Best Of 2021

Biggest pandemic food casualty: Cafe Ponte

Cafe Ponte

When I first returned to Tampa Bay in 2010, researching the best fine dining in the region was at the top of my to-do list. I knew the long time stalwarts, but was keen to see who was now turning out dishes to take your breath away. Everywhere I turned, the answer was Chris Ponte’s eponymous flagship in a strip mall near where Ulmerton and I-275 collide. I celebrated a milestone birthday there where even a pal from Manhattan gasped. But the economics of the pandemic took a toll. Luckily, the sibling phoenix rises soon with the opening of Ponte Tampa. cafeponte.com and pontetampa.com