The first time I visited Tampa, I was shocked at the number of places to eat and the range of food. But let me tell you, Tampa restaurants are up there with the best.
Tampa is a city for foodies and features cuisine from all over the world. One thing you will notice is the Cuban influence, and the Cuban sandwich is the city’s most famous meal. That’s all down to the cigar industry, which attracted Cuban workers in the 1800s.
Of course, we’re talking about a large city here. It’s easy to lose your way and perhaps miss something recommended. Knowing the best restaurants in Tampa to visit beforehand gives you a much better chance of trying everything on offer.
15 Best Restaurants in Tampa
Having visited and munched my way around this city several times, I want to help you find the best places to eat in Tampa. This list features my favorite restaurants based on the food, quality of service, location, and customer reviews. By the end of this, I expect you to be very hungry and raring to go!
1. Columbia Restaurant (Best Restaurant in Tampa Overall)
If you’re wondering where to eat in Tampa to get a real flavor of the city, it has to be the Columbia Restaurant. This family-run eatery has been open since 1905, making it Florida’s oldest restaurant. It’s also home to the iconic Cuban sandwich; if you only eat one thing in Tampa, make it this.
There are many traditional restaurants in Tampa that claim to serve this dish, but Columbia is the number one spot amongst locals. There are several branches, but in my opinion, Ybor City has the best and most authentic one. It also has that feel of history all around you, which you simply can’t beat.
The Cuban sandwich isn’t the only thing on the menu; I went back several times for both lunch and dinner and was never disappointed. Their paella is divine, along with roast pork “a la Cubana.” This spot is a must-visit.
Columbia Restaurant Information
Address: 2117 E. 7th Ave, Tampa, Florida, 33605. Click here for directions. Phone: +1 (813) 248-4961Operating Hours: Mon-Thurs & Sun: 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat: 11am-10pmMust-Try Meals: Cuban sandwich, paella, roast pork Average Cost: $10-15 per starter, $20-50 per main, $6-15 for desserts Website: columbiarestaurant.com
2. Azure at EDITION (best for views)
The best food in Tampa is dotted all around the city and not in one specific place, but Downtown certainly has its fair share of top restaurants. Azure is one of them, and it’s also one of the best rooftop bars in Tampa.
Located on the roof of the Tampa EDITION Hotel, this is a place ideal for chilling out in sophisticated surroundings. You will need to book a table ahead of time to avoid disappointment, and it’s certainly a place for your best clothes.
For me, this is the best restaurant in Tampa with a view and offers some seriously delicious fine dining options; after all, it does have a Michelin star. Food is Mediterranean-focused, with Greek dishes dominating the menu, along with the freshest seafood imaginable.
Azure at EDITION Information
Address: 500 Channelside Dr., Tampa, Florida, 33602. Click here for directions. Phone: +1 (813) 771-8022Operating Hours: Mon-Thurs & Sun: 11am-11pm, Fri-Sat: 11am-2amMust-Try Meals: Marinated filet mignon kebab, Colorado lamb chops, shrimp saganaki Average Cost: $20-60 per starter, $60-150 per main, $10-16 for dessertsWebsite: editionhotels.com
3. River’s Edge (best for location)
River’s Edge is a great spot for fine dining in Tampa with a great view and a central location. Located right on the edge of the Hillsborough River in Channelside, you can easily sit here and watch the world go by. I also found it to be extremely high quality in terms of service and the food was delicious.
The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but it also serves as a great cocktail bar in the evening. If you love seafood, this is a great spot for you, but the gourmet burgers were definitely my favorite. In terms of nice restaurants in Tampa with high-quality food without too much fuss, I rank this spot highly.
The evening menu is quite limited, but there is something there for most people, including vegetarians. However, vegans will struggle at this restaurant.
River’s Edge Information
Address: Hotel Tampa Riverwalk, 200 North Ashley Drive, Tampa, Florida 33602. Click here for directions. Phone: +1 (813) 223 2222Operating Hours: Mon-Sun: 7am-12amMust-Try Meals: Buttermilk pancakes, shrimp flatbread, fresh catch of the day Average Cost: $10-14 per starter, $15-30 per main, $5 for desserts Website: hoteltampariverwalk.com
4. Elevage SoHo Kitchen & Bar (best for breakfast)
Elevage SoHo Kitchen & Bar is one of the top restaurants in Tampa, and I love the breakfast menu here. The restaurant won a Michelin star in 2022, and it’s a favorite amongst locals and visitors alike. This is also a great spot for vegans, as there is a large portion of their menu dedicated to vegan food.
The ambiance in this restaurant is quite laid-back despite the high quality of food on offer. I thought the service was great and our meals arrived very quickly. The smoked salmon toast was my favorite item on the breakfast menu, but the lunch and dinner menus are just as tasty.
For the best breakfast in Tampa, definitely head to this restaurant. I have visited several times and will always go back for more.
Elevage SoHo Kitchen & Bar Information
Address: 1207 S Howard Ave, Tampa, Florida 33606. Click here for directions. Phone: +1 (813) 999-8726Operating Hours: Mon-Sun 7am-11pmMust-Try Meals: Smoked salmon toast, eggs Benedict, truffle friesAverage Cost: $13-18 per starter, $20-50 per main, $7 for desserts Website: epicureanhotel.com
5. Gaspar’s Grotto (best for outdoor dining)
Many Tampa restaurants have outdoor areas, but this particular restaurant excels. It’s one of the best outdoor restaurants in Tampa hands down, and it goes one further: it’s pirate-themed, designed to celebrate Tampa’s past.
The vibe here is laid-back and comfortable, yet you might even learn something during your visit. As for the food, it’s truly delicious. I tried the pork Havana, and it still makes my mouth water now.
The menu isn’t huge, but everything on there is done to perfection. Prices are also very reasonable, and I found the service to be high quality too. It’s the ideal place to soak up the Tampa sun or enjoy a warm evening with wonderful food.
Gaspar’s Grotto Information
Address: 1805 E 7th Ave, Tampa, Florida 33605. Click here for directions. Phone: +1 (813) 248-5900Operating Hours: Mon-Sat: 7am-2pm, Sun: 11am-2am. Must-Try Meals: Pork Havana, mahi mahi fish spread, crab and shrimp quesadillas Average Cost: $8-13 per starter, $13-18 per main, $5 for desserts Website: gasparsgrotto.com
6. Oxford Exchange (best for relaxed dining)
Oxford Exchange is one of my favorite Tampa restaurants, but it’s not just about food: this place is also a bookstore, champagne bar, and coffee shop. It’s one of the best places to chill out and enjoy good food without a huge price tag.
I always enjoy sitting outside in the garden, and there is a fountain right in the middle to add to the ambiance. The coffee is wonderful, and I think it serves the best pub food in Tampa, without the noise. They even do a traditional afternoon tea menu in the afternoons.
This restaurant is also a local favorite, and you’ll find people milling the day away with a coffee or enjoying brunch. That’s always a good sign of quality.
Oxford Exchange Information
Address: 420 West Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, Florida 33606. Click here for directions. Phone: +1 (813) 253-0222Operating Hours: Mon-Fri: 7.30am-5.30pm, Sat-Sun: 9am-5.30pmMust-Try Meals: Afternoon tea, fried chicken sandwich, fish tacos Average Cost: $8-12 per starter, $15-45 per main, $6 for desserts Website: oxfordexchange.com
7. Rooster & The Till (best for small plates)
There are a lot of Tampa downtown restaurants, but I always find the picks in Seminole Heights slightly better. That’s definitely the case with this restaurant. If you’re keen to try something new, but you’re not feeling inspired, this menu will do it. Here you can try small plates, almost tapas-style, or you can opt for the six-course tasting menu.
Your table will certainly be full but so will your stomach at the end of the evening. The wine and drinks menu is really extensive, and I spent a full evening here with a friend. We grazed on small dishes, and I even tried pierogi for the first time — highly recommended.
This is a great choice for groups too, as you can share large amounts of food and not have to choose anything specific.
Rooster & The Till Information
Address: 6500 N Florida Ave, Tampa, Florida 33604. Click here for directions. Phone: +1 (813) 374-8940Operating Hours: Weds-Sat: 9am-5pm. Closed Sun-Tues. Must-Try Meals: Pierogi, gnocchi, tuna crudo Average Cost: $10-15 per starter, $20-75 per main, $6-15 for desserts Website: roosterandthetill.com
8. Bern’s Steak House (best for steak)
I love a good steak but I often find myself disappointed; that wasn’t the case at Bern’s Steak House. I think this is one of the best restaurants in Tampa downtown, not because the menu is huge, but because everything on it is done to perfection.
This is an extremely popular place, so it’s a good idea to reserve a table a day or two before you plan to go. The decor isn’t like a regular steak house; it’s opulent and reminds me of an old mansion. Despite that, the atmosphere is cozy and comfortable.
This restaurant is also famous for its huge wine collection. The service was fantastic; the staff helped with wine and meal pairings, and nothing was too much trouble.
Bern’s Steak House Information
Address: 1208 S Howard Ave, Tampa, Florida 33606. Click here for directions. Phone: +1 (813) 251-2421Operating Hours: Tues-Thurs & Sun: 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat: 5pm-11pm, Mon: Closed.Must-Try Meals: Chateaubriand, dry-aged strip, cast iron pork chop Average Cost: $17-29 per starter, $22-200 per main, $10-20 for desserts Website: bernssteakhouse.com
9. Edison Food & Drink Lab (best for seafood)
The great thing about this restaurant is that no matter how many times you go back, the menu is always different. The chefs pride themselves on rotating dishes and making the most of seasonal produce, giving you a new experience every time. I’ve been to this spot a few times, and I think it’s one of the most romantic restaurants in Tampa.
The atmosphere is calm and sophisticated, ideal for a meal for two. It’s also ideal for seafood lovers, so if you’re a fan of the freshest catch out there, this will tick the boxes for you. They even do a five-course tasting menu if you’re not sure what you want. As far as fine dining in Tampa goes, this definitely makes the shortlist.
Edison Food & Drink Lab Information
Address: 912 West Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, Florida 33602. Click here for directions. Phone: +1 (813) 254-7111Operating Hours: Mon-Thurs: 4pm-9pm, Fri: 4-10pm, Sat: 5-1pm, Sun: 5-9pmMust-Try Meals: Crab molten cornbread, coconut gnocchi, seared American red snapper Average Cost: $12-30 per starter, $25-48 per main, $10-12 for desserts Website: edison-tampa.com
10. Los Chapo’s Tacos (best for tacos and street food)
Hands down, this is the best street food in Tampa in my opinion. They even have board games for you to play while you wait for your food to be cooked, and the whole vibe is calm, relaxed, and very welcoming. You can either sit inside or outside, but either way, it’s such a fun environment.
Many Tampa restaurants serve tacos, but I think these are the tastiest and certainly the biggest. They have a large children’s menu so this is a great place for families to grab a bite to eat, and the prices are also very reasonable.
The carne asada was my favorite taco, but I certainly enjoyed the chorizo ones too. If tacos aren’t your thing, they also do burritos and quesadillas too. And to finish it all off, definitely have the famous churros.
Los Chapo’s Tacos Information
Address: 951 E 7th Ave, Tampa, Florida 33605. Click here for directions. Phone: +1 (813) 227-8999Operating Hours: Mon-Thurs: 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat: 11am-11pm, Sun: Closed. Must-Try Meals: Churros, carne asada tacos, Tinga de pollo burrito bowl Average Cost: $3-$7 per starter, $9-15 per main, $6 for desserts Website: loschapostacos.com
11. Yeoman’s Cask & Lion (best for brunch)
Yeoman’s Cask & Lion is home to the best brunch in Tampa in my opinion, and it’s also a fantastic spot if you want to catch some European sport on the TV. This restaurant is British-themed and serves all the regular British food you can think of. It’s also a really vibrant place to spend your time.
Open since the 1980s, this is one of the Tampa restaurants that has become a real mainstay, and it’s not only tourists who frequent often. Despite the British feel, you can still find traditional American dishes, and the drinks menu is truly international.
If you’re traveling from the UK and you’re missing home, definitely head here. If not, still go anyway for a fun few hours in a pub-style establishment.
Yeoman’s Cask & Lion Information
Address: 202 N Morgan St., Tampa, Florida 33602. Click here for directions. Phone: +1 (813) 224-9367Operating Hours: Mon-Weds & Sun: 11am-11pm, Thurs-Sat: 11am-1amMust-Try Meals: Royal pretzel rolls, seafood & lobster Mac, English breakfast Average Cost: $5-10 per starter, $14-20 per main, $5 for desserts Website: yeomanstopgolfswingsuite.com
12. The Hungry Greek (best for Mediterranean food)
The Hungry Greek is a great choice if you’re in a hurry and you want something fresh and delicious. Made with seasonal local produce, this is the best lunch in Tampa if you really don’t want to wait around. I grabbed more than one gyro during my last visit.
This is a family-run restaurant with Greek heritage, and recipes have been passed down through generations. That’s when you know you’re getting quality. As far as the restaurant itself goes, it’s a pretty basic set-up, but the food more than makes up for the lack of a vibrant atmosphere.
The Hungry Greek falls just short of being called a street food vendor, but it does have that type of feel. Prices are low, and food is quick and easy to eat. It’s definitely a great spot for a busy sightseeing day.
The Hungry Greek Information
Address: 808 N Franklin St., Tampa, Florida 33602. Click here for directions. Phone: +1 (813) 443-2251Operating Hours: Mon-Sun: 11am-8pmMust-Try Meals: gyro, falafel, chicken souvlaki Average Cost: $4-9 per starter, $7-15 per main, $4 for dessertsWebsite: thehungrygreek.com
13. American Social (best for groups)
I visited this restaurant with a group of friends, and we had the best evening. This is a great restaurant in Tampa with a sea view and the waterfront ambiance really adds to the calm vibe. Of course, the food and drinks on offer are also fantastic.
The sharable plates are a great idea if there are several of you and you want to pick different things. The choice is also really large so you can create a bespoke meal and try something new. Alternatively, the regular menu is large, with steaks, chicken dishes, and huge burgers on offer.
American Social has a sports bar feel to it, but it’s slightly more upmarket. It’s the ideal place to sit and talk until late into the evening.
American Social Information
Address: 601 S Harbour Island Blvd, No. 107, Tampa, Florida 33602. Click here for directions. Phone: +1 (813) 605-3333Operating Hours: Mon-Weds: 11.30am-12am, Thurs: 11.30am-1am, Fri: 11.30am-2amMust-Try Meals: Crispy truffleshroom burger, steak frites, Nashville hot chicken sandwich Average Cost: $5-9 per starter, $15-30 per main, $5 for desserts Website: americansocialbar.com
14. Ulele (best for romantic evenings)
Located in Seminole Heights, Ulele is the ideal choice for a romantic meal for two. It’s centrally located, close to Channelside and Downtown.
Ulele has the best patio in Tampa, so you can enjoy warm evenings with a chilled-out atmosphere. This is also one of the most popular restaurants in the city, so it’s a good idea to reserve a table ahead of time.
Everything on the menu is designed to reflect Florida’s heritage and culture, with locally sourced ingredients at the heart of everything. Open for both lunch and dinner, the menu is heavy on seafood and ingredients sourced from the local waterways, but even the pickiest of eaters will find something here.
Address: 1810 North Highland Ave, Tampa, Florida 33602. Click here for directions. Phone: +1 (813) 999-4952Operating Hours: Mon-Thurs & Sun: 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat: 11am-11pm Must-Try Meals: Alligator hush puppies, tocobaga tuna, charbroiled oystersAverage Cost: $5-9 per starter, $15-50 per main, $7 for desserts Website: ulele.com
15. Timpano Hyde Park (best for Italian food)
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the best Italian food in Tampa. There are many Italian eateries in the city, but I think this offers the tastiest treats and the largest menu.
The atmosphere is cozy and welcoming, just like a family-style Italian restaurant you might imagine. However, later in the evening, the restaurant turns into a cocktail bar and the vibe is energetic and fun. The location is also really central, so it’s easy to get back to your hotel.
You’ll find all your Italian favorites on the menu, including a few with a modern twist. I particularly enjoyed the Florida tomato panzanella, and the oysters were some of the best I’ve ever tasted. If you enjoy Italian fare, make a point to visit this restaurant.
Timpano Hyde Park Information
Address: 1610 W Swann Ave., Tampa, Florida 33606. Click here for directions. Phone: +1 (813) 254-5870Operating Hours: Mon-Weds: 11am-10pm, Thurs-Fri: 11am-11pm, Sat: 10am-11pm, Sun: 10am-10pmMust-Try Meals: Burrata, oysters, Florida tomato panzanella Average Cost: $5-10 per starter, $15-25 per main, $6 for desserts Website: timpanohydepark.com
Must-Try Meals in Tampa
Like anywhere in the world, there are certain dishes that are synonymous with Tampa. To say you’ve really experienced everything this amazing city has to offer, add these meals to your list.
If you’re looking for cheap eats in Tampa, you should certainly try the famous Cuban sandwich. This is the most famous meal in the entire city, and it dates back to the Cuban cigar industry workers in the 1800s. Imagine meats, pickles, and Swiss cheese pressed between fresh bread—delicious.
You might not imagine a crab as street food, but this is a must-try. Here, crab meat is mixed with spices and crushed into a ball, before being encased in breadcrumbs. All of this is deep fried, and that gives you one of Tampa’s most famous dishes.
Spanish Bean Soup
Many Tampa restaurants serve Spanish bean soup, and you must try it. This is another dish that originated in Ybor City along with the Cuban sandwich, and it’s a hearty stew of beans, meat, and vegetables. It will definitely fill you up for a good few hours.
Guava Cheese Pastry
Guava, cheese, and pastry might not seem like a natural combination but don’t push the idea away until you’ve tried it. It’s the ideal blend of sweet and savory, and you’ll find it all over Tampa. You might see different variations, but stick to the original for the best experience.
Food Tours in Tampa
One of the best ways to learn more about the cuisine of a specific place is to go on a food tour. I try to do this wherever I visit, and because Tampa has such a rich culinary history, especially in Ybor City, a tour will give you all the right information. Here are a few for you to consider.
Taste of Downtown Tampa Culinary Walking Tour With Guide
This walking food tour is extremely popular, and it takes you through four of Tampa’s best restaurants and street food spots. You’ll also get to see some of the best sights along the way, such as Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, with the help of a knowledgeable guide. Click here for more details.
Historic Ybor City Food Walking Tour
Some of the most historic Tampa restaurants are in Ybor City, and this is the heart of the cigar industry. This historic food walking tour is one of the most popular around, and it’s a good idea to book ahead of time. It also includes a visit to Columbia Restaurant, where you’ll get to try that famous Cuban sandwich. Click here for more details.
Tampa Food & Drink Tour Hop On & Off
This hop-on-and-off tour gives you the freedom to explore the best local restaurants in Tampa. You’ll be taken around nine areas, including a brewery. The beauty of this tour is that you can plan where you want to go on your own steam, so a little pre-planning is required. Click here for more details.
Tampa Restaurants: FAQs
Tampa is packed with amazing restaurants, but some of the best include Columbia Restaurant, Ulele, and Azure at EDITION.
Dinner service usually starts around 5pm in most restaurants and lasts up to 10pm.
Lunch service is usually between 11am and 3pm in most Tampa restaurants.
Breakfast service often runs from 7.30am until 10am in restaurants around the Tampa area.
Yes, it’s good practice to tip if you enjoyed the service you received. A good rule of thumb is to tip 20% of the bill total.
Whether you’re looking for the best vegan restaurant in Tampa or international fare, Downtown and Channelside have the largest selection. However, Seminole Heights is also a hotspot for great food.
Yeoman’s Cask & Lion and American Social are two of the best pub-style eateries in Tampa.
Azure at EDITION has an amazing view, however American Social has a wonderful waterside view too.
Columbia restaurant serves the famous Cuban sandwich, arguably Tampa’s most famous dish. It’s also the best cheap restaurant in Tampa if you look at their lunch menu.
Tampa has several vibrant neighborhoods, but Downtown, Channelside, and Ybor City are busy areas to check out.
There are several Michelin-star restaurants in Tampa.
Whether you’re looking for the best vegetarian restaurant in Tampa, Italian food, Mediterranean fare, pub grub, or street food, you’ll quickly find that Tampa has a huge range. This is definitely a foodie city.
Tampa is a foodie paradise. This is a city where you could easily eat your way around and never get bored, visiting restaurant to restaurant and burning off the calories. But if you try one thing only, make it the famous Cuban sandwich.
With so many Tampa restaurants and delicious dishes to try, it’s a good idea to do some research before you go. However, I’ve also discovered some amazing hidden gems simply by walking around and picking an eatery at random, many of which appear on this list. The only question is, which will you try first?