10 Best Places to 'Do Lunch' in Tampa

Looking for a great lunch spot in Tampa? 10 Best is serving up ten of the city’s top options to choose from. Whether you want to grab a quick bite before heading out to do some sightseeing, or are looking to make lunch a special occasion, here are flavorful options to satisfy your mid-day hunger pangs.

If you’re looking for expansive water views, allow Oystercatchers to turn your lunch into a special occasion. Their menu features reasonably creative versions of lunch-time favorites in addition to their signature fresh catch.

Options such as Mel’s Hot Dogs serve up purely local versions of fast food favorites at budget-friendly prices. Try Mel’s favorite – a hot dog served Chicago style. This is the perfect spot for a quick bite before heading to Busch Gardens or Adventure Island.

Located in all areas of the city and representing all aspects of the food spectrum, there is a perfect spot for everyone to “do lunch” in Tampa.


The Stone Soup Company is a friendly and casual neighborhood eatery located in historic Ybor City. The eclectic decor is enhanced with colorful local artwork that adorns the walls. Inspired by the "Soup Nazi" episode of "Seinfeld," the menu offers an array of (you guessed it) soups, but there is also a good selection of sandwiches, flatbreads, empanadas, and other entrees to choose from. The restaurant has received several awards, both for its soup and for its rendition of the classic and iconic Cuban sandwich. Served on Cuban bread, the ingredients of Tampa's official sandwich include pork, salami, Swiss cheese, and kosher pickles - all brought to Tampa by its different immigrant groups.

Doc B's Fresh Kitchen is located on Bay Street at Tampa's International Plaza mall making it the perfect stop to fuel up after shopping or before an evening out. The menu features a wide selection of healthy, well-balanced dining options for lunch or dinner including sandwiches, salads, the popular "Wok Out" bowls, and entrees that highlight their premium steaks and seafood. Specializing in premium ingredients, Doc B's takes pride in sourcing only the best whether it can be found locally, or needs to be flown in from spots throughout the country to ensure freshness and quality. There is also a satisfying cocktail and wine menu with craft beer options. The atmosphere is casual and modern featuring an outdoor patio and fire pit in addition to the spacious indoor dining and bar areas.

North Tampa

Serving hungry Tampa locals since 1973, Mel's takes the simple concept of a hot dog and makes it as good as you could imagine. These dogs aren't the bland approximations you find at some fast food places. Instead, they're all-beef and come on poppy-seed buns, loaded with goodies like sauerkraut, onions, relish, pickles and hot peppers. They're offered in a variety of styles, too, so pick your favorite and taste what a hot dog should be like. If you're in the mood for something else, Mel's also has sandwiches, veggie burgers, corn dogs and more. A great location near Busch Gardens and affordable prices only add to the appeal of this Tampa institution.

The Hall on Franklin
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers

The Hall on Franklin is a contemporary food hall with a unique full-service twist. Comprised of seven independent and diverse food and beverage companies, the Hall uses new technology to bring them together and enable full-menu table service in addition to casual bar seating and grab-and-go counter service. Imagined as an incubator, the Hall provides entrepreneurs with a chance to test new concepts and build a following. This philosophy promotes experimentation and innovation in the wide range of delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, complete with gourmet coffee and artisan cocktails. The concept lends itself to versatility and is equally perfect for a quick breakfast, a working lunch, or a romantic dinner date. Stylish furniture and decor work to create a glamorous yet comfortable ambiance. There is also a great indoor/outdoor vibe thanks to a series of clear garage doors that open out onto Franklin Street.

The Bricks

If you're looking for a casual spot for lunch in Ybor City, try The Bricks. Owned by the Skatepark of Tampa, the ambiance is casual, hip, urban and of course, has free wi-fi. Happily, for all its style, the place doesn't take itself too seriously and everything has a sense of humor, from the art on the walls to the servers, to the menu items. The food is a combination of salads and sandwiches featuring fresh ingredients and a good selection of vegetarian options. Lunch comfort food is highlighted in their peanut butter and grilled cheese specialty sandwiches, sending you happily back to childhood. They also have a good selection of local beers on tap.

Fresh Kitchen is a healthy fast food option for lunch and dinner located in Tampa's SoHo neighborhood. On offer is a full range of fresh and delicious ingredients that are combined in a handy bowl to eat in or take out. Set up cafeteria-style, diners head to the counter and order their bowl ingredients from the menu, picking a base such as noodles, rice or Quinoa, then veggies and a protein, topping it all off with a delicious house-made sauce. There is also a range of yummy, but healthy, desserts to choose from and they cold-press a variety of juices made fresh each day.

South Tampa

Pane Rustica is a favorite local lunch spot in South Tampa. It is a European-style bakery, deli, breakfast, lunch and dinner restaurant all rolled into one. The decor is trendy but comfortable with an Italian flair. Their crusty, flavorful bread is made from scratch using all-natural bread starters. A great base for creating one of their delicious sandwiches. Salads feature fresh ingredients creatively combined. If you're hungry, they also offer several lunch special entrees, the most famous of which is the daily "Shut up and eat, don't ask... You'll love it!!!" dish. The dish might be a surprise, but it won't disappoint.

Oxford Exchange
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers

The Restaurant at Oxford Exchange features classic decor and a calm, relaxing ambiance, a perfect spot to relax and refuel after browsing the gift and book store. Serving breakfast, lunch, and late lunch, dishes feature proteins that are antibiotic and hormone free, and fresh and organic produce as available. There are even several paleo selections to choose from. Look for fresh and unique salads and sandwiches that taste as good as they are good for you. While perhaps not quite as good for you, a unique and special treat awaits those who arrive for afternoon tea. The tea selection is extravagant, as are the selection of scones and treats that arrive with it. An experience guaranteed to make you feel just a little bit royal.

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, but they are also gathered with conservation in mind. While the food and the view will cost you, the experience cannot be beaten. Part of the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, Oystercatchers has cemented itself as one of the great restaurant spaces in Tampa.

South 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 8:30 am - 3:00 pm


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