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Travelling solo to Tampa Area

Fellow hounds,

I will be travelling solo on a business trip to the Tampa area and will be staying at the Marriott near the Airport. Unfortunatelly this is my first trip to Tampa and is very unfamiliar with the area and will not be having any car. Here are a couple of questions:

1. Any restaurants near where I will be staying (within walking distance) worth visiting?
2. Any restaurants within reasonable taxi ride or bus ride that will be good for a solo diner?
3. I've read mixed reviews about Ybor City. Is there any place worth visiting there that warrants the bus/taxi ride (I've read that busses stop pretty early in Tampa) from the airport? This is probably more for a Friday night unwind, drink & tapas place.

The following are a list that I found from previous posts.

Pane Rustica on MacDill
Side Berns for New Age on Howard
Ceviche for tapas and sangria on Howard
717 South for New American on Howard
Mangroves for seafood on Howard
SOHO Sushi on Howard
Jimbos on Kennedy or Kojaks on Gandy for BBQ
TC Choys for Asian on Howard
La Teresita on Colombus(Cuban)
La Tropicana in Ybor for Cuban(breakfast/lunch)
Carmines for Cuban in Ybor
Tampa Bay Brewing Company in Ybor
Viva La Frida in Seminole Heights on Florida Ave
Spain on Tampa Street downtown

Thanks for the help

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  1. If your at the Marriott near the airport that would be Westshore. Within waling distance are Charleys for fine steaks(pricey but excellent), Westshore Plaza has Maggianos and PG Chang's and Palm, all very good chains. Marriott Shuttle could take you to Intl Plaza for Bamboo Club or Capital Grille, again very good chains.
    Friday I would venture to SOHO area(South Howard Ave) via taxi or the hotel shuttle if they are slow. Ceviche's for Tapas and some sangria, walk a few blocks north to St. Bart's Island House for some great live music and drinks.
    In Ybor, my fav is Laughing Cat for Italian, Samarai Blue for sushi, Acroplolis for Greek, Tampa Bay Brewing Company for Homemade brews and good american food.

    5 Replies
    1. re: rshally

      Thanks for the recs. Will be arriving Tampa at 8PM. Will these places near Westshore still be open at that time?

      1. re: Bacon Lover

        Yes, all the above mentioned places in Westshore area usually serve till 11pm. You could walk to Charleys from the Westshore Marriott, and the Westshore Plaza restaurants(Maggianos, PF Changs, Palm, Mitchells) are about a 10 -15 minute walk from the Marriott-ask the shuttle to srive and pick up if needed.

      2. re: rshally

        Speaking of Tampa Bay Brewing Company, where's their new location?

        1. re: aynrandgirl

          TBBC has moved to Centro Ybor, right under the movie theater.

          1. re: EdC

            Is TBBC open at the new location?

      3. Hi BL,
        None of the places you mentioned are within walking distance. Tampa is not a very walker friendly kind of place. I am not sure of the bus.
        I went to Sideberns about a year ago and I loved it. It had a very eclectic menu something Tampa is short on. The ambience was very nice and reminded me of places in New York.
        Jimbos is no frills BBQ. Nothing to write home about, but decent enough. Ceviche was good too. I really enjoyed my meal there. My husband and I were able to sample a lot of the items on the menu. I wish I could remember the things we tried, but I can't.

        1. If you are single and love sushi you should try "THE RACK" on Platt street. Read the article below on this website. The place to go in Tampa.


          1. Believe it or not, your best bet may be to just take a taxi to the International Plaza. They've got some "chain" restaurants (nicer ones) but also a few unusual spots. I like the Bamboo Club and for drinks must stop at the Blue Martini. It's really close to your hotel and the whole area is one of the hotter spots for both eating and drinking.

            I never would expect myself to suggest going to a mall, but in this case I believe it's decent advice.

            An Alternative: Take a cab to Clearwater Beach and just roam around and find some great local beachfront places.

            Have fun!!

            Laurie Kimball
            Madeira Beach, FL

            1. Okay, I just realized that I am staying at the Marriott IN the airport, not near the airport, so I assume it's not the Westshore location. Does this put me further to the Westshore and the International Plaza as originally planned?

              Anyone tried the CK's revolving rooftop restaurant which is right in the hotel itself?

              Thanks again.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Bacon Lover

                CK's is a really good restaurant. 5 star type. Usually a place to go for a special occasion, date, anniversary. Enjoy.

                1. re: Bacon Lover

                  That location would put you very close to International Plaza (maybe they shuttle you there for free?) but a little farther north of Westshore location.

                  If you look on this map page, zoom out a little and the westshore area is just below I275 where it enters Tampa, but I plaza is 5 mins away.

                2. I agree with tampa realtor that your best bet will be International Plaza which will be a short taxi ride from the airport. Be sure to ask your cabby what's the best way to hail a cab at International Plaza when you want to return. Tampa is not a very cab-friendly place.

                  Any of the myriad of restaurants on Howard Avenue or in Ybor would call you a cab, and there will likely be a few cruising the streets of Ybor. All three places are good late-night choices. I'd pass on Westshore mall. NOt much there in the way of atmosphere.

                  1. Don't know if I am too late, but:
                    A. You cannot walk from the Airport to anywhere
                    B. INternational Mall is a good choice for a lot of different kinds of restaurants of good quality
                    C. You are also very close to my fave, Lee Roy Selmon's, which I would describe as mid to upscale downhome food,, including barbecue and just great home cookin. Very popular place in Tampa, started by a genuine local hero, Lee Roy Selmon, based on his mother's recipes. Also has a nice sports bar.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: wishbugger

                      Just a note, Lee Roy's has scaled down their menu immensely over the past month as Outback plans to take them national and according to a lcoal server "needs to be able to make everything on the menu the same at every location". I was pissed because they no longer serve corn bread pudding or the sweet potato (although sometimes they still have the potato). Still have to go for the Smoking Tampa Tea, Grape Crush, and the Pulled Pork Sandwich though.

                      1. re: Hojo

                        Thanks for the info on LRS; havent't been there lately. I really don't care for Outback at all; every time i've eaten there the steaks were basically tassteless. Here's hoping the don't screw up a truly terrific place to eat: Lee Roy's!