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A Taste of Tampa Bay

A glimpse at the people and places that make up our vibrant food scene.

 

  1. Restaurant review: Mortar & Pestle in Seminole Heights should focus on mom-and-pop pharmacy vibe

    Food & Dining

    By Laura Reiley

    Times Food Critic

    TAMPA

    Sometimes, the more time you have with a project, the more complicated it gets. I started hearing about Mortar & Pestle in Seminole Heights about 18 months ago. It was the vision of Ujwal Patel, a pharmacist;

    Mortar & Pestle opened in Seminole Heights in Tampa in August. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
  2. Florida bought more Pasta Passes from Olive Garden than almost any other state

    Food & Dining

    Floridians would like their bowls of pasta to never, ever end.

    Florida was the No. 2 state with the largest number of Olive Garden Pasta Pass purchases, an unlimited pasta pass for $100. Photo courtesy Olive Garden.
  3. A meatless burger that tastes like meat? Ciccio Restaurants will serve the Impossible Burger.

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA — The most red-hot hamburger in the nation right now contains no meat.

    Ciccio executive chef Luis Flores prepares an Impossible Burger Wednesday at the Epicurean Hotel Food Theatre in Tampa.
  4. St. Petersburg's Il Ritorno, Cassis American Brasserie close for renovations

    Food & Dining

    Two downtown St. Petersburg restaurants are closing their doors for a bit and undergoing significant renovations.

    IL RITORNO

    Chef and owner David Benstock of Il Ritorno is adding space behind the current location.
  5. The Mill restaurants offering half off when customers donate items for hurricane relief

    Blogs

    The Mill restaurant in St. Petersburg and its newly-opened location in Brandon are collecting donations to help residents of the Florida Keys who've been affected by Hurricane Irma.

    The dining room at The Mill in St. Petersburg photographed in 2015.
  6. Red Mesa restaurants closing now to get ready for Hurricane Irma

    Food & Dining

    Tampa Bay restaurants are adopting a "better safe than sorry" strategy with the approach of Hurricane Irma. Peter Veytia, co-owner of Red Mesa, Red Mesa Cantina and Red Mesa Mercado, all in St. Petersburg, is closing as of tonight until further notice.

  7. What's hot in Tampa Bay: Cookie dough frozen yogurt sandwiches

    Food & Dining

    SPIRITED EVENTS:

    TAMPA THEATRE WINEFEST

    Warm up the couch for three days of "Wine's World" with a two-tiered wine tasting (7 to 10 p.m. Friday), elegant wine pairing (6:30 p.m. Saturday) and a screening of the film Wayne's World (3 p.m. Sunday) as a benefit for the Tampa …

    iStock photo
  8. Restaurant review: Bayshore Mediterranean Grill brings Turkish fare, and ballooning lavash bread, to Tampa

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA

    The signature dish alone is worth the trip. They will tell you about it: oven-baked hummus ($10.99). Mmm, okay. Pureed chickpeas with tahini, only warm? Hummus is so ubiquitous these days it's probably offered as a Lunchable.

    Kebabs make up the bulk of the menu at Bayshore Mediterranean Grill, such as this ground lamb Beyti kebab, set on lavash bread and napped with tomato sauce and tangy yogurt.
  9. First look inside the new Hall on Franklin food hall in Tampa Heights

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA -- Maybe Jamal Wilson owes Richard Gonzmart a debt of gratitude, Gonzmart's Ulele restaurant just north of downtown one of the first signals that the suburb of Tampa Heights could be the next "it" place. Or maybe he owes that debt to the food halls that have proliferated around the country, …

    A corner of The Hall on Franklin features a shuffleboard table and leather couches and chairs.
  10. With new restaurants, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino wants to become a "culinary destination"

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA — New Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino president Joe Lupo has big plans. This was evident in April when the complex unveiled its 700-space Orient Road parking garage and 26,000-square-foot Mezzanine Level Casino, with its "Rock Walk" of 40 new pieces of memorabilia from artists like Beyoncé, Carrie …

    A 120-seat fine-dining American grill, yet to be named, will debut on the Hard Rock’s new mezzanine level this winter.
  11. Epcot International Food & Wine Festival launches, bigger than ever

    Food & Dining

    MOUSE PARTY: FOOD AND WINE

    This is getting epic. The 22nd Epcot International Food & Wine Festival starts today and runs for a longer-than-ever 75 days until Nov. 13. So, it's 13 days longer than before, but it's also bigger, with a record number of global food and wine marketplaces — …

    Guests who reserve seats at the Party for the Senses Wine View Lounge can enjoy a specialty cocktail toast, premium bar and artisanal cheese station.
  12. Restaurant review: Kopper Kitchen remains a 40-year-old St. Petersburg stalwart, with some modern touches

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG -- One week, Anita Ferro comes in at 5:45 a.m. The next week, it's a more leisurely 6:15. She has been arriving at work before the sun is up for more than 30 years, serving breakfast and lunch crowds at Kopper Kitchen. On the plus side, tips have gotten better and folks seem to be more health conscious …

    Kopper Kitchen, which opened in St. Petersburg in 1976, has new floors, new booths and new art.
  13. A Taste of Tampa Bay: Rooster and the Till in Seminole Heights

    Food & Dining

    The one-page menu at Rooster and the Till doesn't list farms of origin, and Rooster doesn't crow about provenance, but this food is rigorously curated and as locally sourced as anyone is doing it. When Ferrell Alvarez and Ty Rodriguez's Seminole Heights spot debuted in late 2013, it propelled the neighborhood into a …

    Rooster and the Till
  14. Eat 3-course meals for $35 at these 100 restaurants for Orlando's Magical Dining Month

    Food & Dining

    In the early 1900s, hotels offered "table d'hote" or "prix fixe" menus as a form of loss leader. Hotels didn't necessarily make money on these lower-priced, multi-course meals, often served at communal tables, but they made up for it on the booze. Prohibition may have contributed to a gradual shift toward a la carte …

    Bulla Gastrobar serves a variety of Spanish and Portuguese dishes.
  15. Where to pig out for National Bacon Lovers Day

    Food & Dining

    That's right: Sunday is the national day devoted to all things bacon, National Bacon Lovers Day. Which, really, isn't too different from the other 364 days of the year. But here's a little roundup of some special places to celebrate everyone's favorite meat snack (seriously, even vegans have a grudging respect …

    A creme-filled doughnut topped with maple frosting and bacon at Dough on MacDill Avenue in Tampa.