Best Romantic Dining in Tampa

Fuel the Passion at World-Class Tampa Restaurants

Couples looking for a romantic evening will find many tempting options in Tampa. Choices for spending quality alone time range from historic romance, to cozy and charming, to contemporary chic. Whatever your preference, couples can select from this list of Tampa's top ten romantic eateries guaranteed to light your fire. 

Enjoy a little intrigue with your romance at Ciro's Speakeasy. With a prohibition-era theme, secret passwords, staff in character, and private curtained alcoves, lovers will feel transported back in time. 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? 


Anchor and Brine
Photo courtesy of Anchor and Brine

With expansive terrace dining and views of Garrison Channel, Anchor and Brine is ideally located in the Tampa Marriott Water Street on the downtown Riverwalk. Mixed seating provides a variety of options from hanging out at the outdoor or indoor bars, traditional tables, and lounge seating. As the name indicates, the menu is focused on seafood and features a raw bar stocked with fresh oysters and their signature ceviche. Other seafood delicacies include grilled octopus, grouper, and pan seared scallops. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner as well as brunch on the weekends. Popular with locals and hotel guests alike, this is the perfect spot to stop for a casual bite while you're out exploring Tampa's downtown attractions.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Colorful sunsets combine with Latin-inspired seafood cuisine to create romance at Tampa's Anchor and Brine restaurant.

Skye's expert tip: Call ahead and reserve a table on the Riverwalk to feel part of the action while also maintaining some privacy.

Read more about Anchor and Brine →

Set slightly away from the downtown bustle on Harbor Island, 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 →


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 tours of Tampa Bay, 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 →


Understated elegance and a premiere dining experience await you at this celebrated restaurant. The décor sets the stage for romance with white-clad tables set with fresh roses, crystal and china. The perfect lead-in to 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 Restaurant in Tampa combines authentic Italian cuisine with 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 played on the 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 décor 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 décor is modern classic and the ambiance is very romantic with soft 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 sophisticated style, subdued lighting and intimate seating are perfect for a romantic tryst.

Skye's expert tip: Patrons can get validated parking at a nearby garage on North Ashley Street, or take advantage of the valet parking.

Read more about Malio's Prime Steakhouse →

Ciro's is a 1920s 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 for the password 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. Expert barkeeps create 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: Time travel back to the prohibition era at Ciro's Speakeasy in Tampa complete with curtained dining alcoves that are perfect 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 →

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. A pioneer of the chef-driven restaurant model, the 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 Chef Marty Blitz's creativity and love of food and Florida. Mise en Place offers a substantial cheese and charcuterie selection, as well as a decadent dessert menu that lists creations such as the molten chocolate beignet.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Mise en Place in downtown Tampa is the perfect date night spot featuring classic cuisine prepared by one of the city's top 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 in the main dining room 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 Dessert room for decadent desserts, after-dinner drinks and dancing. Jacket, tie and reservations are required.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: After a delicious Bern's Steakhouse dinner, turn up the romance 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 →


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