Tampa's Group-Friendly Restaurants: From Special Occasions to Casual Get-Togethers



Family get-together, business meeting, birthday party, or just travelling with a large group, the reasons for needing a group friendly restaurant are endless. Finding one that meets your needs can be a challenge. Which of Tampa's many restaurants should you call? Listed here are 10 of the top options that provide delicious food and great service for a variety of different group occasions.

If you and your group are looking for a true Tampa experience and you have a good budget, then the Columbia Restaurant is the perfect choice. Great for special occasions of all kinds, the Columbia offers 15 distinct dining rooms to choose from that can accommodate from 10 - 400. Each of the dining rooms is beautifully decorated with hand-painted Spanish tiles, antiques, and architectural details. The staff is happy to work with you on customized menus or you can order from the banquet menu.

If you're looking for somewhere a little more casual and easier on the pocketbook, there are also several spots to choose from that are also reasonably priced. For an outdoor, waterside experience where the kids are free to run around a bit, try Rick's on the River. A local favorite, this casual spot offers large tables in the main outdoor area, but also features a separate covered patio for larger groups.



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If you want to get off the beaten path, try Rick's on the River. Located on the Hillsborough River just north of downtown, Rick's is a popular local hangout catering to the river boating community. Amenities include a boat ramp and marina with docking space for visitors and overnight guests. Ample outdoor seating and a large bar area provide great vantage points for enjoying views of the river and downtown skyline. Combine that with three fully-stocked bars, good food and affordable prices, and you have the perfect recipe for a good time. There is also live entertainment every night starting at 5pm.


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A rich, welcoming environment of wood, leather, and subdued lighting greets visitors to this upscale establishment. Along with great ambience, they come for impeccable steaks and chops, cooked to perfection. Each steak is seasoned only with kosher salt and black pepper before being broiled at 1600 degrees. The New York strip is fantastic (try it with Bearnaise sauce!), but Australian lamb chops and veal or pork chops also elicit raves. Main courses are served a la carte. Fleming's is also well known for their by-the-glass "Flemings 100" awarding-winning wine list. If you're not sure which wine to choose, try a Wine Flight â€" a trio of 2-ounce servings.


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Channelside


 

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.


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Élevage is located in the Epicurean Hotel, a boutique hotel that caters to guests wishing to experience life's indulgences, especially when it comes to food. Developed by the owner of Bern's, one of Tampa's most established restaurants, Élevage maintains the tradition of serving wonderfully prepared food. Dishes are modern versions of classic recipes from around the world. While the quality of the cuisine may indicate a level of formality, the restaurant's ambiance is contemporary but casual as evidenced by their jean-clad waiters. Dishes to try include the Duck, Duck, Goose, a foie gras & goose confit stuffed duck burger, or the Tuna Casserole featuring rare tuna, trofie pasta, peas, shimeji mushroom, and cantalet.


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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.


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Topgolf Tampa
Photo courtesy of Topgolf Tampa


 

Located in Brandon, just a 15 minute drive from downtown, is Topgolf Tampa. This unique entertainment complex offers a 3 level golf range for players of all ages and abilities to hone their skills playing target-oriented games. A state-of-the-art gaming system logs players in and keeps track of both the game and the score using micro-chipped golf balls. Each of the 109 golf bays can accommodate up to 6 people and are rented by the hour. Each bay has a host that provides full food and beverage service featuring upscale pub grub and a full bar menu. In addition, there is a large restaurant and bar, games lounge and outdoor patio.


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Rocky Point
Rusty Pelican


 

The Rusty Pelican is a classic Tampa seafood-and-steaks place located directly on the waters of Tampa Bay. This casually elegant restaurant serves up fresh-from-the-water fare that does for the taste buds what the restaurant's panoramic views do for the eyes. Yes, the Rusty Pelican makes a memorable first impression. But what truly keeps folks coming back is the food, and you'll understand why once you've had the Rocky Point Grouper topped with fresh asparagus, Beggars Salmon wrapped in phylo and stuffed with crab, or Shrimp Scampi Rustico with angel hair pasta. Even the steaks, a handful of which are prepared table-side, garner high praise! It's also a well-known event location, hosting weddings and other events for up to 300 guests.


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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.


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Airport Area


 

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 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, 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.


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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.


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Meet Skye Rodgers

Skye is a freelance writer that adopted Tampa as her hometown over a decade ago and never looked back. As a native of Canada, Skye has happily embraced the no snow climate, and in her spare time...  More About Skye

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