Couples looking for a romantic dinner and quality alone time will find many options to choose from in Tampa. Whether you're looking for quiet and intimate, or wish to dance in the moonlight, there is the perfect restaurant. From old-school nostalgia to contemporary chic, 10 Best has put together a list of Tampa's top romantic eateries guaranteed to light your fire.
If you're trying to impress, then you can't go wrong with Armani's. Located on the top floor of the waterfront Grant Hyatt hotel, the views can't be beat and are particularly spectacular at sunset. The food is modern Northern Italian and the interior is sleek and sophisticated. If your pocket book is a little light, consider visiting earlier in the evening and sampling delicacies from their antipasto bar and enjoying a glass of wine while enjoying the view on the beautiful outdoor patio.
Another romantic option is taking a dinner cruise on Yacht Starship. This highly-rated, 2.5 hour tour of Tampa's beautiful waterways includes a delicious three-course dinner, intimate seating, great views and dancing under the stars. They also offer lunch and special event cruises. A wedding perhaps? This is a romance package that won't fail to make the heart beat faster.
Understated elegance and a premiere dining experience await you at this celebrated restaurant. The décor sets the stage for romance with tables set with fresh roses, crystal and china, providing a perfect lead-in for the traditional Italian cuisine. Waiters in black tie deliver perfectly prepared osso buco, linguine with lobster, and poached salmon with shrimp and asparagus. You'll also find beef carpaccio, a grilled porterhouse and pasta with scallops and calamari. The extensive wine list, populated with numerous Italian vintages, ensures that you'll have a perfect complement to the meal. Finish off your dining experience with a divine dessert of profiteroles or Grand Marnier souffle. (813-875-6660)
Council Oak Steaks & Seafood is located in the Seminole Hard Rock Casino, the 6th largest casino in world, and is a popular destination for prime steaks, fresh seafood and selections from the award winning wine list. The atmosphere is contemporary and upscale and the service is great. The steaks at Council Oak are 100% U.S.D.A. prime, dry aged 21 to 28 days, and cut on-site in their butcher shop. Seafood options include fresh and local fish, Alaskan King Crab legs and custom saltwater tanks are filled with live Maine lobsters. Live entertainment is provided nightly Sunday - Thursday in the lounge. Reservations are recommended. ((813) 627-7628)
Jackson's Bistro Bar & Sushi
Set slightly away from the downtown bustle, Jackson's Bistro features a large and sophisticated menu with dishes ranging from hand-rolled sushi to an oak-grilled NY strip steak. The setting is romantic and upscale, featuring dark mahogany walls and candle-lit tables, but it's the views of Garrison Channel and the Tampa skyline that steal the show. If the weather is good, take advantage of their large outdoor terrace. 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. (813-277-0112)
Ciro's Speakeasy and Supper Club
Ciro's is a 1920's style speakeasy and they take their prohibition-era theme very seriously. In addition to the discrete entrance that is void of external signage or advertising, you must call ahead to get the password in order to gain admittance. Once inside you are greeting by staff dressed for a 1920's night out who, for the most part, stay in character throughout the evening. As is befitting, specialty cocktails are their specialty with expert barkeeps creating mostly original concoctions that are both delicious and slightly dangerous. Their small but intriguing menu offers a variety of succulent entrees and some really interesting snack foods like their black truffle popcorn. ((813) 251-0022)
Malio's Prime Steakhouse
Malio's has been a Tampa landmark since it opened in 1969. Reinvented in 2007 as Malio's Prime Steakhouse, the restaurant moved downtown and picked up where it left off as a Tampa favorite, but with updated d�cor and menu offerings. Malio's is frequented by Tampa's movers and shakers, from mayors to professional athletes, and was the favorite of late New York Yankee's owner, George Steinbrenner. As befitting the clientele, the dress code here is business casual. The d�cor is modern classic and the ambiance is romantic featuring dim lighting and intimate seating. Take advantage of the views offered by Malio's location on the Hillsborough River by requesting to sit on the upper tier of the restaurant, or outside on their cigar-friendly patio. ((813) 223-7746)
Mise en Place
Mise en Place is an intimate, well-appointed restaurant located across from the University of Tampa. A signature of this bistro is the ever-rotating menu, which intimidates some newcomers. They are missing out on one of the most inventive restaurants in the area. Specializing in New American cuisine, you are almost guaranteed to have something you've never had before, like sous vide venison loin or mustard pecan crusted rack of lamb. The flavors reflect the Chef's love of food and the region. Mise en Place also provides a substantial cheese selection and a ridiculous dessert menu with such creations as the molten chocolate beignet. (813-254-5373)
More than just a restaurant, the Columbia is a Tampa institution. Since 1905, this living history lesson has been serving some of the most authentic Spanish/Cuban food in Tampa Bay. The menu is expansive, spanning a wide array of traditional beef, pork, and seafood dishes made in the same way for generations. Today there are several locations in Florida, but the flagship restaurant is still located in the heart of Tampa's historic district, Ybor City. The building is a beautiful Spanish revival with Moorish influences and features hand-painted tiles, ornate antique furniture and rich fabrics throughout. The restaurant has been added on to over the years and now features 15 dining rooms that seat over 1,700 patrons and encompasses an entire city block. The Columbia even hosts Flamenco shows every evening except Sundays. No one forgets a night at the Columbia. (813-248-4961)
Bern's Steak House
Bern's Steak House is one of Tampa's best-known restaurants. Family-owned since opening in 1956, this venerable steak house is legendary for its impeccable service, top-quality food, and incredible attention to detail. Guests rave about the aged, charcoal-grilled steaks, which are ordered according to weight and thickness. Each comes with a salad, onion soup, baked potato, garlic toast, onion rings, and organic vegetables, so bring your appetite. Many of the restaurant's vegetables are locally grown on the Bern's farm. In addition to steak, chicken, and seafood, vegetarian options are available. The wine list is astounding, consisting of one of the largest wine collections in the world featuring over 7000 vintages. After dinner, head to the Harry Waugh room for decadent desserts, after-dinner drinks and dancing. Jacket, tie and reservations are required. (813-251-2421)
Yacht Starship sails from Tampa's Channelside neighborhood and is billed as America's first three diamond rated dining yacht by AAA. Perfect for an intimate night out or a group celebration, Yacht Starship provides a three-course dinner while cruising the waters of beautiful Tampa Bay. Prepare for a sophisticated night out - there are spectacular views, private seating, table service and dancing under the stars. The menu changes seasonally, and although limited, takes advantage of many regional flavors and takes into account both gluten-free and vegetarian lifestyles. Public dinner cruises are offered most weekend nights, but there are also lunch cruises, party cruises and special event cruises on their schedule. ((813) 223-7999)
Bright and airy, this chic restaurant rests atop the Hyatt Regency and affords extensive views of the Tampa area. Its menu of northern Italian cuisine centers around seafood, pasta, poultry and steaks, but the specialty of the house is veal, especially scaloppine Armani. For a first course, guests may choose their own appetizers from the selections on the antipasti bar. Entrees, which include marinated salmon and rack of lamb, are classic but creative and have contributed to the many awards the restaurant has garnered. Frequented by celebrities, Armani's is also ideal for romantic dinners and special occasions. Jackets and reservations are required. (813-207-6800, 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.
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