Robin Fuson

The Best Restaurants in Tampa


Columbia Café

Up first, the Columbia Café, which has been part of the Tampa scene since 1905. This is a Spanish favorite among locals, and its waterfront outdoor patio bar is just one reason why. No need for reservations or formal attire, just be sure a gentleman’s arms are not bare. This restaurant offers gluten free and vegetarian options and the opportunity to enjoy live music on weekend evenings. Enjoy the award-winning Cuban sandwich at what Southern Living has called its “favorite romantic restaurant.” And if you’re not feeling necessarily romantic, you’ll be happy to know there’s plenty of space for you to boat in and tie up on its dock if it’s just you and the guys from work.

Columbia Café offers catering and has a beautiful gift store on site.


Another favorite among locals and visitors is Oystercatchers. A bit more formal than its counterpart, Columbia Café, this is the go-to for exceptional seafood. With the catch of the day the trophy each day, Chef Schaffer is masterful at what he does. Enjoy oysters on the half-shell and be sure to have some of the most tasteful and expertly prepared Gulf shrimp you will ever have. A contemporary setting is relaxing and warm and the food is something that will have you returning to Tampa every opportunity you have. Be sure to enjoy Sunday brunch if you’re the area, it too is what culinary dreams are made of.

Café Dufrain

We love Café Dufrain. It’s billed as the new American Cuisine and uses sustainable, seasonal organic and locally grown ingredients, including the delectable seafood right from the Gulf. Another award-winning family owned Tampa restaurant, Café Dufrain invites a more relaxed atmosphere where a diverse wine menu, any number of award winning craft beer choices and remarkable service reign supreme. Its menu evolves with the seasons, too. The Colossal Lump Crab Cake is a melt-in-your-mouth piece of seafood heaven and perfect as a starter. The grilled wild shrimp is superb on a classic green salad or if you’re hungry for steak, try the Argentinian skirt steak – truly a remarkably prepared dish that’s tender and tasty.

The Tasty Cajun

Looking for something with a Cajun flare? The Tasty Cajun is all about the shrimp and crawfish. Customize the level of “heat” in your dipping sauces because everyone knows a Cajun heat is up a few notches than the rest of us. When the restaurant promises the magic of fresh and sassy seafood, rest assured, that’s exactly what’s delivered to your table time and again. And speaking of tables, if it’s your own you want to sit at tonight, enjoy the convenience of online ordering for pick up. You’ll enjoy the same selections found on its menu, all fresh, excellent quality and good for the soul.

The Tasty Cajun offers fresh crawfish prepared in a number of ways, jumbo shrimp – also prepared in a number of ways, blue crabs that are sweet in flavor and addicting in quality and of course, the homemade garlic sauces with the customizable heat level.

Tampa, Florida has much to offer its visitors and residents and lucky for us, great restaurant options are just one of those many wonderful offerings.

Robin Fuson
By Robin Fuson