If you ask five of your friends what a “foodie” is, you’ll probably get five different answers. Some people that call themselves “foodies” eat a diet based on organic, locally grown foods. Some people equate the word “foody” with “food snob.” Still others say being a foodie means trying exotic new foods. No matter what type of foodie you are, there is a great bar for you in Tampa Bay.
104 2nd Street South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Z Grille is a sanctuary for sophisticated foodie fun. This charming small grille is named after the owner and chef Zach Gross. The menu will satisfy even the most picky foodie. The Jalapeño Goat Cheese Creamed Corn is divinley impressive, the Dr. Pepper ribs melt in your mouth and the deviled eggs that come in different varieties will love to you mouth in sinful ways. Zach’s sense of humor finds it’s way into all parts of the menu. From the Red Solo Cup Cocktail (Rum and Pepsi) to the BBBLT sandwich (bacon, bacon, bacon, lettuce, tomato) at lunch, his light-hearted attitude doesn’t let you get too caught up in the fact that he is a famous chef.
Boca Kitchen Bar and Market
901 W. Platt St.
Tampa, FL 33606
Boca embraces a true farm-to-table lifestyle. All produce is gathered from local farms and displayed in a glass display case, with the names of the farms listed on a chalkboard at the front of the restaurant. Meat and poultry is organic and seafood is caught fresh daily. With these high-quality fresh ingredients, Boca serves up a variety of appetizers, salads and flatbreads, including prosciutto and teleggio fig jam, smoked salmon on ciabatta bread, roasted red pepper and granna pesto and tapenade trio. The bar includes a huge selection of beer and wine in addition to cocktails, such as the huckleberry hound and Boca-rita.
Clearwater Wine Bar & Bistro
483 Mandalay Ave., Suite 113
Clearwater Beach, FL 33767
This “European-inspired wine bar, eatery, wine shop is the perfect place on Clearwater Beach to sample eclectic Mexican/Mediterranean food while enjoying great wine or a craft beer. They offer over 40 wines by the glass and have over 140 bottles to choose from. They imported cheeses and Sangria will bring a smile to any foodies face. They hold FREE wine tastings throughout the month and have live music every Friday & Saturday nights in their charming and earthy green courtyard.
Datz Delicatessen & Foodie Market
2616 S. MacDill Ave.
Tampa, FL 33629
Datz is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, and is hailed by local food critics as a foodie’s paradise. There are some comfort food favorites like poutine, burgers and chicken salad, but the real adventure is in the unique flavor creations like the honeyed salmon, chicken ‘n’ waffle salad and pistachio cranberry quinoa. Foodies can also expect to see daily or weekly specials, such as the Wonder-Made marshmallows, hand made and flavored with bourbon or pumpkin pie. Pumpkin-palooza, a themed menu, includes dishes like pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin lattes and even pumpkin gelato. In addition to the beer and wine list, you can also wash your meal down with a Datz cocktail, such as an apple sage cooler or huckleberry lemonade.
Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant
10 Beach Drive
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Ceviche isn’t just dinner, it’s a truly excellent dining experience. With a tapas menu, live music, a bustling events calendar and constantly changing specials, you can really treat yourself to a night on the town. The authentic Spanish cuisine includes grilled octopus, baba ghanoush, huevos rellenos, paella, all types of seafood specialties and vegetarian dishes such as esparragos (grilled asparagus with field greens). The wine list includes whites, reds, blushes and sangria, and the libations menu features some delicious house specialties like the Spanish sidecar and agave nectarita.
Carmel Cafe and Wine Bar
14306 N. Dale Mabry Highway
Tampa, FL 33618
Carmel Cafe’s biggest attraction is placing your order on an iPad, but the experience doesn’t end there. There is an assortment of plate sizes to suit any appetite, including tapas, prix fixe, large plates and combinations. The menu features unique flavor combinations that include grilled lamb and veal sliders, edamame hummus, roasted red pepper muhammarra, meatball lollipop pomodoro, calamari frites and more. There is also an extensive wine list in addition to specialty cocktails, such as the gingered pear or cucumber twist. There is no end to the flavor adventure at Carmel Cafe.
A Taste for Wine
241 Central Ave.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
This upscale bar and lounge was voted St. Petersburg’s “Most Romantic Bar,” and it’s no surprise with its local artists’ gallery and live music. The extensive menu is packed with hard-to-find beers and wines and includes everything from ales to microbrews to chardonnay to non-alcoholic house creations. Enjoy your drink on a cozy couch or let your hair blow in the breeze on the balcony.
Amanda Mole has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil and cooking since she was tall enough to reach the stove. She believes that food provides more than just vital nutrients: it is an irreplaceable part of countless cultural and social activities. As a Tampa Bay resident for the past 21 years, she is well acquainted with the incredibly diverse range of restaurants, bars, and food festivals that the area has to offer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.