For many of us, the ambience of a restaurant is as important as the food, and there’s no better ambience than a beautiful view. Here in Tampa, we’ve got plenty of options, whether you want to dine by the water, sip on a rooftop, gaze upon greenery, or all of the above. Here are some of our favorites, and be sure to let us know yours. And stay tuned for our Pinellas list in a future newsletter.
Anchor and Brine, 505 Water St. | A key component in the renovation of Tampa Marriott Water Street, Chef Richard Sandoval’s seafood-centric restaurant boasts light-washed interiors and terrace seating on the Riverwalk.
Aqua, 7627 W. Courtney Campbell Cswy. | An indoor/outdoor waterfront restaurant at the Westin Tampa Bay that sits adjacent to the hotel’s own beach.
Bahama Breeze Island Grille, 3045 N. Rocky Point Dr. E. | A chain restaurant in a parking lot? Yes, but this Caribbean-flavored retreat also has expansive bay frontage on an inlet near the Courtney Campbell.
Cafe Dufrain, 707 Harbour Post Dr. | The Harbour Island favorite, known for its take on seasonal American cuisine, looks across Garrison Channel to downtown Tampa’s skyline.
Counter Culture, 2909 W. Bay to Bay Blvd. | Enjoy James Beard-nominated Chef Jeannie Pierola’s homage to classic counter dining with a view of Hillsborough Bay from a barstool or a patio table.
EDGE Rooftop Cocktail Bar, 1207 S. Howard Ave. | A sleek perch atop the Epicurean Hotel, EDGE serves up craft cocktails, beer + small plates with sweeping views of South Tampa.
Hula Bay Club, 5210 W. Tyson Ave. | Island vibes and dockside dining along the Old Tampa Bay waterfront next to the Port 32 marinas.
Jackson’s Bistro, 601 S. Harbour Island Blvd. | With views of Downtown Tampa, Bayshore, and the Riverwalk, Jackson’s has been a prime waterfront dining and partying destination for 25 years.
M. Bird, 1903 Market St. | Armature Works’ crowning glory is a Deco-inspired rooftop bar with panoramic city and river views and inventive small plates and cocktails.
Oak & Ola, 1910 N. Ola Ave. | An Armature Works favorite opening onto the Riverwalk and a lively plaza, Oak & Ola is a big, bustling place known for Chef Anne Kearney’s innovative cuisine.
Ocean Prime, 2205 N. West Shore Blvd. | High-end steaks and seafood at the threshold of International Plaza with wide vistas of pond and city.
Oystercatchers, 2900 Bayport Dr. | The Grand Hyatt’s venerable gem, with its unmatched bay views and seafood specialties, is closed for renovations until September.
Rick’s on the River, 2305 N. Willow Ave. | A Hillsborough River landmark for close to 30 years, Rick’s is a bar and grill with a marina and wet slips, live music daily, and an oyster bar.
Rox Rooftop Bar, 2545 N. Rocky Point Dr. | Billed as Tampa’s tallest rooftop bar, Rox is an indoor/outdoor venue atop the three-year-old Current Hotel with far-as-you-can-see views of Tampa Bay.
The Rusty Pelican, 2425 N. Rocky Point Dr. | Upscale seafood dishes and steaks in a waterfront venue popular for weddings and banquets.
The Sail Bar & Big Ray’s Fish Camp, 333 S. Franklin St. | Relax on the Riverwalk by the Convention Center, and enjoy a Sail Bar mojito and a blackened grouper sandwich from Big Ray’s, a Ballast Point favorite now with a downtown outpost.
Salt Shack on the Bay, 5415 W. Tyson Ave. | After opening two years ago on Rattlesnake Point off the Gandy Bridge, Salt Shack quickly gained a following as a beachy escape for landlubbers and boaters alike.
Sal Y Mar Rooftop Bar, 3650 Midtown Dr. | Get a new perspective on Midtown Tampa while noshing on Latin-infused cuisine and cocktails on the seventh floor of the dual-branded Aloft and Element hotels.
Santo’s Drinkeria Rooftop Bar, 1607 N. 22nd St. | Atop Casa Santo Stefano, brainchild of The Columbia’s Richard Gonzmart, Santo’s showcases the Ybor skyline along with Sicilian small bites and craft cocktails.
Six, 510 Water St. | Get a bird’s-eye view of Water Street and the downtown skyline from this indoor/outdoor restaurant on the sixth floor of the new JW Marriott Tampa.
Sparkman Wharf, 615 Channelside Dr. | Everything from conch fritters to Udon noodles, created by top Tampa chefs and served out of colorful container cars adjacent to a wide green lawn fronting on the Ybor Basin.
Steelbach, 1902 N. Ola Ave. | Situated on Armature Works’ southeast corner, Steelbach is an acclaimed steakhouse with a covered, fanned patio perfect for observing the playful throngs along the Riverwalk.
Ulele, 1810 N. Highland Ave. | Richard Gonzmart jumpstarted Tampa Heights’ renaissance with this Native American-inspired restaurant in the former Water Works, now bordered by a public park and the Riverwalk.
Watervüe, 700 Harbour Post Dr. | A sister restaurant of Cafe Dufrain, Watervüe serves contemporary seafood and, like Dufrain, is accessible by Garrison Channel boaters as well as by land.
Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill, 7720 W. Courtney Campbell Cswy. | Tiki-infused fun in a long-popular spot with its own private beach and a Barefoot Bar.
WTR Pool & Grill, 7700 W. Courtney Campbell Cswy. | Adjacent to The Godfrey Hotel & Cabanas, WTR is a 20,000-sqft bayside/poolside party destination serving breakfast, lunch, sunset dinner, and late-nite bites.