Tampa has sun, fun and a diverse food scene. The restaurants here have everything from freshly caught seafood to popular cultural dishes. Some of these including Italian dishes, BBQ, deviled crab, Spanish bean soup, grouper and Cuban sandwiches which have stood the test of time. Handcrafted and local make the best menus!

There is something at these 12 restaurants for every craving. They are all a must-try next time you are in the Tampa area!

Originally Published: May 12, 2022

12 Best Restaurants in Tampa

The Rusty Pelican

The Rusty Pelican has a beautiful setup right on the water surrounded by palm trees. You will really feel like you are on a tropical vacation!  The menu includes some of the freshest locally caught seafood and other tasty American fare. The Crab-Stuffed Gulf Grouper and Crispy Whole Local Snapper are well-known favorites. They also host private events and a great happy hour! You can’t beat dinner, drinks and sunset over the water!

Whiskey Joe’s 

Whiskey Joe’s brings a little of the Caribbean to Florida. They are affiliated with the Rusty Pelican and also offer delicious local seafood with a Caribbean flair. Additionally they have a super fun World Famous Barefoot Tiki Bar. This tiki bar boasts 30 types of margaritas and over 40+ tiki cocktails, local beers, palapas, fire pits and live entertainment. What more could you ask for? This is a great spot to enjoy a cocktail, great meal and watch the sunset.


This traditional Italian restaurant serves up authentic flavors with a twist. They mix cuisine from northern and southern Italy to create a rich rustic flavor. The craft cocktail list is also incredible. One of the most unique things about this place is the working dough room. You can actually see mozzarella and dough being made. It doesn’t get more homemade than that!

Deviled Pig

BBQ at its finest! Deviled Pig offers pitmaster pizzas and amazing BBQ creations. The “Deviled Pig” which is a combination of smoked pulled pork, onions, peppers, Tampa original spices and then panko crusted and deep fried with a dusting of pig powder is a local favorite along with the Pitmaster Queban. Come here hungry!


This steakhouse has been around for over 35 years. They graciously offer USDA Prime Beef, the freshest seafood available (featuring coldwater lobster tails) and over 200 curated wines. The service is impeccable. The atmosphere is formal, but welcoming.

Salt Shack on the Bay

This awesome beachfront restaurant offers casual dining with fantastic views. They are known for good vibes and good food. The seafood here could not be fresher. They also make a fantastic cocktail!

Spinners Rooftop Grille 

This rooftop grille offers gorgeous views and a great menu. The menu features locally caught seafood, beef and pork sourced from premium ranchers and so much more!

Oxford Exchange 

This spot offers a little bit everything. It is part bookshop, part store and part restaurant. It is an all around experience you will not want to miss. The brunch is incredible and breakfast is served all day, every day.


Looking for some of the best Italian food in Tampa? Look no further. Esposito’s offers fantastic homecooked food. The menu is traditional with some family secrets that make it extra special.

Gaspar’s Grotto

Gaspar’s is known to be one of the best outdoor restaurants in the area. It’s also pirate-themed with a fun laid back vibe. Everything on the menu is done to perfection including the pork Havana.

Timpano Hyde Park

This Italian eatery has a large tasty menu with all sorts of delicious Italian fare including a fantastic Florida tomato panzanella and incredible oysters. The atmosphere is cozy and welcoming with a fun cocktail bar scene.

Oak & Ola

This fantastic EuroAmerican restaurant is located in the Armature Works. The menu is filled with unique dishes that will thrill your tastebuds. This small scratch kitchen excels with every dish. They also host special events with top notch hospitality.


Hi, I'm Jen and I love to travel, go to the beach and write about all the places I have visited. I also have a bucket list of places I can't wait to try! I've visited Cape Cod every summer since I was a kid and now enjoy traveling to all great beach destinations, including Florida! I have worked in the travel industry for all of my career. I love sharing my experiences of different restaurants and places and helping travelers find the best fit for them!

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