So, you may be planning a trip to Tampa, Florida in the near future and are wondering about the best restaurants in Tampa.  Or perhaps you are new to the area.  Maybe you are just looking for a fresh new restaurant choice.  Luckily, you have come to the right place. I am a south Tampa resident who eats out quite a bit and am happy to make a few recommendations for the best moderately priced restaurants in south Tampa, Florida.  For the purpose of this article, south Tampa includes everything on Kennedy Boulevard or south of that road. The following restaurants are also appropriate to enjoy with a small child or children.  These restaurants do not include those that primarily serve pizza.  Here are my favorite south Tampa restaurants listed by the type of food they serve.  Enjoy!


If you have ever been to Tampa, you know that there are a lot of choices when it comes to Italian food.  There seems to be an Italian restaurant on every corner. My family has tried many of them, but by far our favorite Italian restaurant in south Tampa is Cellini.  Cellini has a large menu of Italian favorites and specials every night.  Our favorite entree is the Rigatoni Bolognese.  It is a large portion of pasta with meat sauce, and it is delicious every time we order it.  The owners of Cellini are really wonderful and take an interest in their customers.  In fact, Cellini is one of the most family friendly restaurants in south Tampa.  One thing to note about Cellini is that it is literally “off the beaten path.”  But it is definitely worth finding.  It is located in a small plaza at 5427 Bayshore Boulevard.  This location is south of Gandy Boulevard and in the neighborhood near Ballast Point park.


I have lived in south Tampa for a while, so I watched with interest when Datz was being built in the building that was formerly a flower shop.  Datz is located in the Palma Ceia neighborhood at 2616 S. MacDill Avenue, near Bay to Bay.  Although my family typically eats deli sandwiches at Datz, the restaurant has much more to offer, including tons of craft beers and wines, brunch, scrumptious desserts, and much more.  My favorite sandwich is the Honey Penny, a giant smoked turkey and cheese sandwich.  The sandwich comes with potato chips that feature a blue cheese drizzle and chives.  These potato chips are unbelievably good. I do not even really like potato chips, but I always eat all of the chips on my plate. One thing to know about Datz is that parking is kind of a hassle.  There is a small lot behind the restaurant, but often we park on MacDill, which can be tough to cross with a child. 


I was very excited when Square 1 Burgers opened with its retro design and its huge selection of burgers.  I belong to a family of picky people, so we love the menu option that allows you to design your own burger.  My personal favorite at Square 1 Burgers is the turkey burgers, and I always get some of the ranch sauce with it for my french fries.  There are several choices for side items to go with your burger if you do not prefer fries.  Also, there is an ample kid’s menu, and included in each kid’s meal is a cupcake.  About the cupcakes— there is some special ingredient in the Square 1 cupcakes that makes them addictive.  Definitely get a cupcake, even just a mini one, if you go.  If you want an adult drink, there is a full bar. Square 1 Burgers is located at 3701 N. Henderson Blvd.

Breakfast All Day

I am one of those people who could eat french toast at just about any time of the day.  My favorite place to do this is Daily Eats, located at 901 S. Howard Avenue.  Daily Eats has breakfast all day long and features an awesome cinnamon french toast.  Luckily for my family there are other options for meals when we go, including a wide range of salads, sandwiches, burgers, and desserts.  Daily Eats has seating indoors and outdoors.  The restaurant resembles a diner with counter seating, but the food is much better than most diner fare.  It is generally easy to get a table at Daily Eats for dinner, but it is tough to find a seat for Saturday and Sunday brunch.

California Cuisine

Located right down the road from Daily Eats is Ciccio’s/Water (located at 1015 S. Howard Avenue), a trendy restaurant featuring a variety of foods including salads, wraps, stir fry, pasta, and sushi.  I have enjoyed several things on the menu, but I love the Tricolor salad, which includes apples, walnuts, and gorgonzola crumbles with a gorgonzola-shallot vinaigrette dressing.  In addition to the delicious food, Ciccio’s has a full bar.

 French Café

A new addition to our life of restaurant dining is Sophie’s, located at 1633 West Snow Avenue in Hyde Park Village.  I am delighted that Sophie’s has opened, as my family likes to spend time in Kate Jackson Park.  Sophie’s is a large french café with a ton of desserts, drinks, and small sandwiches.  The seating for Sophie’s is in one big living room, so you can have your sandwich or pastry while lounging on a couch.  The other lovely part of Sophie’s is the collection of toys, which makes it easier to take a child or children there.  While Sophie’s food is tasty, it is a bit pricy.


Located at 2832 South MacDill Avenue in Palma Ceia, Byblos Café just keeps getting bigger!  If you like Lebanese food, this is the place for you.  I was introduced to it by friends originally from Lebanon.  For several years, I have enjoyed dining at Byblos and also ordering it to go.  At Byblos, my family typically splits an entrée and some smaller dishes.  Our favorite entrees are the chicken kabob and the chicken shwarma.  Each one comes with hummus and a small salad.  There are several great mezah dishes that we like, including hummus, kebbeh (fried meat with cracked wheat, stuffed with a mixture of meat, onion and pine nuts), and labneh (thickened yogurt with olive oil, dried mint, and a touch of garlic).  The staff and owners of Byblos Café are quite friendly, and the décor is rich.  If you want an adult drink, there is a full bar.  Park behind the restaurant on the road that runs parallel to the railroad tracks and enter through the small store in the back.

 I hope that you enjoy your experiences eating out in south Tampa.  While I have tried many restaurants in south Tampa, I always look forward to trying something new. So, please send me your suggestions!