The 10 Best Restaurants in Tampa

Tampa, Florida—a city where the sun shines and the flavors shine even brighter. This culinary hotspot offers a diverse mix of historic charm and modern flavors. From top-tier steakhouses to innovative bistros, Tampa’s dining scene promises unforgettable experiences for every palate.

Whether you’re after a perfectly aged steak or fresh seafood, here are ten unmissable Tampa restaurants that are sure to delight.

Columbia Restaurant

Since its opening in 1905, Columbia Restaurant has become Florida’s oldest restaurant, offering a rich mix of Spanish and Cuban flavors perfected over a century. The restaurant’s interior is a feast for the eyes, featuring hand-painted tiles and antique furniture. Favorites like the 1905 Salad and seafood paella are must-tries, and the live Flamenco shows (except on Sundays) enhance the cultural experience.

Every meal at Columbia Restaurant offers a taste of history in its authentic setting. Spread across an entire city block with 15 distinct dining rooms, each visit offers something new. Here, it’s not only about savoring the meals that have been handed down through generations but also about enjoying an evening filled with cultural heritage and memorable Flamenco performances. Dining here promises both a culinary adventure and an unforgettable night.

Bern’s Steak House

Bern’s Steak House is a staple of Tampa’s dining scene, renowned for its lavish attention to detail and quality. Famous for its expertly aged steaks and a celebrated wine list, Bern’s ensures every meal is a masterpiece. The dining experience goes beyond the food, featuring a tour of the world’s largest wine collection and a visit to the renowned Harry Waugh Dessert Room.

A meal at Bern’s is truly an event, with each steak carefully selected and accompanied by a variety of sides that turn dining into a feast. The restaurant’s luxurious decor, featuring red velvet walls and softly lit chandeliers, creates the perfect backdrop for an evening of culinary excellence. At Bern’s, you’re not just having a meal; you’re partaking in a grand celebration of the finer aspects of life.

Ulele

Ulele stands out as a culinary gem along the vibrant Tampa Riverwalk, offering a creative take on Florida’s indigenous flavors. The restaurant’s signature barbacoa grill infuses a distinctive smoky flavor into a variety of dishes, from chargrilled oysters to alligator hush puppies. The menu not only celebrates local ingredients but also presents them in visually stunning arrangements that delight the senses.

The ambiance at Ulele enhances the dining experience, set within a beautifully renovated city waterworks building that blends rustic and industrial chic decor. Whether choosing to dine on the scenic patio or the rooftop lounge, guests are treated to spectacular views of the Hillsborough River, making each visit to Ulele a memorable feast for both the palate and the eyes.

Rooster & the Till

Rooster & the Till, nestled in Tampa’s trendy Seminole Heights, is at the forefront of the city’s avant-garde food scene. This small, chef-driven bistro continually surprises diners with its creative, seasonally rotating dishes that spotlight local and fresh ingredients. Its modern American cuisine has not only drawn local acclaim but also earned a place on the prestigious Michelin Bib Gourmand list.

The restaurant’s lively and intimate setting is ideal for those seeking a culinary adventure. With an open kitchen, guests can observe as chefs meticulously prepare dishes like charred cauliflower and citrus-glazed pork belly. Rooster & the Till offers a dynamic dining experience that turns each meal into a vibrant conversation starter, inviting diners to connect with their food in a meaningful way.

Edison Food + Drink Lab

Edison Food + Drink Lab in Tampa isn’t just a restaurant; it’s a culinary playground where innovation meets flavor. Led by Chef Jeannie Pierola, a four-time James Beard Award semifinalist, the menu at Edison is a constantly changing tableau of creativity that fuses science with culinary arts. Dishes like jalapeño Cracker Jacks and a kimchee-topped fried oyster and bacon po-boy transform dining into an adventurous taste exploration.

The restaurant’s decor enhances the experimental vibe with an industrial aesthetic brightened by bursts of colorful, graphic art. At Edison, every meal is an experiment, each bite a delightful surprise, making the dining experience something to truly relish. Here, both the handcrafted cocktails and unique dishes are not just eaten but experienced and shared.

Datz – South Tampa

Datz in South Tampa is a treasure trove for those who love comfort food with a creative twist. Known for its unique and playful dishes like the Cheesy Todd—a burger with fried cheese buns—this gastropub also boasts an extensive selection of craft beers and cocktails. The atmosphere adds to the charm, featuring rustic and eclectic decor that mirrors the inventive nature of its menu.

Offering delights from breakfast through dinner, Datz serves up quirky favorites such as monster doughnuts and meatloaf stuffed with mac ‘n’ cheese. Each dish is designed to spark conversation, transforming Datz from merely a restaurant into a vibrant destination for those seeking to spice up their dining experience with a touch of whimsy.

Ocean Prime

Located in Tampa’s Westshore district, Ocean Prime is a standout destination for fine dining, specializing in superb seafood and prime steaks. The restaurant’s modern, chic ambiance perfectly complements a menu known for its culinary excellence and outstanding service. Highlights like the Seafood Tower, featuring a selection of the freshest ocean fare, and the expertly cooked blackened snapper cater to seafood enthusiasts, while steak lovers can enjoy succulent, perfectly cooked cuts.

Ocean Prime’s sophisticated decor and lively atmosphere make it a hotspot for both locals and visitors looking to indulge in the luxury dining scene of Tampa. Dining here is more than just a meal—it’s a complete experience, one that captures the luxurious essence of Tampa and makes Ocean Prime a must-visit for those who savor the finer things in life.

The Capital Grille

The Capital Grille in Tampa epitomizes the classic American steakhouse with its upscale environment and meticulously curated menu. Located near Tampa’s bustling business district, this restaurant is renowned for its exceptional dry-aged steaks, fresh seafood, and an impressive wine list. Diners might begin with indulgent lobster and crab cakes and conclude with a sumptuous slice of flourless chocolate espresso cake.

Inside, The Capital Grille exudes comfort and elegance with leather upholstery and wooden accents, crafting a warm, inviting setting. It’s a popular venue for sealing business deals over plates of bone-in ribeye or celebrating special moments with glasses of fine wine, ensuring every meal is an occasion to remember.

Armature Works

Armature Works combines history with dining in Tampa’s bustling Heights Public Market. This revitalized building, once a depot for Tampa’s streetcars, now houses a vibrant collection of eateries. With everything from Zukku’s innovative sushi to the Italian specialties at Ava, there’s a flavor for every food lover under its roof.

The space itself is a lively center of activity, serving as much more than a dining location. Armature Works is a community hub where people come together to enjoy and explore Tampa’s diverse culinary landscape. Whether you’re sampling quick bites from various food stalls or sipping craft cocktails by the water, this venue remains a pivotal part of Tampa’s food scene.

Oystercatchers

Located on the scenic shores of Tampa Bay, Oystercatchers is renowned for both its breathtaking views and its exquisite seafood. The menu showcases the best of the local catch, with standout dishes like Gulf snapper and blackened grouper, all prepared using fresh, sustainable ingredients. This commitment to quality makes every meal not only delicious but also environmentally conscious.

The restaurant’s sleek, modern design paired with expansive panoramic views offers an atmosphere that is both stylish and welcoming. It’s the perfect setting for a romantic evening or a memorable meal with family. At Oystercatchers, the close connection to the bay is also reflected in the maritime flavors that grace each plate, making it a quintessential stop for anyone eager to experience Tampa’s vibrant waterfront dining scene.

Each of these ten restaurants in Tampa offers a unique taste of the city’s diverse culinary scene. From historic spots serving traditional dishes to modern bistros with innovative menus, dining in Tampa is an experience. Dive into Tampa’s dining scene and discover why each of these places is a must-visit for a true flavor of the city.