My List of Tampa’s Top Restaurants

tampa restaurant great sushi

Tampa has disappointed me lately. I go out to eat every single night, and I need more places. Unfortunately for me, restaurants don’t just crop up in cities every single day. I’ve been forced to rely on my old favorites, not that I mind eating at them. I’m going to review each of my favorite restaurants while waiting for my food, so you guys can maybe potentially become regulars there as well.

tampa restaurant bartaco tacos

Before I start, let me first address something. I’m going to try to emulate a professional food reviewer’s perspective, so there will be specific things in each restaurant that I am looking for. First, there’s Bartaco. As the name suggests, this restaurant serves tacos. Among other things as well, like enchiladas and more obscure things like sesame ribeye. Located in Hyde Park in Tampa, you’l be eating right on the coast.

This means two things. One, you’re in for some nice scenery. Especially if you choose to be seated in the outdoor area. Second, you’re guaranteed to be eating some very fresh fish. Florida is known for the quality of its fish, which is no surprise to me. My favorite dish is the fried oyster tacos, but I also love Bartaco’s ceviche.

One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the food is fried, which I’ll get to later in the review. Don’t worry about bringing a picky eater to Bartaco, because there is basically a taco for every food on the planet. They put chicken, vegetables, and even tofu in them! I know that tacos aren’t for everyone, and this is where those people are finally in luck.

Not only are there plenty of vegan options, but this Tampa restaurant goes out of their way to make sure the widest selection of food is available. I’m talking about fried plaintains, grilled corn, and even bottled Coke. Drinking Coca-Cola out of a bottle makes it taste way better, in my opinion. Maybe that’s just me. Another thing that potential food critics will be looking for is the quality of the service.

Food is vital to a restaurant’s reputation, but if the service is bad then how are you even supposed to get the food, let alone order it? Fortunately, Bartaco has some amazing servers. I mean, they are some of the most professional waiters that I have ever seen. They can balance between making sure you have everything you need and leaving you in peace so you can eat your food.

Each one of them knows every item on the menu, so don’t be afraid to ask what everyone else is ordering. I like quizzing them on what ingredients are in my order, just to see if they know. But of course, they always do. The last thing that food critics are usually keeping an eye out for is cleanliness. If you want to dive really deep into the sanitation in Bartaco, then I can tell you a story about the kitchen.

One time I was feeling somewhat bold and thought that it would be nice to watch the chefs go to town on all their fresh ingredients. It was around closing time, and I was the last person in the Tampa restaurant so the owner agreed. He’s a very nice man, by the way. Even doubles as a waiter when it’s really busy or just understaffed (usually the former). Anyways, I’m inside of Bartaco’s kitchen, and I can’t find a single thing that’s dirty.

All the lights were on, and everything is just sparkling and shining. A health inspector would think that they had died and gone to heaven. The kitchen’s exhaust hood was probably the cleanest thing, which surprised me the most.

After all, with the amount of frying and grease that is involved in making Mexican food, you would think that there was a ton of grease in it. Bartaco must have gotten a great deal from an amazing Tampa hood cleaning company. I wish I could have left great online reviews for each time I enjoyed the food.

tampa restaurant breakfast food

Honestly, there’s not much else that I can cover. Luckily for me there are a few things that set these next few restaurants apart, because otherwise the review would just have to end here. Bear in mind that each one of the restaurants on this list has similar, if not the same quality.

If any of them were lacking then they wouldn’t be my favorite anymore, would they? Daily Eats is up next, and for good reason. You’ll find this Tampa restaurant in Hyde Park as well, kinda close to the coast. The majority of the menu here is breakfast foods, and it almost makes me wish that every meal of the day was breakfast.

I have to say, I appreciate the interior decorations. There’s an aesthetic in Daily Eats that can’t be beat. It’s just very tasteful decor overall, without going over the top. Much appreciated. For anyone who’s dying to learn more info about Daily Eats, look online at the many great reviews.

tampa sushi restaurant amazing

The last restaurant I’ll mention is Soho Sushi, but don’t discredit it because it’s the last one. Soho Sushi gets everything right, just as the previous two restaurants did. My body can only handle so much raw fish, so I save this Tampa restaurant for special occasions. Make sure you’re nearby Oakford Park in Tampa.

I know that sushi can get very expensive because it’s seen as a luxury, but don’t worry about that at Soho Sushi. I’ve always been surprised at how great everything tastes, and how reasonable everything is priced as well. Fresh ingredients and great prices? It almost sounds too good to be true.

Clearly a lot of Tampa residents had the same idea as me, otherwise I can’t really explain why there are so many great reviews online on yelp and google. Overall, I love all these restaurants. It’s tough to pick a favorite, and luckily for me I won’t ever have to. I can eat at each one as many times as I want, and because they’re super popular, I doubt any of them will be going away anytime soon.

Good and Affordable Miami Restaurant Dining

miami restaurants review

Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink info:

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I’m still relatively new to Miami, as I’ve only really vacationed here once before. Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink is one of the places my friends suggested for me to eat, and it was by far the most interesting place I’ve eaten at in Miami. From what I’ve heard, Michael’s is in the more expensive side of town, the Miami design district. However, our food was reasonably priced for what we got and it was amazing. The menu itself had great variety, accommodating anyone from children to self-proclaimed “foodies” such as myself.

Miami has a lot of restaurants since it’s a tourism hotspot, but Michael’s didn’t try to take advantage of tourists. They just provided genuinely good food (no pun intended) that happened to be in Miami I read the reviews for Michael’s while waiting for my food, and it was really well reviewed online. One of the few complaints was bad service, but I didn’t experience any such issue. The wait staff was friendly and brought my food quickly. Parking wasn’t an issue, even in such a densely populated area.

That’s probably just because of the tourism in Miami, though. It’s an old habit of mine, but I like to check out the kitchens whenever I dine at a new restaurant. There were no issues that I could see, and their hoods were very well maintained. Michael must have invested in a great Miami hood cleaning company. Some places have open-air kitchen where you can peek in and see all of the safety violations just waiting to happen. I was pleasantly surprised with Michael’s, enough to have a genuine reason to keep coming back to Miami time and time again.

Prohibition Restaurant and Speakeasy info:

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The day after visiting Michael’s, I went to Prohibition Restaurant and Speakeasy for dinner. Prohibition is located near midtown Miami, which is normally a pretty crowded area. I’m not sure how, but they manage to keep their area open and free enough so you can chat with your friends while you eat together. My review is only being added into the mountain of high ratings.

It’s not every day that you see a restaurant that can pull off an antique theme, but Prohibition does it well and even includes some unique old-timey cocktails. I went in expecting Prohibition to be another place with some gimmick to set themselves apart from their competitors, but they actually do the Prohibition theme very well. The menu doesn’t only contain names with puns in them, the drinks are very well thought out and planned. You would think that a place in midtown Miami is expensive, but the dishes are priced reasonably for the quality and quantity that they serve you. Prohibition’s wait staff was also very friendly and worked in a timely manner.

A lot of restaurants have waiters that don’t operate well under duress, but Prohibition breaks the cycle. I also want to give a special shout-out to the party accommodations, because there was a large group with an especially grumpy old man who wanted things his way and the manager was still able to meet his needs. I now have two reasons to come back to Miami, and a whole menu full of reasons to come back for dessert later tonight. My mom always used to tell me not to eat dessert after 7 PM, but it’s always after 7 somewhere.

Bourbon Steak by Michael Mina info:

miami restaurants

Bourbon Steak by Michael Mina offers a less expensive alternative to steak houses that dramatically inflate their prices for the same quality as any other places. Located near Golden Beach in Miami, they offer some of best steak I’ve eaten in Miami. I understand that steak isn’t everyone’s thing, because I’m one of those people. What you have to understand about Bourbon Steak is that they don’t just serve steak, and their menu is actually packed full of a variety of amazing dishes. Located in Steak is this restaurant’s speciality, which is an almost hyperbolic understatement.

They get everything about steak right, and I don’t even like steak. As a child, I would always try it at places like the Texas Roadhouse. You haven’t had a real steak until you try Bourbon. A lot of my friends who live in Miami always tell me that a good steak is the same no matter where you go, but I actually introduced them to this restaurant this time around. I dined here last time I was in Miami, on a smaller budget, and Bourbon Steak met my budgetary needs. Bourbon really does deserve all the great reviews that it keeps getting.

One thing Bourbon does differently from other restaurants is serving you fries while you wait, instead of bread. But here’s the kicker: they also serve you a bunch of different dipping sauces. That was by far my favorite part of eating at Bourbon. I’m a real sauce guy, especially with french fries. Additionally, the tables were clean before we sat down. It’s gonna be tough adjusting to regular food once my vacation ends. Maybe I’ll just have to move to Miami?

Lobster Bar Sea Grille info:

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Last but not least during my trip, I went to the esteemed Lobster Bar Sea Grille. On the seventh day, God rested. But on the eighth day, God made Lobster Bar Sea Grille. I have to say that if I was going to eat myself into a stupor anywhere in Fort Lauderdale, it would be here. This restaurant isn’t quite located in Miami, but it was definitely worth the trip. Somehow I managed yet again to stay under budget, and I ordered a LOT of food. It even passed my own personal restaurant test. Service, check. Price, check. Quality of food, check. My main reason for visiting here was the great reviews it keeps getting, and the hype did not lie.

The volume was also tolerable which can be really hard to come by in more touristy areas in Florida. Sometimes you have to scream over the DJ’s country/R&B fusion mixtape, or you’re battling the people sitting behind you for the ability to hear whoever you’re dining with. Even if you aren’t much into seafood, Lobster Bar Sea Grille does a great job of accommodating people who eat things that live solely on land. The best part about this restaurant was actually the fact that I wasn’t sick to my stomach when I left.

Seafood can have that effect on you, depending where you go. It always makes or breaks my stay at a restaurant when I see the wait staff smiling, because you can tell that they’re trying to make your experience pleasurable, no matter what they’re going through. Lobster Bar Sea Grille was definitely the perfect conclusion for my trip to Miami and other parts of Florida, and I am looking forward to my next visit with open arms. Retirement never sounded so good to someone who isn’t even in their 30s yet.

Greatest restaurant ever?

For those of you who live in Reno, NV, you know that there are plenty of great options for food. You can get sushi, fast food, thai, mexican, and sometimes even some amazing clam chowder. Claim Jumper makes some great chowder, but so does the Purple Parrot at the Atlantis casino. Most of the places I remember eating when I lived off of Toll Road were the Tamarack Junction, and home. I honestly don’t remember much from back then, and it makes me sad to think about. If you ever go to the Legends sports bar, I could probably name all the staff there. They know my dad by name and they always conversate with him while taking our order.

He even has a “usual” that he can order. We brought Steph with us last time we were there, and she knocked over her glass of ice water into his lap. I still tease her about it, which she hates. Famous Dave’s is by far the best barbecue place in town. I usually only go there when I’m in a group bigger than two, so we get the feast for however many people we have eating with us. The sweet & zesty sauce that they serve there is also literally the best sauce I’ve ever eaten. I always make sure I have a bottle in the fridge, because it tastes good on everything that barbecue sauce does, plus more. It even tastes good on cornbread, which is good because I can’t stand dry food. The feasts typically come with chicken breast, cornbread, corn, baked beans, ribs, and your choice of brisket or something else.

I wouldn’t know the other options because there’s no way I’m passing up some Famous Dave’s brisket. One thing they do that I’m extremely appreciative of is that they don’t have to get up and clap and play super loud music while you’re trying to enjoy your food. Cough Texas Roadhouse cough. My grandpa would literally just get up and leave if that ever happened to him. Why is it necessary to make so much noise that people have to shout over each other? My friends who do good restaurant hood cleaning agree with me. They should just have a “loud” section that’s barred off from people who want to enjoy a normal meal.