Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Florida >
Apr 12, 2007 02:36 PM

Dinner In Tampa

My parents are coming into Tampa this weekend for a convention and I am looking for a good restaurant for us to eat at for dinner. There will also be a couple of kids so it needs to suit them too!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Columbia in Ybor City is touristy but okay food. More upscale is Mise en place, but depends on ages of children. They both have a website

    3 Replies
    1. re: steakman55

      How can anyone recommend COLUMBIA ?
      Good 1905 salad, but the rest of the menu is terrible as well as their location in Sarasota.

      1. re: irwin

        I frind a lot of people whose knee jerk reaction is to trash the Columbia. Ten, fifteen, twenty years ago, the reputation may have been deserved. I just had a fabulous lunch there last saturday. The scallops Casimiro melt in your mouth. Their seafood is always good. Shrimp Criolla has an unusual kick. Best Spanish wine list in the world. And I can't find a better Spanish bean soup anywhere, period. Some dishes I like more than others, but I have yet to find a "terrible" item on the menu.

        Coming back from the verge of bankruptcy in the early-mid 90s, they've struggled to increase the quality, and I think they've done a good job. It always seems when an operation gets big or successful people want to malign it. Kind of like the Weekly Planet issue that carried a list of overrated things. Beside Johnny Cash and Janis Joplin, they listed the Columbia. Seems like good company to me.

        I write for them, but this message is on my own time.

        1. re: andy huse

          I took my 80+ year old parents to Columbia a few months ago for lunch. We had a great experience, the serivce was extremely professional, and all of us enjoyed our food very much. It made for a very nice day. I would not hesitate to return to Columbia. I get around quite a bit, and I look forward to getting back to Columbia,

    2. A big plate of thick, juicy, seasoned, tender, Ribs--- buttery garlikky Parsley Potatoes--- and Apple 'Cake' a la mode at Kojak's House of Ribs on Gandy right near Bayshore...
      Very casual, and it's right up the road from The Convention Center...

      Their socks will go flying right off their feet into the ocean!
      Actually the water is up the street... And what a spectacular street it is!

      Go there and get back to me...

      4 Replies
      1. re: Mild Bill

        If they want a nice view and pretty good seafood, Oystercatchers in the Hyatt Regency is good and is kid friendly.

        1. re: Mild Bill

          Oh no, not Kojak's.... Jimbo's on Kennedy is solid, but FirstChoice in Brandon ( is the best barbecue in the area IMO. Consistently good. Kojak's is in a beautiful area and a neat location, but the food...not so much.

          1. re: tastetampabay

            I would have to agree, that has to be some of the tastiest BBQ turkey I have ever eaten. Their fries and sweet tea are the way I like em as well!

          2. re: Mild Bill

            Kojak's sides come out of cans, the desserts from a restaurant supply company, and the meat, well, it's so-so. The only nice thing about Kojak's is the front porch, reminiscent of Old Florida with it's shady, moss-covered oaks.

            This post confuses me in other ways. The "ocean" up the street is the Hillsborough Bay--yes, it's pretty. And the Convention Center is clear across town. Nothing in South Tampa is that far from anything else, true, but the Kojak's isn't just up the road from the CC.

          3. So were did you go with your parents?

            1 Reply
            1. re: LunasMom

              Thanks for all the helpful advice!!! My parents ended up deciding that they wanted to go to a Japanese steakhouse. We ended up going to the Arragato's out in Clearwater and it was awesome. Not the best Japanese food you will ever have but the chefs and waiters are funny and entertaining and there is never a long wait for your food.