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Eating Your Way Through Tampa: A Guide to the City’s Most Unique Food Experiences

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Tampa is a city with a rich culinary history, blending flavors from around the world to create truly unique and unforgettable dining experiences. From traditional Cuban dishes to innovative fusion cuisine, Tampa can tantalize every tastebud.

Join us as we explore the unique food experiences the city has to offer, from hidden gems to top-rated restaurants, and discover why Tampa is a food lover's paradise.

Columbia Restaurant

Step into the world of authentic Cuban cuisine at Ybor City's Columbia Restaurant, a Tampa institution since 1905. It is the oldest continuously operated restaurant in Florida and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world. 

Columbia Restaurant is known for its traditional Spanish and Cuban cuisine, as well as its historical setting and atmosphere that will fascinate you as soon as you walk in.

The menu features classic dishes such as paella, black bean soup, and freshly made Cuban bread, as well as a wide selection of seafood and steak. The intermingling scents alone are fantastic! 

You can also enjoy their famous 1905 salad, which ranks among the top 10 salads in the country, according to USA Today. This truly attracts salad enthusiasts from all across the state, especially since it is tossed and prepared at your table.

Additionally, the restaurant offers a real treat of live entertainment, including flamenco dancing, making for an immersive and unique dining experience. A true taste of Tampa's Latin heritage!

Ulele

Experience the delicious foods at Ulele, a modern restaurant located on the Hillsborough River, close to the Ulele Spring and opposite the Water Works Park. You can take advantage of these great locations to enjoy your meal and the sunset.

The restaurant's atmosphere welcomes you as soon as you arrive at the location. They can mesmerize you with some of their distinctive pieces. 

For instance, hula dancing statue outside has a ring of fire beneath her, and is encircled by water. The laughing horse sculpture inside the building is another feature that gets a lot of attention.

The menu is a combination of Native American, Spanish, and Florida-inspired cuisine, utilizing locally sourced ingredients and traditional cooking methods.

The restaurant serves fresh seafood, hand-cut steaks, and other dishes made from scratch. Since oysters have been a mainstay in the area, both raw and charbroiled oysters are available on their menu, something Ulele is particularly proud of.

Ulele also has a brewery that brews and serves its own beer, adding a unique element of in-house craftsmanship.

All of these factors contribute to making Ulele a unique and memorable dining experience in Tampa. It has received several positive reviews from critics on Yelp, and it is considered one of the best dining experiences in Tampa.

  • Location: 1810 N Highland Ave, Tampa, FL 33602-2605
  • Open: Sunday to Thursday from 11 am-10 pm & Friday to Saturday from 11 am-11 pm
  • Contact Number: +1-813-999-4952
  • Website: https://ulele.com/

Oystercatchers

If you love seafood, Oystercatchers is the place for you. The restaurant is known for its unbeatable ocean view and unique menu featuring fresh seafood and coastal cuisine. 

It has a casual but upscale atmosphere, with a focus on outdoor seating to take advantage of the stunning views of the water and the city which provides a beautiful and relaxing setting for dining. 

Oystercatchers restaurant is also known for its extensive wine list and creative cocktails. Some of the menu specialties include fresh oysters, fish and shellfish dishes, and a variety of appetizers and small plates. 

The restaurant is a part of the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay and it's considered one of the best seafood restaurants in the city in accordance with Tampa Magazine.

  • Location: 2900 Bayport Dr, Tampa, FL 33607-1479
  • Open: Sunday (Brunch) from 10:30 am-2:30 pm, Monday to Saturday (Lunch) from 11:30 am-2:30 pm, Sunday to Thursday (Dinner) from 5:30 pm-9:00 pm & Friday to Saturday (Dinner) from 5:30 pm-10:00 pm
  • Contact Number: +1-813-207-6815
  • Website: https://oystercatchersrestaurant.com/

Donatello Restaurant

"Delizioso!" "Fantastico!" These are just some of the words that you are readily gonna spit out if you take a trip to a pink-tinted atmosphere at Donatello, an interesting spot where you will experience the most romantic and genuine Italian vibe in Tampa. 

Donatello exudes Italian charm and tastes. The wine is exquisite, the servers are dressed in black tie, and live jazz is frequently performed in the bar.

There’s a lovely treat for every woman who enters the restaurant. They receive a rose and a kiss on their hand from the doorman that would surely melt hearts.

Donatello has used their century-old recipes for over 25 years and got the top rating on Google as the best Italian food in Tampa.

Their kitchen prepares delicious fillet steaks, grilled lamb, and calamari. Order delectable ricotta cheesecakes, chocolate cakes, and tiramisu. Delicious rose gin, pinot grigio, or white wine are among the beverages offered here. 

It is well-known so you won’t get lost, simply ask anyone in Tampa where you can find decent Italian food, and they'll point you there.

  • Location: 232 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33609-1237
  • Open: Sunday to Thursday from 5 pm-10 pm & Friday to Saturday from 5 pm-11 pm
  • Contact Number: +1-813-875-6660
  • Website: https://donatellotampa.com/

Bern's Steak House

Unleash your inner foodie at Bern's Steak House, the oldest and Tampa's best steakhouses in the United States, according to US Today. This fine-dining restaurant has been in business for over 70 years.

It's known for its large selection of meats, including dry-aged steaks, prime cuts, and exotic meats such as venison and buffalo. The menu also features a variety of seafood and traditional sides.

One of the most notable features of Bern's Steak House is its wine cellar. It houses over 6,800 selections and a temperature-controlled wine cellar that holds over 500,000 bottles. This makes it a perfect spot for wine lovers.

The restaurant also has a dessert room, which features a wide selection of homemade desserts and after-dinner drinks. It's a perfect spot for those looking for a sweet finish to their meal.

The atmosphere of the restaurant is elegant and formal, with white tablecloths, dark wood paneling, and dim lighting. So for those steak enthusiasts, come and enjoy the food and the place. Because you will not go wrong with it.

  • Location: 1208 S Howard Ave, Tampa, FL 33606-3197
  • Open: Sunday to Thursday from 5 pm-10 pm (Closed on Monday) & Friday to Saturday from 5 pm-11 pm
  • Contact Number: +1-813-251-2421
  • Website: https://bernssteakhouse.com/

There is no better way to enjoy Tampa Bay's legendary Florida sunshine than dining at all of the outstanding restaurants the area has to offer. 

The restaurants listed above are just a few of the locations where you can encounter unique things. In addition to the fact that they are well-known for being the finest in terms of setting, service, and food they provide.

With so many eating options in Tampa, it may be challenging to locate your new favorite restaurant that will keep you coming back frequently. However, if you utilize our list as a place to start, you can be sure to find some of the best of the best.

 

 
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