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Dec 18, 2011 08:38 AM

Decent casual restaurant near Tampa airport?

We're spending one night near the Tampa airport awaiting our AMI rental .We will get in about seven and will not want to stray too far from the Embassy Suites, but would love some real food of any kind.
Any thoughts?

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    Lots from which to choose. I'm not sure what you're looking for. I would think probably Maggiano's or Mitchells. I know they are both chains, but they are pretty good and it sounds like you're looking for something easy and close

    5 Replies
    1. re: sarge

      thanks, we had been hoping for a non chain, but maybe not possible?

      1. re: magiesmom

        Its not my side of town, but I have had their catering and if you like BBQ, you might like Jimbo's

        1. re: willhud

          Jimbo's has gone downhill, it's more of an interesting space than good food. Maggiano's is really consistent (consistently crappy with bad service). Mitchell's not too bad but again a chain. The weather is nice right now, if you don't mind chains you could sit outside at Capital Grille or Ocean Prime, but if you're digging for foodie grub you'll need to drive about ten minutes...

          What do you like to eat back home? There's good Pizza, BBQ, Cuban, Seafood, Italian etc all within about ten-ish minutes. Point us in a direction and we'll send you somewhere good.

          1. re: askdrtodd

            I agree. You could do worse than Ocean Prime or Roy's, both nearby, both consistently good, but you could also do much better if you're willing to drive a short distance. Is there something you're craving? (Stone crabs are in season...)

            1. re: askdrtodd

              we like to eat what is local and seasonal at home, as well as good Italian, seafood, or Indian. We expect to cook lots of fish while we are on vacation on AMI as we always do. We avoid chains.Cuban is very appealing. We are certainly willing to drive 10 or 15 minutes, probably not more than that as traveling is always tiring.

      2. I vote Arco Iris for Cuban/ Chinese. Some of the best fried rice I've had.

        8 Replies
        1. re: rikkikm

          sounds great. how far from our location ( totally ignorant about Tampa). I know I can google map it, too.

          1. re: magiesmom

            Arco Iris is on Columbus right near the stadium...

            3328 West Columbus Drive Tampa, FL 33607-1820
            (813) 879-1357

            Five minutes from the airport...
            Yummy Cuban Food...

          2. re: rikkikm

            Hmmmm.... I'm gonna be near there tomorrow!
            I've never had their Fried Rice...

            1. re: Mild Bill

              It's excellent, Bill. Most people ask why a Cuban place is making fried rice. It goes back to the early days of Tampa when there were many Asian immigrants, as well as Cuban immigrants, in Tampa. And since Cuban restaurants had most of the ingredients for fried rice within their Cuban cooking, they began to make the fried rice to satisfy the desires of the Asians in the area. And while there might be more around, Arco Iris is the only Cuban place still making it.

              1. re: RibDog

                it is hard to believe that before the Chinese were brought in (mostly after slavery was abolished in Cuba), the Cubans ate very little rice at all. The Chinese showed the Cubans how to cultivate rice. Probably lotsa tubers before then.

                1. re: RibDog

                  i remember reading an article about that a while ago. i love historical foodie stuff.

                2. re: Mild Bill

                  Los Antojitos Fried Pork over rice is a pretty amazing dish too. The spicy salsa verde they give you for it, along with the crispy pork skin, and that tender, tender pork...

                  Dammit now I'm hungry

              2. I don't know if I am on time to reply to a December 18th post, BUT... I wonder if Lee Roy Selmon's might fit the bill. A small Florida-based chain. When we are in the area of a mile or 2 from Tampa International Airport, we like to go there. Casual, sports restaurant kind of place. Some of the menu items: Sliders, Pulled pork, Grilled chicken salad, Mama's meatloaf, Sweet heat fried chicken, Citrus glazed shrimp salas, Buffalo wings... The location nearest the airport would be 4302 W. Boy Scout Blvd., South Tampa.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Florida Hound

                  thanks, not too late, we're, alas, not going until Feb.

                  1. re: magiesmom

                    It sounds like Arco Iris may fit the bill nicely, but just so there are no surprises, Arco Iris has good Cuban food in a diner-like setting. The floors are old. The tables are old. The place has furniture that seems to harken back to the 1950s. I'd certainly go there for the food but I want you to know what you are going to be getting.

                    An immense shopping mall called "International Plaza" is extremely close to the airport and has a good range of chain and non-chain restaurants. At least, if the non-chain restaurants are actually chain restaurants, they are chains I have never head of. Almost all of these restaurants are more upscale than Arco Iris, but much less representative of Tampa food.

                    1. re: magiesmom

                      Please follow up with us soon, re: where you finally chowed down! Enjoy your trip, Florida Hound

                      1. re: Florida Hound

                        My partner has decided we shall eat at Seasons 52. Will report back. She has a friend who just had a great meal there and there we go. I know it is a chain.
                        I think we will eat at Arco Iris on our way to airport upon return.