August 02, 2019

The 25 hottest restaurants in Tampa Bay right now

Tampa Bay's restaurant scene is popping off. From new cocktail bars to date-night eateries, to waterfront fish shacks, there are plenty of ways to expand your palette. What follows are a few Tampa Bay spots that are either brand-spankin' new, have all new menus, updated facilities, or just received some well-deserved praise.

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Sophia's Cucina & Enoteca

2349 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-440-7764
Sophia’s has stirred up a good deal of praise since its grand opening back in May, receiving a 4-star rating from our food critic here at CL Tampa. Sophia’s extensive menu of classic-meets-modern Italian dishes is a new favorite on the Central Avenue drag. In addition to the pastas and antipastas, this date-night-ready restaurant features a significant wine list. After all, Sophia’s is owned by the same couple behind Lolita’s Wine Market.

Photo via Jenna Rimensnyder
Salt Shack On The Bay
5415 W. Tyson Ave., Tampa, 813-444-4569
Sitting waterfront on Gandy Bridge, Salt Shack On The Bay offers seasonal seafood, as well as draft beers, frozen daiquiris and craft cocktails with freshly squeezed OJ. This latest boat-up/drive-up concept opening held its grand opening on July first with two bars on site and a "shipwrecked" boat perfect for a Facebook check-in or nautical Instagram. Must-go spot for some sunset views.
Photo via Salt Shack On The Bay/Facebook

Salt Shack On The Bay

5415 W. Tyson Ave., Tampa, 813-444-4569
Sitting waterfront on Gandy Bridge, Salt Shack On The Bay offers seasonal seafood, as well as draft beers, frozen daiquiris and craft cocktails with freshly squeezed OJ. This latest boat-up/drive-up concept opening held its grand opening on July first with two bars on site and a "shipwrecked" boat perfect for a Facebook check-in or nautical Instagram. Must-go spot for some sunset views.

Photo via Salt Shack On The Bay/Facebook
King of the Coop  
6607 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, 813-232-2667
Owner Joe Dodd received so much positive feedback from his King of the Coop sandwich at his Armature Works restaurant, Soul Food Street Kitchen, that he decided to open this joint in honor of its popular namesake. Since opening back in April, King of the Coop has been regularly selling out of its Nashville hot chicken delights, so if you want to give it a try, come early and come hungry.
Photo via King of the Coop/Facebook

King of the Coop

6607 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, 813-232-2667
Owner Joe Dodd received so much positive feedback from his King of the Coop sandwich at his Armature Works restaurant, Soul Food Street Kitchen, that he decided to open this joint in honor of its popular namesake. Since opening back in April, King of the Coop has been regularly selling out of its Nashville hot chicken delights, so if you want to give it a try, come early and come hungry.

Photo via King of the Coop/Facebook
Forbici Modern Italian
1633 W. Snow Ave., Tampa, 813-251-8001
Forbici Modern Itallian filled Hyde Park’s desperate need of a pizza joint with its opening in mid-June. In addition to its Roman-stye pizzas, Forbici a full menu of pasta, antipastas, salads, entree plates and gluten-free pizza and pasta options upon request. If you have time to hang, craft brews, cocktails and wines are on tap.
Photo via Forbici Modern Italian/Facebook

Forbici Modern Italian

1633 W. Snow Ave., Tampa, 813-251-8001
Forbici Modern Itallian filled Hyde Park’s desperate need of a pizza joint with its opening in mid-June. In addition to its Roman-stye pizzas, Forbici a full menu of pasta, antipastas, salads, entree plates and gluten-free pizza and pasta options upon request. If you have time to hang, craft brews, cocktails and wines are on tap.

Photo via Forbici Modern Italian/Facebook
M. Bird   
1903 Market St., Tampa, 813-296-2702
Another 4-star review from our CL critic, the popular Armature Works resident, M. Bird’s 21-and-up deco-inspired, rooftop bar features a lounge and outdoor space overlooking the riverfront and cityscape. Not entirely new, M. Bird opened its doors in March of this year, serving cocktails and Caribbean/Mediterranean-inspired dishes created by Chef Jessica Frazier.
Photo via m.bird_tampa/Instagram

M. Bird

1903 Market St., Tampa, 813-296-2702
Another 4-star review from our CL critic, the popular Armature Works resident, M. Bird’s 21-and-up deco-inspired, rooftop bar features a lounge and outdoor space overlooking the riverfront and cityscape. Not entirely new, M. Bird opened its doors in March of this year, serving cocktails and Caribbean/Mediterranean-inspired dishes created by Chef Jessica Frazier.

Photo via m.bird_tampa/Instagram

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