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We need recommendations for Tampa dinner (breakfast and lunch too).

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Tomorrow we will leave for Tampa for an extended "working vacation" (duration: 6 days). The spouse will work some, and I will play entirely. Suggestions for breakfasts, lunches and dinners (especially dinners) are needed. We would love to sample the local color of Tampa. Many thanks, in advance, for your suggestions and comments.

p.s. We will be staying in the downtown, waterfront area and have access to a car for only a day or so...

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  1. Cafe Dufrain on Harbor Island is a great waterfront restaurant with a delicious eclectic menu. For local flavor, you can't beat The Columbia in Ybor City. Also Mise En Place...it is consistantly one of the most imaginative restaurants in Tampa.

    2 Replies
    1. re: laboheme

      Thanks for suggestions! Anywhere you like to eat "on the cheap"? I'm thinking hole-in-the-walls, local hangs, etc.?

      1. re: laboheme

        The good thing about these recomendations is that you can walk to Mise en Place, and ride the street car to Columbia. Without a car, you'll need to spend time dining in Ybor. Laughing Cat gets alot of good reviews, but I haven't made it there yet. Bernini can be pretty good. Definitely try Columbia. The hole in the wall joints I go to are too far from downtown

      2. Downtown, try Fly for dinner/drinks; Bamboozle for lunch; Spain for dinner or lunch; Taps wine bar for fun. Hatricks on a night that the Lightning are playing is definitely a local hang, if you have a taste for greasy bar food, this is your stop! (Why not go to a game? Same day tickets are a steal...) Agree that Cafe Dufrain would make a great spot for sunset dinner.

        Tampa without a car is kind of tough; I agree that some of the best hole-in-the-wall places are going to be a haul from where you are. Pane Rustica is my hands-down favorite restaurant for dinner, but you will have to drive or take a cab. Don't be put off by its strip-mall location, it's awesome. http://panerusticabakery.com/

        3 Replies
        1. re: Miss E

          Pane Rustica can not be skipped, it's wonderful. Also I agree with Miss E, Bamboozle is great and Fly Bar is also fun. L'olivier is right by Bamboozle and is tasty french.

          1. re: askdrtodd

            I thought L'Olivier was the French place with the drag burlesque show, in Ybor.

            1. re: rhnault

              I think he meant L'Eden, which is downtown.

              For breakfast, you might want to consider First Watch (a local chain but still decent food) or Samarra, which is in the old 502 Sports Cafe space. I had lunch at Samarra recently and was very happy with the extensive menu as well as the prices. I'm not a breakfast person but looked like HUGE omelets.

              Another "hole in the wall" within walking distance with decent food is Gilligan's, on Morgan. Mostly bar food but some very good ceviche and fish tacos.