What makes a local restaurant scene? It’s the relentless pursuit of the extraordinary, the bravery to break away from the tried and true, launch something new and trust that patrons will be adventurous enough to expand their horizons.
Tampa Bay’s restaurant scene showed no evidence of slowing this year as eateries of nearly every possible kind emerged. A Japanese-style listening bar with a rotating menu of Asian-inspired small plates? Check. Himalayan and Nepalese momo? Check. And on and on.
Now more than ever in Tampa Bay, if you can dream it you can eat it. Give these new Tampa Bay restaurants a try and be amazed.
Just when you think that it’s all been said and done when it comes to Italian cuisine, acclaimed chef Fabio Viviani returns with Taverna Costale, an upscale, coastal Italian restaurant with an emphasis on local seafood.“ Taverna Costale is the perfect blend of a rustic, Italian eatery, an energetic, local tavern and an upscale, modern restaurant,” co-owner Anthony Sandstrom says. “The inspiration was to bring a coastal Italian flare coupled with an exciting craft cocktail and beverage program to our guests.” Pescatarians will be delighted by the freshness of the fish, as well as the top-notch pasta, pizza and high-end cuts of steak with rich, authentic flavors.
200 Central Ave., Ste. 165, St. Petersburg
(727) 954-3863 | tavernacostale.com
FLocale brings together three major players in the Tampa Bay culinary scene to create a gathering place for those who love food, drink, art, music and ultimately — community. Two culinary fat cats combine their powers in full force at this Seminole Heights joint. Nashville hot chicken from the award-winning King of The Coop is offered along with pizza, cheese steaks and more from Westshore Pizza. Rock Brothers Brewing handles the drink side, with a great selection of local craft selections on tap, plus a full liquor menu and craft cocktails.“ Once you arrive, you’ll notice the art, the murals, the brick facade,” Dodd notes. “It’s electric, it’s hip, it’s inviting — it’s the quintessential sports bar.”
5910 N. Florida Ave., Tampa
(813) 232-2667 | flocale.com
Flipn’ Fries Factory
Flipn’ Fries Factory serves up crispy, loaded fries with flavorful toppings, such as honey garlic steak and shrimp, spicy jerk chicken, bacon cheese and more. Husband-wife team Jamila and Hunt Nicholson opened the unique concept on National French Fry Day 2022 at KRATE in Wesley Chapel. “We are proud to be Tampa Bay’s first specialty fries restaurant and are honored that it has already become one of the hottest new restaurants to visit,” Jamila says.
5840 Grand Oro Lane, Unit #102, Wesley Chapel
(813) 501-8706 | flipnfriesfactory.com
In Between Days
With no sign, no logo and an entirely minimalist web presence, In Between Days is a Japanese-style listening bar with an experience unlike any other.“ I wanted to create a space on par with the underground haunts of Tokyo, Berlin or New York, owner Zach Ashton explains. In a time of over-advertising and constant branding, we are a word-of-mouth establishment. It is a place of discovery that feels familiar the moment you walk in the door.” The result is hushed elegance with an underground edge. Come without expectations. Feast your palate on an ever-changing, Tokyo-inspired food menu, plus craft sake and natural wines, as you delight in the evening’s playlist.
2340 1st Ave. S., St. Petersburg
With herbs and spices flown in from Nepal, Rajesh Pathak is serving authentic, Himalayan-inspired Nepalese cuisine out of Gorkhali Kitchen. The menu features 80-year-old recipes from the owner’s homeland, recreated for Tampa Bay. “The love for the food itself has been here since childhood,” Pathak recalls. “Being here for 12 years now, opening Gorkhali was about filling a craving not just for the Nepalese community, but also introducing locals to Nepalese cuisine.” At Tampa Bay’s first Himalayan-inspired Nepalese restaurant, you’ll find foods traditional to Kathmandu city, such as momo and chatamari, a Nepalese pizza-style dish.
10044 Cross Creek Blvd., Tampa
(813) 388-6404 | gorkhalikitchentampa.com
In the mood for fine dining? Check out our Fine Dining Guide 2022.