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Eating our way through Tampa Bay

We sampled fare from Ponte Tampa, the Juice Shack, and Elevenses.

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The boneless short ribs sit in a scallion-potato puree.

Photo by TBAYtoday

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Technically you could try all of Tampa Bay’s new restaurants, bakeries, smoothie shops, and breweries, but we scoped out a few of the buzziest eateries for you.

Ponte Tampa

New restaurants are constantly opening in Midtown Tampa — from Tampa Bay classics like BellaBrava to new faves like Midtown Boba. Ponte opened late last year and has quickly become a foodie hub — even nabbing a spot on the Tampa Bay Times’ Best New Restaurants of 2022.

The modern American cuisine is dreamed up by Chef Chris Ponte, and the glam interiors make for the perfect birthday dinner location or place to seal a high-profile deal. There’s ample oyster, tuna, and seafood starters to choose from, but we went with the lobster cappelletti. The decadent dish features tomato, basil, and lemon chili butter and definitely leaves you with a hint of spice.

We also tried the boneless short ribs. The meat was so tender there was no need for a steak knife. Don’t let the green color fool you; the scallion-potato puree is like the bougie cousin of mashed potatoes. Also worth noting, Ponte serves signature Parker House rolls with black truffle butter.

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The Juice Shack

This Central Avenue shop opened its doors a little over a month ago and is a great spot to work remotely or meet a new friend with tons of seating options, ‘grammable backgrounds, and a vast menu.
We stopped by for a little lunch and went with the mochalatta bowl, a sweet smoothie bowl topped with raw cacao, almond butter, and a dark chocolate drizzle. Not a sweets person? There’s ample healthier options — from a tropical smoothie bowl to a blue wave smoothie. Right now, the eatery is offering a discount on wellness shots, which are just powerful enough to help you power through the workday.

Elevenses

Maybe you tried this popular pop-up at Chocolate Pi. Elevenses now has a brick-and-mortar location in Ybor City. We tried the lembas bread macaron with honey, almond, citrus, and lavender — which was so fresh, flavorful, and huge. Plus, all of the shop’s macarons are gluten free. The bakery isn’t officially open yet, but in the meantime, you can order goods for pickup online (perfect fuel for your trek to Mount Doom).

What’s your favorite new restaurant in town? Let us know.

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