25 hidden gem restaurants only found in Tampa Bay strip malls

With expansive sprawl, comes near never-ending strip malls, and Tampa Bay has quite a few.  And while standalone restaurants often get a…

By Sofía García Vargas, Brandalynn Nuñez Cepeda

Taj Indian Cuisine
2734 E Fowler Ave., Tampa, 813-971-8483
Open since 1991, Taj specializes in butter chicken, chicken madras, chicken tikka masala, fish tikka and many more Indian meals willing to test your spice tolerance. Its authenticity makes it stand out from its competition around the university area.
Photo via Google Maps
25 slides

Here are the Tampa Bay restaurants and bars that closed in 2021

The restaurant industry has never been easy, but the last couple years created a whole new host of challenges. While plenty of…

By CL Staff

Coney Island Sandwich Shop
    250 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, St. Petersburg
    We’re still holding on to hope that this iconic restaurant will reopen at some point. It’s hard to imagine a St. Pete without the family-owned hot dog spot run by 85-year-old Hank Barlas—whose father opened what was then-called Coney Island Grill back in 1926.
19 slides

20 Black-owned restaurants in Tampa Bay you should've tried by now

Tampa Bay's vibrant restaurant scene has been making a name for itself for awhile now. But any examination of our restaurant scene…

By CL Staff

Pop Goes The Waffle  
    Sara Gerald Fludd  
    Location varies
    Sara Gerald Fludd has been crafting different waffle concoctions since receiving a Belgian waffle iron for Mother’s day. Founded in 2017, Pop Goes the Waffle is a food truck, so you’ll need to check their schedule if you want to try sweet or savory waffles.
    Photo via Pop Goes The Waffle website
15 slides

20 classic Tampa Bay diners, delis, and cafes you should have tried by now

These diners, delis, and cafes serve up delicious renditions of time-tested recipes. From buttermilk pancakes to corned beef sandwiches to the perfect…

By CL Staff

    41 Baymont St, Clearwater Beach, FL
    What if we told you that a Canadian man fell in love with Clearwater Beach and decided he’d open a restaurant in 1981 and name it after his childhood nickname? Well, then we’d be telling you the story of how Frenchy’s Original Cafe was established and now, they’re still serving up fresh seafood for the family. 
    Photo via frenchysonline.com
20 slides

The 25 essential Central Ave restaurants in St. Petersburg

St. Pete's iconic Grand Central District is home to the Central Avenue drag. This happy-go-lucky stretch is jam-packed with cute shops and…

By CL Staff

Casita Taqueria  
    2663 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-498-8749
    Casita Taqueria is a St. Petersburg favorite for tacos with big flavor. Not to mention, the Mexican inspired taco joint has happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. every week Monday through Thursday.
    Photo via Casita Taqueria/Facebook
21 slides

24 under-the-radar restaurants you must try in Tampa Bay

Maybe its hard to find, out of the way or just looks straight up sketchy, but certain restaurants have a way of…

By CL Staff

Lolis Mexican Cravings
    8005 Benjamin Rd., Tampa, 813-886-7467
    Just of the Waters Avenue drag, down Benjamin Road, the chain restaurants and big box stores begin to fade in favor of houses and one hot pink building, Lolis Mexican Cravings. This hidden gem is serving up some of the best Mexican food in town including, sopes, tamales, tortas, quesadillas and tacos made with your choice of 11 proteins like ribeye, fish, lengua and a vegetarian option.
    Photo via Google Maps
22 slides


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The 25 most beautiful restaurants in the Tampa Bay area

It's a common saying among chefs, you eat with your eyes first. Now while this usually applies to plating a dish, there…

By CL Staff

The Library  
    600 5th St. S., St. Petersburg, 727-369-9969
    Inspired by the legacy of Baltimore’s historic George Peabody Library, The Library’s hardwood floors, plush wing-backed chairs and rows upon rows of blue-spined works of literature lining the walls and balcony create an inspiring and rejuvenating atmosphere for lunch or coffee.
    Photo via thelibrarystpete/Instagram
24 slides

25 new restaurants opening this summer in Tampa Bay

The Tampa Bay area's restaurant scene has been exploding with new concepts over the last few weeks. If you haven't had a…

By CL Staff

Pete’s General Store  
    495 7th Ave. N., St. Petersburg, 727-440-6183
    Since its opening in April, locals have been raving about Pete's General Store's signature bagels. The general store, which aims for waste consciousness as well as convenience, is inspired by the weekend markets in Tampa and the bodegas of New York. While the store is mainly grab-and-go, outdoor seating with string lighting and picnic tables are available if you want to kick back with a beer and stay a while.
    Photo via Pete’s General/Facebook
21 slides

The 25 best things to do in Tampa Bay when it’s hot AF outside

If you live here you know it can be brutal outside all year round. So, if you're too burnt to spend another…

By CL Staff

Swim in a giant fake lagoon at Epperson Lagoon
    Epperson Lagoon, 31885 Overpass Rd, Wesley Chapel, 813-527-0775 lagooninformation.com 
     Epperson Lagoon’s purified, bright blue waters opened to the public late last year. The 7.5-acre, man made lake and beach has a little something for all ages and activity levels, featuring a waterslide, swim-up bar, floating obstacle course, concert area and kayak rentals. 
    Photo via Epperson/Facebook
26 slides

24 Florida-based restaurant chains that are actually good

Florida is rich in chain restaurants, Tampa Bay is too, but that isn't always a bad thing. Not all chains are crap,…

By CL Staff

Kahwa Coffee
    Locations: Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota
    UPDATED:05/21/20 5:45 p.m.Arguably one of Tampa Bay's most celebrated coffee shops, Kahwa is one of those chains that locals actually like, and for good reason. Don't come asking for a caramel machiato though (Kahwa's version of a caramel latte is a a traditional Italian espresso, which you can add caramel to). Do grab a few of those ham and cheese croissants, however, and order a "salted caramel latte" if you must.  
    Photo via Kahwa/Facebook
24 slides

Tampa Bay's best brunches worth getting out of bed for

You're not honoring the weekend if you're not brunching. Roll out of bed, put your sunglasses on, and head out to these…

By CL Staff

    2616 MacDill Ave., Tampa, 813-831-7000 
    A burger with glazed donuts for buns? Seems like the only way to properly brunch. This is a must if your IG is in need a Willy Wonka moment.
    Photo via Datz/Facebook
34 slides

The 24 Tampa Bay restaurants you need to try before you die

Whether you’re visiting for the weekend or a local, these are the spots you need to dine at before you die. A…

By CL Staff

Al’s Finger Lickin’ Good Bar-B-Cue  
    1609 Angel Oliva Sr St. Tampa, 813-956-0675 
    Lowbrow, but a local favorite for its Tennessee-style bbq plates. Don’t want to miss these flavors if you’re in the mood for pulled pork or the occasional turkey leg. 
    Photo via Al’s Finger Lickin’ Good Bar-B-Cue Columbia/Instagram
23 slides

The 25 most hard-to-get restaurant tables in Tampa Bay that are totally worth it

No matter the time of day, these restaurants attract mad crowds, and you'll want to be one of the people waiting for…

By CL Staff

Red Mesa Cantina  
    128 3rd St. S., St. Pete, 727-896-8226
    Always a brunch hotspot in DTSP, expect a wait if you don’t call ahead. Grab the fat brunch burritos along with one of their margaritas that you can get in a variety of tropical flavors.
     Photo via Red Mesa Cantina/ Instagram
25 slides

21 dreamy photos of New American tavern Oak & Stone in St. Petersburg

Downtown St. Pete's Oak & Stone was a mixed bag for CL Restaurant Critic Jon Palmer Claridge. His recent visit, however, proved…

By CL Staff

The burrata caprese with marinated grape tomatoes halves, a bunch of arugula, balsamic syrup, chili oil and a piece of crunchy garlic toast.
21 slides

Restaurant review: Oh, what fun at Lolita's Wine Market

Lolita’s Wine Market 4 out of 5 stars 16 18th St. S., St. Petersburg. Small plates, salads and panini: $5-$11; create-your-own charcuterie:…

Lolita's Wine Market allows diners to build the charcuterie platter of their dreams.
11 slides