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Jackie Colson-Miller

Jackie Colson-Miller, CIPS
Direct - (813)629-5757
Homeward Real Estate
3401 Henderson Blvd
Tampa, FL 33609
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My Favorite Places to Eat in Tampa…Tampa Real Estate And MORE!

“Where are the Best Places to Eat in Tampa??”…That is the question MOST of my Real Estate clients ask when they are moving to Tampa! It’s a natural question. It follows…Where are the Best Neighborhoods in Tampa…The Best Schools in Tampa…and the “Best” of Everything in Tampa…

I have written, many times, about my “favorite” places to Eat in Tampa, so this is the latest in my list of Favorite Tampa Restaurants:

Eddie V’s

New to the Tampa Restaurant scene, I enjoyed the original Eddie V’s some years ago in Austin, Texas. In a word, Eddie V’s is FABULOUS! From the decor, to the professional wait staff (thieved from many of the best restaurants in town) to the flawless execution in the kitchen, Eddie V’s does EVERYTHING right! I enjoyed three dining experiences within two weeks! I love the tuna tartare with avocado, mango and citrus…perfectly “spiced”, along with the crab cake to start! We have sampled most of the menu! The Fuji Salad and Mushroom salads are amazing. I have ordered the Sole, Sea Bass and Scallops…all perfectly done.eddiev  The steaks and daily specials are equally amazing! Not to be missed, despite how “full” you may be, you MUST order the Flaming Bananas Foster…it is to die for!! Just when you think a restaurant can’t get any better, they “personalize” your dining experience…When the Fuji salad arrived with “sugared cherries”, one of my allergies, the management noted that allergy on my “profile”, so on my next visit they confirmed “no cherries” in any of the dishes I ordered. WOW…that is a first! What service! Eddie V’s is sooo good, they are definitely the “force to be reckoned with” on the upscale dining scene in Tampa. They are “pricey” and they are worth EVERY penny! And, it’s one of the best “bar scenes” in Tampa… Just go…as often possible! Trust me!
Eddie V's Prime Seafood on Urbanspoon

Grille 116

The sleek, contemporary and dimly lit interior of Grille 116 makes for a great dining experience, especially if you can snag the right spot in the restaurant. The padded booths along the wall are my favorite…very comfy and private! The is a a private room at the front for large parties and a “cell phone” room…so please use it and don’t disturb diners with your cell phone calls! Great idea! I love the seafood at Grille 116, especially the Sea Bass and Scallops! I can NEVER get enough of their Beet Salad and you MUST have their “Doughnuts” with Caramel, Raspberry and Chocolate Sauces for dessert…yes, you must!

Happy hour at the bar has some great drink and appetizer choices…Tuna Tar Tar, Fried Calamari and  amazing sushi. I think the location is often overlooked on that busy stretch of Dale Mabry, but it is worth seeking out for a special night out. Also open for LUNCH!
Grille One Sixteen on Urbanspoon

Carmel Cafe

One of my South Tampa neighborhood “favorites”, they have been “tweaking” their menu since opening last year, so I am going to “opine” about that. Before I start, know that I eat here VERY often.  First, I like the varied menu, the majority of which is “small plates”. It is easy to please every palate, from vegetarians to carnivores, there is a little something for everyone. I especially like the Braised Short Ribs with polenta, Steak Frites, and Spinach Gnocchi. You can “switch” the sides and they are very accomodating.  On Sundays and Mondays they offer a Prix Fixe dinner for $12.99 with the house appetizer, a soup or salad and choice of 4 entrees. This is a change from the previous Prix-Fixe dinner offering…2 for $25 with some shared courses, but many more choices. My issue is not the price, but the “choices” on the newer menu. I’d rather see more options, even if they come at an upcharge. That’s my opinion.  Second, We tend to eat here on weekdays as weekends are pretty crowded and then, we get to my “big peeve”, about this restaurant…small, noisy children! Look, I am a mother of three, so I have been dining out with children for many, many years. But, Carmel Cafe is a WINE BAR and restaurant. It is NOT for children. They do not have a “kid’s menu” on the menu. So, in my opinion, this restaurant “attracts” families with children because they use  Ipads for menues. I have seen parents give the I pads to the children to keep them “busy”. Guess what? It doesn’t work. They still scream. They run around. They disrupt the surrounding tables.  Let me repeat…this is not a restaurant for children and the adult diners do not enjoy listening to your children scream while you ignore them. When my children cried in a restaurant, we took them outside, or packed our food to go. This generation of parents seems to “ignore” the disruptive behavior to the detriment of other diners.  I applaud the restaurant in Houston who banned children under 8 after a certain hour because they disturb the other diners. It’s not politically incorrect, it’s just a fact. Small children do cry and diners have a right to enjoy their dinner in an “adult-oriented” restaurant without listening to screaming, disruptive children, or the parents who ignore it.  When restaurant managers accept the fact that “crying children” HURT their business, they will GET more business. Enough said.  I do enjoy Carmel Cafe, but prefer to see the entire menu at once vs. scrolling through the Ipad. The menu changes seasonally, so I like to see the changes all on one page.  The staff is solicitous and consistent and the manager is always in the dining room checking on things. Carmel Cafe has the makings of a great place, it just needs to decide what it wants to be…is this a Wine Bar/Restaurant or is it just another restaurant? …Lots of my opinion, for what it’s worth!
Carmel Café & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

AQUA

I have been a big fan of Aqua since I sampled their food at the opening event of Restaurant Week last year. That goes to show just how “critical” it is, in the Tampa Restaurant World, to “promote” your restaurant at these events. I met the GM, Marshall Hamilton, and head chef, Matthew Mangone at that event. They “wowed” me with their food and I have been a loyal fan ever since! Dinner at Aqua is always amazing. They serve the BEST Beef Carpaccio in town (sorry, Bern’s), along with the freshest fish. From the Lobster Bisque, to the Osso Buco, to the Crab Stuffed Flounder…who can decide? It is all incredible, as is the service. I have a “special table” that I always reserve and I can’t say enough about how much I LOVE it! Aqua Bar and Grille is located in the Westin Hotel on the Courtney Campbell Causeway. It’s definitely a “hidden Gem” and worth seeking out for a fabulous dining experience.

Aqua Bar & Grille on Urbanspoon

BOCA

It’s small. It’s crowded. It’s noisy.  It’s amazing! I am feasting at Boca several times a month! The innovative menu changes seasonally and features locally grown and produced ingredients turned into fabulous meals with a twist. The staff is consistent and one of the “best bets” is the everchanging “staff meal”. Just order it! I could go on, and on, about Boca because it is just THAT good. Chef Chad always checks on my table…the sign of a “kitchen who cares”. And, they have just hired Wilco from the St. Pete Brasserie…love to see that familiar face in South Tampa! Great move. I will be enjoying Boca for as long as I live…or as long as they do…which should be a VERY long time!

Boca Kitchen Bar Market on Urbanspoon

More to come on my “favorite restaurants in Tampa” so keep checking in….

 

 

 

 

 

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