Following the route of Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl and his raft, which shares the restaurant's name, Kon Tiki's menu boldly unites the distant neighboring cuisines of South America and Polynesia. Taste buds take off on their own transpacific trek with such appetizers as tiki tuna tartare ($11), Mexican-style edamame ($5), and short-rib nachos, with crispy won-ton pontoons balancing braised beef, queso blanco, pico de gallo, and a Sriracha-aioli drizzle ($10). Supper ship-hands and migrating dolphins alike will throw ration requirements to the wind when main courses appear, such as the green curry fury, a tortilla pizza crowned with green-curry chicken, tomatoes, crumbled queso, and jalapeños ($11), or an herbivorous helping of sesame- and pumpkin-seed encrusted tofu ($16). Kon Tiki's flavor-infused teas and cocktails provide spicy after-dinner palates a tasty alternative to chewing on a fire blanket for heat relief.
Veering away from the mainstream molds of personality-devoid coffee shacks, Tre Amici aims to establish itself as a local, independent hub for cappuccinos and creativity. Camp out on the squishy, orange sofas and admire local artwork while sipping on fair-trade and organic products. The full menu of hot and cold beverages includes the slushy latte frappamici with frozen espresso, milk, and a flavor shot ($4.75), chai latte ($4.20), and Italian soda ($3). Counter caffeine with a selection of good-for-you grub, such as Kashi oatmeal with either raisin spice and sliced apples, or brown maple and apple cinnamon ($2.95); organic low-fat yogurt parfaits layered with berries and maple-nut granola ($3.95); and hummus plates served with toasted pita ($5.75). Heartier fare includes crisp salads and gourmet sandwiches.
At Tropical Smoothie Café, blending baristas sling out healthful smoothies alongside a diverse menu of freshly prepped eats, including toasted wraps, grilled flatbreads, and gourmet salads. Combo meals afford feasting pairs the opportunity to corral breaded specialties such as a buffalo-chicken wrap or a wasabi-roast-beef sandwich, which tantalizes tasters with succulent cuts of roast beef wreathed in a wasabi caesar dressing. Like professional hitchhikers, gourmet salads pack as much as possible into their layers, including wontons and tides of peanut sauce that mingle under the greens of the thai chicken salad. Smoothies, crafted from real fruit and natural sugar, chase savory bites with decadent slurps of low-fat, coffee, and specialty blends. Refresh parched pipes with the rich swigs of a Blimey Limey—a fusion of strawberries, apples, and orange—or cull the antioxidant-packed gulps of a matcha green tea to help immune systems shut down viruses and perform better on game shows.
Perched in wrought-iron chairs at a gleaming marble bar, students and artists sip coffee, sharing inspiration and plans for upcoming projects. Nearby, Tampa Bead Cafe's instructors preside over a range of jewelry-crafting materials, which provide the necessary hardware to follow up on the grand artistic plans under discussion. Beneath the terra cotta–hued walls, shelves brim with beads, metal chains, and wire, as well as less conventional media such as metal clay and polymers.
The staff guides visitors along racks of bracelet and necklace supplies, and exclamations of happiness drift from a classroom, where teachers introduce specific styles, such as kumihimo. Students to use real tools such as pliers, cutters, and magnifiers to intimidate their jewelry into making itself, and most courses end with the creation of piece for pupils to treasure. A roster of guest artists, who have included polymer-clay artist Christi Friesen and Maria Rypan, lead style and material-specific workshops.
Every Sunday at Blues Ship Cafe, dance instructors teach a Latin swing class in preparation for a night of unfettered rug cutting. The rest of the week, the stage is cleared for open-mic poetry slams and live blues and jazz musicians. With live acts such as these, a polished-wood dance floor, and a full bar, the café proves to be a prime locale for late-night revelry. Chefs fuel the merriment with a menu of classic southern dishes, including slow-smoked pork ribs smothered in Blues Ship's own barbecue sauce, fried fish, and sautéed Cajun shrimp. Meals unfold throughout the dimly lit dining room at tables or plush chairs, or outdoors, where diners can taunt the sun with their ability to taste and consume food.
With its miniature treats and requisite flair, a proper teatime ceremony is hard to recreate at home, which is why Tampa residents are fortunate to have Milk N’ Honey Tea Room nearby. Experts on the afternoon gathering array 25 varieties of tea, served hot or cold, and assemble the traditional finger sandwiches, fresh fruit, and desserts. Much of the produce is sourced from local growers, and special vegetarian and gluten-free menus cater to all guests. The dress-up area is draped with hats and fluffy boas, which help them get into an elegant, vintage mindset as they sip. The tearoom also hosts birthday parties and baby or bridal showers and sells locally made gifts inside a boutique shop.