Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Florida >
Jul 14, 2009 08:03 PM

Metro Tampa - Dinner & Brunch?

Coming into Tampa for the weekend and don't have a lot of extra time - so focusing on two good meals Saturday Dinner and Sunday Brunch. Lived in Miami and Boston and consider ourselves "foodies". We've been to Tampa only once. We try hard to stay away from chain and hotel restaurants. After a little searching here, on open-table and yelp, we are considering Saturday dinner at SIDEBERN'S and Sunday brunch at CIRCLES. Yea? Nea? Any other suggestions? Appreciate the help.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Sidebern's is worth the trip. Haven't been in a while but I'm sure you will have a fine experience.

    I'd like to recommend Pane Rustica. I've appreciated this place as a bakery and gourmet sandwich spot for years now but have only recently experience their dinner menu. They are doing some great things with fresh and tasty ingredients. On a recent visit I was wowed with a dish of house made fetucine served with mussels, clams, salmon and a nice garlic cream sauce. My companion enjoyed a plate of gnocchi with beef tips in a red wine reduction. That sauce was sublime and the beef tips were perfectly seasoned and cooked. They gnocchi were rustic and perfectly cooked. You can also stop in for lunch or in the morning for the best breads and pastries in the area and cup of delicious Illy brand coffee.

    Enjoy your visit. Hope you have some great meals.

    1. Went to Sidebern's a couple of weeks ago and was not impressed. The food was quite bland, a huge disappointment. I would check out the dessert room at Berns, it's fabulous! I would recommend Donatello's on Dale Mabry or Mise En Place. As for Brunch I like Datz Deli or Oyster Catchers.

      1. Sunday Brunch at Oyster Catchers. Make a reservation.

        1. I agree w Pane Rustica, I prefer their lunch over their dinner but if you can't make it for lunch, then dinner is good to. They have really tasty breads and desserts, the Expresso Cookie is delish, big hunks of moist chocolate morsels, dusted w powdered sugar. The Rustica Salad is really good, fresh mozzarella, kalamata olives, roasted garlic, sooo good.

          1. No, no, no to Sidebern's. Ever since the founding chef left, they have floundered. I have not heard anything good about it in ages.

            For dinner Saturday, Pane Rustica for fresh, creative seasonal fare in a casual atmosphere; or possibly Ocean Prime, which is a small chain specializing in steak and seafood in a clubby atmosphere. Foodies will not be disappointed at either. But I'd give the edge to Pane Rustica. digyourself, the fettuccine dish you describe is my all-time favorite there, although the specials are usually tough to pass up!

            Brunch is tougher. Circles is good, and one of the few places in town serving a proper brunch menu complete with mimosas, bloody marys, etc. Pinky's is my favorite place for breakfast around here, but it's kind of a dive, so if you want white tablecloths, stick with Circles. (Pane Rustica serves lunch and has terrific pastries, but apart from the occasional omelet and their frittata on the menu, does not do breakfast dishes.)

            I do not recommend Oystercatchers. It's one of those expensive all you can eat buffets, a cut above, yes, but not exactly foodie-ville.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Miss E

              When I think brunch I guess I think old school with cocktails and a buffet. Once a year or so I like to dress up and head to OC and pay too much for some interesting and some not so interesting food while I enjoy the view and the service and some mimosas.