Foodie purists or fried-food-faint-of-heart, move along. These aren't the droids you are looking for.
Ever long for a traditional fried seafood dinner without glam or fuss? People who have been in Tampa a while may miss the likes of the Colonnade, Seabreeze or Mirabella's seafood eateries. At one time, they dominated the seafood scene in the old Tampa. There were no fancy imported clams or fish flown in fresh daily from foreign lands. They offered a classic battered and fried plate of ocean harvest. I had a craving for some and went looking. My quest took me to Blue Sea Seafood Market and Restaurant in surprising part of town. Upon arrival it's clear that it's a popular place as the parking lot is full. As we await our food an African-American couple walks in chuckling and pondering the idea of having “seafood in the hood”. We all laugh in sync like it is some sort of social anomaly.
-4 Snaps! Strongly recommended
This ain't your grandma's clam bake!
In this age of veg-centric dining it’s great to find an old-school seafood community based eating event. A low country boil (aka tide water boil) is the South’s version of a New England clambake. Take some catch of the day shell fish, add sausage and corn on the cob, and boil it all in a pot of water spiked with Old Bay seasoning. After 10 minutes drain it and pour it all out on a table to share communally.
-4 Snaps! Strongly recommended
Big Ray's is a quaint place with rustic charm and very good but expensive food.
According to their website:"Chef Raymond "Nick" Cruz grew up watching and learning about fishing from Grandpa Cruz a few blocks away at Ballast Point Pier. Spending countless summer days fishing, cleaning, and cooking said "fish on the line," would eventually turn into a personal passion to serve the best and freshest seafood in South Tampa."
The restaurant itself is small, with a few tables (and air conditioning) inside. There is abundant seating outside under shade sails. It is usually fairly crowded so pack some patience if you go. They serve the best Fried Grouper sandwich ($14.00) around. And, I've been around!
-1 Snap! Won't go back
I haven't been to Bonefish in a while but am very surprised at the drop in the quality of food and poor table service. Our server failed to bring bread even after being asked and never brought a birthday cake requested before hand for our celebration. Cocktails are watered down and even the special of the day was poorly done.
Chip Weiner is a Tampa food blogger and an award winning freelance photographer specializing in portraiture, food photography and photojournalism . He has been a photography instructor for over 10 years and teaches Tampa photography classes throughout the year. Have a suggestion for a food event or restaurant? Contact him here
For information on photography classes and workshops, feel free to call me or look under the Tampa Photography Classes section of my website. Photo 101 is by far the most popular! I also give private individual lessons on camera operation and making better photographs and would love to work with you one on one to make you a better photographer. Photography instruction gift certificates are also available. They make great gifts for the photo enthusiast in your life. Let's talk about what you need! 813-786-7780. See you in class!
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