Well, what are you hungry for?
Like any college town, there are literally hundreds of dining options from fast food to fast casual, from family style to fine dining. Whether you are eating dinner early or late, you will find your burgers, pizza, Mexican, Chinese, barbecue, sushi, salads, Mediterranean; a restaurant for every palate and every price point. Depending on whether you are touring with a prospective student or visiting your student in Tampa, who will undoubtedly be clamoring for a good meal, the options are plentiful. Some things to consider beforehand are price and time. It is not unusual for there to be a considerable wait, even with a reservation, on a game weekend or graduation, at some of the more popular selections.
So, because the Tampa Bay area is so large, I will share with you some great dining options all over the area.
Armature Works – Found on Tampa’s Riverwalk, you will love this restored multi-use building. It has different eateries, a public market and event spaces. For their calendar and details, click here.
Cantina Laredo – Located at the Wiregrass Mall, they offer excellent authentic Mexican food and drinks.
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen – Located at the Tampa Premium Outlets, they have a huge menu with options that will suit any taste.
Columbia Restaurant – This piece of Tampa’s history is where you will find authentic Spanish food and atmosphere. Located in Ybor City, must-haves are the Sangria, Cuban sandwich, Paella, and the 1905 Salad.
Ford’s Garage – Also located at the Outlets, they specialize in gourmet burgers.
On Swann – Located in Hyde Park in South Tampa, On Swann is a popular, classy place to be. Their food is great and the full bar has tons of great choices.
Prost Kitchen & Bar – This gastropub with a German flair has some great dishes and a full bar. It is also a craft kitchen so the menu changes. It is casual and a pretty restaurant that takes reservations, and is close to the school.
Rooster & The Till – This place is located in the ever-changing Seminole Heights neighborhood. It is up-and-coming with new construction and refurbishment and is a popular area for new places to eat and drink.
Sacred Pepper – This restaurant is located on N. Dale Mabry in north Tampa and is said to be Contemporary American with an Italian flair. It has a nice atmosphere and fresh seafood and pasta.
Stonewood Grill & Tavern – Located in Tampa Palms, Stonewood has great steaks and sides. Make a reservation to avoid a wait.
Ulele – Located downtown on Highland Ave, this unique restaurant on the Hillsborough River is popular. It has native-inspired dishes and a ten- foot diameter barbacoa grill. It is on Tampa’s Riverwalk, so a stroll along the river is worth the trip.
One thing to remember or consider is the time of year. In Tampa, there are many exciting events and some may bring large crowds. Gasparilla events, Lightning games, road races, and art festivals are just a few events that affect different areas of Tampa. Making reservations ahead of time will help make your night out easier. Call ahead and ask if there are any events that may make the restaurant more crowded.