Tampa FL residents - restaurant advice?

DH and I are going to Tampa next week for a little mini vacation. We’re taking the train from Jacksonville to Tampa, going to see The Police on Wednesday night at the St Pete Times Center and staying at the Marriot on S Florida Ave. We will be walking or taking a taxi to get around, and we want to stay in close proximity to the hotel.

Can you recommend a good restaurant? Not a chain, and not something crazy expensive. $100 or so for the two of us would be good. Where would you go for a special dinner?

And while we’re at it… are there any other don’t-miss points of interest in the immediate area?

I live outside of Tampa but haven’t been into the city in so long that I couldn’t even begin to guess about decent places to eat now.

There’s a lot of interesting places around the Ybor City section.

When we lived outside Tampa, we liked Shells. They have the best clam chowder.

Thanks for the suggestions you two… but where are Ybor City and Shells? I’m afraid we’re not all too familiar with Tampa. Previously, we’ve only been there to go to Busch Gardens. :-?

Silver, I have an incredibly cool friend who lives in Tampa and can ask her for a recommendation if you like.

The directions page from the Ybor City website.


The site contains some good information about the area.

If you like non-touristy type of places as well as fancy places go to www.chowhound.com The people who do the reviews are just like us and they have reviewed little neighborhood restaurants as well as those that are really off the beaten path all over the country.
:muah: :hug:

Nadja :knitting:

Hey Silver-

I am not from Tampa but I have a ton of family there. The last time we were their we went to a fabulous restaurant called Columbia. Here is a link to their website:


The food is Spanish - their menu is on their website. I have been to the one in Tampa and also the one in Bradenton in St. Armand Circle.

I do not know if you like Sapnish food but if you do their paella is incredible.

I’ve been to The Columbia… there’s one in St. Augustine which isn’t too far from me. Great place!

I was actually looking for suggestions of places near the hotel because we’re not going to be in Tampa for long… just overnight. Thanks for all your ideas though!

From my incredibly cool resident friend, who shall also be at the show tomorrow.

best bet is to go to the area nearby called Channelside and go to one of the restaurants in there. There are a couple of different types of food to choose from. Unfortunately, there isn’t all that much in the way of nightlife in Downtown Tampa unless you head over to Channelside or Ybor City, and with them going to the concert, Channelside is their best bet. They may even be able to hop the trolley car that runs down in that area to Channelside and back up somewhere close to the St. Pete Times Forum for the show. The concierge could probably help them a little bit more with the specifics on that.

Most of my knowledge of nice places to go for dinner are a little further, closer to where I live, though the cab ride wouldn’t be a whole lot of money (it’s not that far of a distance, plus that sort of stuff doesn’t cost as much over here).

If they have the time, and are willing to take a 15-20 minute (tops) cab ride, here are some places they might consider:

(Might not be able to get in on this short of notice, it’s the nicest-and oldest-steak house here in the area)
(The spin off of the original that isn’t as “traditional” as the original)
(My favorite little Italian place in the area. Looks very upscale, but is casual. It is very reasonably priced with good food. I’ve been told the wine list is pretty nice as well, though I don’t drink wine.)