Sizzling Central American cuisine serenades senses in Estela's family-friendly interior, where customers can surf waves of free WiFi or challenge friends to games of foosball in between their savory bites. Start with a zesty appetizer such as mexican-chicken egg rolls ($6.90) before reeling in an entree such as pan-fried sea bass ranchero ($12.75) or a loaded combination platter ($9.60–$10.20). Homemade flan, fried ice cream, or choco tacos ($4.95–$5.95) can sweeten stomachs while a kaleidoscope of tequila from the restaurant's full bar adds sugar to the sentiments of dining love birds and old pinochle partners. Drool over the entire dinner menu, which also includes children's specials and vegetarian options, on Estela's website.
Rand Packer grew up in Southern California, but his love of food and surfing frequently drew him to Oaxaca, Mexico, where he explored the region’s culinary landscape by stopping at street vendors and tucked-away restaurants. The uniqueness of Oaxacan ingredients, combined with a decade of experience cooking in Hawaii under famed chef Roy Yamaguchi, eventually inspired him to open Mekenita Mexican Grille. There, Rand surprises diners with unexpected creations that fuse Mexican and Hawaiian influences, such as pineapple-plantain nachos with passion-fruit sour cream or wood-smoked pork burritos with pineapple-papaya salsa. Patrons can also customize their meals by taking a lap around the fresh-salsa bar or monogramming their plates.
Back in 1985, Jim Mellody realized his lifelong dream: opening a neighborhood hangout for friends and families to sit back and watch a game. Not long after its inception, Jim established a solid group of regulars who playfully re-christened the new hangout, referring to it simply as “Beef’s”—a short and sweet moniker that’s now commonly used at locations across the country.
Whether dining in Florida or Illinois, customers can cozy up and dine on the restaurant’s menu of classic pub fare, including burgers, sandwiches, and fajitas, all served amid an arsenal of sports-casting TVs. While adults eat, drink, and cheer on the game, youngsters can head to the Kids Zone , which is stocked with everything a budding child could ask for, including arcade games and LSAT prep materials.
Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant not only imports ingredients and products, but also recipes. With roots in northern Spain and Catalonia, these dishes come together on a menu of more than 100 hot and cold tapas selections, along with paella and cazuela. Paella, a widely varied rice dish cooked at length in a wide pot over open flame, can contain Serrano ham, scallops, pork, chorizo, and saffron rice the stunning golden hue of an alchemist's magazine advertisements. Though the restaurant spans multiple locations, each one presents guests with some charming element: a poolside patio at the Tampa location, a central tapas bar in Orlando, and a flamenco room in St. Petersburg. Meanwhile, no matter the location, events bring about live music and joviality, all supported by an ample list of Spanish and Portuguese wines.
From a stunning, beachside vantage point overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, the Palm Pavilion has been serving up a quintessential seaside dining experience for more than 80 years. Stroll up the coast and perch on the shaded outdoor patio or take a break from the sea breeze in the casual, sunlit interior. The menu offers an array of landlubbing eatables and sea-faring cuisine, such as the Hurricane Shrimp, where three skewers of crunchy crustaceans are blown through a whirlwind of spices, landing safely on a cushion of black beans and rice ($14.99). Or, lose your sea legs with a 10-oz. black Angus top sirloin ($17.99). Sworn enemies of the sun can enjoy its colorful demise while sipping a cool piña colada ($6.50) and soaking eager ears in live music.