Finding a unique place to dine in the Tampa Bay area doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, this coastal town in south Florida has plenty of interesting restaurants to choose from to guarantee your dining experience is memorable as well as tasty. Let’s look at the most unique restaurants to try out next time you are in Tampa and craving something a little bit different.
12639 N 56th St Temple Terrace, FL 33617
This local Russian restaurant serves authentic foods from the old country in a cozy spot that feels like you dropped by your Russian grandmother’s dining room. This charming place will fill you up with its large portions of specialties like the pancake-like Blinchikis, the Sturgeon Caviar and the Russian dumplings called Pelmini, just like a Russian Babushka makes.
1702 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33618
The ambiance at Black Rock Bar and Grill makes it the perfect place for special occasions, whether it’s a birthday dinner or an intimate date night. This unique dining experience allows you to cook your own steak and seafood on volcano rock. The menu features fan favorites like lobster tail, steak and coconut shrimp, ahi tuna, and ribs. From appetizers to the final dessert, everything here is tasty and affordable, too.
113 S Hyde Park Ave, Tampa, FL 33606
If you’re fixing for something a little bit different, Chanta’s authentic European cuisine is underrated and worth a try. This family-owned spot is one of the coziest restaurants in town. The food here is exquisite and there are a variety of offerings from schnitzel to Romanian stew to goulash. Make sure you save room for dessert though because their jam-filled crepes are to die for!
519 N Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602
Located in the middle of downtown, this is the perfect spot to scratch that itch for Mediterranean food. On Friday and Saturday nights from around 9:00 pm, they have live entertainment like belly dancing and conga players. If you’re looking for a fun time with your girlfriends, this is the spot to check out! To grub on, we are seriously addicted to their pita bread. For dessert, we beg you to try their sweet and savory baklava cheesecake.
9620 W Linebaugh Ave, Tampa, FL 33626
Doodle Noodle is seriously underrated! This brand-new, casual ramen bar stands out for its hand-drawn 2d interior. Walking in, it’s like you’re entering a storybook in a whole new world. Their menu features a large variety of noodles, pho, rice, and rolls. They also offer a super fun selection of drinks like their layered fruit lemonades and popping boba.
1805 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
This unique eatery embodies a pirate theme, and the vibes and atmosphere at Gaspar’s Grotto are like no other restaurant in Tampa. This super cool hole-in-the-wall restaurant is a great spot to visit with friends if you’re looking for a more low-key, unique dining experience. Their outdoor seating is the perfect place for day drinking. The mainly Cuban-based menu offers plenty of options like Cuban sandwiches, quesadillas, and something different like their peanut butter and jelly wings.
7. Luv Child
516 South Howard Ave Tampa 33606
The exotic, fresh and fun atmosphere at Luv Child helps it to stand out from most restaurants in town. This funky spot has Cuban vibes and even offers a Havana Happy hour in addition to their lunch, dinner and weekend brunch menus. A Late Night menu at Luv Child provides sharable plates, but the colorful cocktails flow all the time at Luv Child. Our favorites here are the Cubano Sandwich, the Poblano Queso and the Shaved Brussels Sprout salad as well as the beautiful Frozen Watermelon Margarita.
8. On Swann
1501 W Swann Ave Tampa 33606
A focus on locally-sourced, fresh food makes On Swann one of the best restaurants in town to try when you want something a little different. For brunch here, the Mediterranean Share Board is popular to go along with the rosemary and lavender Bees in The Trap cocktail. Diners here can sample On Swann’s Mahi Mahi with Mango Crab Salsa as well as the cucumber and basil flavored Garden Social cocktail. The industrial feel is warmed up by the cheeky colored glass chandeliers and blue tufted leather seating.
2301 N Dale Mabry Hwy Tampa 33607
The atmosphere at this eclectic restaurant evokes nostalgic feelings with its focus on the era when women’s roles in society and the workplace were transformed. Namesake Rosie the Riveter’s influence is clear in this kitschy fun spot that also sports a scratch-made kitchen. Favorites here are the Kram Prime Rib Sandwich and the Hellcat Wings. Seating inside is casual and live music is sometimes playing on the adjacent outside patio.
323 W Palm Ave, Tampa, FL 33602
This award-winning Tampa restaurant hand-makes mozzarella at your table. The intimate atmosphere and fine dining experience at Rocca make it the perfect setting for a date night. This popular restaurant focuses on Italian pasta dishes, their mozzarella bar, amazing drink specials, and the most phenomenal cheesecake you will ever eat. The highlight of your night will definitely be when the mozzarella bar comes around to your table. They hand-stretch the cheese, slice fresh tomatoes, and then drizzle it all in olive oil. Delicious!
6500 N Florida Ave Tampa 33604
With the open kitchen design and creative approach to food, it’s no surprise that this FL restaurant has racked up the accolades from well-known foodies. Rooster & the Till serves up international flavors like their Smoked Beets, Iberico Ham, Parisian-style Gnocchi and Miyazaki Hand Rolls at their dinner service. Visitors to the Rooster have a wide selection of wines to choose from as well as hand-crafted cocktails and zero-proof fun drinks to complement the outstanding flavors coming out of the kitchen here.
510 Water St Tampa 33602
For a skyline view of the city, the JW Marriott’s rooftop restaurant SiX is the perfect spot to experience a delicious meal with an unbeatable view. Inside seating by the bar is rowdier and convivial while the outdoor seating surrounding the pool is serene and relaxed. Guests here order the Rose-Colored Glasses cocktail before selecting from a mouthwatering menu of fresh seafood like Day Boat Scallops, the Seafood Conchiglie and the Focaccia Crusted Grouper. The Rack of Lamb and the Cauliflower Steak are some of the non-seafood offerings that keep guests coming back to SiX for weekend lunches and dinners.
13. Soul of Korea
7612 N 56th St Tampa 33617
Known for turning out authentic Korean flavors as well as oversized portions, Soul of Korea is uniquely different in Florida because its dishes represent the whole country of Korea. Guests here rave about the perfectly not-too-sweet Bulgogi as well as the Beef Short Ribs and the Japchae. Sweet mochi for dessert will cap off a delicious meal at this family-owned favorite spot that locals and visitors flock to every day.
14. The C House
6005 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
This unique restaurant is like a Pinterest board come to life. If you’re looking to meet up with friends and enjoy a cocktail with some live music, you ought to check out this hidden gem! The C House is open for brunch and dinner, specializing in all foods that start with a C: champagne, charcuterie, and cheesecake. That’s a pretty killer combination if you ask us! Grab some grub and drinks on their beautiful covered outdoor patio and enjoy the fantastic atmosphere that The C House has to offer!
15. Thee Treehouse
1809 W Platt St Tampa 33606
Unusual is not a strong enough description of the whimsical decor at Thee Treehouse. Guests here nosh on favorites like the Crispy Brussels Sprouts and the Poutine while under twinkling lights that adorn the ceiling surrounding the huge indoor tree at this playful restaurant. Or snag a porch swing by the outside bar or inside walkway to sip on a White Gummy Bear Martini as you indulge your inner child at this fun and quirky restaurant.
1610 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33606
For a Parm-to-Table experience, check out Timpano in Hyde Park and try their bucatini al pesto pasta made in a parmesan wheel. Come here for the amazing vibes, refreshing cocktails, and delicious food with an Italian twist. For something new and exciting, this restaurant is a must-try!
1810 N Highland Ave, Tampa, FL 33602
Named one of the best restaurants in Tampa, this Michelin-star-rated hotspot reimagines food with its Native-inspired cuisine. Located right on Tampa’s Riverwalk, Ulele brings together fresh and local ingredients in unique flavor combinations. Guests here rave about the okra fries, chargrilled oysters, and the delicious seafood risotto. For exquisite food and a gorgeous view of the water, Ulele is definitely the place to check out.
For more recommendations on where to eat and drink around Tampa, check out our Tampa city page.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on June 28, 2022 and last updated on September 26, 2023. Please refer to restaurant websites and social media pages for the most up-to-date information.