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Tampa birthday dinner for a NYC Chowhounder: Help!

f
foodshark73 Feb 10, 2009 02:57 PM

I will be in Tampa for my husband's birthday next month, staying at the Grand Hyatt. After reading many helpful posts on this board, I'm considering the following restaurants for our dinner:

Bern's (inevitably)
Pelagia
Mise En Place
Six Tables
Oystercatchers (though I'd rather not stick around the hotel)

My husband loves both steak and fish, so those were my first thoughts. Plus, I'm not the world's best driver, so something reasonably close to the hotel or easy to get to would be nice. I'd be grateful for any votes on this list or new suggestions--my goal is a memorable meal that we couldn't get in New York City. Thanks in advance!

  1. f
    foodshark73 Feb 19, 2009 11:34 AM

    Thanks everybody! I've decided to make reservations at both Bern's and Ocean Prime and then let my husband choose that week--the birthday boy can make the ultimate decision.

    1. z
      zook Feb 16, 2009 10:32 PM

      I've been to all but Pelagia on your list. Bern's is an experience worth checking out once in a lifetime (you can read all the prior posts about it from a few weeks ago), but my first choice would be Sideberns. The menu varies daily, you will find unusual fish offerings, the drinks are great, and it's an easy drive over from the Grand Hyatt.

      1. j
        JB222 Feb 16, 2009 06:11 PM

        I would second the Ocean Prime suggestion. My party had seafood (seabass, snapper) and steak (NY strip), and they were all excellent. Most sides are a la carte, but they have a good selection. The "handcrafted" cocktails made with fresh fruit were really good as well.

        Council Oak at the Seminole Casino is good as well. Even though it is billed as a steak place, you can't go wrong with the Alaskan King Crab legs that are flown in fresh daily.

        1. f
          foodshark73 Feb 10, 2009 04:37 PM

          Am I missing someplace (besides Bern's) that is really "Tampa"? I feel like there are plenty of good high-end Italian joints here in Manhattan; I guess that's why I keep coming back to the idea of fish, because of the beach!

          3 Replies
          1. re: foodshark73
            rhnault Feb 10, 2009 04:45 PM

            Ocean Prime just opened but I have not been there yet. It is getting good reviews though and seems like a celebration restaurant. http://www.tampabay.com/features/food...

            Their menu is listed on their website as well. I have a Valentine's reservation.

            1. re: rhnault
              f
              foodshark73 Feb 10, 2009 05:13 PM

              The website is certainly flashy. Rhnault, if you have a chance to report back after this weekend, I'd really appreciate it.

              1. re: foodshark73
                t
                Tampamike Feb 16, 2009 10:46 AM

                My wife and I had dinner at Ocean Prime last and is was a very wonderful dining experience. The service was right on and the food was very well presented. The wine list had some unusual selections like a Cote Rotie from So. France and several single vineyard wines that you don't normally find in Tampa. Nice selection of both white and reds. Wines were reasonably priced at 2 times retail. One of the sides is a Black Truffle mac and cheese, which actually had shaved truffles on top!!

                Nice atmosphere and really nice service. Great place for a "Special Dinner"

                I had heard that they had some service problems when they first opened, but they seem to have it all together now.

                http://www.ocean-prime.com/

          2. rhnault Feb 10, 2009 03:35 PM

            Just head to Armani's at the top of the Grand Hyatt. I was just there Christmas Eve and they are back to being as good as they were when Chef Mossimo was there. Not sure how it will compare to the culinary mecca of NYC but the view is amazing. If you want a more uniquely Tampa experience cab it over to Bern's.

            1. kchurchill5 Feb 10, 2009 03:00 PM

              Berns first choice
              Six Tables heard mixed reviews
              Oystercatchers, heard good but haven't been
              Pelagia, not sure, sorry

              Berns always, it is not just good ... but an experience, take the wine cellar tour, ask when you get there. Also book the desert room and the kitchen tour. It is fun and educational and all part of the experience.

              2 Replies
              1. re: kchurchill5
                q
                queencru Feb 16, 2009 05:11 PM

                I think my mom was considering Oystercatchers late last year but decided against it because she'd heard it had gone way downhill in recent years.

                I think Bern's can be good. I've had varying experiences there so it's hard to really generalize. I think part of the fun in the old days was the army barracks style dishware and the 40lb menu in the dessert room, and now that they're gone it's sort of sad. Still, the decor and the kitchen tour do make it a different sort of experience.

                1. re: queencru
                  rhnault Feb 17, 2009 04:01 AM

                  Oystercatchers just went through a complete remodel and re-opened about a year ago. It is beautiful and the food is very good.

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