We hope you’ve packed your appetite. This month, we’re finishing our Hit the Road series with a foodie foray into the Tampa Bay area. Whether you’re interested in taking a tour of downtown eateries, putting your cooking skills to the test at a Cozymeal, or trying the Michelin award-winning Cubano at La Segunda Bakery, this driving-distance destination is every foodie’s dream.
Before you start packing your bags, here’s everything you need to know about the area + our insider recommendations.
Drive time: ~40 minutes from downtown
Est. population: 395,912
Avg. high in August: 91°
🎟️ Things to do
Enjoy fine food + drink on this 3.5-hour walking tour around downtown Tampa.
Take the Florida Man pub crawl or party like Gatsby on The Roaring 20s tour.
Learn cooking skills like rolling sushi or perfecting the Cubano.
This isn’t your typical bowling alley fare. This dining and social club has full-service bowling and offers cuisine like sushi, shrimp cocktails, and gourmet burgers.
Hop on a public or private tour and explore Tampa’s burgeoning craft beer scene.
Maybe a limousine is more your scene. Have a chauffeur escort you around Tampa’s breweries from the luxury of a Chrysler 300 stretch limousine.
If your little ones are tagging along, bring them to this interactive museum. Kids can pretend to craft their own eats at the Ice Cream Parlor or Pizza Place exhibits. Pro tip: Make a reservation to see Big John, a 66 million-year-old triceratops skeleton. The dino will be on view starting Friday, May 26.
🍲 Memorable eats
Any Tampa eatery list would be incomplete without La Segunda, which has been considered the gold standard for Cuban bread. Pro tip: There’s no seating, so get your sandwich to go and then picnic at Centennial Park.
From brunch to dinner, this restaurant offers some of the tastiest Cuban + Latino cuisines. We’ll take a Cubano with a side of yucca fries, please.
Established in 1905, this is the oldest restaurant in Florida + the largest Spanish restaurant in the world — it encompasses an entire city block.
Watch the staff make authentic Italian dough + fresh mozzarella while savoring the flavors of a traditional trattoria in a modern setting.
Try this fast-casual Mexican cuisine with food made from scratch. Mix and match bowl-style or keep it classic with the tacos.
Enjoy Russian and Eastern European dishes (think: pierogies and blinchikis) in a warm, welcoming environment.
This ramen spot is a Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient serving soulful ramen + snacks.
Founded in 1986, this Tampa mainstay offers authentic Italian cuisine and house-made pasta.
This intimate restaurant with a Michelin star offers a hyper-seasonal Japanese tasting menu with ingredients at the peak of their season. Reservations are required and book about a month out.
Visit this new Michelin star-winning Italian eatery for a mozzarella cart, caviar service, or desserts like basil custard to round out your meal.
🏨 Accommodations with noteworthy cuisine
Aloft Tampa Midtown, 3650 Midtown Dr.
Enjoy Latin cuisine at the rooftop restaurant Sal Y Mar.
Epicurean Hotel, 1207 S. Howard Ave.
A self-proclaimed “foodie’s paradise,” this hotel offers cooking classes in its “Epicurean Theatre” and was launched by the owners of Bern’s Steak House.
Hotel Haya, 1412 E. 7th Ave.
This boutique hotel features Flor Fina, a restaurant showcasing the coastal cuisines of Latin America + the Mediterranean. Try the ceviche or book the semi-private dining space and enjoy the Porchetta Suckling Pig Feast.
The Current Hotel, 2545 N. Rocky Point Dr.
Come for the Rox Rooftop Bar, Tampa Bay’s tallest rooftop lounge. Or enjoy small bites at Julian Restaurant.
The Tampa Edition, 500 Channelside Dr.
Book a stay and make a reservation at Lilac, the hotel’s Mediterranean restaurant that recently received a Michelin star.
Hungry for more? Catch up on the last two months of Hit the Road features: An outdoor adventure to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park and A 30-mile getaway to Ybor City.