If you love wine, you should definitely check out Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant! They have the best happy hour in Tampa by far. Monday-Friday 3-6pm. Also, don't forget to check out their wine tasting. Become a member of the Wine Club, well worth it!
Best new spot for breakfast, brunch or lunch I would try Oxford Exchange
If you like farm to table, Boca Kitchen Bar Market is good.
We have some very good restaurants, but not sure they're in the amazing category (yet), but here are some places that might be worth checking out. Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe north of downtown is a nice place. Food is sort of like comfort food with great flavor. The place draws many from the local neighborhood, so it has a very friendly atmosphere.
Ulele Restaurant near downtown Tampa is a very nice place and the food is pretty good. Great location on a park along the river.
Haven Restaurant just reopened after a complete remodeling. I haven't been there yet, but my friends say its a really nice place to visit. I haven't gotten enough reviews on the food to recommend, but it sounds like a great place to have a drink. Very trendy place.
Mise En Place Restaurant in downtown tampa has been there for years and always has great food. Not really a casual place.
The Hyde Out is a great casual place with some really nice sushi. It gets crowded on a Friday/Saturday evening, as its also known as great bar for young people.
Ava, another new restaurant. It was voted one of the best restaurants in Tampa. I stopped in for drinks one night, but haven't eaten there yet. Nice thing is if you're here, afterwards, you can walk along Howard Avenue and visit some of the other restaurants and bars (Haven is just down the street).
Hope this helps.
This is one our favs Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe.
Hey Catherine! If this is your first time in Tampa then I would suggested a nice steak dinner at Bern's Steak House. It is one of a kind and cannot be beat! If you are looking for something less fancy but still amazing, head out to the Seminole Heights area to Rooster & the Till, Fodder & Shine, or Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe!
Koizi Endless Hibachi & Sushi Eatery - Excellent $10 (at lunch) all-you-can-eat sushi . Everybody eats there. It's awesome!
Mirage Restaurant - http://www.miragerestaurant.com/ Iranian buffet. Though it's a bit of a drive to Clearwater, the drive across the Campbell Causeway will be worth it. Trust me, try this place. It's pure ethnic and it's the best Iranian food in the country! You likely won't be disappointed. The buffet is only during lunch so make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to eat. Their Kabob is to die for! (no, i'm not affiliated with the establishment, just a beyond-satisfied regular customer).