Sometimes it's difficult to find a restaurant that will suit the whole family. Parents have to find something casual, maybe with high-chairs or booster seats, and gosh knows having crayons can be a life-saver. Luckily, Tampa offers travelling families a large number of kid approved options to choose from. To help you find the perfect option for your family, 10 Best has compiled a list of ten of the city's top choices guaranteed to please everyone in your party.
For a fun old-Florida experience, check out Cody's Original Roadhouse. This restaurant allows kids to be messy and throw their peanut shells on the floor while they draw on the table. Perfect, right? The food's pretty good too, featuring a variety of steak, ribs, and chicken, it is hearty and traditional roadhouse fare. The kid's menu here is pretty good as well with a more extensive menu that you usually see. All this and a fair price too.
If you're in a hurry, but cringe at feeding your kids unhealthy fast food, try the EVOS difference. EVOS is a local take-out restaurant that features many of the usual staples, such as burgers and fries, prepared with a healthy twist. They use fresh organic or vegan ingredients and air-bake their french fries instead of using the deep fryer. They also offer a good selection of salads and wraps as well.
Eddie & Sam's NY Pizza
For some people, an authentic New York pizza experience requires a hole-in-the-wall setting. If you are one of those people, Eddie & Sam's is for you. The ingredients, including water shipped down from New York for the dough, only add to the authenticity. The pizzas come out crisp and hot from the oven and include such favorites as primavera, Hawaiian, and Sicilian. The menu also features hot and cold sandwiches and buffalo wings. Eddie & Sam's has been a lunchtime favorite of the nearby office crowd for years, but it's also handy to downtown hotels for a great nighttime snack. (813-229-8500)
Sweet Tomatoes is an all-inclusive buffet-style cafeteria that specializes in soups and salads. Great family dining that provides healthier alternatives for both adults and kids. This restaurant features an open and airy atmosphere with tons of booth seating. The menu varies each month providing a new variety of salads, soups, pasta dishes and specials to choose from. The salad bar features 50 fresh ingredients as well as specially prepared and tossed salads. Items are made from scratch each day including their moist muffins and fresh focaccia bread. Finish off your meal with a selection from the dessert bar which features a self-serve ice cream bar. ((813) 874-6566)
Square 1 Burgers
Owned by well-known Tampa restaurateur, Bill Shumate, Square 1 Burgers is a reference to Bill returning to his burger-making roots. Square 1's mission is simple, build the best burgers and provide an awesome dining experience. They seem to be doing a great job as they are consistently named one of Tampa's best burgers by local websites and publications. The restaurant is clean with trendy decor. In addition to a large selection of Angus beef burgers, the menu also features lamb and buffalo burgers for the more adventurous. For the non-meat-eaters in your party, there is a delicious vegan burger option too. (813-414-0101)
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)
EVOS is a local fast food chain that focuses on making your favorite fast food dishes more healthy, like using organic or vegan ingredients and air-baking their french fries instead of using the deep fryer. They use naturally raised beef and chicken and wild-caught Alaskan Salmon. The end result is a reduction in calories, fat, and processed ingredients, and an increase in fresh, delicious flavors. There's also a wide selection of wraps, salads, smoothies, and shakes. Again, all prepared with fresh, organic ingredients. You will come out satisfied, but without the guilt. ((813) 258-EVOS)
Lee Roy Selmon's
If you can't get enough succulent, Southern cooking, this place (named for Tampa Bay's first NFL Hall of Famer) will have your taste buds swooning. Many dishes rely on Lee Roy's mom's recipes, such as fried chicken, meat loaf, chicken-fried steak, and beef brisket. Others just pay tribute to the region, like ribs, barbecued pork, and stuffed catfish. Steaks, burgers, and salads also find their place, and no meal would be complete without pecan pie or peach cobbler. The interior boasts a wealth of football memorabilia. this is a small chain restaurant that has managed to stay true to its roots. (813-871-3287)
Beef 'O' Brady's - the Original
Beef O'Brady's is a Tampa institution delighting area families since 1984. Beefs, as it is affectionately known, is famous for its family-friendly pub atmosphere, with a game room for the kids and a large number of TVs for sports fans to enjoy. Menu items feature typical pub fare with an Irish twist. You'll find burgers, wings, wraps and burritos. Perhaps their most popular entree is their crunchy beer-battered fish and chips. This location is the where it all began, but never fear, if you are not in the Brandon area, there are many, many other locations to choose from throughout Tampa Bay. Visit their website to find the location nearest you. ((813) 681-3428)
The Spaghetti Warehouse
The Spaghetti Warehouse in Ybor City is a fun, relaxed place to enjoy a plate of pasta and sauce. The interior is comfortable and casual with nostalgic decor, the perfect spot for families exploring the historic district. Menu items include familiar Italian favorites including a mouth-watering 15-layer lasagne made using a special recipe house sausage and made-from-scratch sauce. Other favorites include spaghetti and meatballs, rich and creamy chicken Alfredo, and the ever-popular chicken parmigiana. Whether you're looking for a reasonably priced family meal or are celebrating a special occasion, kids of all ages will enjoy the Spaghetti Warehouse. ((813) 248-1720)
Tampa has one Johnny Rockets restaurant conveniently located in Citrus Park Mall next to the movie theaters. It's the perfect spot to take the family after a day of shopping or seeing a movie. If you haven't been before, this international chain offers guests a classic American diner experience. From the waiter's paper hats, to the cozy booths, to the jukeboxes, the atmosphere will take you back to a less complicated time. The food is classic American diner as well featuring juicy burgers, tasty hot dogs, and cheese dripping sandwich melts. Pair your meal selection with your favorite milkshake, malt or float for the complete experience. ((813) 926-6335)
Cody's Original Roadhouse
Tampa's version of Cody's Original Roadhouse, a small Florida chain of restaurants, is one of the city's favorite places to go with family. The atmosphere is casual and relaxing and the decor is a creative take on an old-fashioned Florida gas station. Kids are kept entertained with peanuts in the shell, coloring, and balloon making while the parents relax and peruse the extensive menu featuring USDA prime and choice steaks and prime rib, juicy rotisserie chicken, tender pork back ribs, fresh fish and much more. Kids get their own fairly extensive menu featuring perfect kid foods. All this at a price that won't empty your wallet! ((813) 855-2787)
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.
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