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May 28, 2007 02:03 PM

On vacation in the Tampa Area

Hi everyone,

My wife and I are comming to Tampa for our 15th Anniversary (leaving the 3 kids at home!!)
I'm looking for a nice place to take her for our anniverary dinner. As well as neat places to eat that are NOT chains! We want to get the local flavors.. We have a rental car, so driving isn't a problem. We are going to be there for 9 (Hopefully wonderful) days.

So breakfast... lunch... and dinner... Let me know where you guys eat!


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  1. Mise en place for one of the dinners, definitely. They have a website. I would go to Bern's Steakhouse for one of the dinners as well. It is an institution, and deservedly so. Perhaps best wine list in the US, and that is not an exageration. Ask to tour the kitchen and wine cellar. Prime dry aged beef, expertly prepared. And one Spanish place, but the locals can tell you better than I. (I don't live there but go often on business and love the restaurant scene there)

    3 Replies
    1. re: steakman55

      Thanks steakman55 I've been reading on the board the good and bad about Bern's....
      sounds like you love it or hate it :( Although everyone agrees that the dessert room is the best.. I will put Mise on our list.

      1. re: Conanoe

        Well, I do live here, and have been hearing more and more mediocre-to-bad reviews of Bern's steak--what they're famous for, after all. We prefer Sidebern's--modern decor and menu, elegant but not stuffy. The bar is a true South Tampa scene.

        1. re: Miss E

          I live in SoFla and head to Tampa several times a year, and Sideberns is always one of my dinners when in town. It's my fave Tampa restaurant. The menu is everchanging, creative and well executed. Berns is an institution; but I think there are other better restaurants around if you're in the mood for a steak that won't disappoint. I was never a big fan of Mise en Place. To me, they try hard; but never measure up to a fine dining experience; always seeming to fall just a bit short. The last few times I've been up there, Armani's was also a good choice; although a bit on the pricey side for what's delivered imho. The food was delicious and it's pretty looking out at the city at night. You should do a search on this board as there are several threads addressing your needs.

    2. I highly recommend Pelagia Trattoria at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel located at International Plaza. We were there for Valentine's Day and the food was amazing. I recommend Caesar Fondue, Stuffed olives, white chocolate cheedscake and the best duck I have ever had! We usually do Armani's for special occasions but not anymore.

      1. I would also recommend Roy's (on Boy Scout Blvd, near International Plaza), we just had an excellent meal there. The menu included sushi (traditional and decidedly not), creative appetizers, 7-8 kinds of fish, filet mignon, short ribs...they call themselves Hawaiian fusion, if that helps. Oh, and the cocktails are to die for! Service is elegant but friendly--all in all, a fine operation. (Yes, I know it's a chain, a small one--so what?)

        12 Replies
        1. re: Miss E

          Thanks everyone!

          There sure are a lot of choices in Tampa!!! I may gain 10 lbs )
          How about breakfast? And isn't there a Hotdog stand some where? I thought I remember seeing it of food network.

          1. re: Conanoe

            Dairy Joy (3813 S Manhattan Ave, Tampa) has good dogs. If they've finished rebuilding after their fire, Chicago Grill & Dog House (7733 Ulmerton Rd, Largo) is also good. Not specific to Tampa, Costco has good hot dogs.

            1. re: aynrandgirl

              Chicago grill & Dog house is currently under reconstruction not sure when they are reopening.

            2. re: Conanoe

              I think there was Mel's Red Hots near Busch Gardens...Not sure if still there (I live in Tallahassee)

              1. re: steakman55

                definitely still there....and the best hot dogs around.

                1. re: steakman55

                  O cool!! We are going to Busch one day So we will have to stop there and get a dog and some rings!! YUMM

                  1. re: Conanoe

                    just be prepared to spend for those hot dogs. Every time i go there i spend $10 for a hot dog basket.

                2. re: Conanoe

                  First Watch is good for breakfast. There is a downtown location.

                  If you're looking for a casual night, i recommend Cappys pizza. parking is painful and they don't take credit cars, but it's worth any hassle!

                  1. re: travelnfood

                    Is Cappy's the one in Seminole heights?

                    1. re: rhnault

                      I haven't been to that one yet. I've only been to the one on Bay to Bay.

                    2. re: travelnfood

                      >>First Watch is good for breakfast. There is a downtown location. <,

                      Tampa or St Petes.


                3. It is not a sit down restaurant but go to Cacciatore and Sons on n. Armenia in Tampa. They make the best deviled crabs in the whole Tampa area. This is a must if you want to try some good indigenous(sp?) food.


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: RibDog


                    I've added those to the list....

                    I see that there is a Giordanos Pizza in Tampa! I had that in Chicago and it was the BEST deep dish I have ever had!! Has anyone eaten there? If not I would highly recomend giving it a try it you like deep dish. They have a full menu, but I have never had anything else.

                    1. re: Conanoe

                      yes, very good. i'm not a fan of deep dish at all, having tried several in chicago on my first trip there. But Giordanos is excellent.

                  2. I'm not a Bern's fan. But just up the street is 717S.

                    Eclectic mix of Italian and Pacific Rim food. We've been there many times, and we keep going back. Love the food and the atmosphere. Noisy, active, good service. You may want to go down the street to Berns for dessert though. The desert "room" is in a separate part of the restaurant. Great desserts.
                    We love Roy's, although "technically" it's part of a chain, it really isn't.