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Need a recommendation for a celebratory restaurant near Tampa

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Hi - Boston hound here, visiting Tampa with my sister and two nieces (9 and 2) in order to celebrate my great-grandmother's 98th birthday. She's still mobile and spunky, so we don't need to worry so much about accessibility, so long as I can drop her off near to the door before parking. I was thinking maybe either Berns or Oystercatchers, but figured I'd check in with locals to see what else might be out there and what you think about my two suggestions. I'm looking for something that will make her feel as special as she is, but will also allow us to converse without yelling, and is accepting of an energetic 2 year old (the 9 year old is very well behaved in restaurants - she's been dining with me at some of Boston's finest since she was a toddler). High quality food is the key - doesn't so much matter what type of food - we eat it all! Thanks!

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  1. Sunday brunch at Oyster Catchers would be really nice for a 98th birthday.

    4 Replies
    1. re: rhnault

      Thanks. We will be there Mon-Wed, so brunch isn't an option, but do you also recomment the restaurant for lunch or dinner?

      1. re: shoeshopper

        I have only been for brunch or dinner. The food is good and it really is a pretty spot on the Bay. A sunset timed dinner at Armani's at the top of the Grand Hyatt would be nice as well if you were thinking of dinner over lunch.

        1. re: rhnault

          For some reason your reply did not show up until after I posted my rec. Agree with rhnault again! Armani's would be really special, and their service is beyond wonderful.

          1. re: joan

            Yeah the site layout to see responses is odd now.

    2. I agree with rhnault, especially about brunch. This works well for older folks, who generally like to eat their large meal early in the day. I live on the other side of the bay, Pinellas, and we recently took our 80 yo mother-in-law for brunch to 400 Beach Seafood - great food, lots of toddlers running around, and the service was very attentive, they don't just abandon you. We sprung for a helicopter ride at the nearby Albert Whitted airport for her and one grandchild too - she loved it.
      Champagne included too :)
      Unless she's a steak and wine lover, I'd skip Bern's - you're looking for service here. Another great service restaurant in Tampa is Capitol Grille, but not sure about their acceptance of children...I bet they do it well though. Have fun!

      1. Hi- also a New England/East Coast Snowbird, here. My 70th birthday coming, with children and grandchildren in Tampa. Ages 10-70. Need some suggestions not quite so expensive as Oystercatchers for a Saturday night dinner. Ambiance counts. Other than steakhouses, pls. Which are best ambiance Chinese? We've done the Columbia; it was fun.

        4 Replies
        1. re: trail 6

          For ambiance, as well as excellent Chinese/Asian/oriental/far eastern food, I would choose T.C. Choy's at the corner of Platt Street and Howard in an area of Tampa known as "Hyde Park," a few minutes' drive from the downtown. This restaurant is known for its dim sum but also has an excellent non-dim sum menu.

          This is also the city's most reknowned restaurant section, with much Saturday night drinking and wandering among the various bars by yuppies. The heavy night life section is about a block closer to the bay, so you ought to be unaffected by it at T.C. Choy's, but there are several bars at that intersection. I've never eaten there on a Saturday night--Sunday dim sum is my thing--but parking could be a problem. (It never is on Sunday.)

          The hostesses and waiters/waitresses are great with kids. Point out the fish tanks to the kids--sometimes near empty and sometimes quite full.

          A new article just posted on a wall lauds their Peking duck. I have never tried it, but I a can't imagine that it would be anything but great, based on their track record with other food.

          1. re: trail 6

            I would make a reservation at Yummy House China Bistro on E Hillsborough Ave in Tampa. Definitely make a reservation.You can get a big round 10 top.There are always large groups of families eating and celebrating. Chinese and American.

            1. re: rhnault

              Looks good, unlike the original Yummy. Favorite menu items?

              1. re: trail 6

                I am not a fan of the original YH and always preferred China Yuan. But I love the YH Bistro. Anything salt and pepper is a winner.Recently we have been ordering the salt and pepper eggplant a lot. It is so good.Other favorites are anything XO. They have a special menu right now and one of the features is bacon and apple fried rice. That is really good and different. The spicy black bean seafood tofu hot pot is great.Lots of roasted garlic, ginger, and hot peppers. I have never had a bad dish there.