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Bern's Booked - Where to go?

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Growing up in Tampa, Bern's has always been a special place for my family. In planning a trip to Tampa for December, we'd hoped to return and take my boys (9 & 8) for their first experience. Unfortunately, it's completely booked (could get a 9:30, but way too late for kids to eat). I know there's no other place like Bern's, but can anybody suggest a restaurant we'd all enjoy. We're staying near the airport/stadium, and don't want to venture too far to eat. We'll be 8 people and it's probably best to go somewhere in the American/Steak/Seafood range to satisfy everybody. It does not need to be fancy/expensive.

Also, if you have any sneaky tips to still get into Bern's, they'd be appreciated. Thanks.

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  1. Try Mitchell's. Its near the International Mall and airport. Its the fish division of Ruth Chris.... Truly excellent. We love it there, Valet parking is available and meat is on the menu

    1. I prefer Charley's (if I'm not going to Bern's).

      1 Reply
      1. re: nerditry

        Went to Charlie's a few weeks back, and had a fabulous meal with excellent service. Great selection, large parking lot, and near the mall. Looking forward to go back again.

      2. Ocean Prime, near International Mall is an alternative

        1. Fan of Capital Grille, Roy's, Eddie V's, Council Oak

          1. Flemings, Ruth Chris's, Malios, Renzo's all in the near area of TPA. Shula's and the Palm also.

            1. Restaurants always set aside a few tables for walk-ins. If you walk in, are polite, and willing to wait, they will probably seat you, but I doubt it will be much before 9:00. For eight people, it is probably too risky a tactic, especially with kids. For a couple, it often works.

              I like the Palm in the Westshore shopping center as an alternative. It is not in the same league as Bern's, but it serves good steaks and is less expensive.

              Lots of people say nice things about Charlie's Steakhouse and I have had some good meals there. (I also had one disastrous one, but hey, these things occasionally happen.) Charlie's is also cheaper than Bern's.

              Shula's is about like Bern's in price. The steaks are good. Portions are huge. however, there are no tours of the wine cellar, no tours of the kitchen, and no dessert room (but neither are there at Charlie's or the Palm.

              No one but Bern's dry ages their beef. Wet aging is common. Wet aging does not concentrate the flavor because the steak does not dry our slightly the way it does at Bern's, but the alternatives are close by and good.

              1. We've really enjoyed the oxford exchange, it's near Ut off Kennedy. Mise en place next door is amazing too! Timpanos in Hyde park village

                1. I would suggest the original Columbia restaurant in Ybor. I think the kids would enjoy the flamenco shows, which are daily except Sunday (I cheated and checked the website). More fun than a boring old adult chain steakhouse...

                  You do need reservations, but it would be a great destination with very good food. A real classic!

                  http://www.columbiarestaurant.com/fla...