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Especially when it comes to food, make sure that you are not sleeping on The Heights! We seriously had one mind blowing foodie experience after another. I highly recommend grabbing a nibble to share from each spot and doing your own little foodie tour. That’s what we did, and it was so fun!
Best restaurants in Tampa & Seminole Heights
Wicked Oak BBQ
If you are yearning for a mind blowing BBQ experience, Wicked Oak will provide you with just that! There is soo much deliciousness to choose from, and I am dying to go back ASAP to try what I was too full to get this time.
Must try: If you’re as indecisive as us, do their combo platter! It comes with two meats, two sides, and two sauces. Pulled pork, pulled brisket, mac and cheese, and coleslaw ended up being our choices, and it was all absolutely amazing. The coleslaw was creamy and finely chopped, the mac and cheese was gooey and cheesy, and the meats were so tender and lean. We tried the Wicked mango and sweet BBQ sauces. The Wicked mango totally stole the show. It was light, sweet, and had a little kick to it— I’m looking forward to trying their guava and apple BBQ flavors next time I go! Also, I almost forgot about the piece of garlic toast that they throw in with the meal— CRISPY, BUTTERY, GOODNESS Y’ALL.
King of the Coop
Tampa’s first Nashville hot chicken spot is worth ALL of the hype surrounding it! King of the Coop is actually connected to Wicked Oak BBQ, so we got one meal from Wicked Oak and one from King of the Coop. Boy oh boy did we waddle out of there!
There’s a little patio area out back where you can enjoy your food. When we saw how much food we were given by both places, we were overwhelmed— but everything was so delicious it was impossible to stop.
Must try: They offer sandwiches, but we went with the three hand breaded chicken tender basket with hushpuppies. You have six heat choices starting at Naked (with no heat) and ending with Coops Fury (a blend of Nashville Hot and Habanero powder). We got Midway which is right in the middle, and it had just the right amount of heat for us.
The chicken was crispy, juicy, and SO flavorful! I went here thinking fried chicken wasn’t really my thing and left with an addiction. Honestly, it’s the best fried chicken experience I have ever had.
The C House
The C House: Champagne | Charcuterie | Cheesecake. Notice a trend? This place is so fun and clever— take note how every menu item starts with a C! We went here for Sunday brunch, and it was lit y’all. We got there two minutes before they opened and there were already at least twenty people in the parking lot waiting to be seated. The hostess said she definitely recommends making reservations Friday-Sunday just to be safe!
Despite how busy the place was, we still received excellent service.
Must try: We weren’t super hungry, so Remi and I decided to share an entree to ensure we had room for their pumpkin cheesecake (two of my favorite things!). We had the chicken euphoria, and it was quite euphoric. I don’t normally do french fries, but they were bomb! Fresh, crispy, and topped with a flavorful seasoning. If, like me, you have sensitive taste buds, ask for light seasoning on the fries— it’s very flavorful and a little goes a long way. Another fried chicken win here with the chicken euphoria!
After sharing our entree, we had just enough room to eat a little over half of their housemade pumpkin cheesecake that was everything I had hoped it to be! And, yes, we took home the last three bites that we couldn’t squeeze in at brunch!
Along with the yummy food, they had live music that was so enjoyable and really good cocktails. I had their Bloody Mary, which I really enjoyed. It was not too heavy, well seasoned and flavored, and came with a little chunk of bacon, celery, and an olive.
Remi had their Comeback Kid (tequila, fresh lime juice, guava nectar, ginger bitters, and fresh mint), but with Titos instead of tequila. If you want a light and refreshing drink that goes down almost too smoothly, this is the drink for you! I’m sure The C House is good no matter when you go, but if you are looking for a good brunch spot— this for sure is it. Next time I’m totally trying a charcuterie board!
Armature Works is such an awesome spot, especially for the indecisive! I like to think of it as a boujie food hall. You have a TON of food options, from pizza to sushi and BBQ to vegan. While there are more fast-paced style food options, you also have some sit-down options as well as a rooftop bar. There really is something here for whatever craving or culinary experience you’re wanting.
The great thing about Armature Works is there are plenty of activities to do as well. Urban Kai offers SUP rentals, classes, and tag along adventures, or if you’re not feeling too adventurous before eating, you can always enjoy a nice stroll on the Riverwalk.
Must try: This place is jam packed with delicious food options! So far I have enjoyed pizza from AVA, sushi from Zukku, and cocktails at M. Bird. Bake’n Babes now has a location at Armature Works, and if you’re craving dessert, this is the spot! My absolute favorite spot here though is Muchachas! You’ll want to get the quesatacos and street corn for an explosion of flavor.
Inspired by Oaxacan traditions and fresh Pacific ingredients, Mekenita Cantina truly brings something to the table that my taste buds have never before experienced. Interesting cocktails and a dynamic food menu with such creative, fresh dishes that will get you excited. This is definitely not my normal style of cuisine, but I was truly blown away.
Must try: To drink, I enjoyed the Black Lavender, which is New Amsterdam vodka, muddled blackberries, lime, lavender flower, lemongrass, and bubbly! The true star of the show were the grilled citrus chicken & plantain nachos. The ingredients were so fresh, I seriously felt healthy eating nachos. The nachos come with a pineapple papaya salsa and a passion fruit serrano citrus sour cream— are you drooling yet??
Harvest Bowl Eatery & Market
Harvest Bowl is a fast-casual dining experience that doubles as a market. You’ll find bowls that are healthy, hearty, and fresh! If none of their signature bowls pique your interest, you can always create your own. They have vegan and vegetarian options as well! While it is fast-casual, I found the vibe to be super chill and adorable!
Must try: While I absolutely loved my bowl, every menu item sounded and looked so good I don’t think you can go wrong! Remi and I shared the surf & turf (that way we had room for their Riverwalk acai bowl ;)). The surf & turf is brown rice, mixed greens, green beans, grilled mushroom, sweet potatoes, filet tips, and grilled shrimp (I subbed broccoli for the sweet potatoes).
Conveniently located steps away from Mandarin Heights (see below), you will find some amazing Cuban cuisine. Enjoy your food on their lovely outdoor area. You can even grab a drink from Mandarin Heights while you wait, or bring it on over if it isn’t finished by the time your food is ready. They have several sandwiches, as well as plates that come with rice, beans, and maduros. The food was great, but honestly Mark made the entire experience. So if you go I really hope you get the pleasure of meeting one of the wittiest, most enjoyable people in the service industry!
Must try: The Cuban. It was SO GOOD. The meat was so tender, the pickles were massive, and the mojo sauce that they put on it was to die for. Let’s just say my boyfriend is no longer going to be the only Cuban I dream about. It’s also gigantic, so I recommend sharing it with someone or plan on taking some leftovers home! They also have some bomb sounding juices and smoothies I didn’t have room for, but definitely plan to check out next time.
Best bars, breweries, and cocktail lounges in Tampa & Seminole Heights
Brew Bus is definitely a must stop! And while I put it down for drink spots, I certainly wouldn’t shy away from getting a bite here too! Brew Bus offers fun events like Trivia Night as well as bus tours. There are different itineraries and loops, so be sure to check those out!
We were trying to save our appetite but wanted to try a nibble here. Breweries don’t always hit home runs when it comes to the food, but the cheese curds were definitely perfection. Remi tried doubling down and ordering another order of the cheese curds, and the look on his face when I told him we had to save room for other places has scarred me. Their menu has really delicious sounding items, all which go perfectly with a beer!
Speaking of beer, they have plenty of options to choose from, from IPAs to porters to ales. We went with the Basic B!tch, which is a pumpkin spice latte milk stout. I normally don’t enjoy stouts, but call me a basic b!tch, because I loved this beer.
This place is a whole ass vibe. From the aesthetic to the drinks, being here just brought me so much joy. The decor gives a mid-century modern lounge essence and has indoor and outdoor options. The cocktails are super fun and innovative. If nothing on the drink list appeals to you, the bartenders are more than happy to craft something catered to your taste and preferences!
And don’t leave without taking advantage of the adorable photo op— they change it up frequently!
Lowry Parcade & Tavern
If you’re a gamer like Remi and I, you’ll definitely want to make a pit stop at this place, which has classic arcade games, pinball machines, air hockey, and more. We always like to entertain ourselves while we’re getting our drink on, and this place did the trick! Make some bets— “loser has to buy next round” or “winner gets to pick the next stop!”
Angry Chair Brewing
I’ve expressed before that beer isn’t really my thing, but having so many breweries in the Tampa Bay Area, it’s really hard to not want to explore all of the breweries. Angry Chair is on the small side, but that shows no reflection on the large collection of interesting beer options. They offer 5, 12, and 16 ounce pours— which I love because Remi can drink a 16 ounce in the time it takes me to drink a 5!
7venth Sun Brewery
Super open, spacious warehouse style, and I totally dig it. When we got here, I thought, “This is a place I could bring my laptop to and just chill all day.” They have plenty of beer options, and the employees were more than helpful guiding me in my decision since I’m not much of a beer drinker. If you get hungry, there are some food trucks outside, and there’s even an adorable coffee shop in the venue! We didn’t get to experience the coffee shop (Alert Coffee Co.) because it hadn’t yet opened, but I definitely plan to check it out in the future.
Pool, darts, and plenty of unusual beers to choose from. C. 1949 has over 35 rotating locally crafted beers and ciders on tap and over 100 bottled beers, ciders, and wines— so trust me when I say you will totally be able to find a drink here that suits you.
They offer flights, which is what I ended up doing and enjoying. You can enjoy sipping inside while playing some games, or outside in their cute beer garden. We were actually getting bitten up when we realized they even have bug spray for you to use!
If you’re hungry, they have rotating food trucks next to the beer garden. I’ve heard raving reviews for Saucin!
Nebraska Mini Mart
Another fun place to enjoy some drinks! Nebraska Mini Mart is fully equipped with outdoor bocce ball, shuffleboard, and ping pong! The outdoors are my happy place, so I love that that’s where all of the games are! They have beer, wine, and kegged cocktails— or even milkshakes if you’re in the mood! If you work up an appetite playing games, they also have delicious burgers, fries, and chicken sandwiches!
Best spots for coffee & dessert in Tampa & Seminole Heights
Chocolate Pi serves cakes, pies, tarts, coffee, ice cream, and more. That may sound like your typical bakery— but Chocolate Pi is anything but. Beautiful lattes topped with colorful sprinkles and dried strawberries along with ones that look like galaxies topped with glitter are more than just a beautiful pic for the gram— they are also a treat for the taste buds. There’s an array of antique furniture that adds to the beautiful aesthetic of this spot where you can enjoy your specialty latte while getting some work done. The only issue is you may drink three lattes before you know it while you’re working, because they go down that easily.
The Brushed Suede is their black sparkly glitter latte you may have seen people posting about. They offer it in the flavor vanilla, as well as the occasional second flavor option (this changes)! My personal favorite is the Strawberry Shortcake Latte. It is delicious in every possible way. But, I’m not going to lie— I usually get both. As far as sweets go, it depends on your taste. Ask the employees their opinion based on what you typically like in your bakery items (sweetness and moistness, etc.) and they are more than helpful!
Sea Maid’s Creamery
As soon as you pull up, you’ll notice the character that this adorable ice cream spot has. Sea Maid’s is colorful, fun, and most importantly, full of endless, delicious dessert options. They have cookies, cupcakes, brownies, and even the coveted hot cocoa bombs!! I can only vouch for their ice cream so far, but it was SO delicious!
I got the Spongebob ice cream in a waffle cone that was dipped and coated with fruity pebbles. The Spongebob is basically cookie dough ice cream— but prettier, because it’s yellow. I am picky about my cookie dough ice cream, but I was beyond impressed.
Next time, I’m going BIG and getting a milkshake! Peep their Instagram to see all of the beautiful shakes, sundaes, and concoctions Sea Maid’s has created and tell me you’re not craving dessert!
Another delicious coffee spot! King State is a coffee shop that also has delicious looking food, and craft beers. The aesthetic has everything you would want in a coffee shop. I went with their vanilla cappuccino, it was yummy and bonus points for the cute design! King State is a really great hangout spot!
I hope you enjoyed this list as much as I enjoyed trying each place on it!! If you’ve been to some of these spots, I’d love to hear your favorites in the comments below (tell me what to order next time I visit ;)).