The Cheesecake Factory is in a particularly pleasant setting: the dining gallery of International Plaza in Tampa. It also has a lovely outdoor terrace so it's be a shame not to stop by. The cookie dough cheesecake is absolutely to die for. The portions are not cheap, but there are over twenty varieties and the portions are absolutely gigantic. The original manages to be firm yet melt-in-your-mouth creamy at the same town. The peanut butter cheesecake is also amazing. Don't miss it!
Just outside of the huge International Plaza Mall in southwest Tampa, the Gelateria Del Duomo is a great place is you need a break from the usual Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry's you find everywhere. They make homemade ice cream in many flavors, but I'd especially recommend the Nutella ice cream if they have it. The price ranges between $4-6.00.
Finding a nice place to have lunch that's not greasy, salty fast food can sometimes be a challenge in Tampa. Fortunately, there are some brands that offer fresh and refreshing salads for the health-conscious. TooJay's Original Gourmet Deli in International Plaza is a good example. They have a wide selection of salads and sandwiches but we ordered the grilled chicken with the mashed potatoes, vegetables and delicious gravy (U.S. $ 10.50), Shepherd's Pie, and veggie lasagna. A nice place if you're looking for a slightly healthier option.
GameWorks is an arcade-restaurant where you can have a good meal in a rather unusual setting. I especially like the salads like the Asian chicken salad with perfectly crisp marinated chicken and tender noodles. If you're looking for something a bit heavier, they also have a good selection of burgers and pizza.
Located on the ground floor of Centro Ybor, The Tampa Bay Brewing Company is a must for beer lovers looking to drink their hearts content amid a really wide variety of fairly-priced beers. The food is also good and you can get a half Cuban sandwich and a bowl of soup of the day for only $6.00. They also have a selection of freshly-made burgers for only $9.00.
Boasting a fantastic location, the first floor of Centro Ybor, Rock N Sports is one of the many restaurants in the area, but also one of the most fun and enjoyable. We love its lovely terrace overlooking the Centro Ybor, but also its low prices: "all you can eat" pasta for $8 (with extra garlic and a plate of green salad), you can get 50% off if you present a theater ticket, and a wide range of original and delicious salads. I recommend the salad called: salad surfer, which has grilled salmon, lime, served on a green salad copiously decorated with oranges, almonds, tortilla chips, and served with a strawberry vinaigrette. A very good place.
Located on the first floor of Centro Ybor and benefiting from a location that is both strategic and very pleasant, Theatro V is both a theater and a restaurant. I haven't tested the theater yet. The restaurant, although a bit more expensive than the average neighborhood deserves a try, if only for its fish cutlets (U.S. $23) served with rice and traditional "baked beans" emblematic of the region. A delightful and charming place.
Enjoying a strategic location in the heart of the Channelside District, located directly on the Tampa sea port , Howl at the Moon is one of the most popular bars in the city, and one of our favorite too. You can eat the most original meals, including a combination of grilled chicken and Belgian waffles served with mashed potatoes (a house specialty for 12 dollars), and a barbecued salmon barbecue served with green beans and mashed potatoes (delicious at $14). There is also a karaoke bar where the atmosphere is always wonderful!
Beef O'Brady's is an All-American restaurant with flat-screen TVs to watch the game and a few pool tables. It's located in the Marshall Student Center in the University of South Florida in Tampa. They serve good old-fashioned finger food like chicken wings (regular or boneless) in portions which range from six to basically infinity, hamburgers and cheeseburgers overflowing with onions, cheese, and pickles, and a wide selection of salads ranging from the traditional Caesar Salad to more original concoctions like Mandarin Chicken salads. The price comes out to about $10.00 per person including tax. The service is great and the portions are very generous. I'd highly recommend it!
The Rathskeller is a small fast food restaurant in the basement of the old (and famous) Tampa Bay Hotel on the campus of the University of Tampa. A lot of the place's charm comes from its location in the cellar of a historic building, but the food is quite good too. The salads are fresh, inexpensive, and made to order with the best ingredients. The homemade cookies will literally make your mouth water. You can get your lunch to go, but you can also eat in under the basement arches, a welcome respite from the South Florida heat. Good place for lunch!
Located next to University Mall, Planet Smoothie is one of the most popular smoothie places in the country and it's easy to understand why! The idea is simple: choose your smoothie, add additional fruit or food supplements (sports protein, weight loss powders, etc.), choose a size (22, 32 or 44 ounces), and you're ready to enjoy! We particularly liked the smoothies with milk or yogurt. The smoothies are low carb & low calories, though there are a few heavier options like chocolate and peanut butter. We all need a bit of indulgence, after all!
Franky Gourmet is a nice little snack bar at Tampa International Airport. They sell soda, cookies, hot dogs (especially good), and a range of refreshing smoothies. I got a mango smoothie, actually, as I had a craving for fruit. It's a nice place that stand a little above the rest of the restaurants and bars at the Tampa Airport.
Spurs is a cool and funky little bar in the heart of Ybor City. They have a nice shaded terrace and hold karaoke sessions regularly. You get a free shot with every song you sing, so even if you're nervous at first, you won't be soon!
The Food Court at Westfield Citrus Park in Tampa is a small, typical food court with a dozen or so restaurants to order from. They have a bit of everything: Asian, Italian, pizza...even a Johnny Rocket's. There's also a Haagen Dazs and Nestle sort in case you need to satisfy your sweet tooth.