Dec 22, 2021 - Food and Drink

5 hot new restaurants in Tampa

Fried rice at Gangchu.

A plate of kimchi fried rice from Gangchu. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

Tampa's food scene continues to shine with a crop of new restaurants debuting during the pandemic. We'll be expanding this list in 2022 to cover the whole Tampa Bay region, so stay tuned.

📬 Oh, and email [email protected] to tell us where in your town we should be eating.

1. Gangchu

Vibe: New Korean fried chicken and beer restaurant from the owner of Ichicoro Ramen. This place has been roaring since February. Food and service have only improved.

Price: $$

What we're eating: Gangchu cheesesteak ($14), kimchi fried rice ($14), spicy chicken and grits ($11) and the tornado potato ($8).

Location: 6618 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa

The cheese steak and fries at Gangchu. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

2. Pickford's Counter

Vibe: The creativity and deliciousness of the food here deserves a better setting than this charming but crowded lunch counter/tchotchke shop. The menu features one of the best sandwiches we ate this year.

Price: $$

What we're eating: Steak sandwich ($14), Brussels sprouts melt ($12) and smothered potatoes ($11).

Location: 2606 W. Hillsborough Ave.

The steak sandwich at Pickford's lunch counter.
The steak sandwich at Pickford's Counter. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

3. Casa Santo Stefano

Vibe: Housed in a century-old macaroni factory with photos of Sicilian families from the area on every wall.

Price: $$

What we're eating: The house-made squid ink noodles in the Spaghetti al Negro con Polpo ($32) and Zappone's Linguine con Vongole ($18).

Location: 1607 N. 22nd St.

The Spaghetti al Negro Con Polpo at Casa Santo Stefano. Photo courtesy of Grace Gonzalez/Columbia Restaurant Group

4. Babushkas

Vibe: Classic Russian, Ukrainian and Eastern European dishes, plus a caviar bar and infused vodkas in a super-cool dacha-like interior. Opened in December in the old Boca location on West Platt Street.

Price: $$

What we're eating: Mushroom blinchiki ($10), borscht ($8), Hachapuri pie ($10) and the honey cake ($6)

Location: 901 W. Platt St.

5. Flor Fina

Vibe: Live-fire grill for coastal cuisines and an evolving rotation of ceviches in a warm, elegant setting in Hotel Haya.

Price: $$$

What we're eating: Grouper a lo macho ($36), the 36-ounce "Dirty bone" tomahawk ribeye ($130), coffee-roasted carrots ($9) and the lime in the coconut pavlova ($8).

Location: 1412 E. 7th Ave.


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