Tampa area restaurants

So we’re going to be in the Tampa area and are looking for some restaurant recommendations. Did a search, seemed like a lot of posts were from 2019 or 2021 so not sure if Covid forced closures of any spots, or if new ones have popped up.

Visited Bern’s in 2017 and were going to return, but they’re likely going to be closed starting in early July for ‘some building work,’ their term. We’ll be there mid-July which is a bummer - daughter really liked the dessert pods.

Anyway, recommendations welcome - anything other than a sushi spot works, I love it but my wife and 12 year old won’t.

Booked Il Ritorno based on some older posts from 2020-2021.


Hi Peter
An incredible number of restaurants have opened especially in the Downtown and Mid Town areas of Tampa.

Ponte American- Chris Ponte’s new Steakhouse/American
Olivia- Chris Ponte- Modern Italian.
Rocca- homemade pasta, very good. Just got Michellin Star. Not quite there for me but solid
Oak and Ola- one of our favorite spots and founding chef is Anne Kearney. At Armature Works which is a great place to check out.
Ulele- near Oak and Ola on the water. cool spot for floridian cuisine. great bar.
Lilac- at The Edition. Haven’t been and just got * from Michellin. We enjoyed Azure their more greek themed spot at the top of the Hotel. Very pricey but solid Greek seafood
Hale’s BlackBrick- funky fusion Chinese that usually hits on most dishes. Good spot for casual dinner.

La Segunda- new location on Kennedy. good spot for cuban sandwiches, cafe con lecho and pastries.

Water Street near Sparkman’s Wharf also a great place to explore
Boulon Brasserie- classic French Bistro. Not the best version of one but a cool place
The Pearl- from Cameron Mitchell- we had some good dishes and excellent Bloody Mary
Noble Rice- More than Sushi so may work for your wife and Daughter. Very good

I’d go with the tasting menu at Il Ritorno. It’s the best food experience we’ve ever had in Tampa and there at their best especially if Chef/Owner is there. We’re doing it in a few weeks.
All of Tampa is corkage friendly if your brining wine…


I second Boulon! Just stumbled upon it with a big group of guys and we ordered lots of different things and enjoyed everything. Had some sort of savory beignet that was aces, spent hours there on the patio when the weather was nice, but mid-July is probably going to be quite warm for that.

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I like a lot of places mentioned above especially Olivia, Ulele, Oak and Ola, and Hale’s. Some like Olivia and Ulele you should make reservations earlier than later. They book pretty fast especially on weekends. I also recommend Rooster and the Till, Restaurant BT (French Vietnamese), and Cena (although I haven’t been in a while).

I like Il Ritorno but if I was staying in Tampa I wouldn’t make the trip to St. Pete for it. I don’t like it that much and there’s a lot of good restaurants much closer.

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Thanks all - much appreciated!

I’ll research the reccos, post what I booked and will follow up with impressions in a couple of months.