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Jul 16, 2007 08:07 AM

Downtown Tampa Recommendations


My parents are flying into Tampa on Wednesday to check out the city. They're staying at the Embassy Suites downtown and are looking for some good restaurants in the area. (Within a 20 minute drive)

They love to sit outside, enjoy really good food, and prefer seafood, classic American or Cuban. Does anything come to mind?

Thank you!

- Megan

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  1. Malio's which was a classic Tampa restaurant for years and years just relocated downtown and received a good review. Also Spain Restaurant downtown is good Cuban for breakfast or lunch and then has tapas and a more upscale menu at night. There are many good restaurants near downtown in Hyde Park or Ybor City. You may want to do some Tampa searches on the board because there are a ton of recommendations.

    1. I second Malio's, haven't been myself, but it's getting raves and it's near the hotel. Also in downtown proper is the Fly bar, which erves small plates for dinner and into the wee hours on weekends. In Hyde Park Village, Restaurant BT, Timpano and the Wine Exchange all have nice outdoor seating areas; I listed them in my order of preference. Hyde Park is 5 minutes from downtown.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Miss E

        Restaurant BT is fantastic but most of the strip that BT is in is under construction now so I don't know how pleasant it would be for outdoor seating. I second Spain for lunch- good, cheap Cuban sandwiches and other favorites for lunch at a reasonable price.

      2. All within 15-20 minutes of their hotel with great food/seafood...
        Cafe Dufrain (great upscale food, waterfront seating, very close to hotel)

        Armani's (one of the best in Tampa, I don't think there is outdoor seating but fantastic water views, expensive


        Rattle Fish Raw Bar and Grill (great food, fun, outdoor seating on the water


        Jackson's Bistro (very close to hotel, outdoor seating on the water, great food


        Fly Bar and Restaurant (new, great food, artsy, close to hotel, outdoor seating


        Bahama Breeze (chain but fun, outside seating on water, great food


        3045 N ROCKY POINT DR EAST, TAMPA FL 33607, (813) 289-7922

        At Channelside...Bennigan's and Margarita Mamas (both chains, but have great outdoor seating on the water


        1 Reply
        1. I would not recommend outdoor dining in Tampa until November 1.

          Try Malio's. It's sort of a Tampa Institution.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sarge

            I agree with sarge, even at night any out of towners will still feel the humidity. I am happy to hear that Malios is back open. I tried to find it back in February, but had no luck. I will definately be going very soon.

          2. If interested in good and somewhat unique (at least for Tampa) Mexican, would recommend Algusto's. Located just west of downtown on Kennedy Blvd. Very close also to previously recommended Mise en Place. Lucky Dill is a very good Jewish-style deli downtown, but only open for lunch. For better or worse, Tampa is a steak town. That means they have to go to Bern's - and tell them to save room for dessert. Right next door is Sideberns, an excellent choice for a bit of a more contemporary and eclectic menu.

            If they absolutely insist on outside dining this time of year, tell them to head to International Plaza and find an outside table at one of the many restaurants (virtually all chains) but great for people watching.

            2 Replies
            1. re: srcusa

              I agree with the Algusto recommendation. They also have very good flan. Their flan almost has a cheesecake consistency which is probably not traditional but it sure is delicious

              1. re: srcusa

                Please advise them that many people, including me, feel Bern's is a total waste of an evening and about $100.00 per person.

                For something interesting and very good, try La Casona on Armenia, a little north of Hillsborough. Excellent Puerto Rican in a very nice place