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Tampa/ nearby - Fine Dining

Hello Hounds. Going to have a couple nice dinners occassions over the next few weeks and I am looking for some suggestions. Currently considering Ocean Prime and Aquaknox. Haven't looked up Armani's or Oystercatchers lately- I'll ck on them. Any comments? Any cuisine is ok but not particularly interested in steakhouses. Six Tables? Hapa? Black Pearl? Thanks for the help.

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  1. Skip both Ocean Prime and Aquaknox. Hit Armani's just before sunset and have a glass of wine out on the deck and watch the sun set, that's a treat, also the food is top notch. Brunch at Oystercatchers can't be beat.

    1. I ate at Ocean Prime last week for my bday and the food and service were top notch. I am also a fan of Restaurant Hapa and Armani's. I have been to both over the last 4 months and they are very good. I would also recommend Massimo's in Palm Harbor and Pelagia Trattoria at the Renaissance.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rhnault

        Hapa was good. Armani's will have the best as far as view, service, and food quality all around tho. and OC brunch... drool...

      2. Ocean Prime is a big, loud, self-consciously upscale place, the kind of place where the waiters try to up-sell you ceaselessly. Good food, good service, but it's not my favorite; on the other hand, if you're going to a couple of nice dinners, you could add it to the list of the menu strikes your fancy.
        Aquaknox, oh, I'm torn. On our one visit, the service was really special, attentive without being over the top, and our waiter was knowledgeable, gracious and eager to please. The food, however, was so-so. Love the decor. Loved the cocktails. I'd go back... I guess.
        How about Mise en Place? I'd choose it over these other two.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Miss E

          Good pick, previously one of my faves, but lately the quality/execution of the dishes doesn't match up to the menu description & waitstaff's pitch. Sideberns has been really solid as of late, and that's not quite fine dining but pretty close.

          1. re: askdrtodd

            I just went to Mise en Place about a month ago and was impressed. I didn't see any discrepancies between the descriptions and the pitch.

            1. re: queencru

              Then I shall give it another go :)

          2. re: Miss E

            Agree...I always love Mise en Place, whether I'm dining in the restaurant or using them cater an event.

          3. I'll throw up Cafe Ponte and Side Berns

            5 Replies
            1. re: the_sneeb

              Past couple times I went to Ponte, the food and service were both sub-par, but the price was still pretty high, has Chris changed things around there?

              1. re: the_sneeb

                LOL poor choice of words if you ask me ;) (THROW UP cafe ponte and side bern's)

                1. re: the_sneeb

                  I second Sidebern's. Outstanding cocktails.

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                  Sidebern's
                  2208 W Morrison Ave, Tampa, FL 33606

                  1. re: Lauracooks

                    true. also come to think of it if you're going to be in tampa and not on the st pete/clearwater side, there is no real reason to trek over there for ponte, it's not as good as sideberns and it'd be at least a 20 minute drive.

                2. Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Monday night(3/15) we went to Ocean Prime.

                  Appetizers- Ahi Tuna Tartar, Avocado, Ginger Ponzu
                  Sweet Chili Point Judith Calamari

                  Main----- Park Farms Amish Chicken, Asparagus, Lemon Pan Jus
                  Seared Tuna, Tangerine Spinach Salad, Soy Butter Sauce

                  Three very good- especially the roast chicken- would recommend them. Seared tuna was average. Service below expectations.

                  Restaurant was crowded and noisy. Overall we both preferred the dinners we had at Roys, especially for the wine tasting dinners(not been to one in years).
                  It was a Monday night, so Armani's was not open. That was our first choice.
                  Sideberns and Mise en Place menus look tempting. Have not been to either in well over 10 years. They are now on the List.
                  Wasn't Mise located on Howard Ave years ago?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: LokiRN

                    I believe so. Oystercatchers would be a great place for lunch, try their calamari, it's probably consistently the best in Tampa (in my humblest of opinions). Also Sideberns has been more consistent for me than Mise, but I'm not sure if it was once elsewhere, as long as I've lived in Tampa it's been there off Kennedy near UT. Armani's is impressive, make sure you show up before sunset!

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                    Sidebern's
                    2208 W Morrison Ave, Tampa, FL 33606