Food & Drink

Best Places For A First Date

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Valentine's Day
When it comes to making that all-important first impression, nothing matters more for a couple than the first date. The goal of a first date is to lead to the second date, right? But, should you go for opulence? Cultural? Outdoorsy? So many choices, so little time to decide. Tampa is simply teeming with options, so have no fear. Take a look below and find the perfect place to get to know the person of your dreams. – Steve Hartsoe

Oystercatchers

2900 Bayport Drive
Tampa, FL 33607
(813) 207-6815
www.oystercatchers.com

So, let’s start with opulent. Nothing compares with Oystercatchers’ panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico, unless of course, it’s the food. If you’re looking for ambiance, look no further than Oystercatches, located at the Grand Hyatt. Wood floors, pendant lighting and wide-open spaces make this an unparalleled setting for a first date, but it’s the food that will take you back for the second! The dinner menu includes such classics as lobster tail and new favorites like lobster macaroni and cheese. Linger a little over dessert and a glass of wine from the well-stocked cellar and watch the sun set over the ocean. Romantic doesn’t begin to describe it! Dinner hours are Monday through Sunday, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. For a more casual date, why not choose lunch? Served Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Oystercatchers offers a slightly scaled-back lunch menu, with equal panache. For a more casual date, Sunday brunch is served from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tampa Museum of Art

120 Gasparilla Plaza
Tampa, FL 33602
www.tampamuseum.org

If you find that great art sparks great conversation, maybe a cultural first date is more your speed. If that’s the case, nothing impresses like the Tampa Museum of Art. Located next to the Hillsborough River, the Tampa Museum of Art is home to the Joseph Veach Noble Collection of Greek and Roman artifacts, as well as nearly 400 paintings and a photography collection. Special exhibits have included American Impressionism and the steel work of Dominique Labauvie, a Tampa-based sculptor. See a show in the museum theater, attend one of their many special events or take a class together. Also on site is the Sono Café. Open every day of the week, the Café features lovely views of the river and a menu based on Italy’s “slow food” movement. Wine, coffee, desserts, views and great art – what more could you ask for on a first date? Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hillsborough River State Park

15402 U.S. 301
Thonotosassa, FL 33592
(813) 987-6771
www.floridastateparks.org/hillsboroughriver

Located just nine miles from Tampa, this is one of Florida’s premier outdoor destinations. Enjoy biking, hiking, canoeing, kayaking or take a dip in the park’s swimming pool, open Memorial Day to Labor Day. The park also features a café and concessions area that is great for grabbing a sit-down lunch or collecting supplies for a romantic picnic. General admission is $6 per vehicle; additional fees apply for camping and equipment rentals. Hours: 365 days a year, 8 a.m. to sundown.

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