Interior view of the Bartaco, one of the best restaurants in Tampa, during Christmas season

29 Best Tampa Restaurants in 2023 (Where to Eat, By a Local)

If you’re looking for the best Tampa restaurants you’re in luck because Tampa has a very exciting food scene. There’s an entire spectrum of cuisines showcased here in the heart of Tampa Bay. 

I live in Tampa and I’ve spent the last couple of years on a quest to discover my favorite restaurants in the city. Eating out, after all, is one of the best things to do in Tampa. I’ve tried restaurants all over, and I’m here to tell you about the best restaurants in Tampa. 

Whether you’re a local looking for a hidden gem you haven’t heard about before or a visitor trying to hit up the best Tampa restaurants on your trip, there’s something on this list for you. So, keep reading!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. Thank you!

 29 Best Tampa Restaurants

Water + Flour

🍽️ California-American | ($$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 251-8406

A plate of sushi with different dips and a red and white sauce pasta served in Water + Flour

Water + Flour is a trendy, South Tampa restaurant. Close to Downtown Tampa, this is one of the best restaurants to come to when everyone in your group is craving something different! They serve a variety of dishes including pizza, pasta, and sushi. 

You should also give them a visit on Tuesday for Taco Tuesday or Wednesday for Water Wednesday. Their Taco Tuesday features $3 tacos, and their Water Wednesday features discounts on their 8-piece sushi rolls.

Green Lemon

🍽️ Mexican | ($$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 868-5463

Exterior view of the bright blue entrance and pink door at Green Lemon
Green Lemon’s bright pink door

Green Lemon is a vibrant Mexican Restaurant on Howard Ave in South Tampa. The fun murals found on the outside of the building complement the cheerful and bright indoor decorations. Order street-style tacos, a fiesta bowl, or chips and guacamole for the table. 

Some would say that the real star of the show at Green Lemon is the drinks. Specifically, the margaritas! Their margaritas come in 16 ounces, 24 ounces, or 60 ounces. If you are into spicy drinks, I would recommend the Caliente Margarita.   

Cali

🍽️ California-American | ($$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 305-2473

Close up view of the hot honey pizza topped with pepperoni and basil in Cali
The Hot Honey Pizza from Cali

Cali is a California-inspired restaurant located on Dale Mabry Hwy. You’ll be greeted by the simple, aesthetic decor and a chill, California surfer vibe. The menu consists of bowls, salads, handhelds, and pizzas. 

If you like a little heat, I highly recommend the Spicy Brazilian Bowl. My other favorite item is the Hot Honey Pizza. You can’t go wrong with anything on their menu, though. And make sure you leave room for dessert … I think they make the best cookies. 

Jimbo’s Pit Bar B-Q

🍽️ Barbecue | ($) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 289-9724

Golden brown onion rings served within a thin foil in a styrofoam pack in Jimbo’s Pit Bar B-Q
An order of onion rings

When I am craving barbecue, Jimbo’s Pit Bar B-Q is the first place that comes to mind. Tender pulled pork, creamy mac n’ cheese, and more can be found at this mom-and-pop shop. To sweeten the deal, every meal is served with an order of crispy hushpuppies. 

Don’t let the humble exterior of the restaurant fool you, Jimbo’s has some of the best barbecue food that can be found in Tampa Bay. Dine in or order it to go! 

Columbia Restaurant

🍽️ Spanish-Cuban | ($$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 248-4961

A look inside the classic interior and busy Columbia Restaurant in Tampa
Inside Columbia Restaurant on a busy afternoon (photo: Sharkshock / Shutterstock) 

Columbia Restaurant is located in Ybor City and it’s one of the most notable restaurants in the entirety of Tampa Bay. It’s been serving Spanish-Cuban cuisine since 1905! It’s safe to say that over the last 100+ years they’ve been able to perfect their recipes. 

The entire restaurant has beautiful architecture and ambiance. The front of the building has a breathtaking tile mural and the inside decor is just as stunning. 

If you end up eating at Columbia Restaurant, I highly recommend trying the 1905 salad. You can get it as your entree or as a side to your main course! 

Nachos Tacos

🍽️ Mexican | ($$) | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 426-5611

A serving of tacos and lime wedges with two different sauces within a thin foil and styrofoam pack
All the tacos are served with lime wedges and hot sauce

Nachos Tacos is a food truck that serves authentic street tacos. While not technically a brick-and-mortar restaurant, I had to include Nachos Tacos on the list because it is my favorite place in Tampa to get tacos. Once you try them, you’ll understand why it’s definitely one of the best places to eat in Tampa.

This food truck is located next to a mini-mart, so while your food is being prepared, you can pop in and buy a drink. In addition to street tacos, Nachos Tacos serves quesadillas, flautas, and other signature Mexican street food dishes. My go-to recommendation is always the steak taco.

The Capital Grille

🍽️ Fine Dining | ($$$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 830-9433

Façade and view at the elegant entrance of The Capital Grille

The Capital Grille is a fine dining establishment in Westshore. It’s conveniently located at Bay Street at the International Plaza. Walking up, you’ll see elegant black and white tiling leading to the entrance. The decor inside is equally stunning!

To begin your meal, there are various soups, salads, and appetizers available. For the main course, you can choose from a variety of proteins. Then order some a la carte sides for the table to share! Experience a lighter, but just as fun, experience during lunch hours. 

Whiskey Cake Tampa

🍽️ American | ($$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 535-9955

Exterior view with bold black and red signage above Whiskey Cake restaurant

Whiskey Cake Tampa is an American cuisine restaurant that serves farm-to-kitchen dishes. They focus on locally sourcing ingredients to infuse into their menu. And as their name suggests, this is a great spot to come for whiskey or a whiskey cocktail!  

Whiskey Cake is one of my favorite brunch spots in Tampa Bay. They frequently have new, unique items to try like a Carrot Cake Pancake Stack. I’ve also always had great service. If you find yourself in the Westshore area, I highly recommend stopping in. 

West Tampa Sandwich Shop

🍽️ Cuban | ($) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 873-7104

Two classic Cuban sandwiches on a plate with a glass of iced tea in the background
A classic Cuban Sandwich

West Tampa Sandwich Shop is a very affordable and very delicious sandwich shop and restaurant. Among the many amazing Tampa restaurants that serve the Cuban Sandwich, West Tampa Sandwich Shop is at the top of my list. To date, the best Cuban Sandwich I’ve had was from here. 

In addition to the Cuban, this shop has a long list of other sandwiches that are available, as well. And for the early birds, West Tampa Sandwich Shop opens at 6 AM, so come out and get a breakfast sandwich!

Miguelito’s Taqueria & Tequilas 

🍽️ Mexican | ($$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 872-5600

Chips served on a cone-shaped with three types of dips on the side
Chips with a dip trio

Miguelito’s Taqueria & Tequilas is a lively Mexican restaurant in South Tampa. It’s conveniently located on Kennedy Blvd. It has both indoor and outdoor seating. The inside is dimly lit and feels like an upscale bar or club. The outdoor patio is bright and spacious with beautiful greenery. 

The menu is versatile so this is the perfect venue for a fun night out with friends or Sunday morning brunch with your family. 

Brio Italian Grille

🍽️ Italian | ($$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 877-3939

Exterior and entrance view with a bright matcha green signage of the Brio Italian Grille

Brio Italian Grille serves up everything you’d hope to find at an upscale Italian restaurant. There’s the elegant decor, delicious food, and friendly staff. 

I recommend trying their Sausage Rigatoni Arrabbiata or Lobster and Shrimp Fettucine. And if you stick around for dessert, the Tiramusi will delight your taste buds. 

Brio is located a couple of miles away from the Tampa International Airport. If you’re flying into Tampa for a visit, this could be a great place to eat some good food after a day of travel! Be sure to also check out my guide to the best places to stay in Tampa, so you can make the most of your trip. 

Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar

🍽️ Cuisine | ($$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 800-8226

A plate of chicken taco and chorizo taco with a yellow rice and a small bowl of beans on the side
A chicken taco and chorizo taco with a side of rice and beans

Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar is located at Bay Street at the International Plaza. When you first walk in you’re met with unique and eye-catching decor that creates a great atmosphere for dinner and drinks. The delicious food on the menu will also be sure to contribute to a fantastic experience. 

To enhance your experience, I highly recommend getting the tableside guacamole! A waiter will smash and season avocados right in front of you to make guac for your table to enjoy. I also recommend the tacos de calle, which are served as a platter of street-style tacos. 

Doc B’s Restaurant + Bar

🍽️ American | ($$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 498-6200

An Oven Roasted Teriyaki Chicken Wings on a bowl served in Doc B's Restaurant
Oven Roasted Teriyaki Chicken Wings

Known for its upscale takes on American comfort food classics, Doc B’s Restaurant + Bar serves up great food and a great atmosphere. I normally get the Hot Chicken, which is their fried chicken covered in a honey habanero barbecue sauce. The Oven Roasted Teriyaki Chicken Wings are a great table starter, as well. 

Doc B’s is located at the International Mall, so it’s a great place to eat lunch before a day of shopping. 

Santoro’s Pizza 

🍽️ Pizza | ($) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 687-7100

Two slices of white pizza served on a disposable plate in Santoro's Pizza
Two slices of Santoro’s white pizza

Santoro’s Pizza is an aesthetic and bright pizza shop in North Hyde Park serving up pizza, subs, and sweets. At Santoro’s, they keep it simple. The menu items are few, but they are all delicious. I’ve tried most of their specialty pizzas and while they’re all tasty, my favorite would have to be the Spicy Hawaiian BBQ. 

In addition to their food, Santoro’s serves various beers and spiked seltzers. This Tampa pizza shop is within walking distance of many other restaurants and bars which makes it an excellent spot to grab a drink and eat dinner before a night out on the town.    

Bartaco

🍽️ Tacos  | ($$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 258-8226

Interior view of the Bartaco restaurant in Tampa during Christmas season
Inside decor at Bartaco

Located in Hyde Park Village, Bartaco is a trendy and upscale Tampa restaurant serving tacos, rice bowls, and other sides and small plates. Bartaco sells individual tacos, so it’s my favorite place to come and get a couple of different tacos and sides to enjoy. It also makes a great spot for those looking to enjoy a tapas-style meal. 

In addition to the food, Bartaco provides a great dining experience and service. To order food, you use your phone to scan a QR code and place your order. While a waiter will still assist your table, ordering on your phone allows you to continue to order tacos or drinks as you please.

It’s hard to go wrong with anything on this menu, but I would highly recommend the pork belly taco and the plantains. 

Willa’s and Willa’s Provisions

🍽️ French-American | ($$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 519-4552

A breakfast taco with a green sauce, iced coffee, and a doughnut in Willa’s and Willa’s Provisions
A breakfast taco, coffee, and doughnut from Willa’s Provisions

Willa’s is a cute restaurant in North Hyde Park. Willa’s shares a building with Willa’s Provisions, which is a small coffee shop and cafe. In the morning you can stop by Willa’s Provisions for a cup of coffee and pastry. Then, in the afternoon you can grab some friends and have lunch or dinner at Willa’s. 

Crazy Burrito

🍽️ Mexican | ($) | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 304-0881

A vegetable taco and a chorizo taco from Crazy Burrito in Tampa
A vegetable taco and a chorizo taco from Crazy Burrito

Crazy Burrito is an authentic Mexican grill in West Tampa. The menu has tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more. Be sure to come hungry, part of what makes the ‘crazy burrito’ so crazy is how big it is!

On Swann

🍽️ American | ($$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 251-0110

A peaceful and cute outdoor seating area with bright tiffany blue chairs at On Swann
A cute outdoor seating section at On Swann

As the name implies, On Swann is a restaurant located on Swann Ave and a part of Hyde Park Village. It’s home to many signature cocktails, a fun wine bar, and a fantastic wine list. The lunch and dinner menus both offer exciting dishes, but the brunch selection is always what makes me excited to go to On Swann. 

The interior offers exposed brick and wooden floors. While still upscale, the rustic vibe compliments the wooden blocks and skillets that many of the dishes are presented on. It’s the perfect restaurant to come out and try a craft cocktail and split one of their signature charcuterie boards with a group of friends. 

Noble Crust

🍽️ Italian | ($$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 463-0193

Noble Crust describes their cuisine as ‘Deep South Italian’. The menu is a combination of modern takes on classic Southern cuisine and Italian dishes. They have a line of unique specialty pizzas – my recommendation is the Noble Pig Pizza. 

Noble Crust sources its ingredients locally. As the seasons change, the menu adapts to showcase whatever foods are seasonal that time of year. There are also three Noble Crust locations in the Tampa Bay area. The three locations are near downtown St Pete, Wesley Chapel, and Carrollwood and all have slightly different menus. 

Thai Prime Kitchen & Bar

🍽️ Thai | ($$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 302-9168

Exterior view of the glass restaurant with a Thai Prime Kitchen & Bar signage above

Located in the Westshore neighborhood of Tampa, Thai Prime Kitchen & Bar is a Thai restaurant with an extensive seafood and sushi menu. They also have all the Thai staples like Pad Thai, Chicken Satay, and various Curries.

Thai Prime has a daily happy hour from 3:30 – 7:30 PM. Come out and get discounted wine, drinks, and appetizers. 

Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill

🍽️ Seafood & Bar | ($$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 281-0770

A shrimp taco and fish taco served on a black and white checkered tissue paper on a red small basket
Shrimp and fish tacos 

Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill is my top pick for eating dinner right on the beach. Whiskey Joe’s sits on the Courtney Campbell Causeway and has everything you’d want in a beachside restaurant. There’s a large dining area with windows overlooking the beach, spacious outdoor patio seating, and a private beach where you can lounge!

Grab a tropical drink and enjoy fresh oysters, shrimp tacos, and your other favorite seafood dishes. If you’re coming to Tampa for a vacation, Whiskey Joe’s will leave you with a lasting impression of Tampa’s beach scene.

Ulele

🍽️ American | ($$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 999-4952

A glass of cold ale and beer served in a pub
Beer lovers will enjoy dining at Ulele 

Ulele is located in Tampa Heights near other staple Tampa attractions like Armature Works and the Tampa Riverwalk. Ulele uses locally sourced ingredients to prepare signature dishes like Lobster Rolls and Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. 

This is also a top-notch spot for craft beer lovers. Ulele serves exclusive craft beers that can only be found here! They are made at their brewery, Ulele Spring Brewery.  

With its great location, Ulele is one of my favorite spots to get a light dinner before taking a stroll down the Riverwalk.      

Datz

🍽️ American | ($$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 831-7000

A plate of sweet freshly baked monkey bread at Datz
Datz has delicious monkey bread available for order 

If you are looking to indulge in a savory and unique meal, look no further than Datz. This South Tampa restaurant has a menu filled with mouth-watering dishes like a Nashville Hot Chicken Doughnut Sandwich and a Meatball stuffed with Spaghetti. There will definitely be something you’ve never tried before. 

This Tampa restaurant has really fun energy. It’s also located in the same building as Dough, which is a bakery owned by the same restaurant group. Just like Datz, Dough has crazy baked goods and desserts. If you are in South Tampa, you have got to grab brunch at Datz then head over to Dough for a sweet treat!

Taco Dirty

🍽️ Mexican | ($$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 314-7900

A mix of brussels sprouts, buffalo fried broccoli, and fresh jalapenos with a sauce served on a disposable pack
A mix of brussels sprouts, buffalo fried broccoli, and fresh jalapenos 

Taco Dirty is a quick-service restaurant that specializes in mexi-style bowls. You’ll go down the line and pick various bases, proteins, veggies, and toppings to create a top-notch meal. If a bowl isn’t your thing, you can also create your own tacos! This is easily one of my favorite places to eat in Tampa Bay. I highly recommend trying the Fried Buffalo Avo Broccoli.  

Taco Dirty is conveniently located right off Howard Ave. Since it’s located within walking distance of the many bars on Howard, it makes it a great spot to grab a bite before a night of partying.

Daily Eats

🍽️ Diner | ($$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 868-3335

A plate of The Jersey Shore Bagel and a small bowl of fruits on the side
The Jersey Shore Bagel and a side of fruit

Daily Eats is a modern diner that serves brunch every day before 3 PM! Gone are the days of having to wait until the weekend to have your favorite brunch dishes. I normally get the Jersey Shore Bagel or the Classic French Toast. 

Daily Eats has a daily happy hour from 3 PM – 6 PM. It’s a great time to come out, grab a drink, and snack on something from their ‘brinner’ menu. 

Bern’s Steak House

🍽️ Steak House | ($$$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 251-2421

View of the iconic signage of Bern's Steak House outside
Iconic Bern’s sign

Bern’s Steak House is an upscale restaurant that is highly regarded for its outstanding food, wine cellar, and a dessert room. Bern’s has a reputation as one of the best restaurants in Tampa Bay, and that’s for good reason. The menu consists of high-quality cuts of steak like Japanese Wagyu Filet Mignon and a 100-Day Dry-Aged Delmonico. The wine list is also spectacular!

What really sets Bern’s apart from other fine dining establishments is the experience. In addition to the upscale atmosphere and delightful food, guests are able to tour the wine cellar and dessert room. Many guests say that the tours are their favorite part of their experience at Bern’s! 

Eating here is a special occasion in itself. So, if you aren’t able to come for an entire meal, you are still able to come out and tour the dessert room and have a dessert. 

👉 Pro Tip: Make your reservation ahead of time! This is among the most famous restaurants in Tampa, so reservations here can get booked up months in advance. 

Naked Farmer

🍽️ New American | ($$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 608-0329

The Naked Farmer is a farm-to-table restaurant that serves meals created from locally sourced ingredients. Since their available ingredients are based on the local season, the menu changes as vegetables and other ingredients come in and out of season!

The food is nutritious and downright tasty. If you want to get a meal and know exactly where it was sourced from, I recommend coming down to Downtown Tampa to give Naked Farmer a try.

Ocean Prime

🍽️ Seafood | ($$$$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 490-5288

A plate of stake fillet topped with shrimp and a piece of garlic bread on the side
Surf n’ Turf 

Ocean Prime serves fresh seafood in its various upscale dining rooms. (These all also serve as great venues to rent when you need a private room for large dinner parties or gatherings.) 

Sit at the wine bar and enjoy a drink and an appetizer or reserve a table and enjoy a seafood meal that will be sure to have something that will leave you pleasantly surprised. 

Bayshore Mediterranean Grille

🍽️ Mediterranean | ($$) | Website | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (813) 805-6444

A lamb kebab, yellow rice, and vegetables served on a rectangle plate
Lamb kebab 

If you’re in need of some authentic Turkish food, my top pick would be Bayshore Mediterranean Grille. You’ll find their menu jam-packed with delicious grilled meats, kebabs, and other savory items. 

They have a beautiful patio that makes it one of the best Tampa restaurants where you’re able to get fresh air as you snack on Baked Hummus and Falafel. 

🍴 Read Next: 25 Best Restaurants in Orlando

FAQs About the Best Restaurants in Tampa

What are the nicest restaurants in Tampa? 

As a large metropolitan city, Tampa has many upscale restaurants that provide a great dining experience. Bern’s Steak House is an especially nice steak house. Ocean Prime and The Capital Grille are both excellent restaurants where you can get fresh seafood.

Does Tampa have good food?

Tampa is a city with many fantastic restaurants that serve food of all different cuisines and varieties. Tampa has restaurants that are upscale and others that are more affordable. For both price ranges, Tampa has restaurants that serve great food.

What food is Tampa known for?

Tampa sits on Tampa Bay and is subsequently known for its fresh seafood. There are many fantastic seafood restaurants like Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill. Ybor City, a historical Tampa neighborhood, is also known for the Cuban Sandwich. There are many restaurants and sandwich shops throughout Tampa that serve delicious Cuban Sandwiches.

***

Those are my top picks for the best restaurants in Tampa! Did you see any that you want to try? What other Tampa restaurants do you love? Scroll down and let me know in the comments. Or keep planning your trip with all our Florida guides.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate (you can leave feedback after clicking submit)

Help us help you travel better!

Your feedback really helps ...

What did you like about this post? Or how can we improve it to help you travel better?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.