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Great eats aplenty close to Amalie Arena



Hundreds of thousands of visitors attend events at Amalie Arena each year. It is the city’s premier event venue hosting over 150 events annually. It is also considered one of the best venues in the country. Many visitors attend the games of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team and the Tampa Bay Storm arena football team, but the Arena also hosts most of the area’s major concerts and shows.

No matter what event you are attending, chances are you will be looking for dining options close by. Luckily there is a lot to choose from and range from casual bites to fancy gourmet meals. All located within easy walking distance. Listed here are ten of the top options to help you choose, representing a variety of cuisines, dining experiences and price points.

If you're looking for a convenient but satisfying dinner before your event, your best options is the Firestick Grill. Located on-site, the Firestick features an extensive buffet with chef stations and everyone can find their favorite dishes.

In town for a hockey game? Then you should definitely try Hattricks, a local hangout that caters to the hockey crowd. They feature a good selection of specialty sandwiches and comfort food entrees and their "Shake and Bake" wings are some of the best in town.


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Harpoon Harry's Crab House
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers


Fresh seafood is on the menu at Harpoon Harry's Crab House in downtown Tampa. Conveniently located in the Tampa Convention Center, Harry's is close to most downtown attractions, businesses, and hotels. The large restaurant features seating for over 500 with both intimate and group seating, a large bar area and an upstairs outdoor patio. The extensive menu features a wide variety of seafood specialties and crab pots, in addition to a good selection of USDA steaks, chops, and chicken dishes to choose from. Make sure to save some room for dessert as they also feature a delicious selection including several that are served in homestyle jars.

Recommended for Restaurants near Amalie Arena because: Harpoon Harry's Crab House is a popular spot to enjoy a seafood dinner and drinks when attending events at Amalie Arena.

Skye's expert tip: Parking is available in the attached Convention Center parking lot, but it is actually cheaper to use the valet. Just pull up to the front door!

Read more about Harpoon Harry's Crab House →


Splitsville Southern & Social
Photo courtesy of Splitsville


Conveniently located at Sparkman Wharf, Splitsville is a chic restaurant and gaming center with modern decor and comfortable seating. Dining at Splitsville goes far beyond the ordinary with a full menu focused on classic Southern dishes developed by two-time James Beard Award winner Chef Art Smith. Check out their delicious fried chicken or pulled pork sliders. There are also selections of flatbreads and salads to choose from. The full bar serves up a good variety of craft cocktails as well as a comprehensive selection of beer. Games include 10 pin bowling, lawn and Belgian feather bowling, ping pong, billiards, foosball, darts, and shuffleboard.

Recommended for Restaurants near Amalie Arena because: Just a short distance from Amalie Arena, Splitsville offers a variety of indoor games and an upscale menu designed by an award-winning Chef.

Skye's expert tip: It gets busy, especially if there was an event at Amalie Arena earlier that night, so reservations are recommended, especially if you want to bowl.

Read more about Splitsville Southern & Social →


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Channelside
Sparkman Wharf
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers


Yet another riff on the food hall concept, Sparkman Wharf offers the culinary stylings of ten of Tampa's top chefs as they experiment with new concepts. Dubbed a dining garden, visitors sample from specially developed street food menus. The twist is that the restaurants are all working out of renovated shipping containers. Dining options run the gamut from raw oysters to French Vietnamese, to gourmet popsicles. The first finished project of Tampa's billion-dollar Water Street development, this open-air meeting space features dining options, live music, comfortable seating, lawn games, and of course, a beautiful view of the waterfront.

Recommended for Restaurants near Amalie Arena because: Sparkman Wharf is just down the street from Amalie Arena and offers great casual dining in a beautiful outdoor setting.

Skye's expert tip: Long lines can form during peak dining hours. Visit mid-to-late afternoon, especially on weekdays, for a more leisurely dining experience.

Read more about Sparkman Wharf →


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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. They are also known for their extensive wine list. 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.

Recommended for Restaurants near Amalie Arena because: Jackson's Bistro offers a large menu of American favorites and beautiful waterfront views, just a short walk from Amalie Arena.

Skye's expert tip: You can enjoy a more casual experience by heading outside to the Island Bar or finding spots at a high-top in Back Jack's Lounge.

Read more about Jackson's Bistro Bar & Sushi →


The Sail Plaza
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers


Nestled in the heart of downtown, The Sail Plaza is a 360 degree, outdoor bar and restaurant located right on the waterfront. Recently renovated, the Plaza now features more outdoor seating and the culinary delights of Ray's Fish Camp. Convenient to downtown amenities such as the Tampa Bay History Center, the Tampa Convention Center, and Amalie Arena, the Sail Pavilion often hosts locals and tourists on their way to or from downtown activities. Also located along the Tampa Riverwalk, many walkers, bikers and joggers will stop for a cold drink and a bite to eat as they pass by. You can even visit by boat as there is public docking space right in front.

Recommended for Restaurants near Amalie Arena because: Down the street from Amalie Arena on the downtown waterfront, The Sail Plaza is the perfect spot for cocktails and casual bite.

Skye's expert tip: Parking spots adjacent to The Sail are always at a premium. Save yourself some aggravation and park at a nearby garage.

Read more about The Sail Plaza →


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Harbour Island


Quiet, casual, romantic; Café Dufrain represents all the qualities that make Harbour Island seem worlds away from Tampa's bustling downtown area. Set among high-rise condo and apartment developments, this award-winning restaurant quietly serves up some of the best dishes in town. Local, organic and sustainable ingredients are combined in recipes that are changed seasonally. They call their approach "new American comfort food cuisine." Combined with great service and a carefully selected boutique wine and craft beer list, lunch or dinner at Café Dufrain is sure to please even the most discerning. For an added bonus, the views of downtown from the waterside patio leave quite an impression, especially at night.

Recommended for Restaurants near Amalie Arena because: Casual and romantic, Café Dufrain offers waterfront dining and a casual pub atmosphere a short walk from Amalie Arena.

Skye's expert tip: Watch for daily specials that are reasonably priced and come paired with a glass of wine or beer.

Read more about Café Dufrain →




The Bamboozle Cafe is located in the heart of downtown Tampa and features Asian Fusion and traditional Vietnamese cuisine. From their fresh Bamboozle rolls to their hearty Pho Boats, the ingredients are fresh and healthy, and the presentation shows great attention to detail. If you're not hungry for a full meal, you can visit the Bamboozle Tea Lounge that features smaller portions of the menu favorites as well as a selection of tea, Vietnamese coffee, fresh juices and smoothies. As part of the restaurant's commitment to health, they have teamed up with Sweatshop Urban Gym to provide free workouts at nearby Curtis Hixon Park. In addition to a free workout, participants get 20% off their tab at the end of the night.

Recommended for Restaurants near Amalie Arena because: Located close to Amalie Arena, Bamboozle serves delighted guests a variety of well-prepared Asian dishes.

Skye's expert tip: Treat yourself to one of their specialty smoothies featuring hard-to-find ingredients such as lychee and jackfruit.

Read more about Bamboozle Cafe →


Hattricks Tavern
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers


Hattricks Tavern is one of Tampa's most popular sports bars and restaurants. Located just steps from the Tampa Bay Times Forum, this is the perfect place for hockey fans to stop for a drink and a meal before or after a game. The ambiance is casual and fun. Fans will enjoy the handmade oak bar, a multitude of TVs, and walls adorned with tons of hockey memorabilia. The food is pretty good too. The menu features most of the standard bar fare but also offers a good selection of specialty sandwiches and comfort food entrees. The prices are reasonable, especially for a downtown location.

Recommended for Restaurants near Amalie Arena because: Hattricks is a popular sports bar and restaurant catering to hockey fans that offers good, reasonably priced food only blocks from Amalie Arena.

Skye's expert tip: Try their "Shake and Bake" wings, a local favorite, made by "shaking" the wings in house-made sauces before "baking" them in the oven.

Read more about Hattricks Tavern →




The Columbia Cafe is a picturesque dining spot located at the Tampa Bay History Center on the downtown waterfront overlooking Garrison Channel and the Riverwalk. The Cafe is part of the Columbia Restaurant Group with the original Columbia Restaurant, which opened in 1905, located in Ybor City. The decor is Spanish-inspired and both indoor and outdoor seating is offered. Menu options include some of the most popular dishes from the Ybor City restaurant including the original "1905 Salad" and a good selection of tapas. The cafe is open for lunch and dinner with live music every weekend. Public boat docks are available if you're arriving by boat.

Recommended for Restaurants near Amalie Arena because: Located across the street from Amalie Arena, the Columbia Cafe provides visitors an authentic taste of Tampa with both indoor and outdoor dining.

Skye's expert tip: One of Tampa's favorite drinks is sangria and no one makes it better than the Columbia that offers both red and white versions prepared tableside.

Read more about Columbia Cafe - Riverwalk Tampa →


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Channelside
Firestick Grill
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers


Amalie Arena boasts one of the finest buffets in town. Their on-site restaurant, called the Firestick Grill, opens with a full-service buffet two hours before any event and features a revolving menu that changes depending on the event and includes special "themed" dishes. Jam-packed with a variety of different dishes, the buffet also features three "action stations" including a carving station, a taco bar, and a pasta station. Finish off with a dessert or a drink in the Bacardi OakHeart Lounge and you should be well-fueled to cheer on the Lightning or your favorite performer in concert.

Recommended for Restaurants near Amalie Arena because: Located on-site at Amalie Arena, the Firestick Grill offers a great pre-event buffets themed to complement the evening's event.

Skye's expert tip: Arrive early to enjoy the buffet at Firestick Grill which opens two hours before any event at Amalie Arena.

Read more about Firestick Grill →


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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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