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Apr 5, 2012 11:20 AM

Tampa luch and dinner - near USF?

My daughter will be attending the medical school next fall, yeah! We are headed there from Orlando to look around at apartments.
Any recommendations would be very much appreciated. Some of our favourites places in Orlando are K Restaurant, Rav Pig, Antonios, Luma, Thai Orchid, Sushi Pop .......

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  1. I'm not overly familiar with the USF area, but based on the type of restaurants you have mentioned in Orlando, I don't know that you will find the same caliber around USF (around the university there tends to be mostly restaurant chains from my experience). Chowhounds - please correct me if I'm wrong!

    I would suggest heading south on 275 from USF and going to some of the local spots. There are plenty in the South Tampa/Hyde Park area to choose from - Datz or Pane Rustica (both are open for lunch as well) would be good choices. Although I wasn't blown away by it, the Refinery lands on most people's best of list (and the chef was also a James Beard semifinalist - similiarly to the Petrakis' for Ravenous Pig), and it is a little closer to USF than the South Tampa spots. Two other great options, albeit a little more upscale, would be Restaurant BT (Vietnamese) or SideBern's.

    1. USF? Work there, and here are a few good spots:

      Ichiban - at the Sweetbay plaza behind Chili's; best sushi in Tampa, imho
      Taqueria Monterey - aka Taco bus with no bus (signs announcing they're reopening as taco bus in May); on Fletcher next to the ABC liquors across the Walmart
      Woodfired Pizza - on Bearrs; well known here for some great pies
      Saigon Bay - across the mall in the plaza where Verizon is
      HoHo and/or Chopstix - further down Fletcher; almost same menus, but different takes; I prefer Chopstix, their duck is better I think

      Just a few off the top of my head. I'm sure others will chime in.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Kagemusha_tpa

        come now, cat, we can do better than that. The area is no haven of fine dining, but good food can be had. All of K's choices above are solid.

        i especially second
        Wood Fired Pizza (especially for lunch... service can suffer at dinner)
        Trang Viet for light Viet fare, but it lacks spice.

        I would add:

        Tokyo sushi: imo, it easily outclasses Ichiban. they use whole tun in rolls, not that minced stuff.
        Jai Ho for Indian
        Greenland on 56th for mideast -- there is also a great place behind Sonic whose name escapes me.
        Sami's bakery on Busch for pita, spinach pies, sweets and so on.
        Pho Quyen for Vietnamese

        1. re: andy huse

          I agree there are certainly places that are good/great around USF and I definitely didn't mean to diminish that. Having been to a few of the restaurants the original poster listed from Orlando I was trying to match up something similiar in both food and atmosphere to what the poster had indicated were their favorites.

          1. re: andy huse

            for mideast food, i'd also add Byblos (wraps), Greenland for entrees, and Sahara for wraps and such. Byblos is super fast, the other can take a bit longer.

          2. re: Kagemusha_tpa

            Taqueria Monterey closed as of yesterday. Just thought I would let you all know.

            1. re: RibDog

              Any idea if the reopening as Taco Bus means they'll have the same menu as the Taco Bus locations or do they keep the unique menu?

              1. re: jeff6806

                My understanding is that it will be similar, if not the same, as the rest of the Taco Bus locations.

          3. My favorite spot around USF is Mr. Dunderbak's, a great German place on Bruce B. Downs.


            4 Replies
            1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

              I'm so old I used to cut class to sit at Dunderbak's when it was at the mall and the tables were squeezed in between the German deli meats and the grocery items. They used to run a special on Wednesdays (?) when you could actually afford to drink good beer, even on a student budget.

              1. re: sunshine842

                I used to do the same thing when it was in the Mall. Excellent food back then.

                1. re: sunshine842

                  Ahh, life in Suitcase City. That neighborhood is a bit rough. Do yourself and your daughter a favor by looking for apartments over in Temple Terrace..

                  As for Dunderbaks, I have way too many fuzzy memories of staggering out of the back door of their old location at University Mall.

                  Skippers Smokehouse, on Nebraska Ave and Skipper Road, always made for a pretty fun night out, provided you don't mind feeling like you've been dipped in a vat of pachoulli and fryer grease afterwards. Either way the food and beer there is pretty decent, and more importantly, it's cheap...

                  1. re: deet13

                    I had friends who had a bike stolen off of a 3rd floor balcony -- no trees, and nobody ever did figure out how they got up there and got the bike down. Other friends had their WASHING MACHINE stolen off a 2nd floor balcony -- everybody was wary of Suitcase City, but nobody could afford to live anywhere else, either....so we made do and only did drivethrough at Eggheads in the wee hours.

                    I'm also so old I used to dance barefoot in the sand at the Skipperdome to Diamond Teeth Mary and Blind Willie James back in the days when the women commandeered the stall in the men's room, because there were only 2 stalls in the ladies'.

                    Alan, I remember you playing with Mary and Willie, but I can't remember your last name to save my life...but you get props for playing with the legends.