-3 Snaps! Try it. You might like it.
I have never been a fan of pretense and going to the Oxford Exchange feels like going to a snooty party. Vendors like Buddy Brew Coffee and Tebella Tea Company are high quality, but there is an air of snobbishness about the place. The restaurant is loud, and service is on the slow side. If you like South Tampa pretense (and I say that as a South Tampanite), this is the place to be. Remember, I prefer food trucks to linen tablecloths and fruit flavored water. I'm just not in to the Champagne crowd.
On my this visit I order the Mahi Tacos- Mahi in a chili-agave glaze, kale slaw, pickled jalapeno, queso fresco, cumin aioli, micro cilantro. It's mediocre. The fish alone was right on target but the abundance of cilantro drowned the subtle flavor of the Mahi. Too bad. It could have been so much more.
Our server is a fast talking (think used car sales) type, who seems distracted as though she didn't have time for us but needs to tell us the daily spiel on specials. Given the size of the crowd, I get it. But still.
The architecture of the building along with the rehab done when it opened several years ago is outstanding. The upstairs private club is nicely appointed with reclaimed wood, white brick, and an industrial feel, but you must be a member to enjoy it. There's a bookstore, eyeglass vendor, coffee and tea bars, and comfortably upholstered (but somewhat limited) seating.
You might like it. Pretense gives me the willies. If they get the food right it may be worth your time.
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