I know it’s only been a month, but on the plus side you get to see how recent these reviews are. I have visited each of these places since the start of the year, so nothing drastic could have changed with the quality of the food or anything like that.
I’ll start off this list with some Mediterranean food, in the style of salads. Paninoteca serves all sorts of Greek food, but they specialize in salads. This restaurant is located in downtown Tampa, a couple blocks away from the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. You can take your gyros and paninis and salads to go, because it’s always a joy to look at the scenery from a park bench. Paninoteca has a DJ, so if you’re really into music then you might prefer staying inside and listening to whatever modern trendy music he’s playing.
I wouldn’t know, I’m not a DJ. Don’t be too hasty when you first see the menu, because there is a very large selection. This would be a great restaurant for vegans as well, because there are tons of options without meat or dairy. I personally don’t order salads as my main dish, but even portions they serve you as a side dish are filling. The chefs make sure that you don’t go hungry, and on top of that they don’t even charge too much. You can taste how fresh all of their ingredients are, and it almost tastes like the chefs have their own little garden in the kitchen where they grow all of the ingredients.
I couldn’t find one thing one the menu that wasn’t affordable. In addition, the white sangria came as a bit of a surprise to me. I wasn’t expecting much, but I definitely plan on ordering it next time I’m in the mood for a Mediterranean restaurant in Tampa. In the past I have always forgotten to leave a review, but after reading all of their positive online reviews I know for a fact that I have to leave mine. Don’t want to be late to the party, after all.
Holy Hog Barbecue is conveniently located a few blocks away from the last restaurant, found in downtown Tampa. I’m not sure why I didn’t put this restaurant first, honestly. BBQ restaurants have always ranked among my favorite, and you know Holy Hog Barbecue doesn’t disappoint if it’s on my list. At this point the staff recognize me as a regular, but even they know I’ll always order something different on the menu. As often as I eat there, I’m surprised I haven’t run out of options yet.
Fortunately, that’s just a demonstration of how much different food there is to order. I always make sure to order the jalapeno mac and cheese above all else, but that’s only for starters. Holy Hog Barbecue offers items like barbecued pork ribs with amazing sauce, and baked beans that have nice, big chunks of meat in them. If you go home hungry, that’s because you forgot to order food before leaving the restaurant. Everything on the menu is killer. One time I ordered the biscuits and gravy with grits, jalapeno mac and cheese, and the brisket that comes with a side dish of barbecue corn.
My mouth is watering just thinking about it. So much unhealthy food in one spot, and it’s not even a fast food restaurant. The first thing that most people think of when they hear the word “BBQ” is big messes. Not to worry, the wait staff makes sure to give you wipes and there’s already a container with wipes on the table. You wouldn’t know that the food was messy if you only saw the tables, because this is also one of the cleanest restaurants I have ever eaten at. After eating at Holy Hog Barbecue so many times, the owner is actually a good friend of mine.
One time I asked him if I could take a peek inside the kitchen and watch all the chefs prepare the barbecued goodies, and obviously he agreed. Why shouldn’t he? They clearly have nothing to hide. Except maybe the secret recipe for their amazing barbecue sauce. I always tell him that they should sell it commercially, that’s how good it is. So I was in the kitchen, looking around, and I was amazed at how clean everything was.
All that shiny stainless steel, but they’re making messy barbecued food left and right. With all that food being cooked, you know there’s going to be tons of grease in the air. I couldn’t find any grease in the kitchen’s exhaust hood, so either they had it cleaned that morning or they had a new one installed that morning. Either way, I need to get a hold of whatever Tampa hood cleaning business they’re in cahoots with because that service is top notch.
I left a great online review detailing my experiences with the food more specifically, if you want to read it. It might be a little tough to find the review, because there are tons of other great reviews online for Holy Hog Barbecue. If you don’t go to Tampa for the barbecue restaurants, why are you coming here?
Frankie’s Lobstah Trap serves delicious seafood, and I actually ate there last night. Luckily for this restaurant, we’re in Florida so the coast isn’t too far away. I’m sure everything would taste ultra fresh no matter where this restaurant was situated, because the chefs here are top notch.
This time around you’ll be eating in the northwest end of Tampa, right next door to the Cheesecake Factory. Cheesecake has some stiff competition, but I’ll always pick Frankie’s Lobstah Trap because seafood is way better than regular food. Even if you’re not into seafood, it’s pretty hard to tell sometimes. There are plenty of places out there that serve seafood that actually tastes fishy, like seawater.
When the fish is almost mistaken for a high quality steak, then you know it’s not an accident. If you’re still unconvinced, make sure to check out one of the many great online reviews for this Tampa restaurant as well.