Tampa Bay Journals

Tampa, The Real Florida

A January 1993 trip to Tampa Bay by Andrea H.

Quote: Tampa, the real Florida with real Floridians. This moderately large city is a blend of cracker barrel Floridians, transplanted Americans, senior citizens, and Cuban descendants. Teddy Roosevelt left from Tampa for Cuban during the Spanish/American War with the Rough Riders.

Tampa, The Real Florida

Overview

Quote:
There is Busch Gardens, go to the beaches in St. Pete (Tampa has a beach, but it is not as nice as it's on the Causeway), check out the University of South Florida, eat at a lot of great restaurants (Outback was founded here), eat some great seafood, check out MacDill Air Force Base, play some great golf courses (there's a Tournament Players Club there), go to Ybor City, see the old cigar factories, and eat some great Cuban food. Tampa is a laid back town. It seems like a small town but it is very metropolitan. It still has that old Southern feel to it. Check out Po Boys for some great Southern fried steak. There is Spanish moss hanging from the trees and because it is located on a bay, at night ...Read More

Bern's Steak House

Restaurant | "Bern's Steakhouse"

Quote:
This is one of the finest restaurants that I have ever eaten at! The wine list alone will make your head spin. It is the size of a telephone book. I shared the Chatebriand for two and it was marvelous. This restaurant is costly but it is well worth it. It is much better than Morton's or the Capital Grill because it is an orginal. The decor is garish but that makes the place even more intriguing. To become a waiter in this restaurant you must start out on their farm where they grow their vegetables. After a year of doing that, you get to come to the restaurant and begin your journey, but that is how it is with everything in this restaurant. They believe that to do things right takes...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 30, 2003

Bern's Steak House
1208 South Howard Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33606
(813) 251-2421

Donatello

Restaurant

Quote:
This is another unknown gem in the Tampa area. The building is not fancy outside but the food inside is delicious. The owner Guido Tiozzo worked at the Savoy in London and Hotel du Berg in Geneve and applies their principles of quality and tradition to his food. The waitstaff are very courteous and efficient without being annoying, which is a dying art form. They serve one of the best Ossobuco Milanese I have ever tasted and their Fiorentina Alla Griglia (Grilled Porterhouse, certified Black Angus 25 oz.) is definitely for the steak expert. For dessert they serve delicate Profiterols and have a souffle Grand-Marnier. If you want gourmet Italian food and not just spaghetti and meatballs, this is t...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 30, 2003

Donatello
232 North Dale Mabry Highway
Tampa, Florida 33609
(813) 875-6660

Malio's Steak House

Restaurant

Quote:
When you walk into this place, you think you've walked into a scene from The Sopranos. You will notice quite a few big mafioso types hanging out here along with sports figures and celebrities. Burt Reynolds is known to frequent this restaurant and was dating a waitress there during the big Loni Anderson divorce. Nonetheless, the food here is delicious. If you like meat, this is the place for you. If you are able to, ask to sit in one of the private booths in the back. They have a button so you can ring for your waitress when you want the next course or if you want a refill on your drink. You won't be disappointed if you dine here and you will have a hard time walking away because you g...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 30, 2003

Mel's Hot Dogs

Restaurant

Quote:
If you are a gourmet hot dog eater, you'll love Mel's. Mel has been a staple in Tampa since the 70s. He only serves the best all-beef weiners. You will find a lot of Northerners in Mel's, especially from Chicago and New York because it is so hard to find a good hot dog in the South.

Mel's is not far from Busch Gardens, almost across the street in fact, so if you are going to Busch Gardens, I would save my appetite for Mel's and eat there instead of eating awful park food. All of his hot dogs and buns are steamed, not boiled, so they aren't greasy.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 30, 2003

Mel's Hot Dogs
4136 East Busch Boulevard
Tampa Bay, Florida 33617
(813) 985-8000

Melting Pot

Restaurant | "The Melting Pot"

Quote:
The Melting Pot is very unique eating experience. The food served is fondue. The tables all have built in burners in the center where they put pots of cheese, hot oil, or chocolate, depending on what you are having(main meal or dessert). The appetizer will be cubes of bread and fruit (apples). They will melt a pot of guyere cheese and give you skewers to dip the bread and fruit into. For dinner you will be given different kinds of meats and then you will dip them into hot oil to cook them. For dessert you can get a pot of chocolate for dipping fruit into. Delicious. Definitely worth trying if you want a new experience.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 30, 2003

Melting Pot
13164 North Dale Mabry Highway
Tampa Bay, Florida 33618
(813) 962-6936

Teresita

Restaurant | "La Teresita"

Quote:
This place has some of the best and cheapest Cuban food in the area. It is certainly not fancy, and there are no tables. You sit at a lonng counter with other people you have never met. This is a great place to go if you want to mingle with the locals or do not feel like eating by yourself. This place is always busy because people are getting to go orders or just stopping in for a "cortadito". If you like cuban coffee, this is the place, forget about Starbucks. If you like "Vaca Frita" (fried beef) or Puerco Asado with plenty of Mojo you have come to the right place. They have specials everyday of the week and are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you speak Spanish, it is even better. ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 30, 2003

Teresita
3204 West Columbia Drive
Tampa Bay, Florida 33607
(813) 879-4909