World-class Cuban and seafood, but don't be afraid to experience some other cuisines here in Tampa

Scott Sterling

By , Local Expert, Tampa
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It’s not out of line to expect great seafood from an area almost completely surrounded by water. From homey beach joints to chefs in Tampa experimenting with the freshest catch and everything in between, seafood would be king in Tampa Bay if it wasn’t for another major influence: Cuban food.

Even locals whose only knowledge of Spanish is “Si” have a favorite Cuban dish. It might be ropa vieja (shredded beef, usually over rice), roast pork, or paella. Whatever you choose, Cuban places are everywhere in Tampa Bay. The job of 10Best is making sure you know about the right ones.

These two cuisines have produced our most famous...  Read more »

  • 1

    Columbia Restaurant

    Local Expert Tip: "Try to get a table in the Flamenco room so you can watch the show while you dine. The show runs twice nightly except for Sundays."


  • 2

    Bern's Steak House

    Local Expert Tip: "Ask your server for a tour of the restaurant. Even if you've worked in a restaurant before, how they do their work in such a cramped space is impressive. And so is, of course, the wine cellar."

  • 3


    Local Expert Tip: "In terms of ambiance, there may not be a better restaurant in Tampa. It's worth trying to get seated in time for sunset (even though it faces east) to see the sun play with the downtown skyline."

  • 4

    Bella's Italian Cafe

    • Cuisine: European, Italian
    • Average Main Course Price: $15
    • Neighborhood: Soho

    Local Expert Tip: "The lunch menu hides some different, more inventive dishes. If you ask your server, they will make a dinner portion. Try the Penne Roma."

  • 5

    Mise en Place

    Local Expert Tip: "There is a private dining room that seats around 30 and overlooks the University of Tampa. It's perfect for a dinner meeting or other event."

  • 6

    Gourmet Pizza

    Local Expert Tip: "Gourmet Pizza is very gluten, vegan, and vegetarian friendly. If you have someone with those dietary requirements in your party, this is the place that will make everyone happy."

  • 7

    Wright's Gourmet House

    • Cuisine: American, Deli
    • Average Main Course Price: $8
    • Neighborhood: South Tampa

    Local Expert Tip: "Wright's is supremely popular with the lunch crowd during the week. You may want to get there earlier or later than the noon hour."

  • 8

    Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant

    • Cuisine: European, Spanish
    • Average Main Course Price: $24
    • Neighborhood: Soho

    Local Expert Tip: "All locations have a really great bar, but the downtown St. Petersburg Ceviche's bar is located in the basement, giving off an old-school, Prohibition-era feel."

  • 9

    Alessi Bakery & Deli

    Local Expert Tip: "It may not be very nutritious but people frequent Alessi for breakfast, not only for their traditional breakfast items but also to sneak in a cannoli before work."

  • 10

    Acropolis Greek Taverna

    Local Expert Tip: "Remember Elaine's big salad from "Seinfeld"? The Acropolis Greek salad is that big and enough for another meal later."



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