Neighborhood Dining Guide: New Tampa

There’s plenty of dining options in one of the Bay area’s most rapidly growing neighborhoods.

The area of New Tampa — located in northeast Hillsborough County, but also including parts of Pasco — is one of the most rapidly growing neighborhoods in the Bay area. A stone throw’s from Wesley Chapel, Lutz and USF, the area's restaurants serve lots of hungry locals and college students.

ACROPOLIS GREEK TAVERNA 1497 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa, 813-971-1787 Go Greek and enjoy authentic cuisine and authentic entertainment. Try Greek meatballs or grilled red snapper, an Acropolis favorite. Live Greek music every night, and a belly dancer on select nights (at 7 p.m.). Take advantage of the 2-for-1 margaritas and sangrias (all day, everyday), or happy hour, where all drinks are 2-for-1 (3-7 p.m.).

J. BAJA’S MEXICAN GRILL 15309 Amberly Drive, Tampa, 813-632-0103, This family-owned and operated destination is “muy bueno.” The Mexican pizza is ideal if you’re craving Mexican and Italian. If you desire straight-up Mexican, order your tacos, burritos, nachos or platter, and then customize your selection.

BOARDWALK FROZEN CUSTARD 27225 S.R. 56, Tampa, 813-991-9800, Head to the boardwalk — Boardwalk Frozen Custard, that is. First enjoy a Nathan’s chili dog with onion rings, then end on a sweet note with a cup of frozen custard, made fresh daily. Check their website calendar for the flavor of the day.

BRUSTER’S ICE CREAM 20303 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa, 813-907-7458, A "hot" spot in New Tampa, offering several catering options (on-site and off-site, sometimes with their charming ice cream cart in tow). You can even help make a batch of ice cream during the in-store tour.

CICCIO’S LODGE 16023 Tampa Palms Blvd., Tampa, 813-975-1222, Listen to live music on the outdoor café while guzzling one (or several) of their 17 draft beers selections. Live music is every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Enjoy specials each night of the week, such as a $5 sushi deal on Monday.

FIRST WATCH 1648 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa, 813-929-3947, First, watch your server bring you an entire pot of coffee and newspaper. First Watch specializes in unique breakfast selections, such as Chickichangra, and offers lunch as well, including a half sandwich/half salad/soup daily special. Health-conscious patrons will dig the Healthier Side menu. For those of you glued to your laptop, they also have WiFi.

GRILLSMITH 2000 Piazza Ave., Tampa, 813-907-1900, For a twist on traditional comfort foods, visit this grill-inspired spot for Caribbean Pumpkin Crab Bisque and Wild Mushroom Meatloaf with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes. For brunch, try the Tampa-inspired Gasparilla Shrimp and Grits.

HUNGRY GREEK 2653 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa, 813-345-8526, Relive your college days and “Go Greek.” Enjoy a variety of traditional Greek items, including homemade dressings. Owner Dino Constantinou grew up on the Greek island of Cyprus, and knows a thing or two about authentic Greek cuisine and culture.

LEE ROY SELMON’S 17508 Dona Michelle Drive, Tampa, 813-977-3287, The first Tampa Bay Buccaneer inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, Lee Roy Selmon’s legacy will remain alive in this comfort food-oriented sports bar. Try Mama Selmon’s meatloaf with fried green tomatoes, or home-style barbeque.

LIANG’S BISTRO 17515 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa, 813-978-1225, Previously a Burger King, the only thing that’s “king” here now is Asian cuisine. Recipient of several awards, including AAA’s 2011 Diamond Award. Vegetarians will enjoy the Thai Basil Tofu. Take advantage of their lunch special on your lunch break.

MR. DUNDERBAK’S 14929 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa, 813-977-4104, Dunderbak? No, it’s Mr. Dunderbak to you. This German “beer garden” and restaurant offers a wide selection of beers and sausages (wurstchen). Don’t forget to check out Mr. Dunderbak’s one-of-a-kind beer bottle collection. Check their website calendar for weekly events, such as trivia and open mic nights.

OAKLEY’S GRILLE 17631 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa, 813-523-5057, Put on your Oakley apparel and head to Oakley’s Grille if you’re craving a burger. This family-owned establishment was voted Best Burger in Tampa by Urban Spoon. Enjoy a discounted burger during Burger Night, held every Tuesday.

PLOY THAI 10022 Cross Creek Blvd., Tampa, 813-991-0108, It’s no ploy; this is one “Thai chic” establishment, complete with Thai statues, decor and servers in Thai apparel. Try the Volcano Seafood special, or one of the duck specials.

THAI RUBY 15319 Amberly Drive, Tampa, 813-558-0570. Put on your ruby slippers and head to this Thai destination. The Chicken Panang, Crab Rangoon, Red Curry and Pad Thai are popular selections in this spacious restaurant. If you’re feeling indecisive, sample the Thai Sampler.

TOAST WINE AND CAFÉ 14921 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa, 813- 632-3105, Raise your glass and make a toast in New Tampa’s “wine country.” Voted Top Wine Shop in New Tampa and Wesley Chapel by Neighborhood News. Sip your favorite glass of wine and puff on a cigar in the smoking lounge. Free WiFi is available if you like to drink while you work.

SAFFRON INDIAN CUISINE 10044 Cross Creek Blvd., Tampa, 813-600-3315, Named after the saffron flower and spice commonly used in this Indian establishment. Carb lovers will love the wide variety of Tandoori breads, fresh out of the clay oven. Try the chicken, lamb or goat curry or Vindaloo entrees.

STONEWOOD GRILL AND TAVERN 17050 Palm Point Drive, Tampa, 813-978-0388, Serving comfort food in a comfortable yet classy setting. Try the chef-recommended Grilled Rosemary and Garlic Lamb Chops or award-winning chicken pot pie. Enjoy half-off house cocktails and wine during daily happy hour (from 4-7 p.m.). Gluten-free menu is available.

URBAN CULINARY CUISINE 10016 Cross Creek Blvd., Tampa, 813-994-3800, urbanculinarycuisine. This classy establishment specializes in African-American cuisine and was the recipient of U.S. Commerce Association’s Best of Tampa 2011 award. Try the chef’s special catfish selection with Jamaican iced tea.

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