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Coming to Tampa Bay for the Super Bowl?

Any chowhounds coming to the Bay area for Super Bowl?
Want a little help on where to eat?

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  1. Yes, please. All I really know about is Bern's, but not sure if we can get a reservation. We will be staying in Pinellas but will have a vehicle. We especially need places for breakfast and dinner. Most of my party is coming from California, so places with lots of fresh fish are welcome. No meat eaters in the crowd. Thanks.

    6 Replies
    1. re: breakaway

      Where in Pinellas? Around Indian Rocks there is Guppies and Salt Rock Grill. Up around Dunedin you should tr Mystic Fish.

      I don't get down to St Pete, but there are quite a few good places there I'm sure.

      Traffic and Urban Sprawl are always an issue in this area. Let us know where you'll be staying and we can help a little better

      1. re: sarge

        I'm not sure where in Pinellas precisely, but it could be near Clearwater. We have transportation, so location is less important than the quality of the estabishment. We are going to Bern's for dinner on one night, so that leaves dinner for 2 other nights. At least for Saturday night, I would like a more upscale place as I will entertaining clients. Thanks.

        1. re: breakaway

          If you are staying around Clearwater, then Salt Rock Grill in Indian Rocks Beach or Mystic Fish in Dunedin would be within reasonable driving distance, and would both qualify as upscale suitable for entertaining clients. I wexpect you will wind up ranking Bern's third place if you try both of these

          1. re: breakaway

            Tampa Bay area Chowhounds will steer you to a lot of either nondescript or downright rundown neighbs in the name of Chow. For one-time visitors, a lot of the places mentioned on this thread will be seriously out of the way. "Worth the drive"? Well, that's a matter of opinion. IMO, places locals will journey to are not worth the effort for tourists. Similarly, if you're going to Bern's one night and that's kind of where your bar is set, China Yuan won't do, but Salt Rock will. Please do indicate where you'll be staying and whether you like dives to help everyone narrow down their suggestions.

            1. re: Miss E

              I must beg to differ. when i travel, I understand that the best food is almost always at "nondescript" or "run down" places everywhere i go. Whether I'm in Tampa, New Orleans, or San Diego, the best places are those that are ignored by most major publications and will probably never get Michelin stars or write-ups in Zagat's. Whether i want excellent ethnic food or BBQ, that rule rarely fails.

              It is one thing to steer people clear of these middling (but delicious) places with excellent food because someone indicates that they want fancy or trendy stuff, but in my mind it runs against the very spirit of Chowhound (as I understand it) to only send visitors to the bright, trendy, and more expensive places.

              When I have visitors form out of town, we go to China Yuan, Trang Viet Cuisine, Antojitos, Chopstix, and Brocato's--- and occasionally we also go to the Columbia and Bern's. Food is the key. I don't pay attention to decor much and real estate even less, and my guests appreciate that.

        2. re: breakaway

          Hi breakaway, there's some excellent information in past threads regarding seafood joints in the area. Some widely agreed-upon places include Guppy's (mentioned below) on Indian Rocks Beach, Mid Peninsula, Ted Peter's (awesome smoked fish), and Wild Shrimp Company (drive up joint near Tropicana Field-fried shrimp, po boys, gumbo!) in St. Pete, Crazy Conch Cafe and Billy's Stone Crab in Tierra Verde, You can get really fresh seafood (live tanks!) at two phenomenal Chinese restaurants: ABC Seafood in St. Pete and China Yuan in Tampa. Another place worth checking out in St. Pete is the Parkshore Grill. You can dine al fresco facing the pier and the water. Also next door to some fine gelato.

          Breakfast. Skyway Jack's in St. Pete. It's a local institution.

          sasserwazr: I think you'll garner more recommendations if you can narrow things a bit. For example, if there's a particular type of food you'd prefer, or whereabouts you'll be staying and how far you're willing to go (you'll have a car, yes?).

          I can speak for Tampa and St. Pete and say we have pretty decent Thai, seafood, Chinese, pizza, Indian, Middle Eastern, and even Ethiopian.

        3. Bern's is the local whale, but there are many other really good places in the tampa area. One place I'd suggest is Ted Peter's, they do smoked fish which seriously good. They have been around since forever, it is a local institution. If you go up to Tarpon Springs stop in the Rusty Bellies, they are under the same ownership as the seafood market next door. Its not fancy but for sure its fresh. For breakfast try the Frog Pond, take a paper as you are going to wait - its worth the wait. When go to the Frog Pond be sure you are hungry as their omlets are six egg monsters. Hope you enjoy our neighborhood.

          1. Just went to Grille 116 in Carrollwood. Very nice, hip experience. NY strip is worth every penny. Amazing 100% grass-fed organic aged beef. Definitely worth a look for someone trying to escape the stuffy (yet amazing) Bern's that everyone will be rushing to.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sasserwazr

              I totally agree with you about Grille One Sixteen -- had the very best yellow fin tuna EVER there. A little pricey, but worth it.

            2. If staying in Pinellas, The best alternative to the beaches is Parkshore Grill. Amazing location, the freshest fish features and wide variety menu from steaks and chops to seafood.

              7 Replies
              1. re: gobucs

                Thank you all for your comments. We are going to Bern's Friday night and Cafe Ponte Saturday. Was thinking about a nice Italian place for Thursday. Are any of the following worthy: Laughing Cat, Pelaggia Trattoria, Cafe Paradiso, La Terrazza. Thanks

                1. re: breakaway

                  Laughing Cat is a solid choice and it will be nice to see Ybor City before it gets too crazy. Never been to the others. But if you want the best high-end Italian go to Armani's. Unbelievable. Donatello's is another $$ Tampa fixture that you will sure to be happy about.

                  1. re: breakaway

                    Another nice Italian choice in Ybor City is Bernini...it's one of my favorites.


                    For New American cuisine in Tampa, I always enjoy Mise en Place...very creative food (for Tampa).


                    1. re: sweet_polly

                      We went to Bernini's and regret going there. It was not very good. The veal chop was full of fat and tasteless. My friend had to load it with chilis. I asked for a vegetarian pasta and was given a bowl of pasta with red sauce...not interesting at all and a rip-off for $22!!. The only good dish was the mushroom pizza. Definitely not great Italian.

                    2. re: breakaway

                      I recommend Pelagia Trattoria. Though we were at Armani's on Christmas Eve and they are back to "Mossimo" quality. Apparently their new chef is bringing back some of the older recipes.

                      1. re: breakaway

                        My votes from that list are Caffe Paradiso and La Terrazza. IMHO, Paradiso has the same quality food as Donatello for less $ and real Italian servers with a fun Italian attitude. La Terrazza is excellent too- cozy, elegant atmosphere.

                        I still don't get the hype about Laughing Cat which I've heard for years and Pelaggia was a big disappointment the last time I went. Plus Pelaggia is nouveau Italian.

                        1. re: rikkikm

                          Funny how restaurant trends work. I was liking Pelagia over Armani's and after my Dec Armani's visit I think I love them again. I still have not been to Caffe Paradiso...

                    3. Chowhound needing super bowl help here as well!! We're staying in an airport hotel that is just SE of the airport, will have car(and get the idea we will have to travel to anything) and are looking for less expensive eats. Breakfast is covered as we are staying in a hotel with mini kitchen but are looking for ideas on other meals.

                      Inexpensive- 10-20 entrees would be best
                      Food- nothing too ethnic, i.e. no sushi, thai, if good seafood must have meat options, unfortunately my group is full of picky eaters.
                      Location- 15 minutes at the furthest as I'm sure driving around Tampa will be insane super bowl weekend. As a group of 20 somethings we also would prefer to go to dinners as close as possible to where we are going out for the night to save on cab fare as I'm sure we will be drinking too much to drive! Ybor sounds like a good option to go out, and I've already put down the Tampa Bay Brewing Co. on my list. So any other reasonably priced recommendations in Ybor would be appreciated along with any other areas that have fun, laidback bars near them.

                      Thanks a lot Chowhounds! Slightly off topic, but if any of you have suggestions on a place to go to dinner and a great bar near it to go to after I'd love to hear those suggestions as well!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: AnonymousWaitress

                        I would try Caffe Paradiso in south Tampa. Some of the best Italian in the area. It is off MacDill. Then you'll be close to the bars/clubs on S. Howard. There is also an English pub called Mad Dogs and Englishmen within a mile of Paradiso.

                        1. re: AnonymousWaitress

                          Galley Pizza on South Westshore for a homey, sports-bar location. I love their pizza dough. Dinner + bar? Maybe Cheap on South Howard followed by the Rack or Hyde Park Cafe on Platt or MacDinton's. Our SOHO area (South Howard) has no shortage of trendy places for 20-somethings.

                        2. yep, this Pittsburgher would like a some recommendations for steak and seafood. We are staying in St. Petes...without a car, but assuming there's a good cab service (Pgh's service is terrible unless you're coming or going to the airport) that we can explore some options.

                          Did a quick search on Open Table and found lots of options, but you never know what you're gonna get, right??? Mystic Fish caught my eye, so it's nice to see them recommended on here.

                          Bring on the reviews and recommendations!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: anniebpgh

                            Mystic Fish is good but it is a long way from St Petersburg.

                            1. re: anniebpgh

                              Salt Rock is not too far of a cab ride from the 'Burg. It is out on Indian Rocks beach. I would also recommend Z Grille downtown.

                              1. re: anniebpgh

                                Where are you staying in St. Pete? I've already listed a couple awesome St. Pete places but without a car you're more limited and I can narrow it down better.

                              2. Hi! My husband and I and another couple are coming in for the super bowl. we are late 20's and staying right by the airport. we do have a car if we need to drive. We're looking for a place to go out friday night that will be a fun place for dinner. Good, but doesn't have to be super great...looking a little more for atmosphere trendy vibe than killer food. Open to all cuisines (sushi, thai, indian, italian etc) we'd like to be able to walk to a bar after, perhaps a lounge type thing or chill bar, not a night club. Maybe Ybor? or Soho?

                                For saturday afternoon/evening, perhaps a sportsbar or something more casual.

                                Any suggestions would be great. Thanks!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: yammers

                                  Yammers...id suggest either SOHO/Hyde Park or Ybor area...in SOHO/Hyde Park my favs include 717 South(Italian-PanAsian), Ceviche(Tapas), Oasis Cafe(Middle Eastern) and Mangroves(Seafood), Side Bern's(New Age), Bern's(Steaks) for eats...ceviche has a nice lounge with live music, as does 717 South most nights, and Bellas. Mangroves also has a nice bar and lounge area, the upstairs gets a DJ and busy after 1030pm.

                                  In Ybor, Rock-n-Sports can fit the bill with Solid grub and great large clean area for watching sports, even outdoors on two separate deck areas...plenty fo good east in Ybor..Laughing Cat(Italian), Samari Blue(Sushi-Japanese), El Puerto(Argentinian), Columbia(Spanish-Cuban), Tampa Bay Brewing Co(American)..are a few good choices...Teatro has a great lounge/bar area.

                                2. My adult (drinking age) sons and I are staying in Brandon for the Superbowl. We don’t have tickets, and are interested in watching the game at a fun location with other fans. We are also interested in a sports bar that might pick up the Big 10 Network or different of the regional Fox broadcasts. We would like to go to an informal local seafood restaurant on the ocean as well. We have a car, and don’t mind driving. Thanks in advance.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: pkowaleski

                                    In Brandon, I really like Buffalo Wild Wings. It's a chain, but their wings are pretty darn good, I like their sauces, and they don't skimp on the alcohol in mixed drinks (when I ask for a Long Island Ice Tea - I'm not really there for the taste of a mixer). Their fried foods are not too greasy, and actually have flavor too. They have a large bar area and many TVs.
                                    Since you are down in Brandon, you should also check out the TECO Big Bend Manatee viewing center if you've never seen the gentle giants before. There's a snack shack there, but the food isn't the draw.
                                    I'm not sure of seafood near you, but someone else might. I have friends over there, so I'm asking them.

                                  2. Was just in Tampa/St. Pete for the first time last week. Bern's Steakhouse is amazing. In Ybor City we ate at a very good Greek place. If you get further down the coast visit Moore's Stone Crab on Longboat Key in the Sarasota area. I'll have more to post once I get my notes together tonight. Ted Peters is good if you want to sit out at a picnic table and eat smoked fish. Skip Lenny's for breakfast. Way overrated. Corned beef hash out of a can. Blintzes and knish out of the freezer. Large portions of crappy food is no deal. More to come later.

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: Iowaboy3

                                      Back again. Here's what I found.

                                      Good Tapas in Tampa off N. Dale Mabry - Vizcaya

                                      Very good Dim Sum any day of the week in St. Pete. - Ha Long Bay on 34th St. N. - (727) 522-9988

                                      Smoked Fish and burgers al fresco (at picnic tables) - Ted Peters (St. Pete)

                                      Excellent fresh innovative seafood - Keegan's Grill - Indian Rocks

                                      Good Greek/Mediterranean in Ybor City - Acropolis Taverna (ignorant waitresses from another planet though)

                                      Fun seafood - The Conch Republic - Reddington Beach - Good oysters, mussels, stone crab claws.

                                      MEAT & WINE - Bern's - The Mecca of meat. $$$ - A memorable experience.

                                      Great breakfasts - The Frog Pond - Looks like multiple locations but we ate at the Reddington Beach place. Everything is good, the staff is super friendly.

                                      Breakfast place to skip - Lenny's - Way overrated. Large portions of canned and frozen food is no deal. Sure glad we went on a weekday so we didn't have to stand in line for the experience. The only good thing about the place was the cheese Danishes.

                                      If you get down to the Sarasota area get yourself out to Longboat Key to Moore's Stone Crab. Haven't seen it recommended anywhere. Amazing stone crab dinners (all the seafood looked super) great views, Helpful staff.

                                      1. re: Iowaboy3

                                        Forgot one more: Mid-Penninsula Seafood - 49th St. S. - St. Pete
                                        Seafood market and grill. Some of the freshest, cooked-to-order seafood we found in the Tampa/St. Pete area. Nothing fancy, just good eats. Very reasonable prices.

                                        1. re: Iowaboy3

                                          Thanks to you and TampaAurora. Are any of these on the ocean and somewhat informal? Jim Rome ate at City Fish Grill in Oldsmar, and really liked it. Any thoughts?

                                          1. re: pkowaleski

                                            Today's USAToday recommends Frenchy's Rockaway Grill in Clearwater Beach. What do you think?

                                            1. re: pkowaleski

                                              City Fish Grill served me cooked sashimi a couple months ago... I like Flamestone that is close to City Fish though. Frenchy's is good as well. If you are in the Oldsmar area Mystic Fish is just up the road in Palm Harbor and is also good.

                                              1. re: rhnault

                                                Cooked sashimi. That's not good, right?

                                                1. re: pkowaleski

                                                  No lol. Sashimi is supposed to be raw and they topped this with sizzling flavored oil or something like that, which cooked the fish. Oh yes, one other thing they did that was odd. On their brochette the pieces of filet mignon were battered and then grilled which led to a big pile of goopy breading on the plate. I have never seen tenderloin breaded let alone breaded and placed on a grill

                                                  1. re: rhnault

                                                    We're leaving for the airport to fly to Tampa from Denver, and I'll check in later. Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. Stop in at Rock-n-Sports at 11:30 or so tonight. and I'll buy you a drink. Old guy with 2 big sons in Denver gear.

                                              2. re: pkowaleski

                                                Conch Republic in Reddington Beach. Open air on nice days and you can even sink your toes into some sand if you like.

                                        2. I forgot. Best mexican is El Taconazo. It's served from a permanently stationary school bus behind what I think is another restaurant. Anyway. amazing. fresh. inexpensive. totally authentic. its on hillsborough ave just east of I275.
                                          913 E Hillsborough Ave
                                          Tampa, FL 33604
                                          Phone: (813) 232-5889

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: sasserwazr

                                            Thanks, What about a nice steak place, that would also have a tv for the Superbowl? Bern's does not, even in the bar area,