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Apr 26, 2010 07:26 PM

Tampa. Need recommendations for best Seafood.

I'll be in Tampa next week. I want to take the wife out for her birthday. Looking for the BEST seafood restaurant in Tampa. NO CHAINS PLEASE.

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    And it's Oystercatchers.

    2 Replies
    1. re: askdrtodd

      I agree and the location is gorgeous. Older people remember when big hotels had dreadful food. Many of the better hotels make sure that they have at least one first tier restaurant. Think Primo at the JW in Orlando or Norman's at the Ritz in the same location. I think people are often looking for a waterfront seafood dive when they make such a request. Waterfront property is horrendously expensive, even after the property crash and a dive is generally not going to be able to have such a location.

      The Hyatt in Tampa has had two great restaurants in the past. I haven't been to the rooftop one for years and don't even remember its name. Sunset at Oystercatchers is wonderful.

      1. re: LilMsFoodie

        Armani's, and it is fantastic as well.

    2. there's a big thread on seafood out there and current.

      1 Reply
      1. The best seafood is at the Hyatt? Wow.

        5 Replies
        1. re: kingofkings

          Oystercatchers is very good. You said you did not want a chain but I like Ocean Prime as well. Believe it or not, it is hard to find good fresh Florida seafood in Tampa. When I want fresh Florida seafood I buy it at my favorite seafood market and cook it at home. It makes me unhappy since I am a native of the Panhandle of Florida where you can order wonderful inexpensive fresh seafood all over the place.

          1. re: rhnault

            Exactly. You can get very good seafood at any of the better restaurants in town: Bern's, Mise en Place, or, a bit more casual, Pane Rustica, to name only a few. But it may or may not be local, and it won't be that place with a sunset view I bet you're imagining. Tampa's funny that way.

            If you really want to be at the beach, how about Salt Rock Grill?

            Salt Rock Grill
            19325 Gulf Blvd, Indian Shores, FL 33785

          2. re: kingofkings

            I'll be the voice of dissent, here. I had dinner at Oystercatchers for the first time a few months ago after hearing raves for years, and my party of four left disappointed, almost $300 poorer, and still hungry. I didn't find it to be "all that" in any way.

            You would think that the Tampa Bay area would have amazing seafood restaurants out the ying-yang, but it's just not the case. The places that seem to thrive are the ones that cater to the tourists and velveeta-and-whitebread Crabby Bill's and Frenchy's (not saying they're "bad", just that they're not "special").

            I agree that Salt Rock is very nice, the seafood is good, and the ambience is fitting a celebratory event. Still, for my money, the best seafood dishes are at Guppy's on Indian Rocks Beach. It's across the street from the beach, more "cute" than "fancy", has a decent wine list, and you can stroll on the beach after dinner.


            Frenchy's Cafe
            41 Baymont St, Clearwater Beach, FL 33767

            Crabby Bills
            7675 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy, Kissimmee, FL 34747

            1. re: sweet_polly

              Polly, you're dead on about crappy bills and frenchy's. Really sad to hear you didn't enjoy oystercatchers, try it again for brunch sometime and let me know if it still doesn't impress, I'd be amazed. Guppys was exactly as you said, good, not fancy, not mind blowing, but solid and good.

              1. re: askdrtodd

                DrT...when I first moved here, I was in shock at how many people in Florida are willing to stand in line for crappy food. lol

                There was nothing fundamentally wrong with anything we got when we ate dinner at Oysterchatchers, but there was certainly nothing memorable enough to warrant the price tag. My expectations were pretty high, though. We'll try it again for Sunday brunch, though, and I'll let you know. :)

          3. Went to Mitchell's last week at Westshore Plaza, and must say it was one of the best fish restaurants I have ever been into. food, service, ambiance, selection, and prices were fantastic...... Free parking or valet is available.

            11 Replies
            1. re: irwin

              wow man, you really have to explore more, mitchell's isn't bad, but it's a chain, listen to Miss E or rhnault, heck Hula Bay Club is better than mitchell's, and it isn't half the restaurant Oystercatchers or Salt Rock (or Pane!!) are!

              1. re: irwin

                It is indeed a chain, and not one that I liked particularly when I tried it, but to each his own. The question is, do they serve anything at Mitchell's that's locally caught?

                1. re: Miss E

                  They usually do. I know that of the 10-12 fresh fish choices they have on the menu when I've been there, at least 1-2 have been from the Florida Gulf Coast.

                  I like the place, particularly the oyster selections.

                  Gulf Coast
                  Pensacola, FL, Pensacola, FL

                  1. re: kentski

                    I paid 15.00 one time for 6 oysters there. I was not that excited with them but I did like the margaritas.

                    1. re: kentski

                      Well, that's great! Good to know.

                      1. re: Miss E

                        yeah I remember the oysters there being a disappointment, as was anything "etouffee". The key lime pie was good though.

                        1. re: askdrtodd

                          Its either 4 oysters or 8 oysters at Mitchell's. And, yes, they're a bit pricey but no more so than other comparable places (Ocean Prime, Malio's, etc.)

                          400 North Ashley Drive, Tampa, FL 33602

                          1. re: kentski

                            It must have been 4 then for 15.00. It has been a while. If I want oysters I am partial to Apalachicola oysters and they are about 9.95 a dozen at McDivots in Westchase.

                            1. re: rhnault

                              Where is Westchase. Referring to McDivots

                              1. re: beckybird

                                westchase is a lovely part of tampa, google mcdivot's, i'm sure a map will pop up.

                                1. re: Manderley

                                  we just had really good oysters at Oyster Catchers. 3.00 each lol. I am glad I brought home that cooler full from the Panhandle to get my fill back in November ;-)

                2. Salt Rock Grill in Reddington is a bit of a drive, but worth it, especially if you ask for an outside table...the inside can get very loud. The seafood is usually well worth the trip.

                  Salt Rock Grill
                  19325 Gulf Blvd, Indian Shores, FL 33785