. The wild mushrooms were ok. The best part of the meal was the dab of polenta which came with his veal. Dessert of tiramisu was ok. Thank goodness the wine was great. And I was disappointed that I made the reservations a month ago, told them it was a special occasion and asked for a romantic table with a nice view. When we arrived, there were plenty of tables facing the sunset over the water. We were led to a table by the window...overlooking the construction on the Courtney Campbell. (sigh). I'll pass on Armani's next time. The bill, by the way, came to just under $250 for the two of us. But I must say our server was excellent, not intrusive or annoying at all.

                      1. Cafe Ameretto in Tampa and Back Fin Blue Cafe in Gulfport.

                        1. Restaurant BT is one of our favorites...outstanding French-Vietnamese (in Hyde Park) and across the bridge...Cafe Ponte is great. In Clearwater, Thai Spice is probably the best Thai we've had. Samurai Blue has great sushi (in Centro Ybor).