The Top 8 Tampa Bay Restaurants of 2021

Juliet D'cruz

Updated on:

It’s a Saturday night, and you’re trying to plan where you should go out to eat in Tampa Bay. This is no easy decision because Tampa Bay dining options are super plentiful and diverse. With all of these choices, how do you decide which restaurant to visit?

Don’t settle for the same place you always visit! Instead, refine your palate by dining at the best of the best Tampa Bay restaurants. Read on to learn all about Tampa’s culinary offerings!

  1. Best for Sushi: Sushi Ushi

If you have a hankering for sushi, then Sushi Ushi should be your destination. Sushi Ushi is located in an unassuming strip mall in the Tampa suburb, Valrico.

Sushi Ushi has a number of different sushi offerings for all kinds of diners. Grab a sushi bar entree if you’ve got a big appetite and a hunger for an array of different roles. They also have la carte sushi, including uni!

Have guests that aren’t big fans of sushi? Sushi Ushi also has a wide variety of tasty dishes sans-fish, like teriyaki chicken and udon noodles. They even have Japanese curry on the menu!

  1. Best for Vegetarians: Fresh Kitchen

Like any coastal city, Tampa has plenty of options for vegetarians and health-conscious diners. One of the best options out there is the local chain, Fresh Kitchen.

Fresh Kitchen is a create-your-own bowl fast-casual restaurant. Each bowl comes with two bases, one or two veggies, and one or two proteins. The bases include things like sweet potato noodles and cauliflower potato mash, and the proteins include tofu, steak, and chicken.

Fresh Kitchen has three locations in Tampa, one on Howard Avenue, one on West Kennedy Boulevard, and another on Hunter’s Village Road.

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  1. Best for Tacos: Green Lemon

It doesn’t have to be Tuesday for your dinner to feature one of the most delicious foods on earth. There’s no shortage of taco joints in Tampa, but Green Lemon is an absolute must-try restaurant for any taco lover!

Start your meal with one (or three) of Green Lemon’s famously tasty margaritas, and grab some chips and guac for the table. Local favorite choices include the street trio tacos and the carne asada. Are you drooling yet?

Dining with a picky group? There’s something for everyone here, including health-conscious bowls and plant-based options.

  1. Best for Steak: Bern’s Steakhouse

Want to get a little ritzy on your night out? Head to Bern’s Steak House, easily one of the best restaurants Tampa Bay has to offer. Bern’s is a family-owned restaurant that has stood the test of time. For these reasons alone, Bern’s is a must-visit restaurant.

Start with a glass of wine from Bern’s James Beard Award-winning wine selection. Bern’s has an extensive menu, including appetizers like a Maine lobster cocktail and even imported caviar. Steaks include your standard options as well as a 34-ounce tomahawk and 6-ounce Japanese wagyu filet mignon.

It should come as no surprise that Bern’s is more spendy than your average restaurant, but it’s definitely worth it for those special occasions!

  1. Best for Italian: Trattoria Pasquale

There’s Italian food and then there’s *chef’s kiss* Italian food. Trattoria Pasquale definitely falls into the latter category.

Head chef Luigi Cavallaro hails from Bolzano, Italy, and he has brought the best Italian culinary traditions to Tampa Bay. Start your meal with the luscious burrata e rucola or bruschetta alla nando. Choose between hearty pasta dishes like the house-made gnocchi for your meal, or opt for the incredible salmone alla griglia.

You’ll probably be planning your next visit as soon as you leave.

  1. Best for Seafood: Salt Shack on the Bay

No ultimate guide to Tampa Bay, Florida restaurants would be complete without a listing for the best seafood restaurant in town. As you know, Tampa is a coastal city, so the seafood scene is on point. No restaurant embraces the coastal aesthetic more than Salt Shack on the Bay.

Salt Shack is located in Rattlesnake Point, and you can reach it by both car and boat. The menu is full of Gulf Coast seafood, plucked fresh from the Gulf by skilled fishermen. The grouper is a local favorite, but you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu accompanied by cold drinks and a killer ocean view.

  1. Best for Brunch: Oxford Exchange

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Millennial food snob or a casual Gen X diner, brunch is an incredibly popular weekend activity. The best place for brunch in Tampa Bay? Oxford Exchange.

Oxford Exchange is a charming destination that includes a shop and bookstore in addition to the restaurant. The brunch menu includes traditional breakfast options like cheese grits and french toast. If you’re feeling more like lunch, grab a salad or a burger.

Other unique offerings at Oxford Exchange include a champagne bar and Sunday afternoon tea (make reservations).

  1. Best for Cuban: La Teresita

There are few places in the US where you can get an authentic Cuban meal. Thankfully, Tampa Bay is an exception to that rule.

La Teresita is owned and run by the Capdevila family, who moved to the US in 1962 in a bid to escape Fidel Castro. They opened the restaurant in 1972, and it has become a Cuban staple in the local community. 

The menu has a variety of options, including milanesa steak and arroz con pollo. Of course, you can get a killer Cuban sandwich here, too!

Give These Tampa Bay Restaurants a Try!

There are literally hundreds of Tampa Bay restaurants from which to choose on any given night. One of the best parts of having all of these options is that you get to explore culinary traditions from around the world without having to leave the city you call home. No matter which restaurant you choose from this list, you’re bound to have an amazing dining experience!

Are you interested in learning more great ways to shake up your social life? You’re in the right spot. Check out the rest of our blog for tons of great ways to make your life more exciting!

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