CL Big Game Guide: Dale Mabry/West Shore

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Just a short limo ride from RayJay are two top attractions for tourists of refined taste: the ne plus ultra of malldom, gleaming International Plaza, and the pinnacle of prurience, the world-famous Mons Venus. Surprisingly enough, you can also find some good places to eat around here, too — including a herd of high-end steakhouses and a hotel eatery that is arguably one of the best places to dine anywhere in Tampa Bay.


1. The Bamboo Club. This "Asian bistro" produces a tasty fusion of far Eastern cuisine. Don't expect anything too outside the box, and you won't be disappointed. 813-353-0326,

2. Bar Louie. Popular among local barflies and tourists alike, Bar strikes the perfect chord between neighborhood hangout and upscale lounge. 2223 N. West Shore Blvd., 813-874-1919,

3. Blue Martini. It's all about everyone's favorite cocktail at this upscale lounge, which serves more than 25 specialty martinis, from the Mojito Martini to the Three Chocolates. The vibe is relaxed but upscale, with a live band nearly every night. 813-873-2583,

4. Capital Grille. The dry-aged steaks and fresh seafood selection are delicious, but its award-winning wine list is truly head and shoulders above the rest, with more than 350 wines available daily. The mahogany and leather interior also goes a long way toward creating a sensous dining experience — not to mention a cigar from one of their well-stocked humidors. 813-830-9433,

5. Champps. From the cold draft beers to the enormous, made-from-scratch burgers to the giant TVs that plaster the walls with games galore, Champps is a sports fanatic's wet dream. 813-353-0200,

6. The Grape. Sample more than 120 wines, all categorized by The Grape's 10-tiered rating list, which classifies wines from lightest to most full-bodied. Servers are well-versed in pairing wines with selections from a well-executed tasting menu of cheeses, salads, sandwiches, small plates and desserts. 813-354-9463,

7. Pelagia Trattoria. A popular destination that has won national as well as local acclaim, including a Zagat's award as one of the country's top restaurants and a Creative Loafing Best of the Bay. Head chef Fabrizio Schenardi executes a splendid meal from start to finish, serving fare from throughout the Mediterranean. Renaissance Tampa Hotel International Plaza, 4200 Jim Walter Blvd., 813-313-3235,


8. Lee Roy Selmon's. Owned by NFL Hall of Famer, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer and barbecue master Lee Roy Selmon, this joint serves up Southern classics like fried green tomatoes, pulled pork sandwiches, meatloaf, and of course, barbecued ribs smothered in Mama Selmon's own barbecue sauce recipe. 4302 W. Boy Scout Blvd., 813-871-3287,

9. Fleming's Steakhouse. This stylish yet comfortable steakhouse is known for its tender steaks and the ever-popular "Fleming's 100" wine list — all 100 are available by the glass. 4322 W. Boy Scout Blvd., 813-874-9463,

10. Roy's. The flavors of the island are brought to the forefront with selections like outstanding butterfish and ono, as well as traditional island favorites like poke. The menu is seafood-centric, with a few enticing exceptions: the pot roast and pork ribs are divine. 4342 W. Boy Scout Blvd., 813-873-7697,


11. 2001 Odyssey. Another shining jewel in Tampa's porntastic crown, 2001 has been featured in everything from Maxim to Tony Hawk's Underground videogame. Perhaps most importantly, 2001 and all its champagne room glory is within walking distance of Raymond James Stadium. 2309 N. Dale Mabry Hwy., 813-877-6406,

12. Mons Venus. This world-famous strip club has been making headlines since its inception — mostly for the "world's most beautiful dancers" and its reputation as a full-nude, full, um, friction, venue. Just keep in mind that all those extra benefits mean no alcohol is served on the premises. 2040 N. Dale Mabry Hwy., 813-875-2762,

13. Charley's Steakhouse. A local favorite, whose aged, hand-cut USDA steaks are flame-broiled over oak and orange woods in a custom-built pit. Charley's other upscale options include escargot, carpaccio, seafood, and, if you're feeling adventurous, Florida favorites like gator tail. 4444 West Cypress St., 813-353-9706,

14. J. Alexander's. This contemporary restaurant serves upscale entrees like filet mignon and ahi tuna alongside simpler fare like signature soups and burgers. 913 N. Dale Mabry Hwy., 813-354-9006,

15. Donatello. Everything about this upscale Italian hideaway screams romance: stucco arches, gold leaf ceiling, rich tapestries, tuxedoed waiters and fresh roses on every table make this a destination for more than a few proposals. Italian favorites include carpaccio, osso bucco and plenty of fresh seafood. 232 N. Dale Mabry Hwy., 813-875-6660,


16. Penthouse. Yes, as in Penthouse magazine. Although it's billed as the strip club where "the magazine comes to life," this strip club is almost as popular for its lunch special — which includes a fine selection of steaks and hamburgers — as it is for its naked ladies. 1801 N. West Shore Blvd., 813-288-9200,

17. Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. Steaks seared at 1800 degrees and slathered with butter are the secret to Ruth's Chris' international success. 1700 N. West Shore Blvd., 813-282-1118,

18. Thee Dollhouse. Topless dancing at its classiest, right in the heart of the West Shore business district — don't forget your collared shirt, 'cause this strip joint has a dress code and valet parking. 1010 N. West Shore Blvd., 813-281-9389.


19. P.F. Chang's. At Chang's, you can expect casual Chinese-American cuisine that includes fan favorites with an updated twist alongside more interesting pairings like oolong marinated sea bass. The décor is Chang's strong suit — an intimidating, 11-foot tall horse statue guards the entrance. 219 West Shore Plaza, 813-289-8400,

20. The Palm. This 80-year-old institution on the national steakhouse scene lives up to the hype, serving aged USDA prime steaks alongside jumbo Nova Scotia lobsters and a variety of Italian cuisine. Per usual, the walls are covered with caricatures of the local celebs who dine here. 205 West Shore Plaza, 813-849-7256.

21. Maggiano's. This home-style Italian-American restaurant serves simple, classic fare with a focus on sharing the love — and the lasagna. If you just can't keep your fork off of your friend's veal marsala, order from the family-style menu. 203 West Shore Plaza, 813-288-9000,


22. Armani's/Oystercatchers. Premium restaurants, both located on the grounds of the posh Hyatt Westshore. Armani's does the steaks, Oystercatchers specializes in seafood. 2900 Bayport Dr, Tampa, FL, 813-207-6800, 813-207-6815,,

23. Landry's Seafood House. Specializing in tasty seafood and steaks, Landry's also thrills diners with a breathtaking view of the Gulf. 7616 West Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa, 813-289-7773,

24. Bahama Breeze. Semi-casual drinks and dining with a lovely open-air bar overlooking the water. 3045 N Rocky Point Drive E., 813-289-7922,

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