Top New and Affordable Tampa Bay Area Restaurants

Top New and Affordable Tampa Bay Area Restaurants

Photo of Tampa Bay Times

Newcomers showed innovation and dynamism, but the lion's share were wallet-friendly, everyday kinds of places.

17 Places
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    Free beer. (That was the name of my band in college. Grabs people's attention.) Irena Seidl opened her second tiny German restaurant in the fall with no liquor license. So she gives you beer or wine on the house.
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    La Creperia Cafe opened in St. Petersburg's Grand Central District (with its own food truck, no less), a new creperie is said to be going into the Bin 27 Bistro spot in Tampa, and in September Jean Claude Lepretre opened Salt and Pepper.
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    I'm also a big fan of the cold salads kicked up with lime and fish sauce, like the nam sod of ground pork with peanuts and ginger on a bed of crunchy cabbage, peppers and onions.
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    Rollbotto has a casual industrial chic that makes it a gathering spot for young folks, with a price point that keeps even the more ambitious rolls, all generously portioned, easy on the wallet.
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    In August, St. Petersburg's Grand Central District held a burger competition, which served to underscore just how many hamburgers are on offer in town. One of the best became available just after that heated battle.
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    The menu is supremely affordable retro-styled sandwiches and vegan-friendly salads that feel more cutting-edge.
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    Since reuniting, Macchia has slowly revamped the menu, adding fried artichokes and other fried nibbles along with booze-inspired cuisine (drunken shrimp, mojito hanger steak, lemon drop salmon).
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    It's a cozy room, designed for outrageous lingering, with cheery Fiestaware crockery, great coffee, hearty daily soups and a short menu of homemade-tasting sandwiches.
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    Taking his mobile cafe to major events like the Tennessee music festival Bonnaroo, Valenzuela's efforts are an extension of his street-corner taco stand as a kid in Mexico.
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    You point to a base (salad, vermicelli, jasmine rice, sandwich), then a meat or tofu, then accents like Vietnamese pickles or Thai cuke salad and finally a sauce (the curry is good, as is the peanut sauce).
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    Buddy Brew provides a tremendous coffee program while TeBella oversees the teas, each with its own beverage bar within the 24,000-square-foot space, like a shop within a shop.
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    On the heels of cult faves like Ella's and the Refinery, Domani Bistro Lounge opened, the Capdevilla family (La Teresita) launched Sabroso and Mermaid Tavern became a go-to neighborhood watering hole.
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