Sleep In and Take Advantage of Tampa's Many Delicious Brunch Options
By Skye Rodgers
Tampa Local Expert
There usually isn't much room to be creative in brunch. It's a staple of breakfast items and light lunch fare, maybe served buffet-style. Fortunately, because we're usually out late at night, brunch is so popular in Tampa that our restaurants have embraced it fully, even putting their own spin on your favorite dishes.
Let's start with the more upscale options that boast wonderfully prepared dishes, seemingly endless buffet stations, and best of all, a stunning view. Oystercatchers is located right on Tampa Bay with a buffet as expansive as the view. Jackson's Bistro is a great spot for people staying downtown or who plan on visiting downtown attractions. The only drawback to these options is that they only offer brunch on Sundays.
If you're looking for brunch options that can be enjoyed every day of the week, we have plenty of options to choose from. Daily Eats, located in Tampa's trendy SoHo neighborhood, puts a California twist on brunch classics and is most popular for their California Bowls. Another great option is Pinky's Diner, one of the most popular restaurants in South Tampa.
Whatever your preference, let 10Best introduce you to the most creative, most decadent, most inventive brunch restaurants in Tampa.
Datz is one of Tampa's most popular restaurants. At one time or another, almost everyone has visited this trendy gastropub and market. The interior is warm and inviting with a funky, industrial vibe and no one stands on ceremony here - flip-flops and shorts are welcome. The food is as comforting as the environment lifting America's favorite dishes to a whole new level. Looks for twists on the traditional such as their chicken and waffles served with jalapeno-maple syrup or their famous meatloaf stuffed with mac 'n cheese. They are known for their large portions, so bring an appetite. If you have room after lunch, wander next door to their new sister-restaurant, Dough, for some sweet treats and coffee. Brunch is served on weekends from 8:30am - 3:00pm (8138317000)
Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant
With so much Spanish influence in Florida, it's not surprising that tapas has a big place in the restaurant scene. One of the most popular options is the Ceviche Tapas Bar. This small, Florida-based chain of restaurants feature an intimate and trendy atmosphere that is popular with their young and sophisticated clientele. Tampa's version is located in SoHo and features a wonderful tropical patio area. They serve lunch and dinner daily featuring an extensive list of hot and cold tapas as well as a variety of cervices and paella. Brunch is served on weekends with a menu that mixes some fresh takes on classic breakfast foods, like their papaya pancakes, with a majority of their huge, famous tapas menu. (813-250-0134)
Sono Cafe is the latest venture by the people who run Mise en Place, one of the finest restaurants in town. Located in the new Tampa Museum of Art building downtown, it is convenient to many area attractions and offers great views of the Hillsborough River and the University of Tampa. They pride themselves on sourcing as many local ingredients as they can and creating dishes from scratch, so the menu changes with the seasons. As part of the Slow Food movement, meals are long and leisurely, so don't visit in a hurry. On Sundays, Sono offers a brunch for people who love art, food, or both. (813-421-8379)
Zelda's Café and Deli
It's hard to believe that a former BP gas station downtown could be re-purposed into a truly one-of-a-kind dining establishment, but that's exactly what happened at Zelda's. With a casual atmosphere and fast but fresh food, they aren't terribly creative here. They just give you more good classic food than you can possibly handle for a fair price. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Zelda's serves the neighborhood well. All your favorites are here, like steak and eggs, pancakes, sandwiches, wraps, and salads. It's located in the Channel district near the Aquarium, the cruise terminal, and the Tampa Bay Times Forum. (813-226-0257)
It's an old adage that if there's a line outside, the place has to be good. Nowhere is that more correct than at Pinky's, a small,cozy diner in South Tampa known for their laid-back style and amazing menu. Frittatas dominate, with six fresh varieties or the ability to make your own. They are also known for their stuffed Cuban French Toast featuring homemade berry cream cheese sandwiched between slices of Cuban bread, a Tampa favorite. Or try the oatmeal pancakes, which makes this breakfast staple even more hearty. If you do have to wait, take advantage of their handy self-serve coffee bar. (813-831-9339)
Jackson's Bistro Bar & Sushi
Set away from the downtown bustle, Jackson's Bistro serves fabulously eclectic fare (dinner options from hand-rolled sushi to oak-grilled NY strip) in a distinctly upscale setting. Stained mahogany and candle-lit tables make for an attractive scene in the dining room, and the views afforded by the floor-ceiling windows allow diners to see just how pretty the Tampa skyline can be. Sunday brunch at Jackson's takes the buffet route, offering a turkey, ham and roast beef carving station, pasta station, sushi station and waffle bar. Seating on the patio is available -- weather permitting, of course. (813-277-0112)
If old fashioned comfort grub is what you need to get the day started, give this casual little joint in south Tampa a try. The Brunchery stays true to its name by delivering time-tested classics like steak and eggs, Belgian waffles, omelets, crepes, eggs benedict and French toast. In addition to the morning eats, the kitchen also assembles some rather outstanding sandwiches. The helpings are hearty and the ingredients are fresh. Consistently good, this is the type of place that doesn't rate highly in terms of style but really racks up the points when it comes to service and food. (813-831-4694)
Part of the Ciccio and Tony's family of restaurants, Daily Eats is a modern, contemporary diner with a twist of 'greasy spoon.' The menu features an impressive list of creative breakfast options that add interesting spisn to familiar favorites. Examples include the staff fav "Jackie" consisting of a grilled cheese on thick white bread, with 2 fried eggs and ham or "The Hoang Kong," smoked salmon & scallions two-egg scramble served on a toasted bagel w/ scallion cream cheese, tomatoes, and onion. They are perhaps best known for their Breakfast Bowls. As they sound, they are big bowls loaded with breakfast goodies. You're going to have a hard time choosing as there are eight different versions to choose from. (813-868-3335)
Breakfast is a treat at First Watch. A departure from many local breakfast spots, it specializes in providing delicious, but light and healthy meal options. The emphasis is on fresh ingredients and made from scratch baked goods and batters. There are no deep fryers here. This place is known for its varied omelet and waffle selections and their famous First Watch potatoes. Lunch options are also offered and available all day along with breakfast. With 7 area locations, chances are there is one near you. (813-307-9006)
The first thing you notice as you enter Oystercatchers is the amazing view. This seafood restaurant, nestled among lush, tropical landscaping, takes full advantage of its location at the edge of Tampa Bay. Inside, the decor is bright, simple and modern, serving as the perfect backdrop for both the views and the expertly prepared food. The star of the lunch menu is a selection of locally sourced fish served wood grilled, blackened or sauteed. Not only are the dishes inventive and fresh, they are also gathered with conservation in mind. While the food and the view will cost you (around $20 for a fish entree), the experience cannot be beat. Part of the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, Oystercatchers has cemented itself as one of the great restaurant spaces in Tampa. (813-207-6815, 813-874-1234)
About Skye Rodgers
Skye has lived in Tampa for over 16 years and spends much of her time exploring the region and discovering its hidden treasures. As a native of Canada, Skye has happily embraced the no cold, no snow climate and enjoys basking on the beautiful beaches of the Gulf of Mexico and navigating the waters of Tampa Bay. When not out exploring Tampa, Skye is a freelance writer and public relations professional. She currently provides public relations counsel on a freelance basis to non-profits, social enterprises and small business.
Read more about Skye Rodgers here.