Iconic Tampa Bay Restaurants

Iconic Tampa Bay Restaurants

Photo of Tampa Bay Times

We have no doubt that there will be little consensus about the these restaurants, but perhaps this map will prompt you to go back out and revisit an old friend.

24 Places
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    Not sure how patriarch Bill Loder felt about that assessment, but the original Crabby Bill's in Indian Rocks Beach was launched in 1983.
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    The restaurant's location was no accident — world travelers from nearby MacDill Air Force Base represented the first stalwart customers.
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    Once the ogling is over, there's the food: Wings are the thing, best not battered, and the spicy Buffalo chicken sandwich (which we believe is affectionately ordered as a "hot buff chick").
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    The dry goods gave way to giftware, stationery and notions, and it is smack-dab in the middle of all this that the local ladies who lunch get down to business. And, yes, the chicken salad croissants and bacon quiches are served on Limoges china.
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    Beyond the annual stone crab madness that occurs each October, Frenchy's supporters come back for the thick seafood gumbo, fish spread, grouper sandwiches and take-no-prisoners desserts (fried Oreos, peanut butter pie).
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    It's Tampa's most atmospheric live music venue (blues, alt rock, Tuvan throat singers, the gamut), with concerts held outdoors under the canopy of a huge, moss-festooned live oak.
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    They don't strictly need any embellishment, but there's a hot 'cue sauce (red bottle) and a mild sauce (clear bottle) on the table.
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    There's a third-floor rooftop club, and the bustling indoor dining room downstairs is done up in a shambling Florida Keys style.
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    Large banquet rooms have made it a favorite for catering and fancy to-dos, and a Monday night buffet is beloved by those of sizeable appetites.
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    Pepin's Restaurant is a grande dame of Spanish food in Pinellas County, with the letter "p" getting special attention: paella, pompano en papillote and porterhouse pork chops.
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    The red wienermobile outside beckons; inside Mel's Hot Dogs, it's order at the counter. It's a fine dog, the house special packed with sauerkraut, onion, mustard, relish and pickle.
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    Hellas has been serving up Greek salads (a scoop of potato salad lurking in their midst) and fat wedges of pastitsio through a couple of generations of Tarpon's hearty Epiphany divers.
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