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The 7 - Random - Tampa Residents: Help A Tourist Out! Register and log in to post!
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Texas Kelly
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#1 Posted on 21.10.04 2221.16
Reposted on: 21.10.11 2223.43
There's a day I've been waiting for ever since the day I became a real football fan. That day's only sixteen days away. On November 6, I will make my pilgrimage to Tampa to see your heroes and mine do battle with the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James, in person.

So this New York-bred Buccaneers fan needs a little bit of advice from those of you lucky to live year-round in Mecca - you know, the typical answers to questions that tourists often ask.

What's there to do in Tampa besides the game?

What are the good places to eat at? (Specifically, Italian places.)

(Note to the moderators: I figured that since my trip is specifically related to the Bucs/Chiefs game on November 7, that this was the most appropriate place for the thread. Should you disagree, feel free to move it to wherever you feel is best.)

{ EDIT: I think more people might see it in Random is all - CRZ }

(edited by CRZ on 21.10.04 2249)
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#2 Posted on 21.10.04 2344.44
Reposted on: 21.10.11 2346.37
I don't live in Tampa, but was there a few years back. There's an excellent Italian place we went called Mimi's or Mama Mimi's in St Pete, but if memory serves me correct there were a few restaurants in the area.

Hit up some clubs too, I loved that place, I got more phone numbers in one week in Tampa/St Pete then I have in my entire life in Ohio and I didn't have to ask. Maybe even some little Nag's running around down there, but nevermind.

(edited by Nag on 22.10.04 0045)
Wolfram J. Paulovich
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#3 Posted on 22.10.04 1304.35
Reposted on: 22.10.11 1305.39
    Originally posted by Texas Kelly
    What's there to do in Tampa besides the game? What are the good places to eat at? (Specifically, Italian places.)

What's there to do besides the game? Uh, get 'faced?

During the day, you can check out the Ybor City Cigar Museum. (Ybor used to the center of American cigar-making.) I know it sounds pokey, but it's a neat little tour for next to nothing. Plus, you can watch a guy hand-rolling cigars, and (if you can speak Spanish), he's really nice and informative. Plus, you can buy one of the cigars afterward. Let's see, there's the Tampa aquarium; it's not the best aquarium ever, but it definitely gives you an idea of the Florida ecology.

For stuff to do at night or for entertainment stuff, your best bet is to grab a Weekly Planet, which is the free paper around here. They'll have listings for every band show, every wrestling show, every weird art party, etc.

As for food, I can't help with the Italian. The South still, for the most part, hasn't discovered non-spaghetti Italian. There are some exceptions, but you're not going to get the same quality level that you would get in New York. (Ditto on Chinese food. Trust me.) However, I've heard that there's an excellent Italian place on Davis Island. It has some sort of possessive name, like, "Gianni's" or something. I know this sounds terribly vague, but it's not THAT unhelpful. The restaurant area of Davis Island is one street, one block long. Once you figure out how to get there, you can do a quick drive by and check out the menu.

For Cuban, go to The Columbia in Ybor City. ( It's not too expensive, but it's the Grand Old Lady of Tampa Cuban restaurants. (It's about 95 years old.) Plus, it's very beautiful inside, especially during lunchtime, with sun streaming in the skylights of the main building. The link has a picture of the room I'm mentioning.

For great steak and seafood -- albeit somewhat pricey -- you might want to see if you can get a meal at Bern's. Whenever my Northern California food-snob relatives come visit me, I take them to Bern's, and none of them believe that it can be as incredible as I tell them it is. When we finish the meal, they apologize profusely. I wrote a whole lot about Bern's here: Even eating there economically -- and it can be done (just getting a glass of wine, a small steak, or a small lobster) -- is well worth it. Even if you don't read my link there, remember this: if you opt to go to Bern's, take the tour and ask tons of questions.

Also in Ybor City is a nice Greek place called Acropolis. The people there are incredibly nice, and the food is surprisingly great for the price. Also, I used to live in the same apartment complex as the owner; when I first went to his restaurant, I did so on a slow late afternoon. I thought he was being really nice to me because he knew me. Nope, they just do a very professional job.

For booze, I recommend the James Joyce pub in Ybor city. (It's on the second story, up a long staircase that I'm convinced is a foil for drunks. It can be hard to find for non-regulars, so don't be afraid to ask around.) It's one of the few bars in Tampa in which you can actually hear another person speak. Plus, since they serve no food, you can still smoke there. Finally, the owner is a Cork Irish die-hard Red Sox fan, and his fiancee (who's also the bartender) is a die-hard Yankee fan. Watching post-season Red Sox baseball with those two is like watching a domestic dispute simmer under the surface. Highly entertaining.

Then there's always the Four Green Fields, in Hyde Park, which has donation jars for the IRA. Also highly entertaining, but much more crowded on the weekends, since they have live Irish music.

I can't recommend any clubs or any "Hey, let's do Red Bull Appletini Goldschlager Jager Grey Goose shooters!" bars, because I just don't go to those places. They're all over Ybor; you can't spit and not hit a girl in a tube top, hip huggers (complete with fat roll!) and three-inch foam clogs who is on her way to one of those clubs.

(This is why I stick to the Joyce: no noise, no cover, no sensory blitzkrieg... plus you can look down from the second story and watch the endless zombie-like parade of hoochies and white guys in gold chains. It's like a back and forth lurch of unintentional comedy.)

I can't think of anything else. Have fun!
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#4 Posted on 22.10.04 1320.30
Reposted on: 22.10.11 1323.30
Since you're a big Bucs fan, you might want to check out Lee Roy Selmon's restuarant. It's in the neighborhood of the airport and Raymond James Stadium. Reminded me of an Outback steakhouse type o' joint. I think it's on "Boy Scout Blvd", just west of Dale Mabry Blvd.

As a visiting tourist from a landlocked state, I enjoyed cruising over to Clearwater beach. About a 20-minute drive from the airport/stadium area. I go to Tampa every March..but I imagine all the beachy-stuff is open year round. They have jet skiis, boat rentals, fishing trips, para-sailing, etc.

(edited by estragand on 22.10.04 1123)
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#5 Posted on 22.10.04 1632.27
Reposted on: 22.10.11 1633.20
I'll second the recommendation of Bern's Steakhouse, it's a must on any Tampa trip. You select the cut, weight and thickness of your steak--it's a true carnivore's delight. I remember when Tony Dungy was being recruited to take the head coaching job in Tampa by the Glazer family. They took him to Bern's and there was a blow by blow on tv: "We have it on good authority that they've moved to the dessert room!"

The Salvador Dali Museum in St.Pete is also a fantastic place to spend the day.

For Italian I remember Donatello's (813-875-6660) being very good.

(edited by NickBockwinkelFan on 22.10.04 1757)
Aldo D 2112
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#6 Posted on 22.10.04 1731.18
Reposted on: 22.10.11 1731.50
Also remember that Tampa is about a 70 mile or so drive from Orlando on Interstate 4 for additional nighttime options such as Universal Citywalk, Downtown Disney, International Drive (tourist district), etc....
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#7 Posted on 23.10.04 0017.02
Reposted on: 23.10.11 0023.02
    Originally posted by Texas Kelly
    On November 6, I will make my pilgrimage to Tampa to see your heroes and mine

But the Giants are playing Detroit...

Although if I go down there, I MUST hit the James Joyce. Just off your description alone, Jeb.
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#8 Posted on 23.10.04 0521.27
Reposted on: 23.10.11 0526.18
    Originally posted by Jeb Tennyson Lund
    For Cuban, go to The Columbia in Ybor City. ( It's not too expensive, but it's the Grand Old Lady of Tampa Cuban restaurants. (It's about 95 years old.) Plus, it's very beautiful inside, especially during lunchtime, with sun streaming in the skylights of the main building. The link has a picture of the room I'm mentioning.

I have only been to Tampa once and we hit the Columbia. It is definitely worth dining there. It's old and historical and beautiful and the food was outstanding. Cuban is the way to go in Tampa.

(edited by pieman on 23.10.04 0621)
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