A great meal is one of life’s major pleasures. As luck would have it, the Tampa area has an abundance of restaurants that can satisfy any craving. Tampa’s history and international appeal are evident in the diverse dining options available throughout the region.
With so many to choose from, it’s hard to narrow down favorite restaurants, but here are a few that offer not only great food, but a great story as well.
2117 E. Seventh Ave.
Tampa, FL 33605
The Columbia’s flagship location in Ybor City opened in 1905 and is Florida’s oldest restaurant.
At Columbia, diners enjoy many of the same century-old, world-famous family recipes, including entrees such as paella a la Valenciana, red snapper Adelita, pompano en papillote, roast pork a la Cubana and filet mignon Chacho. And no visit to the Columbia is complete without the famous 1905 salad.
On Friday and Saturday nights, visitors can enjoy a traditional flamenco dance performance. Call 813-248-4961 for reservations.
1200 S. Dale Mabry Hwy.
Tampa, FL 33629
Wright’s Gourmet House has been serving Tampa since 1963 when Marjorie and Pete Wright recognized a need for gourmet food in the area.
Since then, Wright’s Gourmet House has grown from a small storefront to an establishment with seating for more than 200. What hasn’t changed is its commitment to delicious, high-quality food.
Guests still enjoy Wright’s Gourmet House classics like the Golden Gate and beef martini sandwiches, “secret” rum cake, and the original bucket bread, which was created just for the restaurant.
3248 W. Columbus Drive
Tampa, FL 33607
The Capdevila family emigrated from Cuba to the United States in 1962, and in 1972 they opened the supermarket that would later become one of Tampa’s most loved restaurants.
Diners can choose between cafeteria-style dining at the original La Teresita or their sit-down experience, Capdevila’s at La Teresita. The cafeteria and the restaurant serve the same menu: Traditional Cuban favorites like stuffed plantain, chicken and yellow rice, and palomilla steak.
Coffee fans are in for a treat. La Teresita serves their popular espressos, cafe con leche, and cortaditos all day.
1208 S. Howard Ave.
Tampa , FL 33606
Since 1956, dinner at Bern’s Steak House has been so much more than a meal. The Bern’s Steak House experience includes prime, aged steaks that are cut to order, vegetables grown on the restaurant’s own farm, and one of the world’s largest wine collections.
If these weren’t reason enough to visit Bern’s Steak House, try the Harry Waugh Dessert Room. Built in 1985 using redwood wine casks, the dessert room contains 48 private rooms where guests can choose from nearly 50 desserts as well as a huge selection of wines, ports, sherries, and madeiras.
Bern’s Steak House enforces a dress code, so be sure to check the website for details.
5306 Palm River Road
Tampa, FL 33619
You haven’t had Thai food until you’ve eaten authentic Thai dishes prepared and served at an actual Thai temple.
For a dining experience like no other, don’t miss the Sunday Market at the Wat Mongkolratanaram Thai temple. Diners enjoy favorites like phat Thai, guiteow, som dom, egg rolls, and a variety of curries and desserts.
Guests are welcome to explore the temple grounds, and you can even purchase Thai fruit trees and vegetable plants during your visit. Food and plant purchases are cash only, so be sure to hit the ATM on the way.
Dining out should be an adventure, and these five restaurants provide experiences and history that set them apart from the crowd.
Though many restaurants are open again, it’s important to keep in mind that menus, hours, and seating may be affected by new rules and regulations. Call or check the website before your visit so you know what to expect when you arrive.