My Top Four Restaurants for Dining in Tampa

tampa restaurant oxford

What city comes to mind when you think of great food? Some people might think Southern food in New Orleans, others might think of eating Cuban food in Miami. I have taken it on as my sacred duty to make you associate Tampa with good food.

sweet potato restaurant tampa

A lot of people argue that it isn’t really a restaurant, but if you’ve ever eaten at the Oxford Exchange then you’ll know how great the food is. Try to plan on being near the University of Tampa in Tampa if you plan on eating here as well. I’d recommend walking along the waterfront as you eat, but it’s honestly a joy to eat inside of this restaurant. Technically, I guess it could be classified as a bookstore/social gathering place for book groups to get together.

But that doesn’t stop them from having a great selection on the menu. On top of that, the prices are great as well! My favorite dish at the Oxford Exchange is their grilled banana nut muffin. Sounds weird, but tastes pretty great. With a large volume of people coming and going every day, you would think that the tables would get a lot dirtier throughout the day. Somehow, the waiters stay on top of all the customers and manage to keep everything looking clean. When you’re thinking of great food, great coffee, and a quiet place to read your book, think of the Oxford Exchange.

Sounds pretty scholarly, but don’t let that drive you away. Once you’re inside, the art and ambience are enough to keep you inside. There are windows everywhere, so the restaurant has great lighting. Friendly waiters really help the experience. I can’t stand it when the waiters avoid making eye contact with you and you need help with something. While you wait food, do what I did and read through all the positive reviews on google. If you look hard enough, maybe you’ll even find mine in there?

egg food restaurant tampa

It’s been quite a while since I wrote about a good gastropub, but that’s only because there were so many good ones that I had a difficult time picking my favorite. I came to the conclusion that Datz is superior to all others in every aspect, even if only by a little bit. This time around, you’ll be eating by Palma Ceia in Tampa. Take your food to go, and you can tour the beach while you eat. Make sure you order the monkey bread.

It’s to die for. Even while you eat, the interior aesthetic is really great. I always appreciate when a place has good decor on the inside. It shows you how much that place cares about your experience, as opposed to just trying to feed you and get you out as soon as possible. Being treated and pampered, in a sense, doesn’t have to be exclusive to eating at expensive restaurants. Speaking of expensive, that’s one adjective that doesn’t describe Datz.

Their prices are very affordable and balanced, which is a welcome change for someone who eats out almost. I ordered and entree and dessert, and still managed to pay less than a lot of places charge for an entree alone! The great reviews for this place were not lying when people commented on how good this restaurant’s food is. If you’re looking for a gastropub in Tampa, try Datz.

steak restaurant tampa

For those who prefer a real meal for real men, check out Bern’s Steak House. Not only are the steaks great, but they’re also very filling. No French proportions here. One of my favorite parts of eating at this restaurant is the complementary tour of their wine cellar. A lot of places might try to hide their selection in case it’s lacking anything, but not Bern’s Steak House. You’ll be eating in Hyde Park in Tampa this time around, which is already a beautiful area of Tampa to be in.

Bern’s Steak House deserves extra praise for managing to keep their parking area open and easy to navigate. Places like this can be packed during the week, especially whenever I eat there, but I’ve always been able to find parking. Don’t think that you’ll only find steaks here, even though the restaurant’s title literally says that it is a steakhouse. Bern’s serves a wide variety of food from onion soup to caesar salad. You may think you have been to a high end restaurant, but Bern’s Steak House exceeds expectations.

The waiters actually wear suits, and they manage to keep them clean even while serving food all day. I only had one minor issue with my food, but the owner came out and cleared it up right away. He was very helpful, which improved my experience. There are over a thousand good reviews for Bern’s (check it out if you don’t believe me), so don’t be afraid to let them know your thoughts after your meal.

taco restaurant tampa

Last but not least, you can always eat at Lolis Mexican Cravings if you’re in the mood for mexican. However, if that’s the only prerequisite, then you’ll probably be eating there a lot more often afterwards, because their food is GOOD. I’m always in the mood for tacos now. I love how fresh and unique their tacos are. This time around, you’ll be looking just east of Twelve Oaks in Tampa.

You might not think that there’s much you can do with a taco, but Lolis Mexican Cravings gets every part of the taco right. I asked the owner for a tour the kitchen because I was curious just how fresh their ingredients are, and I was not let down. With a place that’s constantly deep frying their food, you know their exhaust good is gonna be full of grease (benefits of working for a hood cleaner for many years).

I’ll have to get a hold of their Tampa hood cleaning business, because whoever it was did an amazing job. Grease fires are extremely dangerous, and a lot of chefs don’t really think about them. If you’re tired of eating tacos from food trucks and you’re looking for a great meal, drop by Lolis Mexican Cravings. Don’t forget to leave your review in the giant list of positive reviews.