Living in Orlando, I have the Amway Arena right in my backyard. This is convenient for when big artists go on tour since it is likely they will stop in Orlando. However, if the date conflicts with a Magic game, then they may end up at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. Or perhaps, they chose Tampa over Orlando to begin with, but from my perspective, I like to think the land of Mickey Mouse was the first choice ;)
Now that I’ve gone to Tampa multiple times to see artists perform at the Amalie Arena, I’ve become familiar with the area. I typically leave early to give myself enough wiggle room to account for traffic and accidents, but also to explore and eat good food beforehand. This led me to finding my favorite Tampa food spots that are within reasonable distance to the Amalie Arena.
THE HALL ON FRANKLIN
This food hall features six different restaurants. Within their brick walls and garage doors you can find food options to satisfy your dessert cravings from Bake’n Babes, enjoy coffee at Kofe, snack on lobster mac and cheese from Fish Camp, devour poke bowls from Poke Rose, eat signature melts from Heights Melts, munch on banh mi sandwiches from North Star Eatery, or enjoy a refreshing cocktail from the bar. The Hall on Franklin has a swanky vibe with its warm atmosphere and a DJ filling the hall with dance music on the weekends.
Location: 1701 N Franklin St. Tampa, FL
This versatile building has more to it than just a restaurant. It also holds a bookstore, gift store, co-working space, design studio, and event venue. Here, you can enjoy an avocado toast breakfast, read through books in the shop, or drink a cup of coffee while you do both. In this trendy space you'll be entertained by the gorgeous architecture, elegant staircase, and even notice some greenery, bringing nature indoors. The only downside is that parking may be difficult to find on the street. If you’re an early morning riser you’ll be sure to have enough time for breakfast or lunch before they close at 5:30pm.
Location: 420 W Kennedy Blvd. Tampa, FL.
This Mexican restaurant with its tapas style servings is perfect for sharing and trying multiple items on the menu. Fill up with their corn or guacamole appetizers and then move onto the small-bite tacos or an ahi tuna bowl. If you like structure and want a restaurant you can promisingly put down on your schedule for the evening, you’ll want to be aware that they don’t take reservations. If you want to put your name down on the call-ahead waitlist, you’ll have to use their Bar Taco app to check wait times and to put your name in. However, they do have bar seating, which is first come first served. Bar Taco has a friendly atmosphere perfect for the whole family or for date night.
Location: 1601 West Snow Avenue Tampa, FL
If you’re looking for the best salad since 1905 this is your place. They're famous for their 1905 salad and it’s as filling and delicious as one of their main entrées, in fact, they serve this dish as a main entrée as well. Their complementary bread is also incredible. You’ll be asking your server for more as each piece melts in your mouth. In comparison to the other restaurants, this one is the fanciest dining experience.
Location: 2117 E. 7th Ave. Tampa, FL