April 08, 2022

23 small-town restaurants worth the road trip from Tampa

Tampa Bay is a melting pot of cuisines and flavors from all around the world, but you don't have to be a world traveller to experience all the flavor. From traditional southern food to fine dining, Hawaiian food and so much more in between, these restaurants are all worth the drive (and gas no matter how expensive it gets).
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Blue Marlin Seafood
121 Historic Bridge St., Bradenton Beach, 941-896-9737
Located in one of the nation’s oldest fishing communities, Blue Marlin offers an intimate dining experience just over an hour away from Tampa. Enjoy live music, hand crafted cocktails and diverse small plates, salads and fish options.
Photo via Blue Marlin Seafood/Website

Blue Marlin Seafood

121 Historic Bridge St., Bradenton Beach, 941-896-9737
Located in one of the nation’s oldest fishing communities, Blue Marlin offers an intimate dining experience just over an hour away from Tampa. Enjoy live music, hand crafted cocktails and diverse small plates, salads and fish options.
Photo via Blue Marlin Seafood/Website
Bon Appetit Restaurant and Bar
148 Marina Plaza, Dunedin, 727-733-2151
Founded four decades ago, Bon Appetit provides a near undefeated setting for delectable cuisine, craft cocktails and special moments with special people just 50 minutes away from Tampa. This restaurant is a tad more upscale than the rest, offering dishes like bouillabaisse, rack of New Zealand lamb, lobster tails and more. 
Photo via Bon Appetit Restaurant and Bar/Facebook

Bon Appetit Restaurant and Bar

148 Marina Plaza, Dunedin, 727-733-2151
Founded four decades ago, Bon Appetit provides a near undefeated setting for delectable cuisine, craft cocktails and special moments with special people just 50 minutes away from Tampa. This restaurant is a tad more upscale than the rest, offering dishes like bouillabaisse, rack of New Zealand lamb, lobster tails and more.
Photo via Bon Appetit Restaurant and Bar/Facebook
The Bridge Tender Inn & Dockside Bar
135 Bridge St., Bradenton Beach, 941-778-4849
Open seven days a week, The Bridge Tender has three settings to choose from: the Packer Bar which has 18 TVs to watch sport events, the Tiki Bar with a relaxing tropical vibe and the dining room where you can order anything on the menu at any time.
Photo via The Bridge Tender Inn & Dockside Bar/Instagram

The Bridge Tender Inn & Dockside Bar

135 Bridge St., Bradenton Beach, 941-778-4849
Open seven days a week, The Bridge Tender has three settings to choose from: the Packer Bar which has 18 TVs to watch sport events, the Tiki Bar with a relaxing tropical vibe and the dining room where you can order anything on the menu at any time.
Photo via The Bridge Tender Inn & Dockside Bar/Instagram
Brgr Kitchen & Bar
10800 Gulf Boulevard, Treasure Island, 727-322-7040
If you’re looking for a more sophisticated burger experience, hop in the car for an almost 50 minute drive to reach Brgr Kitchen & Bar. Here you will enjoy custom seasoned burger grinds, paired with house-made sauces and bread baked fresh by a local boutique baker.
Photo via Brgr Kitchen & Bar/Website

Brgr Kitchen & Bar

10800 Gulf Boulevard, Treasure Island, 727-322-7040
If you’re looking for a more sophisticated burger experience, hop in the car for an almost 50 minute drive to reach Brgr Kitchen & Bar. Here you will enjoy custom seasoned burger grinds, paired with house-made sauces and bread baked fresh by a local boutique baker.
Photo via Brgr Kitchen & Bar/Website
Fred’s Market Restaurant
2120 Harden Blvd, Lakeland, 813-752-7763
This buffet offers southern comfort food in many combinations with four different menus. After a 40 minute drive, you’ll be able to enjoy homemade breakfast casseroles, golden fried chicken, Jack Black oak smoked pork ribs and more. And no one will judge you if you take a food nap in the parking lot.
Photo via Fred’s Market Restaurant/Facebook

Fred’s Market Restaurant

2120 Harden Blvd, Lakeland, 813-752-7763
This buffet offers southern comfort food in many combinations with four different menus. After a 40 minute drive, you’ll be able to enjoy homemade breakfast casseroles, golden fried chicken, Jack Black oak smoked pork ribs and more. And no one will judge you if you take a food nap in the parking lot.
Photo via Fred’s Market Restaurant/Facebook

Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

At a time when local-based reporting is critical, support from our readers is essential to our future.