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Jan 24, 2004 07:15 AM

Rattlefish -- one heck of a place.

  • t

I'm wondering how this restaurant managed to slip in under the radar. There was no advance on it, hardly any buzz (although someone blurbed it on chowhound), and it turns out to be the finest thing to happen in Tampa since sliced cuban sandwiches. I have to admit that I sampled very little of the menu last week when I tried it. I started with a Manhattan, which I sipped at the bar. I opted for the bar because it was too crowded and I didn't want to wait for a table. Great bar, good drink. We had an appetizer, a fish spread that was served like you'd have caviar, with capers, onions, chopped egg. Crackers. The fish spread was not the traditional one that is chunky and full of fish. It was more of a fluffy sort of spread. Maybe that Manhattan hit my taste buds because I'm finding myself at a loss to describe it. I think my husband would have preferred something less pretentious but I liked it alot.

Then we split one of the boullabaises (you can pick your combo of seafoods in the broth). When it came I was wishing I'd ordered my own. It was ample and so good that I wanted to cross the dividing line and eat more than my share. Instead I had another Manhattan and took a stroll around this fabulous property. This restaurant is a great place for boaters and there's a fleet of them resting in the marina.

Unfortunately, it was a short night. Somebody else go and tell me what you thought of the food. Or maybe I'll head back. This is a really wonderful place. Take my advice -- go!!!

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  1. We must had cross each other,

    We sat at the bar, I was in a rush since I had to catch a flight. I did like the place I had some oysters (when asked for what type they were I got a reply "they are from lousiana" I guess making sure that they were not from the "pristine" tampa bay waters....

    Then I had the bouillabaisse with the Thai broth, good taste altough a little salty (for my taste) and having exactly 7 mussels and 5 scallops.

    I found the prices a little too much (16$ for fetuccine frutto di mare? common!!)

    Place was packed, nice decor, big place too. It's funny soon as I got to the place I start feeling a certain chain smell somewhere, so I asked, it turns out Rattlefish is the latest spring of the Outback chains of restaurants, it seems that they choose tampa as testing grounds for most of their restaurants.....

    Being chain disqualify it as a Chowplace of choise? I don't think so, but the prices and the size (too big and noisy for my taste) might deter me to go back more often

    Will try Ahi Grille this week, let's see.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Mario
      Tandoori Girl

      It's beginning to seem like all the restaurants are related to outback. Bonefish. Carraba's. I'm sure I'm missing one or two.

      I'm going back later in the week. I didn't get to try much. I'll go for an entree next. And do one less Manhattan. One of the things that I really like about it is the location. There aren't too many places in Tampa where you can eat and enjoy the water.

      1. re: Tandoori Girl

        anyone been here lately?
        Looking for somewhere to eat oysters this weekend

        1. re: rhnault

          I was there a few weeks ago. The oysters were tiny...people all around were complaining. but our waiter suggested the clams instead, which were delicious. It's a great location....but go while you can. They are apparently going private soon.

          1. re: travelnfood

            We'll probably wind up going to crab shack. I guess I need to start an oyster bar thread ; )

            1. re: rhnault

              Has anyonee tried Rattlefish Reef in Wesley Chapel? What's the info?

              1. re: rhnault

                Start a new thread on oyster bars.

                Go to crab shack.

                Not necessarily in that order.


                1. re: UptownKevin

                  Let me rephrase my question, is the Wesley Chapel Restaurant related to the original on the causeway? It would seem it would have to be, and has anyone tried it?

            2. re: rhnault

              We were there a few weeks ago after not being there for a few months and the food wasn't as good as I remembered it. Although you can't beat the view or the macaroni and cheese wedge!

              1. re: PollyannaFlwr

                I just read recently that Rattlefish is MOVING to, believe it or not, 3rd Avenue North in St. Petersburg, in the old Julian's location. Here is a link:

                Another interesting note: Saffron's owner Edyth is opening Savannah's - apparently a restaurant featuring Southern US foods (no more Jamaican mon) in the old Hampton's Jazz location on Central Avenue. I heard that Saffron's on Park Street had closed, so I guess this is Edyth's newest venture.