301 W. Platt Street #C
Tampa, FL 33606-2292
Nola Cafe is Tampa's little slice of New Orleans, serving up classic Louisana fare like Po Boy sandwiches and jambalaya. It's a little family-owned joint, cozy, and the perfect spot to bring a favorite book, grab a cup of coffee and relax for an hour or two. While all of the food I've eaten there has been delicious, my favorite things to order are the beignets. Due to a horrifically bad date with a weirdo who plays drums there occasionally, I've avoided the place like the plague. Those beignets are a callin' my name, though, and I have a feeling that my evasion is about to come to an end.
Sally O'Neal's Pizza Hotline
1319 S. Howard Ave.
Tampa, FL 33606-3124
When my friend Ali announced that she was officially too good for The Hut after discovering Sally O'Neal's Pizza, I thought she was just making shit up. I'm sorry, but the name Sally O'Neal sounds fake, so I didn't believe that it was a real pizza joint until we went there--and I experienced for myself the most amazing pizza I've ever put in my mouth. Oh. My. GOD. There is seriously nothing like it! It's freshly-baked, the cheese is all good and melty, the ingredients are fresh--my mouth is watering just thinking about it. I am now, along with Ali, too good for The Hut. And Domino's. And Papa John's. And Hungry Howies.
La Creperia Cafe
1729 E. 7th Ave.
Tampa, FL 33605-3805
My friend John told me about this super-cute cafe, which is located smack dab in the heart of Ybor City (which is neat in and of itself: cigar shops, restaurants, boutiques, bars and night clubs dot Seventh Avenue. Very artsy and historic). If you couldn't tell from its name, La Creperia specializes in, you guessed it, crepes. It has every sort of crepe you could ever dream of, certainly the biggest selection I've ever seen, but what makes it stand out is that there's a Hispanic twist on some of the selections. I visited it for the first time a few weeks ago and fell in love.
500 N. Tampa St.
Tampa, FL 33602
This French restaurant in downtown Tampa is one of my favorite places in which to indulge in a leisurely Saturday breakfast. The owners, as well as the staff, are French, and make you feel right at home. Everything, from the crepes to the cappuccino, is delicious.
Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know this is a chain restaurant, but gat-dayum does it make one hell of a burger. If you haven't tried it, a) shame on you and b) do so immediately--it's the single greatest food item you will ever put in your mouth. When it comes to Five Guys, I always swallow. And you will too.
Square One Burgers
3701 Henderson Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33609
This is another great little burger joint and somewhat of a juxtaposition: it's casual dining gift-wrapped in a modern, trendy setting. In addition to a string of specialty burgers, you also have the option of making your own creation, but every time I go, I order the same thing: the specialty veggie burger. I'm not a vegetarian, but this is one tasty meat-free patty. It's obvious they're made fresh--you can see the bits of corn and peas. Read: this is not a Boca Burger or anything mass-produced. This is what a Boca Burger wants to be when it grows up.
These are just a few of my favorite haunts in Tampa. If you ever hit one of those places up and I'm there, say hi. If you're that drum-playing weirdo, though, keep on steppin'.