Best Of 2019

Winner: Bern’s Steak House,
Second Place: Ulele,
Runner Up: Bella’s Italian Café,
See all winners from Best of the Bay 2019.

Best of the Bay 2019 Food & Drink: Our critics and readers pick all the best things that made their mouths water in 2019.


Critics' Picks

Best Hype Thirst Quencher

Best Weekly $5 Burger

Best Protein Fix On-The-Go

Best Local Nutrition Counseling

Best Bar Crawl For A Cause

Best Tampa Mazzaro’s

Best Vagina-Forward Bar

Best “Phew”

Best Expensive Gourmet Food Located On The Surface Of The Sun

Best Drink That Comes With A Show

Best Highly-Anticipated Opening

Best Back Of The House

Best Public Overrated Drama

Best Hot Restaurant Opening

Best Eats At A Track Meet

Best Friendly Fish Monger

Best Small Plates Eatery

Best Old-School Seafood House

Best Surprise Secret Ingredient

Best Chef

Best New Restaurant

Best Beer Service Idea

Best Whiskey Playground Weekend

Best Lunch Small Plate

Best Veggie Sides

Best Bouillabaisse

Best Pork Overload

Best Top Chef’s Playground

Best Budget Tour Of Asian Cuisine

Best Place To Eat With Your Hands

Best Ducky Synchronization

Best Date Night You Probably Forgot About

Best Guiltless Guilty Pleasure

Best Unofficial CL Staff Breakroom

Best Off-The-Grid Soul Food

Best Bowing Bartender

Best Alfresco Starter

Best Plated Cheesecake

Best Sunset Views With Drink In Hand

Readers' Picks


Best Acai Bowl

Best All-Around Restaurant
Best Bagels

Best Bakery (Bread)

Best Bakery (Pastries)

Best Banh Mi

Best Bar Crawl

Best Barbecue Restaurant

Best Bargain Restaurant

Best Barista

Best Bartender

Best Beach Bar

Best Beach Restaurant

Best Breakfast

Best Brewer

Best Brunch

Best Brunch For Boozing

Best Burgers

Best Charcuterie

Best Chef

Best Chicken Sandwich

Best Chinese Restaurant

Best Clearwater Restaurant

Best Cocktails

Best Coffee Shop

Best Cold-Pressed Juice

Best Cuban Coffee

Best Cuban Restaurant

Best Cuban Sandwich

Best Desserts

Best Devil Crab

Best Diner

Best Dive Bar

Best Dog-Friendly Bar

Best Doughnuts

Best Draft Selection

Best Dunedin Restaurant

Best Eggs Benedict

Best Fish & Chips

Best Food Blogger

Best Food Festival

Best Food Truck/Vendor

Best Fried Chicken

Best Frosé

Best Gay/Lesbian Bar

Best Gourmet Market

Best Greek Restaurant
Best Grilled Cheese

Best Grouper Sandwich

Best Guacamole

Best Happy Hour

Best Health-Food Market

Best Hotel Bar

Best Hotel Restaurant

Best Ice Cream/Gelato/Frozen Yogurt

Best Indian Restaurant

Best Italian Restaurant

Best Kava Bar

Best Key Lime Pie

Best Kombucha

Best Late-Night Restaurant

Best Liquor Store

Best Lobster Roll

Best Local Beer

Best Local Brewery

Best Local Coffee

Best Local Cookies

Best Local Craft Beer Event

Best Local Distillery

Best Local Farm

Best Local Foodie Instagram Account

Best Local Gourmet Popcorn

Best Local Hot Sauce

Best Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Best Margarita

Best Mexican Restaurant

Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

Best Mini Doughnuts

Best Neighborhood Bar, Hillsborough

Best Neighborhood Bar, Pinellas

Best New Brewery, Hillsborough

Best New Brewery, Pinellas

Best New Restaurant

Best Outdoor Dining

Best Pad Thai

Best Palm Harbor Restaurant

Best Pasco Restaurant

Best Pizza

Best Poke Restaurant

Best Poolside Bar

Best Ramen

Best Restaurant That Delivers

Best Ribs

Best Safety Harbor Restaurant

Best Salad Bar

Best Sangria

Best Seafood Restaurant

Best Seminole Heights Restaurant

Best Smoothies

Best Sommelier

Best Soup

Best Southern Cooking

Best Splurge Restaurant

Best Sports Bar

Best Steakhouse

Best Sushi Restaurant

Best Tacos

Best Tampa Restaurant

Best Tapas/Small Plates

Best Tea Shop

Best Tequila Bar

Best Thai Restaurant

Best Vegetarian/Vegan Restaurant

Best Vietnamese Restaurant

Best Waitstaff

Best Waterfront Dining

Best Whiskey Bar

Best Wine Bar

Best Wings

Best Ybor City Restaurant

See all winners from Best of the Bay 2019.

Winner: Grain and Berry,
Second Place: Nékter Juice Bar,
Runner Up: Escape Root Juicery,
See all winners from Best of the Bay 2019.

Best Alfresco Starter

M. Bird At Armature Works

The quartet of vaca frita tostones uses crisp plantains as the base for a pile of rich, shredded short ribs that are garnished with a touch of mojo, pico, and some spicy mango crema on the side. There’re so many scrumptious flavors and textures that your rooftop table will be speechless, except for a few enraptured moans. 

See all winners from Best of the Bay 2019.

Winner: Bern’s Steak House ,
Second Place: Gigglewaters,
Runner Up: Deviled Pig,

See all winners from Best of the Bay 2019.

Best “Phew”

Tiny Tap Tavern

We may have messed our pants when we heard the Tiny Tap Tavern was going to have new ownership. The dive bar has been a local hotspot for nearly 70 years, so when news of the sale came out, the internet was buzzing. Former owner, Casey Powell has had the joint in his family for decades. Let us not forget that TTT originated as a gas station office in 1934, and began selling beer and wine in 1951. Thankfully, the new owners are fans of the dive’s vibes and have kept it virtually exactly the same. 

See all winners from Best of the Bay 2019.

El Cap

Spill a drink anywhere else in Tampa Bay and you may be met with a side-eye, but not at El Cap. When shit goes flying thanks to a messy kid or an innocent (drunk) accident, Johnny pops out from the back area with a mop and a smile. Locals can slide by for a pitcher of beer and a daily double to catch the game and be guaranteed to get a word of inspiration from our man. When Johnny is working, it’s always a beautiful day. 

See all winners from Best of the Bay 2019

Winner: St. Pete Bagel Co.,
Second Place: Bella’s Bakes Cakes and Bagels,
Runner Up: Clearwater Bagels,

See all winners from Best of the Bay 2019.

Winner: Mazzaro’s Italian Market,
Second Place: La Segunda Ybor,
Runner Up: Alessi Bakery,

See all winners from Best of the Bay 2019.

Winner: Mazzaro’s Italian Market,
Second Place: Alessi Bakery,
Runner Up: The Scone Age Bakery,

See all winners from Best of the Bay 2019.

Winner: La V,
Second Place: Saigon Deli,
Runner Up: Alesia Restaurant,>

See all winners from Best of the Bay 2019.