Popular Rocco's Tacos and Tequila Bar doesn't hold up to the hype.
-1 Snap! Won't go back
Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar, delayed for months, opened in February in its new digs at Bay Street in International Plaza taking over the space once occupied by the Blue Martini. For a solid year there's been a lot of anticipatory hubbub about how great it would be to add the brand to Tampa’s culinary map. I was asked to visit and shoot specific dishes for Creative Loafing Tampa and looked forward to seeing what all the clamor was about. I dined anonymously.
-3 Snaps! Try it. You might like it.
Cooper's Hawk opened in 2013 in the maze of mixed use businesses and office buildings crowding Boy Scout Blvd. in the Westshore Business District of Tampa. A large component of the CH business model is wine, sponsoring both a national wine club and tasting rooms at their several locations.
The Tampa store is cavernous, divided in to several dining rooms, the tasting room, and a lovely outdoor patio area. The front entry leads into the tasting area filled with people and an unusual amount of merchandise - some wine related, some not so much. Inside the rooms are remarkably cold and loud.. The patio outdoors is pleasant on a coolish April eve.
Service is friendly and attentive. Meals start with warm pretzel bread and sweet butter. I consistently hear yapping from restaurant owners about how bread is an added expense and inhibits customers from buying appetizers. This palette pleasing starter just teed us up the rest of our meal and is def a value added for this upper end eatery
With the onslaught of new restaurants in the bay area I try not to forget the legacy favorites
like Armani's. While it is a high dollar place, Armani’s has consistently served excellent gourmet meals. One constant there is the antipasto bar. I don’t know of any other restaurants that still have one. Many have transitioned to charcuterie platters just a new iteration of this classic form of appetizer.
-2 Snaps! Not Recommended
Roy's is off it's game. This high end Hawaiian fusion restaurant used to rock it. Previous visits have proven to be awesome, but my most recent didn't go so well. Seating was snappy and on time. Table service was attentive and pro. I ordered a craft beer (Hoegaarden White) off of the special beer menu and the server soon returned saying that even though it was listed they didn't have it and never have. Bad start, but I can move on.
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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