Tampa's Rez Grill is the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino's newest dining experience in their recently expanded mezzanine. The restaurant is the brainchild of new Culinary Director, Frank Anderson, who has managed the kitchens of two James Beard-awarded restaurants in Los Angeles. Featuring a variety of comfort food classics, the menu includes primarily Southern-inspired dishes such as the mouth-watering chicken and waffles. Their seafood offerings are delicious and the oysters, shipped in from New England, are particularly spectacular. Many of the dishes are served family-style - they call it "Table Participation" - including lobster thermador and St. Louis-style ribs platters. The decor is sophisticated and understated with rustic touches and unique light fixtures.
Recommended for Homestyle because: The Rez Grill in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino features beautifully prepared comfort food favorites using fresh, top-quality ingredients served family style.
Skye's expert tip: The restaurant's bar area is open to the casino floor so if you're looking for quiet, make sure to ask for a table in the back.
Goody Goody Burgers is the resurrection of an iconic Tampa diner that was opened in 1925 as the first drive-in east of the Mississippi. The new incarnation is the brainchild of restaurateur Richard Gonzmart, owner of the famous Columbia Restaurant. No expense was spared in recreating the recipes, decor, and ambiance of the original with just a few changes to appeal to modern diners. This is fast-food, but using fresh, locally-sourced, high-quality ingredients and recipes made from scratch. Signature dishes include the their famous burgers with their special sauce and their pies, especially the butterscotch pie. They also offer a delicious selection of breakfast and brunch menu items, including the 12" griddle cakes.
Recommended for Homestyle because: Goody Goody Burgers is a modern version of Tampa's first drive-in and features all American diner food including burgers and pies.
Skye's expert tip: To avoid long lines, use the NoWait app available on their website to add your name to the wait list before you arrive.
You can be assured of good barbecue when you see the pit smoking out back. Jimbo's keeps close watch over it, taking great pains to ensure that all the meat reaches that moment of perfect flavor. When it's ready, they pile it high, add baked beans, mustard slaw and hushpuppies and bring it out to you. Whether you get chicken, beef, pork or ribs, you'll smack your lips at the tender, well-seasoned meat and the tangy sauce. It's down-home food and as good as you've ever tasted. Once you've finished licking your fingers clean, make sure to order up a piece of the apple pie. It's homemade.
Recommended for Homestyle because: If your idea of comfort food is finger-licking good bbq, then Jimbo's in Tampa will fit the bill.
Skye's expert tip: They are especially well known for their delectable ribs, expertly slow-cooked in secret seasonings.
La Teresita is located in West Tampa, an area of the city that was originally settled by Cuban immigrants, and features authentic versions of Cuban cuisine. There is a traditional restaurant space, but La Teresita's charm is found inside the adjacent cafeteria. The atmosphere is decidedly retro-diner featuring three horseshoe counters where customers belly up on bar stools next to their neighbors. Although famous for their version of Tampa's Cuban sandwich, many other Cuban specialties are also featured such as Puerco Asado (Roast Pork), Ropa Vieja (Shredded Beef), and for the more adventurous, Patas de Cerdo (Pig's Feet). Each day of the week is represented by a list of specials but diners can also choose from an extensive list of entrees, sandwiches, side dishes and desserts. Beer and wine are also available.
Recommended for Homestyle because: La Teresita is a long-time Tampa favorite serving authentic Cuban homestyle cooking.
Skye's expert tip: After your meal, check out La Teresita's bakery to choose from a variety of traditional Cuban sweet delicacies.
Élevage SoHo Kitchen & Bar is the signature restaurant of 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 high quality, expertly prepared food. Dishes are modern versions of classic recipes from around the world including India, the Mediterranean, and Asia among others. While the quality of the cuisine may indicate a level of formality, the restaurant's ambiance is contemporary but casual and comfortable and includes a stylish outdoor lounge area.
Recommended for Homestyle because: The culinary philosophy at Tampa's upscale Élevage restaurant is to take comfort food traditions from around the world and add a modern twist.
Skye's expert tip: For a memorable end to your evening, check out the Edge Rooftop Cocktail Lounge to enjoy tropical breezes and an expertly crafted nightcap.
Back before there was a paved road, Skippers Smokehouse began as a small take-out joint north of Tampa. Over the years, the building has been added on to, first constructing a dining room that is a study in Old Florida rustic. The cuisine is described as Floribbean and features local staples including smoked fish dip, conch fritters, and fresh oysters and clams. Their award-winning Blackened Grouper Reuben sandwich was featured on the Travel Channel's Best Sandwich in America. While you're there, enjoy a drink at the Oyster Bar, another ad hoc add-on, and outside is a unique outdoor concert venue, affectionately known to locals as the "Skipperdome."
Recommended for Homestyle because: Skipper's Smokehouse in north Tampa is a local's favorite and the best place to enjoy some distinctly Floridan comfort food.
Skye's expert tip: Try some authentic Florida delicacies like 'gator tail or smoked mullet.
Centrally located in the Westshore district of Tampa, Del Frisco's Grille serves perfectly prepared prime steaks and creative versions of comfort food staples. Popular menu items include the Grille Prime Cheeseburger, Cheesesteak Eggrolls, and the Prime Beef Short Rib Stroganoff. Also on offer are a variety of flatbreads and innovative salad options. The cocktail list is a treat featuring old standards and new recipes made with fresh ingredients. Examples include the house-made Sangria with peach schnapps and the VIP with Sweet Hawaiian Pineapple-Infused Svedka Clementine Vodka. The atmosphere is casual and modern with a large dining and bar area, outdoor patio, and rooftop terrace. Del Frisco's is fancy enough for important celebrations yet affordable enough for everyday dining.
Recommended for Homestyle because: If you're craving your favorite comfort food, expertly prepared with premium ingredients, then Tampa's Del Frisco's Grille is a great option.
Skye's expert tip: Located across from International Mall, this is a good spot to fortify yourself after a long day of shopping.
Ella's Americana Folk Art Café is a fresh and funky eatery located in the charming and historic Seminole Heights neighborhood. As the name suggests, the ambiance is laid-back with walls decorated with a variety of American folk art providing plenty of eye-candy while you peruse their eclectic menu offerings. Dishes are designed to be healthy as well as delicious using fresh ingredients and a few unusual flavor combinations. Don't get carried away with the main course though as their desserts are amazing - give their peach fritters a try. There is live music on the weekends.
Recommended for Homestyle because: Ella's offers creatively prepared Southern comfort food favs surrounded by an eclectic collection of American folk art.
Skye's expert tip: Soul Food Sundays is a real treat featuring Kansas City style bbq pork and beef brisket.
Bella's has been a favorite of locals in South Tampa for over three decades. Featuring home-cooked flavors, everything is prepared from scratch here including their pizza dough and pasta. Diners return often to tuck into the delicious wood-fired pizzas and full menu of classic Italian favorites. Although the decor could easily seem overdone, thanks to subdued lighting and gracious details, Bella's greets guests with a relaxed charm. The open kitchen provides a hint of what's to come for inside diners, and there is also a patio with outdoor seating. Late hours and favorable prices heighten Bella's appeal with the after-clubbing crowd.
Recommended for Homestyle because: Bella's is a Tampa favorite for homestyle Italian dishes served in a gracious but casual setting.
Scott's expert tip: Bella's doesn't take reservations so it's a good idea to call ahead for seating.
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
Recommended for Homestyle because: Datz is a home-grown locals' favorite for fresh takes on traditional comfort food recipes.
Skye's expert tip: This is a very busy lunch spot - try their interactive text ahead system by texting "datz" to 626.414.3210.