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?
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.
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.
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)
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.