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Fuel the Passion at World-Class Tampa Restaurants



Couples looking for a romantic dinner and quality alone time will find many options to choose from in Tampa. Whether you're looking for quiet and intimate, or wish to dance in the moonlight, there is the perfect restaurant. From old-school nostalgia to contemporary chic, 10 Best has put together a list of Tampa's top romantic eateries guaranteed to light your fire. 

Enjoy a little intrigue with your romance at Ciro's Speakeasy that features secret passwords, staff in character, and private curtained alcoves. The menu is inventive and unexpected and they serve a wonderful selection of craft cocktails as well. 

Another romantic option is taking a dinner cruise on Yacht Starship. This highly-rated, 2.5 hour tour of Tampa's beautiful waterways includes a delicious three-course dinner, intimate seating, great views and dancing under the stars. They also offer lunch and special event cruises. A wedding perhaps? This is a romance package that won't fail to make the heart beat faster.


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10
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.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The Yacht Starship offers champagne toasts at sunset and dancing under the stars. What could be more romantic?

Skye's expert tip: The cruise schedule varies so call or visit their website for up-to-date information.

Read more about Yacht StarShip →


9
Rocky Point
Armani's
Photo courtesy of Armani's


Armani's is an award-winning restaurant located on the 14th floor of the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. This popular local eatery is best known for it's sophisticated ambiance and panoramic views enjoyed through floor to ceiling windows. For the first course, guests may choose their own appetizers from a wide range of selections available on the famous antipasti bar. Pasta dishes include both established as well as more creative offerings added by the new Chef de Cuisine, Jonathon Wilson, including a wild mushroom risotto and beer braised elk shank with cavatelli. Entrees include a nice selection of classic veal and seafood dishes including the traditional osso buco, but if you're looking for something a little different, try the delicious seared duck entree. Armani's is ideal for romantic dinners and special occasions. Reservations are suggested.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Fantastic food, spectacular views and sophisticated atmosphere make Armani's one of the most romantic restaurants in Tampa.

Skye's expert tip: For an even more intimate dining experience, inquire about their semi-private dining options.

Read more about Armani's →




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 Romantic Dining because: Jackson's romantic ambiance includes outdoor dining (with curtains for added privacy) overlooking the lights of Tampa's skyline.

Skye's expert tip: The downtown trolley has a stop right outside of Jackson's, making it accessible from anywhere downtown.

Read more about Jackson's Bistro Bar & Sushi →


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Understated elegance and a premiere dining experience await you at this celebrated restaurant. The d├ęcor sets the stage for romance with tables set with fresh roses, crystal and china, providing a perfect lead-in for the traditional Italian cuisine. Waiters in black tie deliver perfectly prepared osso buco, linguine with lobster, and poached salmon with shrimp and asparagus. You'll also find beef carpaccio, a grilled porterhouse and pasta with scallops and calamari. The extensive wine list, populated with numerous Italian vintages, ensures that you'll have a perfect complement to the meal. Finish off your dining experience with a divine dessert of profiteroles or Grand Marnier souffle.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Oozing Rat Pack elegance, Donatello's in Tampa provides old-school sophistication and romance.

Skye's expert tip: After dinner, relax in the lounge with an after-dinner drink and enjoy some smooth jazz and love songs played on a baby grand.

Read more about Donatello →




Malio's has been a Tampa landmark since it opened in 1969. Reinvented in 2007 as Malio's Prime Steakhouse, the restaurant moved downtown and picked up where it left off as a Tampa favorite, but with updated d�cor and menu offerings. Malio's is frequented by Tampa's movers and shakers, from mayors to professional athletes, and was the favorite of late New York Yankee's owner, George Steinbrenner. As befitting the clientele, the dress code here is business casual. The d�cor is modern classic and the ambiance is romantic featuring dim lighting and intimate seating. Take advantage of the views offered by Malio's location on the Hillsborough River by requesting to sit on the upper tier of the restaurant, or outside on their cigar-friendly patio.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Located in downtown Tampa, Malio's dim lighting and intimate seating are perfect for a romantic tryst.

Skye's expert tip: Parking can be an issue. Patrons can get validated parking at a nearby garage on North Ashley Street, or valet park.

Read more about Malio's Prime Steakhouse →




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.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Ciro's Speakeasy in Tampa takes you back in time to the romantic prohibition era and offers curtained alcoves for loving couples.

Skye's expert tip: Well known for their carefully curated selection of artisan cocktails and skilled bartenders.

Read more about Ciro's Speakeasy and Supper Club →


4
East Tampa
Council Oak
Photo courtesy of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino


Sleek and sophisticated, Council Oak Steaks & Seafood is located in Tampa's Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. A popular destination for prime steaks, fresh seafood and selections from the award winning wine list, the atmosphere is contemporary and upscale, and the service is second-to-none. The steaks at Council Oak are 100% U.S.D.A. prime, dry aged 21 to 28 days, and cut on-site in their own butcher shop. Seafood options include fresh and local fish, Alaskan King Crab legs and their custom saltwater tanks are filled with live Maine lobsters. Live entertainment is provided nightly Sunday - Thursday in the lounge which also offers a carefully curated menu of happy hour appetizers and craft cocktails. Reservations are recommended.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Council Oak is an upscale steakhouse with a sophisticated, intimate ambiance, the perfect place to create the perfect impression.

Skye's expert tip: If you loved your steak, the on-site butcher shop will sell you your favorite cuts to take home.

Read more about Council Oak →




Mise en Place is an intimate, well-appointed restaurant located across from the University of Tampa. As a pioneer of the chef-driven restaurant model a signature of this bistro is the ever-rotating menu specializing in New American cuisine. You are almost guaranteed to find something you've never had before, like sous vide venison loin or mustard pecan crusted rack of lamb. The flavors reflect the Chef Marty Blitz's creativity and love of food and the region. Mise en Place also offers a substantial cheese and charcuterie selection, as well as a decadent dessert menu listing creations such as the molten chocolate beignet.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Mise en Place in downtown Tampa features classic cuisine prepared by one of the city's most most well regarded chefs.

Skye's expert tip: The intimate ambiance makes this the perfect spot for a romantic rendezvous.

Read more about Mise en Place →




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.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Tampa's landmark Columbia Restaurant, featuring romantic ambiance and passionate Flamenco dancing, is guaranteed to get the heart pumping faster.

Skye's expert tip: The unique Flamenco show runs twice nightly except for Sundays.

Read more about Columbia Restaurant →




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.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Romance at Bern's Steakhouse is found in their famous dessert room with private seating, soft music, and decadent sweets and cordials.

Skye's expert tip: The staff at Bern's welcome you into their kitchen and wine cellar. Just ask your server for a tour.

Read more about Bern's Steak House →


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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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