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Dining Options in Tampa?

I'm a San Francisco Hound who will be in Tampa on business in two weeks. I'm looking for local dinner recommendations with ambiance. I'm open to all prices ranges and cuisines (except Japanese). Any thoughts on where to go? Where do I have to eat before leaving Tampa?

Thanks in advance.
Natalie

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    1. Unique to Tampa is Bern's steak house....absolutely unequaled of anything even in NYC or any of the top chains. One of top wine lists in the world. Great side dishes, and you can even go vegetarian or fish but the steak is super.

        1. A must go for me in no particular order includes:
          Bern's(Steaks) - Howard Avenue/SOHO
          Oystercatchers(Seafood) - Grande Hyatt/Westshore
          Laughing Cat(Italian) - Ybor City
          Columbia(Spanish) - Ybor City
          Armani's(Italian-upscale) - Grande Hyatt/Westshore
          Bernini(Italian) - Ybor City
          Arcos Iris(Cuban-very casual) - Columbus Ave(West Tampa)
          Ceviche(Spanish-Tapas) - Howard Ave/SOHO
          Charleys(Steaks) - Cypress Ave/Westshore
          Collanade(Seafood-food ok, view is excellent) - Bayshore Blvd
          Acropolis Tavernera(Greek)-Ybor City

          1. Thanks, all, for your helpful recommendations!

            Best,
            Natalie

            1. I'd have to negate the Laughing Cat reccomendation. Ate there once on a Saturday night. Had a reservation and were seated on time, however the service was AWFUL, and the food was mediocre at best.

              1. Regarding Laughing Cat, i have been there over a dozen times, NEVER had a bad meal or service...every thing is cooked from scratch, you can even substitute the sauces or ingredients and have anything cooked specifically to your liking, beacuse everything is made from scratch, very authentic italian tomato sauce, the fish and meats and veges are brought in fresh each day, the owner takes the time from being in the kitchen to strolling the floor(there are about 12 tables total in this NY style eatery), and see how everyones meal is, and talk to you about the wine's, recipes, etc.

                1. When we ate at the Laughing Cat, I ordered a seafood pasta item, and there was something off about the scallops....the sauce was good, but the shell fish was just not that good. Our waiter treated us like we had malaria too. My only thought as to why this was is the fact that there was a dinner party of about 8 people there as well, but that's still no excuse to leave us without anything to drink for about 15 plus minutes.

                  1. laughing cat has lots of atmosphere but yes, the service really suffers when they have a crunch. and the food too. i've always enjoyed their lunchtime all-you-can-eat seafood buffet.

                    1. LUNCHTIME ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT SEAFOOD BUFFET?

                      1. you gotta go. it's really excellent. italian seafood goodies, some non-seafood too, but there's always a big slab of salmon, lots of pasta. i think it's $7.95. Of course there aren't too many people there for lunch so you don't have their usual service problems. i haven't been in awhile so maybe you should call first but i've gone a few times in the past years and it's been a staple there.

                        1. My husband and I were headed to dine at the Laughing Cat (it was on a side street in Ybor City then- don't know if it has moved) and prior to going in we looked at the menu that was posted. I was checking out the surroundings and noticed the staff, dining area, etc. through a big glass window There were flies everywhere, the cooks had filthy fingernails, one had just come in from smoking a cigarette and did not take a detour to wash his hands......there was one table being served so being crowded could not have been used as an excuse. The prices looked good and I had (and still do) hear great reviews but I just can't get pass the filth. Dives I love, not filth.