Best Lunch in Tampa

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 creative versions of lunch-time favorites in addition to their signature fresh catch.

Options such as Mel’s Hot Dogs serve up 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.

Recommended for Lunch because: An Ybor City favorite, the Stone Soup Co. serves up house-made soups that make even the Soup Nazi jealous.

Skye's expert tip: They also serve a delicious and award-winning version of Tampa's iconic Cuban sandwich.

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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.

Recommended for Lunch because: Doc B's is the perfect pit stop after a long morning of shopping at Tampa's premier shopping mall, International Plaza.

Skye's expert tip: Quality is a top priority with premium ingredients flown in from all over the country.

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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.

Recommended for Lunch because: Mel's Hot Dogs is Tampa's best spot to grab our city's favorite versions of this all-American favorite.

Skye's expert tip: Mel's is a popular place, so if you're planning on trying it for lunch, arrive early or late to avoid the lines.

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Heights Public Market
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers

The Heights Public Market is located in Armature Works, a beautifully renovated, historic building that faces the scenic Hillsborough River. With 22,000 sq-ft, the open floor plan food hall features communal seating surrounded by 15+ of the most innovative and up-and-coming dining concepts in Tampa. Designed as an incubator for area talent, there are a wide variety of tasty treats to choose from, including coffee and tea, modern Cuban, cocktails, and of course, ice cream. Guests are free to grab and go, settle in at an indoor table, or take your goodies outside to the large outdoor lawn area with river views.

Recommended for Lunch because: With over 15 dining concepts to choose from, there is delicious lunch option for everyone in your party at the Heights Public Market.

Skye's expert tip: If you're looking for table service, Armature Works also hosts two restaurants and a rooftop lounge, all of which offer extensive outdoor seating.

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Located in Ybor City, Sunday's Delicatessen is a neighborhood mom 'n pop. This is the perfect spot for a delicious and filling breakfast, lunch or early dinner. The story here is the portions. Although a full hero may run you $13, it will also easily feed two people. In addition to their massive sandwiches, they also serve a nice selection of salads, and breakfast items are served all day. Almost everything here is made fresh from scratch including their fresh-from-the-oven bread, soups and stocks, salads, meatballs, sauces, and desserts! They use Boar's Head for the meats and cheeses that are not made in-house.

Recommended for Lunch because: Sunday's is a locals lunch favorite in Ybor City, famous for their massive heroes, fresh, high-quality ingredients, and friendly atmosphere.

Skye's expert tip: If you're enjoying Ybor City in the morning, Sunday's is one of the few places that offers breakfast options.

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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.

Recommended for Lunch because: Pane Rustica is a long-time local favorite for lunch providing consistently good food and great service.

Skye's expert tip: Stop by Pane Rustica to gather the perfect ingredients for a picnic lunch before heading to one of the area's parks. Even beer and wine are available for carry-out.

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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, 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.

Recommended for Lunch because: Oystercatchers is a wonderful lunch spot due to its ideal combination of stunning water views and fresh seafood.

Skye's expert tip: Oystercatchers offers the finest Sunday brunch in town. Reservations are recommended.

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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.

Recommended for Lunch because: The Restaurant at Oxford Exchange features a selection of delicious, healthy and local salads and sandwiches as well as a decadent afternoon tea.

Skye's expert tip: In the best British tradition, afternoon tea is served Friday through Sunday from 3 - 5 pm.

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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

Recommended for Lunch because: Perhaps Tampa's favorite lunch spot, Datz delights diners with a casual, trendy atmosphere and creative twists on America's favorite foods.

Skye's expert tip: If you love mac 'n cheese, then this is nirvana! Enjoy mac 'n cheese everything from deep-fried bites to sandwich buns.

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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.

Recommended for Lunch because: Fresh Kitchen is taking Tampa by storm by offering healthy and delicious lunch options served cafeteria-style for speed and convenience.

Skye's expert tip: Not in South Tampa? This popular local chain has already expanded to 5 other regional locations. Check their website for the latest.

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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