Must Try Tampa Restaurants

It’s no secret Tampa is an eclectic city full of unique and tasty restaurants. In between exploring the historic streets of Ybor city, strolling alongside the Hillsborough River downtown, and enjoying the fantastic art and history museums, check out some of these must-try restaurants in Tampa.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but these are some of my personal favorites in Tampa!

1. The Columbia

This is one of the most iconic restaurants in Tampa. Founded in 1905 by Cuban immigrants, the Columbia is known as the oldest restaurant in the state of Florida. While the restaurant has grown and now has seven Florida locations, the Columbia still remains in the same family and the original location in Ybor City still stands. It encompasses a whole city block and over 52,000 square feet. Definitely take a moment to look at the beautiful architecture both inside and out. We’ve never had something here we don’t like, but the tableside Sangria and 1905 salad are some of their famous menu items!

2. The Bricks

The Bricks is a trendy and eclectic restaurant that serves a unique menu. From tacos to rice bowls to cocktails, The Bricks is a great place for a special occasion dinner or just a quick bite and drink. In the heart of Ybor City, the restaurant is surrounded by history and nightlife.

3. Oxford Exchange

The Oxford Exchange is an iconic brunch restaurant in downtown Tampa. The huge historic building features several different areas including a curated shop and bookstore, an outdoor conservatory, and coffee and tea bars. The food is fantastic and they have a wide variety of coffee (from Buddy Brew Coffee — see #10 on this list!), teas and cocktails to compliment your meal. Make sure to make a reservation for weekend brunch or lunch — it gets busy!

4. Datz

Datz restaurant in South Tampa is an eclectic gastropub filled with modern comfort food, craft beers and cocktails. With an extensive menu and seasonal offerings, there’s something for everyone at Datz. Make sure to stop by their sister bakery, Dough, next door for whimsical and delicious donuts, cookies and cakes. They also just opened a new location in downtown St. Petersburg. We’ve gone for breakfast, dinner, and drinks, and we’ve always loved everything!

5. Eddie and Sam’s N.Y. Pizza

If you’re craving a slice of authentic New York pizza, stop by Eddie and Sam’s in downtown Tampa. Get your favorite pizza by the slice, or create your own gigantic pizza with whatever toppings you like. They also have a 24-flavor gelato bar for anybody with a sweet tooth! This is one of our favorite late-night stops after a busy evening downtown.

6. Acropolis Greek Taverna

If you like Greek food and culture, Acropolis is the place for you. They serve just about every authentic Greek dish, drink and dessert you can think of. Everything we’ve ever tried from Acropolis has been delicious, from the complimentary feta dip and pita to souvlaki to baklava. With six locations around the Tampa Bay area, Acropolis is a must-try for a special occasion or just a fun lunch!

7. Koizi Endless Hibachi and Sushi

Endless sushi — need we say more? If you’re a lover of Japanese cuisine, you must try Koizi. For around $15 for lunch and $20 for dinner per person you get unlimited rolls, sashimi, hibachi, soup, salad and Japanese entrees. It’s a fantastic deal when you’re craving sushi. The menu selection is very expansive and offers something for every palette. The wait can get quite long on weekends — try to go as early as possible to avoid a 1+ hour wait. You may also choose to sit at a regular or hibachi table in the restaurant which makes for an exciting show while you eat!

8. Armature Works

Armature Works is a food hall with several different restaurants inside, and we couldn’t pick just one to feature. It’s a great place to hang out with friends, and counter service allows everyone to enjoy whatever type of cuisine they like. From pizza to barbecue to pho, Armature Works has a bit of everything. They also have a newish rooftop bar with amazing views of the city and Hillsborough River. We love the sushi burritos!

9. The Hall on Franklin

While on the subject of food halls, The Hall on Franklin is another Tampa option. Smaller than Armature Works, at this hall you’ll be seated and have a server. Then you’re free to peruse the various menus and order whatever you like. We love this concept because you can enjoy foods from several different cuisines and the bar without leaving your seat.

10. Buddy Brew Coffee

If you’re looking for a delicious cup of coffee, look no further than Buddy Brew. With locations from Tampa to Sarasota, you’re sure to see them somewhere during your visit to the Tampa Bay area. Grab a cup of fresh craft coffee, tea or juice or snack on sandwiches and homemade pastries. And yes, they make lattes with the gorgeous swirly designs on top!

11. Whiskey Joe’s

We love that Whiskey Joes is a beachy hangout right on the bay. Enjoy cocktails and apps outside by the water with your toes in the sand, or enjoy a full meal inside. They also have live music in the evenings.

12. Icesmile

This ice cream shop specializes in Thai-style rolled ice cream. They have a huge amount of flavors, mixins, and toppings for a ‘gram-worthy treat!

*Please note I am updating this post all the time to reflect newfound favorites and add photos and details! Last updated December 2020.

4 thoughts on “Must Try Tampa Restaurants”

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