NY Chowhound to Tampa for 20th anniversary
My wife and I are going to be at saddlebrook resort in wesley chapel this week. Thurs is our 20th anniversary and we're hoping to get your recommendations. Originally we were thinking of Bern's (my wife was there 15 years ago and claimed it was better than lugers in nyc) but the resort is giving us two meals at its steak house. So now we're thinking seafood but are open to any suggestions, something romantic would be great, basically unlimited budget for this meal. We like all foods, would like something memorable...Looking at zagats, I'm wondering if 6 tables might fill the bill?
On the day we head back to NY, I'm thinking we'll eat at arco-iris close to the airport. I ate there once before and it was great. We have one other dinner to plan, so if anyone has suggestions in the wesley chapel area, would love to hear them as well.
If you're going to Arco, skip Columbia. 6 Tables--meh. Try Restaurant BT in Hyde Park Village: pan-asian, sophisticated, elegant dining room and service, seafood always featured. The Village is pleasant for a pre-or after-dinner stroll. Agree that Ceviche, nearby in Soho, would also be fun. Mise en Place for the ultimate in formality in Tampa, but IMO it's in an odd location and the formality edges into stuffiness. Oystercatcher's at the Grand Hyatt is another idea; I haven't been, but have heard from friends that it's great.
Consider Rusty Pelican for Seafood / Romantic. Their dining room overlooks Tampa Bay and they have a fireplace in the dining room, as well. I was there with a party of 4 two weeks ago and it was lovely, as usual. I don't think you will find any really outstanding restaurants in Tampa (compared to othe rmajor cities like Chicago, New York and New Orleans), but Pelican and SideBerns (even without Chef Jeanne) are about as good as you will get when you leave the steakhouse genre. I, personally, think Bern's Steakhouse is horrible but I understand traditions and respect those who think it's the cat's meow..
Rusty Pelican? I would not go there even with people I didn't like. I thought they were only a catering/event venue at this point anyway.
My recommendation for a romantic dinner would be Mise en Place as Andy recommended above. Another favorite of mine is Pelagia Trattoria at the Renaissance adjacent to International Mall.
Mise en Place is always a good choice.
For something more playful, Ceviche for tapas.
The Ybor Columbia is also a good choice, another great place for wine. I like to sit up in the Patio room's balcony--- it is less crowded, more quiet.
Or if you want to get downright festive, restaurant hop down 7th avenue in Ybor. You could get small bites at a variety of restaurants. I've done this before, and like to conclude at the Columbia for their great bread pudding (even better than the flan and big enough to split) cocktails, and soup/1905 salad if I'm still hungry. Try the cafe con leche martini, tango mango, mojitos, or fine brandy. Or try all four and call it a night.